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Rep. Schneider Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Voting Rights of Service Members and U.S. Citizens Abroad

Jul 19, 2017
Press Release
Bill will hold States accountable and seeks to ensure absentee ballots are delivered and counted on time

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10) and Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration Robert Brady (PA-01) introduced legislation to improve absentee voting for individuals serving in the armed forces and citizens living abroad. Under current law, acquiring an absentee ballot can present challenges for service members who frequently move from one location to another and U.S. citizens overseas, including diplomats, foreign service professionals, and students studying abroad.

H.R. 3300, the Help Our Service Members and Citizens Abroad Vote Act would hold States accountable to ensure absentee ballots are delivered on time and are counted in elections. The bill would require States to report whether all absentee ballots were sent at least 45 days before an election, as well as report the number of ballots sent and returned from service members and overseas citizens. In addition, the bill requires States to send ballots via express delivery if they fail to meet the 45 day deadline, and mandates the ballot be returned via express mail if sent within 40 days of an election.

“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, which is why it is so troubling this Administration is spreading falsehoods about widespread fraud and some states are imposing burdensome restrictions intended to suppress voting,” said Schneider. “We should be working to ensure every American has a fair and full opportunity to vote, and in particular the brave men and women serving in our armed forces. This bill strengthens the absentee voting procedures for service members and Americans abroad to ensure all eligible voters can exercise their rights.”

“Making sure our service men and women living and working abroad have access to the ballot is among my top priorities as Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration,” said Brady. “I applaud Representative Schneider’s leadership in advancing this proposal and will advocate for its swift consideration.”

The bill was introduced today to coincide with the inaugural meeting of the Trump Administration’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which was created to investigate President Trump’s baseless allegations of widespread voting fraud in the 2016 presidential election. The Commission’s troubling requests for extremely sensitive voting data have been fully or partially refused by at least 44 states.

 

The full text of the legislation is available here

 

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