About the Laws
A number of laws govern the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) activities, as well as those of the states.
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act is commonly referred to as UOCAVA. Citizens who are protected under UOCAVA are U.S. citizens who are active members of the Uniformed Services, the Merchant Marine, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, their eligible family members and U.S. citizens residing outside the United States. UOCAVA provides the legal basis for absentee voting requirements for these citizens.
The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), requires that individuals be given the opportunity to register to vote or to change their voter registration data when applying for or receiving services or assistance at any office designated as a voter registration agency. The Secretary of Defense is designated to develop and implement, jointly with each state, procedures for persons to apply to register to vote at recruitment offices of the Armed Forces. Additionally, the Services have designated Installation Voter Assistance Offices as part of the assistance available for military members, their eligible family members an civilians working on military bases.
To view the instruction demonstrating this designation in its entirety, go to DoD Instruction 1000.04.
FVAP developed an interpretive memorandum explaining the impact of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) amendments to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).
Proper legal voting residence is critical to ensure a state's timely approval of the registration and absentee ballot request and transmittal of the ballot to the voter.
Members of the Uniformed Services and federal employees who provide voting assistance should be aware of the various laws that govern the importance of providing nonpartisan voting assistance.