The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act Overview

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act is commonly referred to as UOCAVA. UOCAVA citizens are U.S. citizens who are active members of the Uniformed Services, the Merchant Marine, and 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. This Act provides the legal basis for these citizens' absentee voting requirements for federal offices.

The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) amended UOCAVA and other statutes by providing greater protections for Service Members, their eligible family members and other overseas citizens. Among other provisions, the MOVE Act requires States to send absentee ballots to UOCAVA voters at least 45 days before federal elections.

Sense of Congress Regarding the Importance of Voting

  1. "Sense of Congress" - It is the sense of Congress that each person who is an administrator of a federal, State, or local election
    1. should be aware of the importance of the ability of each uniformed services voter to exercise the right to vote; and should perform that person's duties as an election administrator with the intent to ensure that:
      • each uniformed services voter receives the utmost consideration and cooperation when voting;
      • each valid ballot cast by such a voter is duly counted; and
      • all eligible American voters, regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, the language they speak, or the resources of the community in which they live, should have an equal opportunity to cast a vote and to have that vote counted.
  2. Uniformed Services Voter Defined.- In this section, the term 'uniformed services voter' means-
    • a member of a uniformed service (as defined in section 101 (a)(5) of title 10 United States Code) in active service;
    • a member of the merchant marine (as defined in section 107 of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff-6) [now 52 U.S.C. 201310]); and
    • a spouse or dependent of a member referred to in paragraph (1) or (2) who is qualified to vote. " --Pub. L. 107-107