Department of Defense Denies West Virginia Request for Waiver of Military Voting Law

On October 20, the Director of the Department of Defense's Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) notified West Virginia of the Department's decision to deny the State's request for an undue hardship waiver under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), which requires States to send ballots to absentee Uniformed Services and overseas voters at least 45 days prior to a Federal election.

If a State is unable to comply due to a late primary, a delay in generating ballots due to a legal contest or a provision in its State constitution that prohibits compliance with UOCAVA, it may request a waiver from the 45-day requirement.

The DoD reviewed the State's application, which was submitted due to a legal contest in a State Assembly race in Kanawha County, consulted with the Department of Justice and found it did not meet the requirements for a waiver. Though the State faces an undue hardship, its proposed comprehensive plan for the Nov. 4 election does not provide sufficient time for all UOCAVA citizens to vote and have their votes counted.

West Virginia submitted its application to FVAP Oct. 10 for the Nov. 4 General Election for Federal office. The waiver request, denial letter from Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Jessica L. Wright and supporting documents are available at    

FVAP is an assistance agency and works to ensure that Service members, their eligible family members and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so - from anywhere in the world.

For compliance-related questions, please contact the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Voting Section as they are the UOCAVA enforcement agency.