State of New York Requests Waiver Of UOCAVA's 45-Day Requirement for New York's Third Congressional District

On Aug. 22, 2016, the State of New York applied for a waiver of a provision of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) for the Nov. 8, 2016, General Election for the Third Congressional District.

Absent a waiver request, States are specifically required to transmit timely-requested absentee ballots for federal offices 45 days prior to Election Day. A waiver request becomes necessary when a State is unable to meet this requirement due to one of the reasons set forth in the statute, such as a legal contest.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) spoke with New York election officials and consulted closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) when considering the State's waiver request and comprehensive plan.

After careful review and consultation with DOJ, FVAP and other Department of Defense (DoD) officials determined:

  • New York faces an undue hardship prohibiting it from complying with the 45-day advance transmission requirement as a result of a Federal court order mandating a Republican primary election for New York's Third Congressional District on Oct. 6, 2016.
  • Given the totality of circumstances, New York's comprehensive plan provides absent UOCAVA voters sufficient time to receive and submit absentee ballots they have requested in time to be counted in the Nov. 8, 2016, election.

FVAP notified New York of DoD's decision to approve its waiver request on Aug. 29, 2016.

The decision to approve New York's request is based on the understanding that the State of New York will comply with all commitments described in its comprehensive plan, including that New York will seek a court order for an eight-day extension of its ballot receipt deadline for the Nov. 8, 2016, General Election in the Third Congressional District. In addition, voters who have requested their voting materials be transmitted by postal mail will be sent a ballot by an expedited mail service and will also be provided a return envelope allowing them to use the same expedited service to return their ballot at no expense to the voter.

As stated in DoD's approval memorandum, New York is required to provide to FVAP by Jan. 6, 2017, a post-election evaluation. Required elements include written certification that ballots were transmitted to UOCAVA voters on the date and in the manner described in the waiver application, the number of ballots from affected voters returned in time to be counted and the number of ballots returned too late to be counted. 

View New York's Waiver Request and Comprehensive plan, as well as DoD's memorandum detailing its decision to approve the waiver application at

FVAP works to ensure 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.