Virginia Failed to Mail Overseas Absentee Ballots in Time for 2008 Election
Friday, October 16, 2009; 4:45 PM
A federal judge in Richmond has ruled that Virginia failed to mail more than 2,000 absentee ballots to military personnel and other overseas citizens in time for their votes to be counted in last November's presidental election, violating their rights under federal law.
The ruling on Thursday by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams came in a Justice Department lawsuit that said Virginia's actions violated the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, which guarantees citizens living abroad the right to vote absentee. The ruling said the state should have mailed the ballots at least 30 days before the election and must now count all ballots received within 30 days after the vote.
"The men and women who bravely put their lives on the line to serve their nation deserve, at the very least, to know that their votes will be counted, and their voices will be heard," Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said in a news release.