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IRV and Overseas Ballots

February 2003

Congress enacted the Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) in 1986 to ensure that military personnel stationed overseas had the opportunity to vote in every election. The law empowers the Justice Department to file suit against jurisdictions with absentee voting procedures that are not in compliance with the law.

The Center believes that the effect of UOCAVA on the administration of runoff elections creates a need for instant runoff voting (IRV). The window of time between an election and the subsequent runoff is often too short to allow overseas voters to receive and return a second ballot. Allowing these voters to use IRV on a single absentee ballot to indicate their preferences in the event of a runoff would guarantee their participation.

The practice of instant runoff voting for overseas ballots is not new. Louisiana has been successfully using the system for 10 years. For more information on IRV in Louisiana click here. Also, you can read a copy of recently proposed legislation in Illinois to allow absentee IRV in some local elections.

In an effort to expand on this success, CVD has written a letter to legislators in 10 states that use runoffs for party primaries. We encourage you to read the letter and forward it on to your representatives.

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Copyright 2002     The Center for Voting and Democracy
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