IRV and Overseas Ballots

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.

FairVote 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. Also, Arkansas recently became the second state to allow ranked voting for overseas ballots.

In an effort to expand on this success, FairVote 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.

View a letter urging rank choice voting for absentee voters.

Read more about UOCAVA.