Several U.S. counties are planning to send out absentee ballots to registered voters living abroad later than is required by federal law, essentially rendering these votes irrelevant, according to iVoteIsrael – a group of American expats living in Israel spearheading a registration drive for citizens to be able to cast their ballot in the November elections.
In a statement issued by iVoteIsrael, the organization cites data that explains low cooperation rates of overseas U.S. citizens in the general elections process. "According to the Overseas Vote Foundation, the primary reason why Americans living abroad do not vote more frequently is due to their failure to return their ballot to their local board of election on time. In this regard, the local boards of elections that mail out the ballots to the voters bear much of the responsibility for the paltry 6.8 percent overseas voter participation."
Attempting to prevent such a situation from happening, iVoteIsrael has been contacting counties within the U.S., to make sure they mail their absentee ballots by Sept. 22 — 45 days prior to the elections, as is mandated by U.S. federal law.
"Surprisingly," said iVoteIsrael in the statement. "A number of counties were either not aware of the law, or were planning to ignore the law until iVoteIsrael representatives inquired about their compliance." The group says that despite their efforts to inform the different counties of their obligations toward their overseas voters, several counties still plan on sending out ballots after the specified date. To counter this and other obstacles, iVoteIsrael is urging all U.S. citizens to sign up at their website, so as to receive their Federal Write-in Absentee Ballots on time.