Cornyn’s Bill to Streamline Military Voting Overseas to Become Law Today

In: All News   Posted 12/20/2019

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statement in advance of President Trump signing Sen. Cornyn’s Military Voting Protection Act into law this evening as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The new law will ensure service members are provided with ballots and registration cards necessary to vote while deployed overseas along with instruction from trained personnel on how to cast their vote in their registered state:

“Soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines regularly put their lives on the line to defend our democracy, and it’s only right they have ample opportunity to fully participate in that democracy,” said Sen. Cornyn.  “This law will ensure that all service members’ voices will be heard, regardless of whether they’re donning the uniform at home or abroad.”


Registration and participation for active duty service members voting by absentee ballot dropped between the 2012 and 2016 elections, with a third of those surveyed saying the absentee voting process was too complicated. The Military Voting Protection Act takes definitive steps to ensure all overseas military voters have the opportunity to cast their vote if they choose to do so.

Currently, military voting assistance officers distribute voter registration and absentee ballot requests or Federal Post Card Applications (FPCA), which allow them to register and request an absentee ballot, to military service members. Depending on the state, the federal write-in absentee ballot can serve as registration to vote as well as the actual ballot itself.  Currently, 22 states and three territories require both the FPCA as well as an actual ballot.  However, 28 states allow the federal write-in absentee ballot to serve as both the registration/request form and the ballot itself.

Under the MVP Act, a deployed service member will receive the following within 45 days of a general election for Federal office:

  • A briefing on and an opportunity to fill out the FPCA for absentee voter registration application and ballot application prescribed under the Uniformed Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (as applicable); and
  • A federal write-in absentee ballot prescribed pursuant to section 103 of that Act with instructions on the appropriate use of the ballot with respect to the state in which they are registered to vote.

The MVP Act was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA FY20), which passed the Senate on December 17, 2019.  A more comprehensive summary of NDAA FY20 can be found here.