After the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) published an incorrect deadline for the return of absentee military ballots of Wisconsin servicemen overseas, the Department of Defense emailed service members Thursday to inform them the initial deadline was wrong.
“Please follow the directions that come with your ballot and allow sufficient time to ensure that your ballot is received in time to be counted,” the email read, according to a MacIver Institute report. “We regret any inconvenience that this may have caused.”
Last week, the MacIver Institute discovered the FVAP website listed “listed Wisconsin’s ballot return date as seven days after the actual deadline, an error that could have disenfranchised thousands of military voters serving overseas.”
The FVAP’s website stated ballots had until November 16th to reach election officials in Wisconsin when the actual deadline is November 9th. As the MacIver Institute noted, this means “service members and overseas voters must mail their ballots well before Election Day for them to be delivered in time,” even though ballots could be postmarked as late as election day, which is November 6th.
After identifying the error, MacIver News Service contacted the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (“GAB”) and the GAB contacted the FVAP, and the error was corrected.
Rep. Dan Lungren, (R-CA), House Administration Chairman, sent a staff attorney to Wisconsin to ensure the voting rights of Wisconsin servicemen were protected.
“It’s alarming to know that an untold number of our men and women in uniform were provided incorrect information,” Lungren said. “This is an unacceptable error that cannot continue. Whether it’s from the battle field or at the ballot box, our men and women in uniform deserve to have their vote counted.”
According to the MacIver Institute, Lungren has scheduled meetings with the FVAP to discuss potential remedies and said he would also send a letter to Wisconsin state election officials to offer them the assistance of the House Administration Committee if there are additional problems.
“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that military and overseas voters have adequate opportunities and resources to vote,” Lungren said. “I will continue to work to protect the rights of these voters and ensure they have accurate and timely information.”