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Senate Committee on Rules and AdministrationIntroducedNovember 19th, 2013
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Safeguarding Elections for our Nation's Troops through Reforms and Improvements (SENTRI) Act
A bill to amend the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act to improve ballot accessibility to uniformed services voters and overseas voters, and for other purposes.
Safeguarding Elections for our Nation's Troops through Reforms and Improvements (SENTRI) Act - Makes amendments to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act to expand access to voting in federal elections for members of the uniformed services and U.S. citizens residing abroad (overseas voters). Title I: Amendments Related to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act - (Sec. 101) Requires the chief election official of a state to report, not later than 43 days before any federal election held in the state, on the total number of absentee ballots validly requested by absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters whose requests were received by the 47th day before the election. (Sec. 102) Eliminates the hardship waiver allowed for states from the requirement to provide absentee voters ballots 46 days prior to an election. Requires express delivery of an absentee ballot that is not timely transmitted, unless a state permits transmission and return of an absentee ballot by electronic means. Requires a state to notify the Attorney General as soon as practicable and take all actions necessary, including seeking necessary judicial review, to ensure that affected absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters are provided a reasonable opportunity to receive and return their absentee ballots in time to be counted. (Sec. 104) Prohibits a state from disqualifying any voter who has registered to vote using the official post card form prescribed by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. (Sec. 105) Prohibits a state from rejecting a voter registration or absentee ballot application from an overseas voter because of early submission. Allows an absentee voter to use a single absentee ballot application for subsequent elections. Requires the presidential designee to ensure that the official postcard form prescribed under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act enables a voter using the form to request: (1) an absentee ballot for each election for federal office held in a state through the next regularly scheduled general election, including any runoff elections; or (2) an absentee ballot for a specific election or elections for federal office. (Sec. 106) Makes the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act applicable to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. (Sec. 107) Revises reporting requirements for voting assistance programs for members of the uniformed services and overseas voters to require a biennial report by the presidential designee on June 30 of each odd-numbered year (currently, March 31 of each year) on the effectiveness of such programs. Requires the Comptroller General (GAO) to review such biennial reports for elections held in calendar years 2014 through 2020 and report to Congress on such review. (Sec. 108) Makes the amendments made by this title effective on January 1, 2015. Title II: Provision of Voter Assistance to Members of the Armed Forces - Directs the Secretary of Defense (DOD), in coordination with the Secretary of each military department, to: (1) affirmatively offer, on an annual basis, each member of the Armed Forces on active duty (other than active duty for training) the opportunity, through an online system, to register to vote in a federal election, update voter registration information, or request an absentee ballot; (2) implement an online system for such purposes; and (3) implement a system to track a change of address or duty status of a member of the Armed Forces on active duty to provide an automatic notice to such member of voter registration requirements. Requires the Secretary to prescribe regulations to implement such voter assistance measures and report to the House Committees on Appropriations, Armed Services, and Administration and the Senate Committees on Appropriations, Armed Services, and Rules and Administration on such implementation. Title III: Electronic Voting Systems - Amends the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 to repeal the demonstration project allowing absent members of the uniformed services to vote in the regularly scheduled general election for federal office for November 2002 through an electronic voting system.