After being accused by Fox News, Sen. John Cornyn and New Black Panthers whistleblower J. Christian Adams of failing to enforce a new law meant to guarantee ballots for overseas military personnel, the Justice Department has sued New York for failing to comply with the law.
The MOVE Act, sponsored by Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), requires states to send absentee ballots to troops overseas at least 45 days before the general election, or by Sept. 18. Several states, including New York, applied for waivers. New York, for example, pleaded that its primary, on Sept. 14, was too late to meet the 45-day deadline.
The DOJ granted New York and other states an extension, stipulating that they must accept military ballots later than normal. New York had until Oct. 1, and was ordered to extend the deadline for accepting military ballots from Nov. 1 to Nov. 15.
But several counties, including the ones that make up New York City, failed to send the ballots by Oct. 1. Instead, elections officials sent the ballots five to nine days late.
The suit asks for an injunction ordering the state board of election to “take such steps as are necessary” to make sure all military ballots are counted — in other words, ordering the board to extend the deadline for accepting military ballots even further.
A Justice official told TPMmuckraker today that the department expects an agreement in New York within the next few days.
After it came out last weekend that New York hadn’t complied with the MOVE Act, Cornyn said in a statement, “This is a clear violation of federal voting rights law. If DOJ does not file a suit to right this wrong as soon as the courts open on Tuesday, then we will know once and for all that DOJ is not serious about safeguarding military voting rights.”
Cornyn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The department has also sued Guam, and has reached agreements with Wisconsin and New Mexico.
The DOJ is working with other states on further action, according to a spokeswoman.