10 USC § 1566. Voting assistance: compliance assessments; assistance
(a) Regulations.—The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe regulations to require that the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps ensure their compliance with any directives issued by the Secretary of Defense in implementing any voting assistance program.
(b) Voting Assistance Programs Defined.—In this section, the term “voting assistance programs” means—
(1) the Federal Voting Assistance Program carried out under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.); and
(2) any similar program.
(c) Annual Effectiveness and Compliance Reviews.—(1) The Inspector General of each of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps shall conduct—
(A) an annual review of the effectiveness of voting assistance programs; and
(B) an annual review of the compliance with voting assistance programs of that armed force.
(2) Upon the completion of each annual review under paragraph (1), each Inspector General specified in that paragraph shall submit to the Inspector General of the Department of Defense a report on the results of each such review. Such report shall be submitted in time each year to be reflected in the report of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense under paragraph (3).
(3) Not later than March 31 each year, the Inspector General of the Department of Defense shall submit to Congress a report on—
(A) the effectiveness during the preceding calendar year of voting assistance programs; and
(B) the level of compliance during the preceding calendar year with voting assistance programs of each of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.
[(d) Repealed. Pub. L. 109–364, div. A, title V, §596(a), Oct. 17, 2006, 120 Stat. 2235.]
(e) Regular Military Department Assessments.—The Secretary of each military department shall include in the set of issues and programs to be reviewed during any management effectiveness review or inspection at the installation level an assessment of compliance with the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (42 U.S.C. 1973ff et seq.) and with Department of Defense regulations regarding the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
(f) Voting Assistance Officers.—(1) Voting assistance officers shall be appointed or assigned under Department of Defense regulations. Commanders at all levels are responsible for ensuring that unit voting officers are trained and equipped to provide information and assistance to members of the armed forces on voting matters. Performance evaluation reports pertaining to a member who has been assigned to serve as a voting assistance officer shall comment on the performance of the member as a voting assistance officer.
(2) Under regulations and procedures (including directives) prescribed by the Secretary, a member of the armed forces appointed or assigned to duty as a voting assistance officer shall, to the maximum extent practicable, be given the time and resources needed to perform the member's duties as a voting assistance officer during the period in advance of a general election when members and their dependents are preparing and submitting absentee ballots.
(g) Delivery of Mail From Overseas Preceding Federal Elections.—(1) During the four months preceding a general Federal election month, the Secretary of Defense shall periodically conduct surveys of all overseas locations and vessels at sea with military units responsible for collecting mail for return shipment to the United States and all port facilities in the United States and overseas where military-related mail is collected for shipment to overseas locations or to the United States. The purpose of each survey shall be to determine if voting materials are awaiting shipment at any such location and, if so, the length of time that such materials have been held at that location. During the fourth and third months before a general Federal election month, such surveys shall be conducted biweekly. During the second and first months before a general Federal election month, such surveys shall be conducted weekly.
(2) The Secretary shall ensure that voting materials are transmitted expeditiously by military postal authorities at all times. The Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable, implement measures to ensure that a postmark or other official proof of mailing date is provided on each absentee ballot collected at any overseas location or vessel at sea whenever the Department of Defense is responsible for collecting mail for return shipment to the United States. The Secretary shall ensure that the measures implemented under the preceding sentence do not result in the delivery of absentee ballots to the final destination of such ballots after the date on which the election for Federal office is held.
(3) In this section, the term “general Federal election month” means November in an even-numbered year.
(h) Notice of Deadlines and Requirements.—The Secretary of each military department, utilizing the voting assistance officer network established for each military installation, shall, to the maximum extent practicable, provide notice to members of the armed forces stationed at that installation of the last date before a general Federal election for which absentee ballots mailed from a postal facility located at that installation can reasonably be expected to be timely delivered to the appropriate State and local election officials.
(i) Registration and Voting Information for Members and Dependents.—(1) The Secretary of each military department, using a variety of means including both print and electronic media, shall, to the maximum extent practicable, ensure that members of the armed forces and their dependents who are qualified to vote have ready access to information regarding voter registration requirements and deadlines (including voter registration), absentee ballot application requirements and deadlines, and the availability of voting assistance officers to assist members and dependents to understand and comply with these requirements.
(2) The Secretary of each military department shall make the national voter registration form prepared for purposes of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act by the Federal Election Commission available so that each person who enlists shall receive such form at the time of the enlistment, or as soon thereafter as practicable.
(3) Where practicable, a special day or days shall be designated at each military installation for the purpose of informing members of the armed forces and their dependents of election timing, registration requirements, and voting procedures.