Posted: November 1, 2010
MD District Court issues preliminary injunction in UOCAVA absentee voting case
On Oct. 29, a District Court in Maryland granted relief on a constitutional claim by a member of the Maryland National Guard and the Military Voter Protection Project. The complaint alleged that the state of Maryland violated the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), because it failed to provide enough time for absentee voting by military and overseas voters. The court granted a preliminary injunction on the constitutional claim, explaining that "where a state has authorized the use of absentee ballots, any restriction it imposes on the use of those absentee ballots which has the effect of severely burdening a group of voters must be narrowly tailored to further a compelling state interest." The court went on to find that the interest of having the ballots of absentee voters counted outweighed the state's interest in enforcing the Nov. 12 deadline. The opinion may be found here. Professor Spencer Overton offers these thoughts on its significance.