With at least 100 military votes at stake in Fairfax County, Virginia's Attorney General Bob McDonnell today released a formal opinion saying federal military absentee ballots must be counted for the Presidential election.
In a press release today, the AG's office explained, "The Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot is most commonly used by members of the military who are stationed overseas and have not received a state absentee ballot. It is a means by which service members can be guaranteed a vote in federal elections."
The legal opinion read:
“It is…... my opinion that the applicable provision of Virginia law, § 24.2-702.1(B), interpreted to require an overseas military voter submitting only a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to include the printed name and address of the person who signs the witness statement is preempted by the provisions of the (federal) Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.It is shaping up to be another legal wrangling season across the nation reminiscent of 2000 and 2004.
Finally, it is my opinion that general registrars may not reject a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot submitted by overseas military voters for the November 4, 2008 federal election that does not include a printed name and address for the person who signs the witness statement…...”