The head of an American organization mandated to register voters in Israel ahead of the November election is accusing counties in several states of violating U.S. law by mailing absentee ballots late.
Elie Pieprz, national director of iVoteIsrael, says the delays could result in as many as 10,000 votes from Israel being excluded from the final tally on election day, November 6. The Washington State native stopped short of accusing the counties of deliberately trying to exclude votes from U.S. voters abroad, stating, "This is very problematic. But my guess is that the boards are literally not aware of this, and when you've got a situation of thousands of counties, there is a lack of information."
U.S. election law mandates that absentee ballots be sent out no later than 45 days before election day, according to a 2010 law that expanded the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. Pieprz, who moved to Israel in 2010, said his organization placed calls to "dozens" of counties in the United States to determine whether the absentee ballots would be sent out in accordance with the law.
While some counties, like Bergen County, New Jersey, and Franklin County, Ohio, changed their policy after being informed they were non-compliant, there are still at least four counties in New York and Massachusetts that are planning to mail ballots well beyond the legal date, according to Pieprz, 39.
"We are hoping to put pressure on the counties to comply with the law and allow for voters to get their ballots on time," said Pieprz.
American citizens in Israel who do not receive an absentee ballot by the second week of October should contact iVoteIsrael and request a federal write-in ballot, or "F-WAB," said Pieprz. He urged voters in Israel to send back their ballots no later than October 29, a week before the election.
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