NASS Resolution on Expanded Voting Procedures for Emergency Responders

Adopted March 2nd, 2022

Republican Co-Sponsors:
Hon. Laurel Lee, FL
Hon. Kyle Ardoin, LA
Hon. Michael Watson, MS

Democratic Co-Sponsors:
Hon. Denise Merrill, CT
Hon. Steve Simon, MN
Hon. Maggie Toulouse Oliver, NM

WHEREAS, the right to vote is one of the most important rights of citizenship in a democratic country; and

WHEREAS, the nation's secretaries of state are firmly committed to protecting each citizen's right to vote; and

WHEREAS, natural disasters and other emergencies often occur during voting periods; and

WHEREAS, firefighters, linemen and other emergency responders travel to areas impacted by emergencies, often at a moment’s notice, to aid in response and recovery; and

WHEREAS, traveling away from one’s home or voting jurisdiction may impede the ability of emergency responders to exercise their right to vote; and

WHEREAS, a natural disaster or other emergency should not prevent eligible citizens from being able to vote in an election; and

WHEREAS, emergency responders, who are often working to restore power and safe conditions necessary for voting operations in an area impacted by an emergency, should be able to vote even if they are physically located outside of their own municipality, county or state; and

WHEREAS, emergency voters residing in some states do not have adequate opportunities to vote under such circumstances according to current state laws; and

WHEREAS, some states have enacted policies, such as emergency absentee voting or expanded implementations of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), to offer expanded voting options to emergency responders during an emergency; and

WHEREAS, UOCAVA allows for expanded voting options for voters who face unique barriers to participating in elections; and

WHEREAS, emergency responders often face similar barriers to voting as uniformed military and overseas citizens; and

WHEREAS, federal law establishes baseline standards for UOCAVA voting and all states have established procedures for facilitating UOCAVA voting;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association of Secretaries of State encourages the expansion of UOCAVA voting procedures by states to emergency responders during state and/or national emergencies. 

EXPIRES: Winter 2027