Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Bill Proposes Extension to Absentee Voting Period

Palikir, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services): December 16, 2009 - One piece of legislation that went up from the Executive Branch to the 16th FSM Congress during the Second Special Session was a proposed bill to amend the Revised National Election Act of 2005 and extend the number of days available to absentee voters to request ballots by mail. Under the current law, the period to request for absentee ballot by mail is "not more than 120 days but not less than 40 days before Election Day." The proposed bill increases the number of days to "not more than 150 days but not less than 40 days prior to Election Day." This affords eligible voters sufficient time to receive and submit their requests for absentee ballots in time for the election.

Another aspect of the proposed amendment is to require the National Election Commissioners to process requests submitted for absentee ballots and to mail them no more than 2 days after receipt of requests provided that printed ballots are already available. Timely action on the requests for absentee ballots is critical given the potential delays in the mail. The proposed amendment is meant to curb further impediments and ensure that voters residing outside of the FSM are not unduly deprived of their right to vote.

Although this bill was not considered during the Second Special Session, it is hoped that it will be considered during the next regular session of Congress in January, 2010.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356