First New York failed to meet federal regulations in getting ballots to military personnel serving abroad.  Now the Dept. of Justice will investigate whether Illinois also violated the MOVE Act, which Congress passed in the wake of a series of elections where military absentee ballots got left out of the count:

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether the state of Illinois missed the deadline for mailing absentee ballots to members of the military and other overseas American voters as part of a new federal overseas voting law.

Cris Cray, Director of Legislation at the Illinois State Board of Elections, says not all of Illinois’ 110 jurisdictions were compliant with the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE). …

Illinois was required to have all of its absentee ballots mailed by Sept. 18, the national deadline. Election officials have until Nov. 15 to count the absentee ballots, which must be postmarked by midnight Nov. 1 to be eligible.

In an e-mail response, Justice Department spokeswoman Xochil Hinojosa confirmed that Illinois is being investigated for the absentee ballot infraction.

New York had an excuse of sorts; the state held its primary on September 14th.  The ballots couldn’t be printed until each primary race was certified.  For that very reason, the DoJ pressured states into moving their primary dates back, and a few complied, such as Minnesota.  Those states that didn’t reschedule their primaries either requested waivers or insisted they could get their ballots out on time.

In contrast, Illinois had its primary in … February.  The candidates have been certified for more than half a year.  They could have had ballots written out by hand and still have made their deadline for getting absentee ballots to men and women in the armed forces.  Instead, those serving their country abroad may find themselves unable to have a voice in this election.

How should Illinois and other states get penalized?  Glenn Reynolds suggests reducing federal funds going to the state by a certain percentage as a fine, but Congress would find ways to work around that.  I’d suggest that states that don’t comply with their obligations to protect the franchise for men and women serving our country lose half of their Electoral College votes in the next presidential election.  In the meantime, the voters in Illinois and New York ought to toss out their current leadership and find people who put more of a priority on meeting deadlines, especially in Illinois, where a seven-month lead time apparently wasn’t enough to overcome the incompetence of Pat Quinn’s administration.

Update: How did the DoJ manage to miss this for so long — when Pajamas Media had already been reporting it?