All United States military personnel and their dependents, as well as American citizens located abroad, have a statutory right to vote by absentee ballot in all federal elections. In 1986, Congress passed the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, 42 U.S.C. §1973ff et seq.
("UOCAVA"), to "update and consolidate provisions of current law relating to absentee registration and voting in elections for Federal office by members of the uniformed services and by citizens of the United States who reside abroad." H.R. Rep. No. 765, 99th Cong., 2d Sess. 5 (1986). The predecessor statutes were the Overseas Citizens Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §1973dd et seq.,
and the Federal Voting Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §1973cc et seq.