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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Military voting bill to be Kentucky Senate’s first in session

January 8th, 2013

FRANKFORT, KY. — A bill to make it easier for military personnel and other overseas voters to cast absentee ballots will be Senate Bill 1 in the legislative session that starts Tuesday.

Republican Sen. Robert Stivers, who will be elected Senate president on Tuesday, said during a news conference with Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes Monday that the military voting bill will get the priority designation.

Grimes said the bill will draw upon recommendations she made last year to reduce the time and expense of casting absentee ballots by mail — a process that sometimes causes ballots to arrive at a county clerk’s office too late to be counted.

Read more in the Courier Journal

Editorial: Military vote system needs streamlining

November 24th, 2012

The Bexar County Elections Department had another successful experience handling the overseas military vote during this month’s general election, but local officials could use the military’s help in streamlining the process.

Close to 10,000 absentee ballots were sent out by the elections department prior to the election. Most of the ballots cast were returned early enough to be posted on the election night results, but 1,879 overseas ballots had to be added to the tallies after Election Day. Election law allows elections departments to accept overseas ballots five days after an election.

The added figures did not change any final outcomes, but tabulating them was a labor intensive process that took five days to complete.

Read more here

Editorial: Uncle Sam’s Shameful Neglect of Military Voters

November 7th, 2012

It’s the rare political rally, Republican or Democratic, that does not include a “thank you” and a prayer for American troops, especially those serving overseas. Yet once again in 2012, the ability of those same troops to exercise their right to vote was, incredibly, still not assured. At a time when so much is being asked of our service members, and in an era when long distances are supposedly no obstacle to the flow of information, this remains a national disgrace.

In 2008, only about 20 percent of overseas military were able to vote by absentee ballot, according to the Military Voter Protection Project. In 2010, it was even worse, at 5 percent. The other 95 percent of those serving overseas simply didn’t vote.

The precise numbers won’t be known for some time, but the percentage of military voters figures to be low again this year. The military was supposed to create Installation Voting Assistance Offices to facilitate voting on all installations worldwide. A late August report by the Defense Department’s inspector general found offices on only half of the installations.

Read more here

Our Disenfranchised Troops Deserve Better

November 7th, 2012

The next president of the United States must do right by our men and women in uniform. Our troops put their lives on the line to protect our right to vote, but untold thousands of them were unable to cast their own ballots on Tuesday. For shame.

Veterans’ groups and soldiers’ advocates have warned about military disenfranchisement for years. M. Eric Eversole, director of the Military Voter Protection (MVP) Project and a former litigation attorney in the Voting Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, reported that “more than 17,000 military and overseas voters were disenfranchised in 2008 because their ballots arrived after the deadline and had to be rejected.”

That doesn’t include the thousands more whose ballots never arrived or arrived at their bases too close to the election to be returned. The total number of troops affected this year could be more than double or triple that because of the relocation of nearly 70,000 military personnel out of Iraq and Afghanistan over the past year.

Read more here

Pentagon blasted for failing to get ballots to thousands of troops

November 6th, 2012

FREDERICKSBURG — While Americans flocked to the polls on Tuesday, thousands of U.S. troops failed to receive their ballots.

A voting-rights group blasted the Pentagon for falling down on the job.

“It is another piece of this year’s frustrating military voting puzzle,” said Eric Eversole, head of the Military Voter Protection Project.

On Monday, five U.S. senators sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to express their concern over delays in ballots reaching military voters overseas.

Read more here

American Legion CO: ‘Voting is not a political act. It’s an act of citizenship.’

October 23rd, 2012

On Wednesday, the National Commander of the American Legion, James E. Koutz’ told the National Executive Committee that veterans must have a voice in Washington and that the issues affecting them must be addressed from absentee ballot requests to defense budget sequestration and the back log of VA claims.

In terms of this year’s presidential elections, Koutz relayed his concerns about service members having access to absentee voting ballots and that those ballots be correctly counted when cast.

The Military Voter Protection Project did a study in August 2012 that found absentee ballot requests from service members are down 70 percent from the 2008 elections.

Read more here

Despite new law, military absentee ballot requests down sharply

October 22nd, 2012

Few acts reveal a sense of duty to country for Americans more than voting – and, perhaps, serving in the armed forces.

But in this tightly contested presidential election year, absentee ballot requests from military members and their families are down sharply from 2008, raising concerns that despite a new law aimed at getting out the military vote, many of those serving will not be involved in choosing the next commander in chief.

The Military Voter Protection Project (MVP) released figures last month indicating steep declines in absentee ballot requests in five swing states, including a 90 percent dropoff in Virginia.

Read more here

States struggling to meet deadlines for delivering absentee ballots

October 18th, 2012

WASHINGTON — Nearly three years after Congress passed a law to guarantee military and overseas voters receive their absentee ballots at least 45 days before a federal election, several states are still failing to comply with the law.

The Department of Justice announced last week that it had filed a lawsuit against Vermont and its chief election official for not complying with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, also known as the MOVE Act, which was passed in 2009 to safeguard the voting rights of the military, their family members and U.S. citizens overseas by allowing them adequate time to request, receive and send in their ballots from overseas.

Read more in Stars & Stripes

Panetta wants proof voting offices are working

October 17th, 2012

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has directed military officials to provide him a report by Oct. 19 verifying that each of the 221 installation voting assistance offices is appropriately staffed to meet the needs of troops.

He gave officials three days to get it done; the memo was issued Oct. 16 to the service secretaries, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, and chiefs of the combatant commands.

Read more here

Editorial: Bureaucratic Enemy Faces the Troops

October 17th, 2012

Read the numbers how you will, it’s still troubling that a number of American troops won’t be voting this election season.

A recent story from Illinois Statehouse News predicts that it’s going to be a dismal year for absentee voting by military members overseas because of the low number of requested ballots for the November election.
On one hand, you could say that there are fewer troops overseas because of the draw down in Afghanistan, which would be true. And you could argue that soldiers simply aren’t enamored of the voting process, for one of many reasons.

But one expert says, and this troubles us the most, that it’s more likely that there is a “systemic problem with voting access in the U.S. military.”

Read more here