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Virginia Helping Military Personnel Get Their Votes In

July 12th, 2013

While Virginia leaders would like to call the Commonwealth the most veteran-friendly state, they’re acknowledging a major problem with the number of overseas, active-duty sailors, soldiers, Marines, and airmen who actually participate in local and national elections. And with thousands of Virginians deployed elsewhere, their absence at the polls could make a difference in election outcomes. State officials have analyzed why members of the military are not voting … and are launching an initiative to address those problems.

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Military Voter Readiness Stressed at Boots & Ballots Kick Off

July 11th, 2013

Senior government officials stress the importance of voter registration information for members of the military at the Boots and Ballots Kickoff hosted by the Virginia State Board of Elections July 10, 2013, the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.

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Cornyn, Schumer announce bipartisan voting legislation for overseas military personnel

July 8th, 2013

Texas Sen. John Cornyn and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer announced Wednesday that they have collaborated in creating a piece of legislation that will assist members of the military who are stationed overseas with voting.

The Safeguarding Elections for our Nation’s Troops through Reforms and Improvements Act or SENTRI Act takes two substantial actions that make certain that deployed service men and women and their families receive absentee ballots with at least 45 days before election day.

The first provision under the SENTRI Act says that states would be obligated to report how successful they were in sending out the ballots before the 45 days mark. Should the states neglect to do so, they will be required to express mail the absentee ballots to those awaiting them, and depending on how close to election day it is, express mail the ballots back.

The SENTRI Act will also repeal the now unnecessary provision of the Military Overseas Voter Empowerment Act that President Barack Obama signed into law in 2009, which said states can be waived from the 45-day requirement.

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Chuck Schumer, John Cornyn Aim To Improve Absentee Voting For Military Personnel

July 3rd, 2013

WASHINGTON — Two senators said Wednesday they want Congress to improve voting opportunities for hundreds of thousands of U.S. military personnel stationed abroad by tightening rules on states for getting absentee ballots to them.

Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, said they want to eliminate waivers for states that that fail to mail ballots overseas 45 days before an election. States that miss the deadline would be required to mail the ballots express mail, despite the much higher expense.

The measure would toughen a 2010 law governing absentee voting in the military and the counting of those ballots. A congressional report estimated that 25 percent of ballots cast by military and overseas voters in the 2008 presidential election went uncounted.

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Army Association Honors OH Secretary of State Jon Husted

April 22nd, 2013

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) – A nonprofit association is honoring Ohio’s secretary of state for his efforts to ease the voting process for military personnel and their families.

The Association of the United States Army planned Friday to present a certificate of appreciation to Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO’-sted) in the Cleveland suburb of Independence. A spokesman for the group says the certificate recognizes Husted’s efforts to simplify the voting process for military personnel and make voting information more accessible.

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California AB269 to give military more voting rights

April 10th, 2013

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – A measure written by a local assemblywoman that would give military personnel overseas more voting rights has cleared its first hurdle.

Assembly Bill 269 would allow the ballots of military service members and other Californians overseas to be counted up to three days after Election Day, so long as the ballots are postmarked by that day.

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Deal Reached on Kentucky Military Voting Legislation

March 27th, 2013

FRANKFORT, Ky. – A last-minute deal on legislation that would allow help streamline the voting process by overseas military personnel has cleared the Kentucky General Assembly.

Working until the last minute of the 2013 session, lawmakers went back to the original Senate version of the military voting bill, which allows for electronic sending of ballots to overseas military but snail mail return of the ballot.

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2012 General Election Review: A Colorado Success Story

February 7th, 2013


[I]n Colorado, efforts to increase military and overseas voter turnout were a  huge success in 2012. Compared to 2008, Colorado issued 19.4% more ballots to military and overseas voters and witnessed a 65% increase in the number of ballots returned. In the 2008 election, military and overseas voters returned 69.6% of ballots mailed and
73.5% were counted. In 2012, military and overseas voters returned 93.6% of ballots and 97.8% were counted.

According to Eric Eversole, the Executive Director of the MVP Project, “The efforts taken by the Colorado Secretary of State played a significant role in increasing military and overseas voter participation. The online systems and extended deadlines made it easier to request and receive absentee ballots–even if those requests came weeks before the election. Colorado’s success was truly extraordinary given the decrease witnessed by many states in 2012.”

The Secretary of State launched several programs that helped account for this big increase.

Read the full report here

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