~~~~~~MILITARY VOTING RIGHTS USA...
We support federal legislation to establish a national express mail delivery system for overseas military voters that will get votes home in 4 days instead of the three weeks the process now takes.
Legislation by Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy and Republican Senator John Cornyn
was introduced in 2008 to establish such a system, but was killed by union and House Democratic
leadership opposition. Similar legislation was introduced in the 11th Congress, H.R. 2393
and the identical S. 1026. Recently enacted Federal legislation inspired by these bills is a step forward
but provides for only 1 week delivery of military ballots from overseas, when open competition among
express mail providers instead of granting a monopoly to the U.S. Postal Service, could have reduced
delivery time to 4 days. The result is that overseas who mail their ballots less than 1 week before the
election could be disenfranchised.
There are as many as 6 million Americans living abroad, with an estimated 4.9 million of voting age. But although overseas Americans have had the right to vote for decades, the process has historically been riddled with imperfections. According to Stephen Ansolabehere, a political scientist at Harvard University who specializes in elections, overseas military and government personnel are the "single most likely group to experience problems with registering and voting."
01/09/10 11:43 AM ET -The Pentagon is moving aggressively to ensure that military members deployed overseas can cast votes in the 2010 midterm elections.
The Defense Department’s Federal Voting Assistance program this week started its training program for voting assistance officers at military bases worldwide. Based on a Pentagon directive, a voting assistance officer needs to be at every unit level.
Military and overseas voters now have to submit a federal post card application every year instead of every two or four years.
By Jim Garamone American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2009 - Laws have changed and servicemembers who want to vote need to be aware of these changes, the director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program said.
Generally, military personnel who want to vote are a higher percentage than that in the general population. Still, there can be roadblocks to exercising the franchise.
Overseas-deployed servicemembers may find that "the absentee ballot doesn't get to them on time, so they can vote it and send it back to the election official so it can be counted," Bob Carey explained during an interview yesterday.
In the general population about nine out of every 10 absentee ballots are successfully cast, the director said. "Only about six or seven out of every 10 military ballots are successfully returned," he said.
The biggest problems, Carey said, involves the nature of overseas duty and delays in the military postal system.
Carey's organization is working to expedite the voting process for military members. On the postal side, officials are looking at ensuring that all military ballots take seven days or less in transit. Imagine an express-mail service for military voters, Carey said.
The power of the Internet also is being harnessed. Military voters can go to www.fvap.gov for almost one-stop shopping. A servicemember can go online and find the necessary voting forms and fill them out right there.
"Down the line we will also have an online ballot system where they can receive the ballot online, fill it out online and chose their candidates online," Carey said. "They will still have to print it out and sign it, but it would end the wait of getting the ballots."
Deployed servicemembers -- at combat outposts and aboard ships -- are the most affected by voting issues. Many military voters also are younger and aren't aware of the processes behind voting, Carey noted.
"We're trying to make it easy," he said, "so they don't have to know chapter and verse of election law in order to participate in the process."
One of the bigger changes in the process is that military voters must send in a federal postcard application - again available at www.fvap.gov -- as soon as possible.
"The law has changed and even if they have been getting their absentee ballot automatically they have to register each and every year," Carey pointed out.
Servicemembers also must submit a postcard application each time they move, each time they deploy and each time they redeploy.
"We're encouraging everyone by Jan. 15 to send in a new federal postcard application," Carey said. Local election officials, he said, are more than happy to deliver balloting materials, but they have to know where to send them.
- Citizens register to vote and request an absentee ballot by filling out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), and mailing it to their local election official in the state in which they are eligible to vote.
- The election official approves/disapproves the FPCA or requests additional information.
- If the FPCA is approved, the election official sends an absentee ballot to the citizen.
- The citizen votes and returns their ballot to their election official by their state’s deadline.
To successfully vote absentee, UOCAVA citizens should:
This website provides UOCAVA citizens with the state-specific information they need to register to vote and request and return their ballot, or to complete an emergency back-up write in ballot. If you wish to perform any of these tasks, go to www.fvap.gov and choose the "Get Started" button under the category of UOCAVA citizen that describes you.
- Allow plenty of time to request, receive, and return their ballot.
- Notify their local election official each time their mailing address changes.
- Become familiar with their state’s absentee voting laws, procedures, and deadlines to make sure their ballot is properly executed and will be counted.
A bill to amend the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act to ensure that absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters are aware of their voting rights and have a genuine opportunity to register to vote and have their absentee ballots cast and counted, and for other purposes. This bill was considered in committee which has recommended it be considered by the Senate as a whole. Although it has been placed on a calendar of business, the order in which legislation is considered and voted on is determined by the majority party leadership. Keep in mind that sometimes the text of one bill is incorporated into another bill, and in those cases the original bill, as it would appear here, would seem to be abandoned. [Last Updated: Jan 6, 2010 9:54AM]
This bill has been passed in the Senate. The bill now goes on to be voted on in the House. Keep in mind that debate may be taking place on a companion bill in the House, rather than on this particular bill. [Last Updated: Jan 6, 2010 9:44AM
RICHMOND, Va.—Virginia voters in the military or overseas would have an easier time voting absentee under a bill OK'd by a House of Delegates committee Friday. Del. Richard L. Anderson's legislation, unanimously approved by the Privileges and Elections Committee, now will be taken up by the full House.Read on...
It says that absentee ballots shall be available no later than 45 days before an election, and that once the ballots are available, local electoral boards would have to mail them to certain voters within three business days.
Those voters are: service members, those in the merchant marine, state residents out of the country, or the spouses or dependents of any of those kinds of people.
Published: January 28, 2010 Internet voting is in its infancy, and still far too unreliable, but states are starting to allow it and the trend is accelerating because of a new federal law that requires greater efforts to help military and other overseas voters cast ballots.Read on...
There's an Internet Voting Trojan Horse in a law intended to help Military Voters. Three states have already taken the bait: Alabama, Colorado, and Massachusetts. Additionally Franklin County, Washington officials wish to have full blown internet voting IF the state will lift the requirement for paper ballots. Experts say that internet voting is not safe and also would put our military vote at risk.Continue...
We must be vigilant.