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Military Voting

Military Voting


Kerby Anderson


 


 


            Recently after I spoke on some of the issues surrounding Campaign 2008, I was asked about what could be done to ensure that those who serve in the military would be able to cast their vote. At the time, I gave a general answer and pointed to what happened in the 2000 election. Since then, I have learned a lot more. Here is what I found.


 


            Whole books have been written about the how the military vote was suppressed in the 2000 election [e.g., John Dougherty, Election 2000: How the Military Vote Was Suppressed] so I won't deal with an election that took place eight years ago. But consider what happened in our last election in 2006. According to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, less than half of the overseas members of the military who actually requested absentee ballots for the 2006 election had their ballots counted.


 


            Earlier this month, the same federal commissions urged overseas voters to being the voting process, because the process is "lengthy." Chairman Rosemary Rodriquez says, "they must first request a ballot and return to cast their ballot. This lengthy process leaves little room for error or clarification." That is putting it mildly. The process is so lengthy and complicated that they estimate that only 5 percent of the roughly six million voters that fall under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act were counted in the 2006 election.


 


            A number of senators (Wayne Allard and John Cornyn) and a number of representatives (Roy Blunt and Kevin McCarthy) have begun to fight for the rights of our military to vote in the 2008 election. After all, those in the military are fighting for our freedom, perhaps it is time to fight for their right to vote.


 


            When I am overseas, I can go to an ATM machine and make an nearly instantaneous and secure transaction. But when someone in the military overseas wants to vote, he or she has to deal with a cumbersome and confusing bureaucratic nightmare to cast a vote. We can do better. We should do better for those who serve us in the military.