Monday, May 18, 2009

1 in 4 military voters never received ballots

Based on testimonies at a May 13th hearing at the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, it looks like the previously-cited statistic of 1 in 5 was too small - as many as 1 in 4 overseas/military voters may have been disenfranchised due to not receiving their requested ballot in time.

Charles Schumer cites Congressional Research Service data to state that up to 27% of ballots requested by miltary voters were never received.

The Overseas Vote Foundation, who worked tirelessly last year to combat this issue, chimed in with 2 reports on this phenomenon, which included quotes from a survey of overseas voters. See some samples:
"I want to vote. I have sent in a FPCA 8 years in a row now, and have only received an absentee ballot once and then it was less than a week before the deadline. Is this some form of voter fraud?..."

"There are way too many steps to qualify to vote in a state and precinct in which I have already been voting for years. The military mail is far too slow and things keep getting lost. I can't send or receive faxes from overseas combat theater. This needs to be done by secure military or government email addresses. I simply can't spare enough time from the mission to perform all the steps necessary to re-qualify someplace that I have resided since 1990. "

"I had to complete the paperwork three times before I received confirmation that I was good to go and could vote in this election. There has got to be a better way."

"The voting assistance officer was no were to be found. The information that was given was not enough to help and it is upsetting because my vote will never count in the biggest election in history. I think things need to be a little different."

"Many of my fellow U.S. active duty service members chose to not vote at all because the process was so unclear and frustrating. Many people were unaware of registration deadlines and many more were frustrated that they did not receive their ballots in the mail even when requested in a timely manner."

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