Friday, August 13, 2010

Voting From Overseas

Having spent about 16 years living overseas (the two years in Alaska counted, and would have been for Remote Tour credit except they moved the main gate of the base to the other end of the base to make it close enough to civilization to remove that artifact).  Voting overseas (or even from a base away from one's home state) takes some planning and the use of the mail.  So, I was interested when I saw this item from Pajamas Media we have this item on voting.

The gist of it is that in the 2008 national election 17,000 overseas ballots were not counted due to being received late—received late because sent to the voters late.  That is, sent 30 days before the election.  The Military Postal Service, per the above article, suggests 60 days as the time to allow for sending the ballot to the voter overseas.  In 2009 the US Congress passed a law mandating at least 45 days before the election for sending out mail-in ballots.

Problem is, twelve states have applied for a waiver to the requirement.  Three here in New England—New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  I haven't heard anything about this.

But, I checked the Elections Division Web Site. Totally missed the big blue banner at the top of the page.  I didn't see anything and called and talked to a very nice gentleman who gave me the 'gen.  Current Massachusetts State Law makes the primary 49 days (seven weeks) before the general election and that doesn't leave enough time to certify the primary results, deal with challenges and print the ballots.  For instance, write-in candidates have ten days to certify that they accept the nomination in a primary election.

And, he told me the information is all available by clicking on the aforementioned big blue banner on the Elections Division Web Site.  So, we have a "work around".

That said, it is a bit of a Rube Goldberg arrangement and thus it appears the General Court needs to change the law, moving the primary forward.  This is a lot more important than Casinos.  This is about voting rights and our Service personnel overseas.  That said, I am prepared to see any studies that say that our "waived" system has proved itself not only effective, but also efficient and secure.

Hat tip to Instapundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

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