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Military voting

Posted: October 14, 2010 10:58 a.m.
Updated: October 15, 2010 5:00 a.m.

Military voting has not always been a satisfying or successful experience.

In past elections, the military has been overlooked or ignored. Their votes have counted or not counted, depending on the process used. And the process has not been entirely consistent or dependable.

That a member of the U.S. armed forces serving overseas should have problems casting a ballot in the election of the very people who determine the direction of this country and of the military itself is indefensible. But the Department of Defense says it is beginning to get a better grasp on the issue, with an electronic voting support wizard that allows troops to request absentee ballots.

The ballots, provided through the Federal Voting Assistance Program, are furnished though an online form, by which the service member can link to absentee ballots for 27 states. If the voter's state does not provide a state-specific ballot online, he or she can still cast a ballot in the federal elections.

While the system certainly isn't perfect, it does have promise.

Previously, many service members were not able to cast ballots of any sort online. Instead, voting was accomplished by paper ballots mailed back to the service member's home of record.

Problem was, many times those ballots got lost somewhere along the way, weren't counted or didn't make it back in time to make a difference.

It was an oblique way of disenfranchising the people who literally guard this country's freedoms.

The rights of U.S. citizens to vote and have each vote count the same as any other regardless of political philosophy, race, religion or background is the most fundamental of our freedoms. We can and do participate in choosing the leaders of this country. It is unthinkable that those serving in this country's military would have problems executing that very basic and important right.

The system certainly isn't perfect at this time, but at least officials have started tackling the problem. There is no good reason for any service member not to be able to vote.

It is long past time to remedy this major deficiency in the voting process.


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