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May 13, 2009

Study: Up to 25% of Overseas Ballots, Mainly from the Military, Were Never Cast or Counted in 2008

Edit: Headline corrected and softened.

I'm sure Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress will get right on this. They really want those votes counted next time.

A new study suggested Wednesday that over 25 percent of ballots from voters living overseas, mostly members of the military, were not counted in the 2008 election.

"It is unacceptable that bureaucratic snafus could prevent our troops from exercising the very rights they are fighting to protect," Sen. Charles Schumer said in a statement.

The study, unveiled at a Wednesday hearing, surveyed election offices in the seven states with the highest number of troops serving overseas. According to the study, 98,633 of the 441,000 ballots sent to those military personnel and other eligible voters living abroad were never sent back to the election offices and declared "lost" and 13,504 were rejected for a missing signature or a failure to notarize.

Schumer is demanding, he says, that the Pentagon see to this. Well, I guess we'll see.

What is this crap about getting ballots notarized? Now, I understand the need for ballot security and all that -- but it seems very strange to me that these restrictions are placed on Republican-trending military voters, when, back in the US, they won't even ask for your identification when you vote.

What possible rationale can explain this? The military has the hardest time of any citizens voting, so we impose on them the biggest obstacles to exercising that vote? While back in the States ACORN can sign up Mickey Mouse, students can illegally move into a swing state for two weeks and declare themselves "residents" without any checking or any jail-time when caught, and thousands upon thousands of votes are cast by illegal aliens and the dead, because Democrats claim that any measures taken to clean up the voter rolls or ask for proof of identity constitute a "chilling" effect on the right to vote.

But military guys, often serving in hot wars? These guys, we need to be careful with. Who knows -- there could be all sorts of fraudulent voting going on.

Eleven Asks... what the "were never sent back" thing means.

Well, it seems it means that the ballots were never sent back -- they may have been lost, delayed, etc. Or, it could mean, easily, that the military voter simply did not vote.

The headline is a bit overstated. (I've changed the headline a bit to conform to what Political Ticker headlines it as, but that too is a little overstated.)

It appears unknown what fraction of mailed ballots were lost and what fraction were never sent. However, if someone's requesting a ballot, usually that indicates a high desire to vote. If 25% of these ballots are either being lost or are never sent, it indicates that we're making it too difficult to vote. The ballots may be arriving too late to vote, etc.

And I don't get the thing with the notary. I'm sure every major base has a notary -- several, of course -- but what guys out in FOBs and the like? Why are we imposing this requirement on soldiers? We don't impose it, as far as I know, on any stateside absentee voter.

Every Officer is a Notary, for These Purposes. That's what commenters tell me, and I believe them.

Thanks to AHFF Geoff.

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posted by Ace at 02:49 PM

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