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Missouri Military Don’t Get Enough Time To Vote

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January 7, 2009

Missouri military stationed overseas are not getting a chance to have their vote counted in stateside elections, according to a new study from the Pew Center on the States. The report finds Missouri fails to send ballots to overseas voters early enough to allow time to fill them out and return them before the voting deadline. It adds, an additional 18 days are needed to guarantee ballots arrive on time.

David Becker, Pew's Make Voting Work project director, says it’s wrong to deny our military the right to make their voting voices heard.

"Frankly, we’re failing in our responsibility to ensure access to our service members and voters living, working and serving overseas. Right now, while these voters are serving America, America’s voting system is not serving them."

The report recommends Missouri allow election materials to be transmitted electronically and that the use of the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, which is a blank provisional ballot, should be expanded. Becker says the best solution might start in the state legislature.

"This is often a case where the election officials are really trying to find ingenious ways to best serve these voters, but find themselves dealing with laws that are somewhat antiquated."

Missouri joins the ranks of 24 other states listed in the report as needing to update their overseas voting procedures and laws. State election officials have indicated they're willing to make changes.

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Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MO