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Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: more testimony on the anti-protest bill; plus we will take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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Military Voting Made Easier – Plan Unveiled for WYO

July 20, 2010

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Wyomingites serving in the military or working overseas have faced challenges in voting, with a report last year noting that local and state elections materials aren't being sent early enough to make sure ballots can be returned and counted. The national Uniform Law Commission just gave its stamp of approval to a "model law" that aims to help Wyoming fix the glitches.

Doug Chapin, director of election initiatives for the Pew Center on the States, offered input on the project. He says meeting election time lines while respecting the way local, state and federal elections operate isn't an easy task, which is why the new "model law" was needed.

"We wanted to give states guidance about how they can get ballots out faster, how they can send them sooner, and how they can give overseas Americans an opportunity to cast and return them in time to be counted."

Provisions include mandating that absentee ballots for all elections be sent out at least 45 days before an election, requiring electronic transmission of all voting materials upon request, and eliminating the requirement that ballots be notarized.

Chapin says tapping into modern technologies is a big step because of concerns about privacy and security.

"Using e-mail, or the Web, to deliver blank ballots-unmarked ballots, and voting information to voters overseas, really is kind of the cutting edge."

For federal elections, Congress approved the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act late last year, so now it's up to states to bring their codes into compliance.

Information about the Uniform Law Commission at www.nccusl.org.

The report about overseas residents not receiving materials in time is at
www.pewtrusts.org

Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY