E-Mail Ballots for Military Questioned — Democrats set up denial of military vote as usual

 E-Mail Ballots for Military QuestionedThursday, November 02, 2006WASHINGTON — A New Jersey congressman raised questions Thursday about a new military voting program that lets service members request and submit their ballots by fax or e-mail.The Defense Department, however, said the program is as secure as possible, and any risks are detailed for the military members when they access the e-mail system.In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Democratic Rep. Rush Holt said the electronic registration and voting service is well-intentioned, but could expose troops to identity theft, or allow hackers or others to tamper with the ballots when they are in transit.“After the Defense Department was stopped from implementing a program like this two years ago because it was full of security holes, I’m angry and astonished that they’re doing it again without review, scrutiny, and oversight,”said Holt.He said that while U.S. military personnel should participate in the political process,”no one is served by introducing possibilities for error, insecurity, and fraud.”Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said the Defense Department has set up a secure absentee voter program that will allow military members to request and receive absentee ballots. The new program, she said, lets people vote without relying on the regular mail system.As part of the program, many states allow military members deployed overseas to return their completed ballot via fax or the Internet. Those ballots, Smith said, will not pass through the hands of any government officials until they are received by a local election authority.“The e-mail-to-fax operation does have risks, but we have taken every precaution to limit those risks,”said Smith. She said U.S. service members have been told of the potential privacy concerns with the system, so they can make an informed choice about whether to use the program.___On the Net:Federal Voting Assistance Program:http://www.fvap.gov/Defense Department:http://www.defenselink.mil


2 Responses to “E-Mail Ballots for Military Questioned — Democrats set up denial of military vote as usual”

  1. Right Truth Says:

    The greatest evil of all on election day

    Old War Dogs writes about The Greatest of all Evils. On election day we should think about the ‘lesser of two evils’ and the ‘greater of two evils’, but more importantly the ‘greatest evil of all ‘: What is left

  2. lizzski Says:


    Absentee Military Voter is MIA

    They are stationed around the world—many in close quarters combat—defending our rights and the rights of others. The US military–their vote, their voice–should be heard—but an archaic absentee voting system often silences that voice.

    “It is a scandal that in the 21st Century, we are still conducting absentee voting largely as we did during World War II—by sending absentee ballot applications and ballots across oceans and continents by snail mail,” says Captain Samuel F. Wright US Navy (ret.) Director of the Military Voting Rights Project, National Defense Committee. Wright notes that the military transfers classified information and businesses transmit billions of dollars every day by secure electronic means, “It should be possible to implement a system enabling deployed military personnel to vote electronically, with assurance that their ballots will indeed by counted,” he added.

    Count US In, Inc. a non-partisan, non-profit organization founded by concerned veterans champions the cause to simplify the system and educate the military voter. This organization is staging a grass-roots effort via its website, http://www.countusin.us, to reach the U.S. military, their families and veterans. “Changing the process may happen” says LTC Don Johnson US Army (ret), founder of Count US In, “However, we emphasize the more immediate message, ‘Your vote is your voice—use it!’”

    The inability of the Department of Defense to ensure the military vote is supported by recent analysis conducted by the federal Election Assistance Commission, which rejects Defense Department voting claims as inflated, and shows a much lower percentage of participation. The EAC estimated absentee military voting for the 2006 midterm elections at a disgracefully low 5.5 percent, a fraction of the 1.5 million active duty members of the Armed Forces, of which approximately 400,000 serve outside the U.S. in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Europe, and ships at sea. Mailing for this hyper-mobile population is not just inconvenient, it is often impossible.

    Rep. Roy Blunt, (R-Mo), introduced a resolution this July, requiring that the Defense Department better enable U.S. military personnel overseas to vote in the November elections. Count US In supports that resolution and asks US voters to encourage their elected representatives to do the same.. The 2008 election is especially important to the U.S. Military, as it selects a new Commander in Chief . Yet the current process shows little improvement from the scandals of 2000 and 2004 when thousands of military votes were uncounted due to technical military mail delivery issues—including missed deadlines.

    “We can understand the frustration of the disenfranchised military voter,” says Johnson, “But we maintain that regardless, the military needs to vote and tell the US government to ‘Count US In.’ We need the help of those who enjoy the right to vote, in part because our troops—past and present — protect that right.”

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