Monday, February 2, 2009

Gov. Rell supports improved voting methods for troops

Citing current obstacles to voting overseas, Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced her support for an initiative to allow military personnel to receive and cast ballots by a secure electronic process when stationed away from home.

Governor Rell said the initiative would establish regulations that permit Connecticut service members to vote securely by e-mail or fax. A recent report by the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States found that allowing election materials to be transmitted electronically would improve the voting process for military personnel serving overseas.

"I am especially concerned about our frontline troops' access to the ballot box," Governor Rell said. "One of the most important tasks they are performing this very weekend is to help Iraq conduct free and fair elections. The men and women who serve our country should not have to worry about their vote own counting. This initiative will give military personnel from Connecticut and other states across our nation the best possible chance to cast their ballot in time."

The Federal Voting Assistance Program has cited long transit times as the primary obstacle to overseas voting. Paper ballots can take weeks to reach deployed troops and make the return trip. In every election year, thousands of military ballots arrive too late to count.

Reports of long transit times for paper ballots are confirmed by the state's Office of Military Affairs, which has heard complaints about the difficulties of voting from war zones and naval ships - especially submarines.

Connecticut would join about 20 other states, including Rhode Island and New Jersey, which allow military personnel to vote electronically when stationed away from home.


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