04 November 2008

In Wake of Virginia Lawsuit, Blunt Presses Congress to Address Military Voting

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the wake of a lawsuit in Virginia to extend the deadline for the state's acceptance of military absentee ballots by ten days, House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.) today released the following statement urging Congress to do more to ensure that the ballots of the nation's armed forces are counted:

"Our soldiers stationed over seas should not be disenfranchised from voting. For many of our servicemen and women, this election is not only their first but also one of the most important, and they should have every opportunity to have their vote counted and their voice heard.

"Given the situation in Virginia and elsewhere across the country, it's clear that military voting remains a major problem and ballots should have been mailed out sooner to ensure that members of our armed forces could participate in this historic election.

"Congress had the opportunity to safeguard the votes of our military this year, but regrettably chose instead to do too little, too late. Given their sacrifice for our nation, I urge Democrat leadership to do more in the next Congress to make sure that military participation in our democratic process is vastly improved in the future."

NOTE: Blunt authored a congressional resolution, H. Con. Res. 388, that passed the House in September expressing the sense of Congress that the Department of Defense and the Federal Voting Assistance Program take additional steps to ensure that members of the Armed Forces and their families have ample information on registering to vote and voting in the 2008 election. Similar legislation, authored by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), was never considered by the Senate.

The Election Assistance Commission (EAC) released a report last September citing that less than 17 percent of the 6 million citizens eligible under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act chose to participate in the 2006 general election. The EAC further found that of the 48,600 Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act ballots that were not counted by States and local jurisdictions in the November 2006 elections, 70 percent were not counted due to incorrect or undeliverable addresses and that more than 10 percent of all uncounted military and overseas absentee ballots were rejected because they were received past the required deadline.

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