Overseas Voting – Challenges and Innovation

  • October 25, 2007

Casting ballots from abroad or while serving in the military presents challenges to the best-prepared citizen. Ballots must be requested, delivered by domestic and international mail services, filled out and returned, relying once again on a successful journey back to an election office.

Not surprisingly, thousands of ballots never make it, at times disenfranchising those who are in harm's way.

The early primary season on tap for 2008 – which will begin as soon as New Hampshire's election officials pick a date – will present additional challenges. Outgoing ballots will mix with holiday mail. Shortened timetables and last-minute decisions on primary dates will make the process more difficult in some states.

In this, the 21st Briefing, the process of overseas and military voting is examined, from the federal laws that govern the process to the innovations underway to streamline it to the difficulties anticipated in the 2008 primary season.