Thousands of Americans Abroad Got No Ballots

Publication: The New York Times

Author: Brian Knowlton


02/09/2009 - More than 1 in 5 overseas civilian and military voters did not receive their official ballots for the 2008 U.S. election, a year in which nearly half of local election jurisdictions reported significant rises in ballot requests from abroad, according to a new survey.

The situation was worse for military voters: More than one-quarter failed to receive ballots, though that was an improvement from the 36 percent in the 2006 election, according to a survey of more than 24,000 voters in 186 countries by the nonpartisan Overseas Vote Foundation.

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A major problem, according to a separate survey by the Pew Center on the States, is that 16 states, plus the District of Columbia, send out absentee ballots after the date necessary for military voters to meet required deadlines, and three others allow a scant five-day cushion.

State performance varied dramatically. Voters from Arizona and Kansas received requested ballots in as little as eight days, the Pew Center found, while overseas military voters from Alabama, which has been struggling to update its approach, sometimes had to wait 88 days.

Read the full article Thousands of Americans Abroad Got No Ballots on The New York Times' Web site.

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