Americans Abroad to Get Bigger Say in 2012 Election

Publication: The New York Times

Author: Brian Knowlton


01/27/2012 - Laws now in force in nearly every U.S. state, the widespread use of electronic ballot transmission, and an accelerated military mail system should make it easier this year for Americans abroad not just to receive and cast ballots in elections but also to be sure that they are counted, according to research by overseas groups, a U.S. election-watch organization and the military.

As recently as 2009, 25 states and the District of Columbia failed to provide the 45 days for ballot transmission to overseas voters that federal legislation signed into law that year requires. That, along with confusion about addresses, contributed to sometimes high rates of ballots being requested from abroad but not being returned, often because they were received too late or not at all. Mississippi had a 40 percent non-return rate in 2008; Indiana, over 50 percent.

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“What we’ve really seen in the past several years is tremendous progress,” said David Becker, director of election initiatives at the Pew Center on the States, in a new study on overseas voting. “It’s safe to say that in 2012, the rights of military and overseas voters will be better protected than ever.”

Read the full article, Americans Abroad to Get Bigger Say in 2012 Election, on The New York Times' Web site.

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