One-third of all U.S. states do not provide enough time to vote for military personnel stationed overseas and as many as half of all states need to improve their absentee voting process to ensure that the votes of servicemen and women abroad will be counted, according to a report from the Pew Center on the States released today. The report, titled “No Time to Vote: Challenges Facing America’s Overseas Military Voters,” is the first-ever detailed public analysis of states’ voting systems for military personnel stationed overseas.
Pew undertook this state-by-state research in response to widespread concerns about challenges facing military voters abroad. Only one-third of the estimated one million ballots distributed to military and overseas voters in 2006 were actually cast or counted, according to the federal Election Assistance Commission. Figures for the 2008 election are not yet available. An estimated six million military and overseas civilian voters have the right to cast absentee ballots in America’s federal elections. No Time to Vote was developed by the Pew Center on the States’ Election Initiative, which seeks to foster an election system that achieves the highest standards of accuracy, convenience, efficiency and security.
For each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, researchers calculated the amount of time it takes overseas military voters and election officials to complete each step of the absentee voting process. The researchers then determined if all of the steps could be completed in time for each state’s election deadlines and assessed whether overseas military voters have enough time to vote.
No Time to Vote is supplemented by individual fact sheets for the 26 jurisdictions that need to improve their voting process for overseas military voters.
Combined Fact Sheets