House Republican Whip Roy Blunt introduced a bill which urged the Department of Defense to make positive changes in the process for military-absentee voting. This is the process by which the military stationed overseas and their spouses cast absentee ballots which are counted on Election Day. The bill was introduced because the voting statistics for military personnel are extremely low.
The Federal Election Commission has reported that only 5.5 % of the roughly six million voters that fall under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act were counted for the 2006 general election. Even worse, three times as many service members requested ballots than the number eventually counted. In other words, the additional 11% of service members who requested them and then were unable to get their vote back in time were disenfranchised. And these are the people risking their lives so that we can vote back home.
People stationed overseas in the armed forces have to cope with different laws among the 50 states. Deadlines for requesting a ballot are different, deadlines for registration are different, and so on. It takes a long time to submit a request by surface mail, receive a ballot, vote, and then put it back in the surface mail in order that it reaches the home state by Election Day.
Blout’s bill attempted to streamline the voting process for the military; but not one democrat lawmaker voted for the bill. Not one democrat wanted to make it more likely that votes from our service members overseas would be counted in the 2008 general election.
Now, why would that be, I wonder?