August 15th, 2008
11:00 AM ET
14 years ago

Pentagon using mail, fax, e-mail for overseas voter registration

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Pentagon is working with states to ensure that troops and their families overseas can have their votes count this election day.

A Pentagon survey after the 2004 election found 73% of military voters overseas cast absentee ballots, said Polli Brunell, Director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, at a press conference at the Pentagon today.

In 2006, an Election Assistance Commission survey found that less than half, 47.6% of ballots, from overseas military voters were cast or counted.

Brunelli said that feedback from states this year is that interest is higher than previous elections, judging from participation in the primaries.

"We are looking for alternatives for our voters, to give them access," said Polli Brunelli, Director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

The absentee program allows for both voting by mail and electronic methods, including fax and emails.
Twenty-one states passed laws to allow delivery of blank ballots by fax and email and returned in the same method.

The Pentagon is also asking states to post blank ballots on secure servers for voters to download and return.

The military has a federal absentee ballot, that excludes local races, for military members whose states cannot get them a state ballot in due time. Military members overseas and their family can use the ballot as long as they've previously requested a state ballot. If the state ballot comes after that, the voter can vote on that and return it as well. State offices have procedures to ensure the vote isn't counted twice.

"There is no excuse for any voter to say 'I did not vote because I never got my ballot,'" said J. Scott Wiedmann, deputy director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

There is also a web site,, that gives all the details for voters.

Additionally, the US Postal Service and military postal service to expedite delivery of state ballots to troops around the world, including those deployed on battlefield, and get them returned in an expedited fashion.

Troops cannot yet vote online. The Pentagon is working with Congress and states to develop standards to allow for that in coming elections.

Filed under: Pentagon
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Texas Trail Dog

    SOLDIERS, listen to a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Army. OBAMA is not the man for us. He is anti-military and will not support any legislation to the betterment of G-Is. Plus he lied about the Iraq war by stating he did not support the war. he may not have been for it, but he and God are the only one who knows. He never had a say in the matter. He was not a Senator when we went to the Desert. He was a IL. State Senator and they don't vote in national legislation. Any person across the nation can say whatever they choose after the fact. If you envision better benefits then you have no chose but to go McCAIN. This nation can not withstand a Democrat President with a Democrat controlled congress. I was a Democrat for 51-years, but have seen the light. This is an immoral party. Take OBAMA for instance setting and listening to a so called preacher blaspheme God and America for 20-years. His wife also not being proud to be an American. GIMME A BREAK THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT FOR ME AND SHOULD NOT BE FOR YOU.

    August 15, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. Patrick Henry, Fort Myers

    You paranoid dweeb:::::
    The DoD is only making sure the proper state forms are provided to the troops–and wherever possible making fax, email, etc...

    The troops must register, and vote using the absentee voter forms provided by their state–signed sealed and delivered to their individual absentee voting address. Then the votes are counted also by the states.

    There is no way the PENTAGON could possibly affect the actual votes made by each individual troop!!!

    August 15, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Paul

    I see the problem here being that McCain has not been clear that he wants the troop out fast, as quick as possible when everything is good.

    McCain has said this, but he needs to be more articulate. He has to not sound as if he's echoing Obama's timetable.

    The troops are bored, and they want to come home.. job is pretty much done.

    Whether it's Obama or McCain, the troops need to come home for protection! Russia is on the march, this is no joke.

    McCain/Palin 08! Join us, looks us up! Sign the petition.

    August 15, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. Do Not Speak For The Men and Woman Fighting

    The men and women who are in the military are there because they "joined up". When they do join up, they know there is always the chance of going to war, especially in this day and age. To say they will vote for Obama because they want to come home is ridiculous. Sure they miss their families, but they know the reason they are there and they are brave and want to protect the U.S. They do not want to just pull out and then have to go back. It would be a travisty to lose that war and to all the men and woman who died and to their families and to America. I think they will vote for the nominee who can get the job done and get it done right.

    August 15, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. Andy

    Finally, the military is going to get its due and get their votes counted.

    Does not sit well for Democrats.

    August 15, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. karen raleigh

    Hopefully the oversea votes will all be counted and counted correctly–overseers will be needed

    August 15, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Obama is the dumbest candidate ever

    Liberals are working day and night to figure out how to cheat THAT system. They've already cornered the "dead" vote.

    August 15, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. RealityKing

    6:1 of 150,000 = = 128,500 : 21,500

    Hmmmmm....., that just don't smell right.

    August 15, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. Libs be dopes

    I wonder if Obama will want to have their ballots thrownout like Gore did?

    August 15, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. Barack Obama supports our Troops- His Voting Record is Evidence!

    Senator Obama and his campaign had already started a voter registration drive prior to and during his trip overseas to ensure that our military personnel received registrations and voter information on absentee ballots so that they can vote. They were handed out all over Europe while he was there. Many folks who posted on the board and the reports of his Europe trip, did not point this out enough. They were too busy focusing on the UNTRUE AND FALSE RUMOR that Senator Obama refused to visit the troops in Germany, which is a complete and total lie. We all know the Pentagon used the tactic of calling Senator Obama the day of his visit to express "their concern over his visiting the troops in Germany", when he had already been given clearance two weeks prior to his visit, to make it known they did not want Senator Obama to visit those troops. This is the kind of game playing that goes on with Bush, McCain and the republicans. There was no need for the Pentagon to call AFTER CLEARANCE HAD BEEN GIVEN, if they did not plan to try and make Senator Obama look bad, and plant the idea that he shouldn't visit the wounded troops.
    Hopefully, the TROOPS SAW THROUGH IT as well as anyone else who listened to the entire chain of events surrounding Senator Obama's planned visit. John McCain has been using our troops for too long to try to give himself some credibility with the military and overstate his POW status! I'm still waiting to see his military record, and his wife's CURRENT income tax statement. Senator Obama's voting record in every respect is FOR OUR TROOPS, not against, as John McCain has voted.

    August 15, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. PW, CA

    In the bush/florida scheme of 2000 the decision was made to make sure those ballots from overseas came in and were counted even if they were received past the deadline for mail in ballots.....why not the same deal this time

    August 15, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  12. David from Ohio

    It's refreshing that the government is actually trying to give military personnel a chance to vote given the GOP's repeated attempts to deny people the right to vote here. Spare me the dead voter line–Republicans don't want more people registered because they know new voters will ignore anything on the ballot with an R next to it.

    August 15, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. Jorge

    I am confused when I read CNN's blogs and all blogs for that matter. It seems that the over whelmingly the poster support Obama. I seeing like 80% of the posts favor Obama. While Obama is ahead in the polls, he does not have a 80% to 20% lead. It is clearly evident that Obama supporter have a much stronger internet presense that McCain support. This does not mean Obama will win though. You all are fools if you think you will pursuade people to vote for Obama because of the over whelming support on the internet. I will vote for who I think is the best president, not for who a bunch of loonies on the internet think will be the best. If you struggling so much under bush policies how can you afford a computer and internet service. If you struggling that much disconnect the internet service. It is a luxury not a right.

    August 15, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. ginny bell

    I DARE YOU OBOMA.......

    August 15, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. A CANUCK


    August 15, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. John Air Force Vet

    Yeah-and guess who's reading-survalling them. The Repugs.

    August 15, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. Ex-Republican for Obama

    I am a vet, and I can tell you that Troops do not vote republican. They do not vote based on a current war either, they do not vote based on economic conditions back home (they aren't living through them, they are living something far worse).

    They vote on what benefits they will see when they are NOT in the military any more. To be fair, In the past we have had presidents from both parties treat our veterans well. This election is overwhelmingly in favor of Obama as the one who respects the service of our men and women serving.

    McCain has consistently voted to betray our veterans, remove their benefits, reduce the thanks we give them and deny them a happy life upon their return to the civilian life. He thinks it's "too generous' for our country to thank these men and women appropriately. Apparently in his mind, they don't deserve anything for what they do for us. Killing them is the only benefit that he see's fit to bestow upon them.

    Is it a wonder the military is supporting Obama 6-to-1? I think not.

    August 15, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. TXBad1 Never for Obama (X-Dem)

    Thats a great thing, the Military Personell should have there Votes counted first, when I was in the Army at 17 I was not allowed to Vote at 17, and those that are serving should be heard 1st!

    August 15, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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