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. cherrystrawberry

    Obama by a Landslide! Thank you Troops!

    August 15, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |


    August 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. Barack and Hillary 08

    CNN- why haven't you reported that Senator Obama is receiving MORE donations from military personel serving overseas?

    Despite the fact that he is running against a war hero?

    Our brave men and women overseas are also looking for positive change in America, not more or the Republican same.

    August 15, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Shari, NY

    "Interest is higher than previous elections, judging from participation in the primaries". Is that a surprise?

    Let every voice be heard from the troops!

    August 15, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. Mikey

    Okay, I have read a number of posts from military folks who insist that our veterans and men and women in uniform are in a better position to judge which candidate is better on defense and foreign policy issues. While I disagree somewhat with that, I find it interesting that today we have several news agencies reporting as to who our military is supporting with donations.

    This, believe it or not, is from Fox News today:

    "Troops serving abroad have given nearly six times as much money to Obama’s presidential campaign as they have to McCain’s, the Center for Responsive Politics said."

    Okay, spin this one, Preatorous, Ft. Myers!

    August 15, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. dittohead with forty names

    Who do you trust and whats left in your wallet?

    August 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. James , Houston, TX.

    Are the Iraqies allowed to Vote ? I guess, depends on the Supreme Court; Look at Florida in 2000, Ohio in 2004 !

    August 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Not even for dog catcher

    The Democrats "aint" going to like this as they try to squash the military vote (such as Al Gore 2000, look it up it is a FACT) as the brave men and women who VOLUNTEER and PROUDLY serve tend to vote OVERWHELMINGLY REPUBLICAN.

    When I served I was in charge of taking care of this on my ship to make sure that the votes were counted, their vote means more than anyone's whether they vote for Republicans or Democrats.

    But we know who they in the majority vote for and LET'S NOT LET Obambi and company DENY THAT RIGHT.

    August 15, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. demwit

    Who in the world would want to keep the votes of our brave volunteers from being counted!!??

    Oh yeah..., Democrats!

    August 15, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |

    Hmmmm I guess they are being paid to cheat for the GOP. We already know what happen to the other ballets that were majority marked democrat during the last election. Here we go again.

    August 15, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Barack the Tele-promp-ter Messiah

    Reminds me of the "ballot box" that Al Gore set up for military ballots in 2000. I think the rest of us refer to it as a "dumpster."

    August 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. shortpants

    "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."

    Ha! That's funny, CNN. What do you think happened in Florida in 2000? So many votes were contested by the RNC that it's amazing Gore got any votes at all!

    August 15, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  13. RealityKing

    In 2000, Florida Democrats were all for throwing out thousands of military votes over postage. You see, the military doesn't use stamps, so it was an easy way to throw out thousands of Republican votes. It didn't matter whose votes, just as long as they were Republicans.., which 80% of the military is..

    August 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Hussein and proud of it, FL

    I am going to be very interested in seeing how the military men and women vote. Let's see if they vote to WIN in Iraq or if they vote to come home to their families....

    August 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  15. Rob

    hum–why do I not trust this. fax and e-mail–like nobody can change what their actual vote is. Who's stupid idea is this anyway.

    August 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. DR. YES

    troops stationed overseas support obama 6 to 1 over mccain.

    August 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. Sue/PA long as they get counted this year.... 6-1 active duty service men and women are for Sen Obama....................we shall see if they get counted.

    August 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. Credit Card Republicans

    Let the vote fixing begin.

    August 15, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. bckrd1

    Well the Repugs know that if they say something often enough regardless of whether it is true or not people begin to believe it.

    If Republicans get to keep office they will be keep doing what they did so well for the last 7-1/2 years because the American people will have given their approval by keeping them in office. Every Republican who has held office in the House and Senate for the last 7-1/2 years need to be voted out for rubber stamping everything Bush asked them to and for running this country into the ground and not questioning anything.

    August 15, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. Chris from NY

    Bush politicized everything in his administration including the judiciary system. I just hope he didn't do the same to the pentagon. If he did, how can we then trust they would not rig the election? How can we trust them with people's vote? I didn't say it would happen. I am just saying this based on what we already know Bush did to some of these supposedly independent govt department.

    August 15, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Ian

    I'm sure this is as fail-proof as the electronic voting machines.

    August 15, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. Proud Army and Navy Mom

    Everybody in the military understands where there pay raises come from.........Hint they are not friends of Pelosi. If you want the Clinton years in the military back (remember food stamps I do) vote for Obama not to mention he wants you put under the UN

    August 15, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. Mike - Texas

    Let's make sure that they ALL get counted this time!!!!

    Oh and DR. YES You have your figures wrong.

    Earlier this year when Hillary was still in the race the numbers were more like;


    But the major news networks said very little about it.

    Add to that the fact that Obama would not shake hands with the majority of the troops while he was there and you'll find that even fewer will support him.

    August 15, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. ANGIE

    Troops over seas support obama highly over mccain our brave men and woman know mccain doesnt support them he only wants to use them for his senseless wars!! remember the veterans affairs gives mccain a D on voting records and obama a Bt so its plain to see they would support obama!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 15, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. the way I see it in Canada

    I saw a pathetic comment that said I won't vote for Obama because he will raise taxes and help people on welfare. Oh yeah but you will support mccain who will raise your taxes anyway and spend them in Iraq to help the Iraqis. Sorry sir I fail to understand your comment.
    Wouldn't it be more useful using tax dollars in the states than in a country that is abusing your help and doesn't want you there anymore? Some Americans are just pathetic they comment on things they don't know. Better to just stay home and not vote.

    August 15, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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