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. Peter

    the reason Kerry lost is because not all votes were counted!!!
    Count all votes

    Obama 08

    August 15, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  2. Obama supporter:White, 60 year old woman

    Does that include our frllow Georgians.?Their leader sure seems to be running much of American foreign policy.

    Is the MSM going to cover the Georgia crisis the same way they did the lead up to war in Iraq or are they going to actually do some investigative reporting??

    August 15, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. dittohead with forty names

    I will vote and do what ever Rush Limbaugh tells me to do because I cant think for myself or make sound judgements.

    August 15, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Swampy

    Not even for dogcatcher says: "their vote means more than anyone's whether they vote for Republicans or Democrats."

    How exactly does that work? Do service people get 1.1 vote to my 1.0?

    August 15, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  5. Erika, KS

    What? Internet, emails and faxes? What they the powers that be doing to prevent fraud? This is asinine.

    August 15, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. Don

    Want a nuclear exchange? Want World War III. Vote for an idiot who who'nt even be around to see the end. A vote for McCain is a vote to end it all!

    August 15, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. FACT CHECK!!!!

    Mike – Texas Let's make sure that they ALL get counted this time!!!!
    Oh and DR. YES You have your figures wrong.
    Mike you are soooo Wrong !!Dr Yes is right

    August 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. 18,000,000 plus the disenfranchised

    I hope the Pentegon can be entrusted with that task,and not be partial to a candidate,like the media.

    August 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. Smart


    Why is it that each time McCain's campaign critisizes Obama, you tend to agree and run the headlines as if they were true but when it comes from the Obama camp, you tend to pretend it is false and run headlines like this:
    "New DNC web video 'TRIES' to link McCain to Abramoff scandal"

    Objective journalism?

    August 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. mmmexperimental

    Yeah, but they are preventing Veterans in VA homes and wounded from being able to register to vote. Because, you know, those wounded in Iraq and older veterans might be planning on voting Democrat.

    August 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |

    I would hope that the DNC and Obama campaign are on top of this. They should lay out a specific plan on counting oversea's votes and make it public. Forcing the voting commission to watch every thing they do and make sure nothing "untoward" happens.

    August 15, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. tedious898

    Hello Buhler? Buhler? Buhler" – 6:1 votes for Obama vs. McCain.

    Spin that one Right Wing Things, PUMA cow patties, McCan't Cacooners

    August 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. Karen in Florida

    Hmmmm... I've been a Democrat for years – probably changing to Independent thanks to the DNC.

    Voted against Dubya both times. We all know what a joke that was, particularly those of us in Florida.

    Voted against Obama this time. This time the joke was from the DNC who rammed Obama down our throats along with Florida Republican government who did what they could to screw over their Democratic constituents.

    Now Obama wants to give full votes to Florida and Michigan when he did not support it before – when it would have made a huge difference for Hillary and she would be the presumptive now.

    I hope that our brave troops have every legal and legitmate opportunity to cast their votes for WHOEVER they want as POTUS. They deserve to have their voices heard as much if not more than those of us not fighting daily in Iraq. That said, personally feeling as if I have gotten the short end of the stick due to extremely questionable ethics on the part of those responsible for overseeing and facilitating elections in the country FOR YEARS – I am unconvinced that things will go as smoothly and honestly as one would hope.

    Wow do I wish I felt otherwise.

    August 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |


    Wrong – its the republican party that has a record of voting rights violations not the democrats – check your history and you'll know why we are in the fix we are now as a country.

    The crimes the republicans have gotten away with in the past decade are so shameful and obvious it pains me that no one has gone to jail yet.

    August 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. B J

    It was Gore that tried to mess with the military vote last time. I am seeing an overwhelming majority of people siding with McCain as far as overseas military goes.

    August 15, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Tom

    Give soldiers the a chance to vote early so that the votes will come in through MAIL. NO fax or e-mail. NO voting machines. A paper trail is an indispensable part of the election process. Of course I also believe that at this point candidates should not be allowed ANY campaign contributions OR to use their own money. Just watch presidential debates (which moderaters need to regrow a SPINE for) and interviews of presidential candidates to get their views. We don't need commercials and phone calls to decide what view we prefer do we? The fact is that the campaign "contributions" candidates receive from special interests and big business aren't contributions at all, they are BRIBES. They are BUYING the candidates support (in the case of congress they are buying the candidates VOTE). Why do you think big business and pharmaceutical companies and credit card companies etc., have been getting away with what they have?? Because any government resistance to it is nothing but lip service, their vote has been bought and paid for... they just try to make it look good.

    FYI The soldiers don't support Obama so overwhelmingly. It's not like either candidate isn't going to continue ruining the country where Bush left off.

    August 15, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    Over 90% of the Officer Corp and over 75% of the Enlisted in the Armed Forces are Republicans and they want to win in Iraq for their fallen comrades. They are going to vote for the candidate who wants to complete the mission of a free, self supporting, democratic Iraq, Not a cut and run that results in another Islamic Fundamentalist State like Iran. They remember their history and what the Post Viet Nam Era democrats did to the troops, equipment, and their support when welfare dependents were given more respect and treated as higher quality citizens than a Viet Nam Vet or anyone else who wore the uniform of this Great Nation!

    August 15, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The families of the courages brave who have died in Iraq also cast a vote for them, they deserve it.

    August 15, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  19. Michelle, PA

    So many different posters on the ticker use the same, identical word for word mcCain talking points. How much does he pay? I could spout some nonsense on here and donate the cash to Obama's campaign!

    August 15, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. McCain:SmallWeakCowardlyMan OffersMoreOfTheSame TearsOthersDownToBuildHimselfUp

    Great! Knowing now that Obama's donations from active military on the frontlines outpaces McCain's 6:1, we'll all sleep better at night knowing that our fate won't be left to the likes of a mentally incompetent and emotionally unstable leader.

    "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine," Cochran said about McCain by phone. "He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."
    Republican Senator Thad Cochran 02/27/08.

    Any questions from the audience?

    Crickets ... crickets ... crickets

    August 15, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. proud army and navy mom

    the stupid puma or repug that's posting under my name is completely wrong on their point.

    the democratic senate and congress is the ones that cares about our military personnel enough to look after their financial interests.

    Mcwar voted against our brave young men and women interest this year and in past years.

    August 15, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. SIMP

    Oh yeah this is a good idea, almost as good as putting that lying Hillary Clinton on the roll call. This will develop into a hugh mess just like those bitter whinning supporters of hillary's at the convention.

    Obama I hope you have someone trustworthy watching you back, they are trying some trickery here.


    August 15, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. Xango

    lets hope the mcbush and mcclinton do not steal those votes..

    you never know with the clintons, and the mcbushes

    dont trust th ese people, nor the pentagon

    just vote and have someone there like an in ternational force count those votes, otherwise you know the old lady clinton will say they voted for her

    August 15, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. Tony

    Yes, make sure the troops votes are counted! They'll vote for a fellow veteran of war, not some inexperienced Socialist.

    August 15, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Messiah complex

    Obama needs all the votes he can muster up

    August 15, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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