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. EDW

    If you want real news you can get from the Huffington Post. CNN does not report that the deployed troops are donating to Obama 6:1

    August 15, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. susan

    We need to make sure that the troops are getting correct info overseas;and that they (the troops) are not just getting spoon fed from the GOOG OLD BOYS CAMP (republicans)

    It's gonna be a new day ! CHANGE is in the Air!

    August 15, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Hello!!!

    I have officially decided to vote for McCain. I was going to possibly vote for an independent, or third party candidate, or just not vote at all……but DAVID GERGEN has just convinced me to vote for McCain.

    August 15, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Are they suggesting that the members of the military are voting in fewer numbers? They "expect" well less than half to vote this year?

    August 15, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. james in florida

    The man who invented the electronic voting machine has testified in front of congress. He was asked if the voting machines could be manipulated and he stated under oath YES.

    Congress ask if the manipulation could be detected, and he satated undear oath, absolutly NOT now way to detect it.

    The machines have wireless access cards in them, so they can be manipulated from other locations wireless.

    Your vote does not count.
    Look on youtube and you will see him testifi

    August 15, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. Fed Up Democrats

    Why isn't the news media not jumping on McCain's comment that countries don't invade countries in the 21st Century? So what did we do to Iraq???

    August 15, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. DR. YES

    the ratio of donors from military personnel ,overseas ,is 6:1,obama over mccain.look it's on obama's website and was reported by media today.stop calling me a liar.i'm not a republican.

    August 15, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. james in florida

    A message from Americas Troops.

    More military people financially donated to Ron Paul's campaign for president than all Republican and Democract candidates combined.

    That should tell you all something.

    We had a chance to vote for the guy that is actually best for our country and you did not vote for him.
    He has a better voting record of either candidate now going to be the President, way to go America

    You did it again.

    Hope your job wont get outsourced.

    August 15, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Marie in California

    I was appalled to learn so very few of the votes of military personnel stationed overseas were counted in the past. That is shameful and inexcusable!

    As a result, I think it's a very good idea to make sure votes from overseas American troops get appropriately counted, no matter who their candidates of choice may be. It's a non-partisan issue and the only fair and proper thing to do.

    August 15, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. ladymary

    Of coursr the troops support Obama. McCain means a return to the draft and a wish for more conflict and war. You can;t keep fighting 2 wars with the troops we have now. They are exhausted..some on fourth tour. You "if not hillary than mcccain" ppl better think carefully. I'm sure some of you have children. Vote McCain..your kids will look great in uniform until they come home in a box............THINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 15, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |


    August 15, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Clare

    BRAVO! As they should have their vote-

    August 15, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. 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 appropriately thank these men and women appropriately. Apparently in his mind, they don't deserve anything for what they do for us.

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

    August 15, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. Vet in S.A.

    You all are fooling yourselves if you think the troops favor Obama over McCain.

    August 15, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. Denise

    And make sure EVERYBODY is contacted and vouched for! This election season is too important to botch it up and have another 2000

    August 15, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. mel

    Just make you get the voter right and counted,not lost somewhere.

    August 15, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Hey: realityking" Get your facts straight. You got it backwards. I live in Florida and worked on the 2000 campaign. It was the DEMOCRATIC VOTES that got tossed. The Repugs ran the election process – and ran it right into the ground. AND WERE PROUD OF IT!!!!

    August 15, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. Carl from MI

    Yeah... like the Pentagon is really going to fairly count all the ballots!!

    August 15, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. Vera /AB. Canada

    I would not trust the Penagon to count all the votes, should have private co. to be there to over see. I am fr. Canada and I do care a lot of us up here are pulling for OBAMA.

    OBAMA 08/12

    August 15, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. Marie

    I don't trust the Pentagone, they are a Right Wing politival entity.

    August 15, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. Randy

    where are you guys getting your information about troops supporting Obama 6-1?

    What polling organization has done this poll?

    I think you are confusing it with the story that Obama has recieved donations from about 600 troops compared to 345 for Mccaine (or something of the sorts)

    That is a highly dubious way of extrapolating a 6-1 degree of support.

    August 15, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Alice Brinkley

    Our overseas military are extraordinary, courageous, volunteer citizens serving our country. They can leave the service at the end of their hitch if they want to, or they can stay on to serve the President of the United States, their Commander in Chief. They know what's what in Iraq, and they want to come home but will honorably serve until we win. Also, they know if Obama is elected, they will leave Iraq and go directly to Afghanistan, so what's different about that? They will overwhelmingly vote for McCain who is "one of them".

    August 15, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. General Patton

    This is great news. Nobody under the age of 40 is voting for McCain, and that includes the majority of U.S. troops.

    August 15, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. Not even for dog catcher

    You Democrats need to check your FACTS, Al Gore in 2000 paid for lawyers to SQUASH the military vote as election after election they vote Republican.

    Sorry Democrats, you people "repeating the same lie" doesn't make it true, but then again facts don't equate with you folks, how about some nice fuzzy words "hope" and "change" that mean nothing but uh, uh, uh, uh, words.

    August 15, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. kayla

    obama by a landslide.

    August 15, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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