(CNN) - Several Republican lawmakers Wednesday urged Attorney General Eric Holder to immediately force states and counties which missed the deadline for mailing military absentee ballots to act promptly to ensure men and women in uniform can vote in time for the November election.
By law, military ballots were to have been sent by September 18th. The Senators led by Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, insisted the Justice Department "initiate immediate litigation to enforce voting rights law– otherwise many service members will not receive ballots in time," the GOP letter said.
The letter comes two days after the independent Military Voter Protection (MVP) Project informed the Justice Department that a survey of 14 states found two states and 13 counties had failed to meet the 45-day deadline prior to the election.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/24/art.voteing.md.gi.jpg caption="Election official warning that there may be voting problems on November 4th."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A top election official warned of a potential "tsunami" on Election Day because of serious problems facing overburdened state and local officials preparing for an unprecedented turnout at the polls November 4th.
Doug Lewis, Executive Director of the National Association of Election Officials told a House panel Wednesday that he is reminded of what Hurricane Ike did to Galveston as he looks at the potential for election disaster.
"Galveston knew what was coming. They did everything they could, but they were overwhelmed," he said.
Lewis and top election officials from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia all warned members of two House subcommittees that the lack of resources, lack of trained poll workers, new mandated but untested voting procedures combined with waves of new voters could cause havoc.
They all predicted most voters could expect at the least very long and often slow-moving lines.
Lewis said election officials continue to get overloaded with complicated new requirements for checking voters at the polls, and yet on average the poll workers get about three hours of training.
The election officials placed some of the burden for preparations on the voters–insisting they should be prepared– being certain of their registration, knowing where to go, knowing what to expect and what ID to have.
The election officials also urged Congressional members to avoid highly inflammatory partisan allegations, saying the voters must have confidence in the integrity of the voting system.