Someone asked about an electronic voting system. I can't find the thread, so I am posting this in the hope that he'll see it.
Yahoo has an article today which mentions the electronic system as having been cancelled due to risk of fraud (yeah, like the unions aren't managing quite well at creating fraudulent registrations in Ohio right now, using the old paper system!). There are other programs, though. Hope you folks can get your votes in in time, especially those of you in FL, OH, MI, PA, WI, and other swing states.
"I just pray for our country. We have to allow the military vote to be counted," said Joan Hills, director of Republicans Abroad, which helps U.S. citizens vote from overseas. Her organization's Web site has received 1,700 hits a day in the past two weeks from worried military personnel who did not receive their ballots.
Hills and other election watchers say that failing to count military ballots in this election is even more unforgivable than in 2000 because the votes now represent Americans risking their lives in battle.
More than a dozen states - including those too close to call - missed the recommended deadline to mail ballots overseas. One of the reasons: legal arguments over whether independent candidate Ralph Nader should be listed on ballots. [ 71AH notes: because the Democrats were stalling and making legal challenges even past the deadline. ]
More confusing are conflicting state rules governing how to count an overseas vote.
Basically, military ballots must get to the servicemember's local election official in the United States before a certain deadline. The cut-off dates vary. Some states also require a notary or witness to sign the ballot.
About 20 states, including California, Texas and Alabama, accept faxed ballots from overseas, but finding a working fax machine in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan can be difficult. In Missouri and North Dakota, officials will accept e-mailed votes, but troops must complete a series of steps on their computer for the ballot to count.
Because of GOP complaints about servicemembers not receiving their ballots, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell agreed Friday to extend the state's deadline for counting overseas ballots by eight days, to Nov. 10.
Since the Florida debacle, the Pentagon has announced a series of steps designed to make every military vote count. Several have failed.
After spending $22 million, the Defense Department abandoned an Internet-based voting system after citing security concerns - leaving regular mail as the main way to vote from abroad.
In addition, a Defense Department program that helps Americans vote from overseas blocked access to its Web site for fear of hackers, locking out would-be voters requesting registration cards and absentee ballots. The site did not reopen until late September, although the department recommends allowing at least 45 days for requesting, receiving and mailing ballots.
In Baghdad, exactly one week before Election Day, the Voting Assistance Officer at the military-run Ibn Sina Hospital was on leave.