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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 8/13/2003 1:05:35 PM EST
DATE: August 12, 2003 PHONE: 334-242-7010

Chapman Proposes Military Voting Rights

State Auditor Beth Chapman wrote a letter to
Governor Bob Riley today proposing
legislation to facilitate and expedite the voting
process for Alabama's servicemen
and women in special, off-year elections.

A special election such as the one slated for
September 9th does not allow Alabama's
military personnel adequate time to vote via the
U.S. Mail – the only legal means
of their voting. Chapman has offered her
assistance to the Governor in preparing
future legislation to correct such problems.

Chapman said of the military personnel,
“Ironically, these men and women are
the ones working on the front lines to protect
our rights, while forfeiting their
own. To be aware of this problem and fail to
create a fair and timely means by
which they can vote on crucial issues in their
state while serving overseas would
be a travesty of justice at best,” Chapman said.

Presently, absentee voting laws prohibit the
right of immediate family members
of servicemen and women to receive and complete
absentee applications on their
behalf. In addition, the only two means by which
to cast an absentee ballot
are to personally deliver them or to send them
via the U.S. Mail, which can take
an average of 12-15 days from Kuwait or Iraq.
Based on those averages, it could
take anywhere from 72-90 days to cast an absentee
ballot from overseas.

Some of Chapman's suggestions for future
legislation include the use of commercial
shipping services to be used in conjunction with
military bases only. Other
suggestions include military family members (with
the proper legal, active duty
military documentation) being able to request and
complete an absentee application
on behalf of their loved ones. This correction
alone would save from 24-30 days
of mail time. Also suggested is the use of
affidavits by commanding military
officers to return more than one ballot per
envelope from overseas military bases

As State Auditor, Chapman has an active role in
the voting process and appoints
members to the state's Board of Registrars in 66

Chapman concluded her letter to the Governor by
saying, “I know you join me in
the belief that voting is a sacred freedom and
that the military is a noble service.
How these men and women vote is of no concern to
me, only that they are allowed
to vote.”
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