Monday, May 13, 2013

Protecting the Right to Vote for Missourians in the Military

Members of the American Armed Forces stationed abroad bravely risk their lives each day to fight for the rights that we hold so dear, including the right to choose our elected representatives. We can never completely repay these men and women for their sacrifices, but we must at least ensure that they are never deprived of the very rights they defend.

To better serve Missourians deployed abroad, the House recently passed Senate Bill 116, the Uniformed Military and Overseas Voters Act, which will simplify the voting process for military personnel and other Americans living overseas to help guarantee that their votes are counted and their voices are heard.  
Currently, the voting process for those deployed outside the United States is complex and cumbersome. It can take weeks, or even months, for ballots to be mailed back and forth between military bases and the United States, and if deadlines are missed, these votes will not be counted.  Moreover, if forces are transferred to a different base while the forms are in the mail, these men and women may never get a chance to cast their ballots.

Senate Bill 116 makes it easier for those stationed outside of the United States to vote by requiring the Secretary of State to establish a system whereby overseas voters can request registration materials and military-overseas ballots online. Those who are not registered to vote in Missouri will be able to use the federal postcard application to register to vote and request a ballot. This process will apply to national, state, and local elections to make the process as efficient as possible. With a smarter and faster registration process in place, it will be easier for all military personnel to have their voices heard by the country they so valiantly serve.

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