I was impressed by the temperate tone in this Stars and Stripes article, because I was just incensed when I read that our troops, who are putting their lives on the line for us, as a result of bureaucratic inefficiency, are being denied that most fundamental of all American rights, the right to the vote:
Overseas military voters had less than half of their votes counted in last year’s congressional elections, according to data released by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission on Monday.
“One thing is clear: At every level of government, we need to do a better job,” said Donetta Davidson, chair of the commission. “We must make sure all eligible voters are getting their opportunities.”
The figures, released at the commission’s annual conference on ways to improve and troubleshoot the absentee voting process, showed that only about 992,000 of the nearly 6 million eligible overseas citizens requested ballots for the 2006 general election.
That included about 119,000 military personnel stationed outside the United States. Of those, only about 57,000 — less than 48 percent — had their votes successfully cast or counted.
EAC officials said that’s roughly the same percentage that were counted for expatriates and domestic military filing absentee ballots. The major failures were on the ballot delivery side, with about 72 percent of those who failed to vote never receiving any of their requested election materials.
Still, the commission also saw positive news for overseas military.
In a survey of absentee voters from four states — South Carolina, Florida, Illinois and Montana — researchers found that overseas military were nearly three times as likely to attempt to vote as their overseas civilian counterparts. And nearly 90 percent of those who made it through the system were pleased how the voting process worked.
I love the Orwellian last paragraph, with the commission congratulating itself for the fact that 51,300 of the 119,000 who tried to vote actually reported that they had a good experience. Gee! I’m glad they could find something good to crow about considering that 54% of American troops have been denied their right to vote.
My question is, considering that we have a Democratic Congress, what can be done to correct this situation by the 2008 elections?