Senate Approves Chambliss-Isakson Legislation To Ensure Counting Of Overseas Military Ballots
The Senate approved by voice vote today an amendment to the defense authorization bill co-sponsored by U.S. senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., to ensure that all ballots cast by U.S. troops overseas are counted in elections.
"Of the 992,000 military and overseas absentee ballots requested for the 2006 election, more than 660,000 never reached election officials," said Chambliss, the bill's lead Republican sponsor and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "This is simply unacceptable. I'm glad my colleagues recognized that our military men and women serving overseas to defend and promote our national values at very least deserve to participate in the electoral process."
"Our men and women serving overseas are deployed in defense of freedom and democracy," said Isakson. "I'm pleased the Senate approved this amendment to ensure our soldiers are able to fully participate in our nation's democratic process."
The Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act ("MOVE Act"), which was added to the defense bill, requires all states to provide military voters with ballots no later than 45 days before an election. It also requires states to institute and maintain an electronic and fax system for sending voter-registration applications and absentee-ballot applications.
The bill addresses problems military and overseas voters face in registering to vote from outside the United States and it bars states from rejecting military ballots for lack of a notary signature, which can be difficult to obtain on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.