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October 07, 2009


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I agree: ALL registered voters living abroad need to be given a chance to vote and have it counted. When I was in the Peace Corps, I had my ballot sent to the post office box that I rented in the city near my village. Otherwise, it would've gone to the generic volunteer mailboxes in the Peace Corps house from which I actually received mail ever 6-8 weeks or longer... something which obviously wouldn't have worked with the ballot.

I still don't understand why ballots can't simply sent to soldiers, Peace Corps volunteers and ex-pats via US embassies and consulates abroad.

The only issue I see is that in our decentralized system, electoral processes are run by the states and embassies by the federal govt. Still, there should be a way to make it work.


I'm glad to see the text of the legislation dealt with the situations for ALL overseas voters.

Bob Conner

-I don't think it goes far enough.


Bob, you have to bear in mind that adding "another 40 days" (your phrasing) after a regular November election day in addition to the present two weeks means that elections won't be certified until literally days before, and sometimes AFTER, the January 1st swearing in. And that's not even factoring in any potential legal challenges. It's a bad idea for legislators but it's an even worse idea for to be the process to be structured so that the state is systematically without a governor or a city without a mayor.

As I said, I think the appropriate solution would be to get US diplomatic missions involved in both distributing ballots and collecting them to be sent home. Absentees from soldiers abroad, Peace Corps volunteers and other ex-pats can be expedited via the diplomatic pouch system. If done this way, two weeks after Election Day would be more than sufficient.

But this would sure require federal legislation and so that's what you should be calling for.

Bob Conner

I would think you could go ahead and certify the vast majority of election results, where there is no way for absentees to be decisive. I certainly don't oppose your ideas for better distribution and collection of ballots, and counting votes of Peace Corps people et al. as well as soldiers.

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This blog is by Bob (Robert C.) Conner, a longtime journalist and author of the 2018 novel "The Last Circle of Ulysses Grant" published by Square Circle Press, and a 2013 biography "General Gordon Granger" published by Casemate. He is currently writing a biography of the Kansas abolitionist Col. James Montgomery. His Civil War blog can be found at robertcconnerauthor.blogspot.com
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