States tardy with absentee ballots targeted
By The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 6:21 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Two senators said on Wednesday they want Congress to improve voting opportunities for hundreds of thousands of military personnel stationed abroad by tightening rules on states for getting absentee ballots to them.
Before the Fourth of July holiday, Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, said they want to eliminate waivers for states that fail to mail ballots overseas 45 days before an election. States that miss the deadline would be required to mail the ballots express mail, despite the much higher expense.
The measure would toughen a 2010 law governing absentee voting in the military and the counting of those ballots. A congressional report estimated that 25 percent of ballots cast by military and overseas voters in the 2008 presidential election went uncounted.
“The men and women who put their lives on the line so that we have the right to vote should not be denied that right themselves,” Schumer said.
The senators plan to offer their measure as an amendment to this year's defense spending bill, which is still making its way through Congress. The House passed it on June 14. A Senate vote is expected sometime this summer.
Schumer and Cornyn insisted there should no more exceptions to a requirement that states send ballots at least 1½ months before elections.
The Justice Department has filed several lawsuits against states failing to comply with the law, primarily for tardiness either at state-level or among individual counties. Those have sometimes resulted in extended vote-counting periods and states being forced to send ballots by express mail.
Now, if states miss the deadline, the senators want them to be automatically required to assume the express-mail costs for delivering the ballots and, in extreme cases, for the returning votes.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Snowy owls travel south
- FBI: Russian diplomats lied to get U.S. benefits
- White House flops: Obama knew uncle
- From prison to presidency, Mandela reformed South Africa, ended apartheid
- Budget plans remain in jeopardy
- 2 inmates of Gitmo sent home amid fears
- Georgia cops suspended for cussing out rowdy bus of schoolkids
- ‘Cannibal sandwiches’ of raw ground beef unsafe, CDC reports
- Illinois overhauls its public pensions, cutting benefits for most workers, retirees
- Sandy Hook 911 calls fuel sensitivity debate
- VA fears budget cuts will reverse drop in homelessness