Military missing absentee ballots: Some Navy personnel unable to vote for new commander in chief : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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ELECTION 2000 Military missing absentee ballots Some Navy personnel unable to vote for new commander in chief


By Jon E. Dougherty B) 2000

Members of the military who are currently stationed overseas have complained that the Pentagon has not yet sent out absentee ballots this year, meaning they will not get to vote for a new commander in chief on Tuesday.

Specifically, members of U.S. Navy aboard ships supporting the USS Cole -- the destroyer recently attacked by terrorists while it was undergoing refueling in the port of Aden, Yemen -- have either not received ballots or won't get them in time because of current deployment circumstances, Pentagon officials said yesterday.

"I've heard about this within the past week," said Lt. Dave Gai, a Defense Department spokesman. "We are trying to get more information. We don't know if they were delayed through the mail."

He added that due to current deployment considerations, some military members overseas likely would not get their ballots in time.

"The support team for the USS Cole may not get their ballots due to intermittent mail," Gai said. "Some ballots could very well be delayed for a number of reasons."

A Maine resident -- who asked not to be identified -- said her Navy daughter who is stationed in Tokyo has received her absentee ballot for every election except this one.

"No one at the base will be voting because all the absentee ballots are missing," she told WorldNetDaily.

Navy officials were also contacted but did not return phone calls.

Critics have suggested that the Clinton administration may have purposely delayed sending absentee ballots to military personnel overseas because most, according to recent surveys, will vote Republican. The White House has denied those charges.

According to Gai, officials with the Federal Voting Assistance Program -- which helps manage balloting for overseas service members -- "was not aware of any group non-delivery."

Gai said depending on the home state of the member, ballots can be sent via Standard Form 136, which is a write-in ballot. States have different deadlines for such ballots, he added.

Each ballot "is unit specific and handled individually," he said.

Gai noted that "the military has a much higher participation [of overall voters] in the voting process" than does the general voting public. In the 1996 election, he said 64 percent of service members participated; 40 percent of those were absentee ballots. Twelve percent could not vote for various reasons, including because ballots were either sent late or otherwise not received on time.

-- K. (, November 10, 2000

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