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    OAW 2010 - Voting from overseas - update and a request

    A brief update:

    I am finding that staffers are increasingly willing to talk to us, and think that is an indication of the success of Overseas Americans Week, of FAWCO's commitment for the last 10 years to election reform and of a new climate, since 2000, of realization that military and overseas voters really do make a difference. That is all to the good for us!

    My hope during "OAW 2010" was to get some staffers to focus on a few "holes" in the wonderful MOVE Act passed last October: remaining witness and postmark requirements, the possibility that some jurisdictions might consider that faxes are a viable option for electronic transmission in 2010 (one staffer exclaimed: "Fax! Let me look at my calendar...I thought this was the 21st century!"), and the continued disenfranchisement of some young people who do not have recognized residency in a state.

    My "take-away" after OAW 2010 is primarily that people on both sides of the aisle and in both Houses want to let this first post-MOVE election cycle go ahead and that they (and they hope we) will be extremely vigilant about possible glitches so as to move quickly in 2011 (as was the case in 2001) to fix things in time for the 2012 election.

    WHAT THAT MEANS is that I am asking you, and asking you to ask those around you and members of your club and the local community to:

    1. Remind everyone that under the MOVE Act, we are required to request our ballots every year (some jurisdictions may interpret this to mean that you have to request your ballot for every election: primary, federal, runoff, for example - please let us know if this happens!). Encourage people to request their ballots early!
    2. Send me any and every documented case of a) anyone, including these non-domiciled young people, unable to register to vote, b) anyone who did not receive a ballot in time, c) anyone unable to receive a ballot electronically (email or downloaded), and/or d) anyone whose ballot was rejected.

    If witness and postmark requirements keep people from voting, we have to show it; if young people are unable to register to vote, we have to show it; if a jurisdiction does not set up "free access" systems to track your ballot back to the state, we have to show it; and if you requested your ballot by email or fax and did not receive it that way, we have to show it.

    You can send this information to me or to Mary Stewart Burgher

    I was truly impressed by the desire to "make voting work" and am encouraged by the intent of everyone to monitor closely and fix whatever needs it in plenty of time for 2012.

    Thank you so much for your help!



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