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Pentagon urging troops to get absentee ballots

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Election Day is exactly six weeks away and the Pentagon this week is reminding troops and their families stationed overseas to request absentee ballots as soon as possible.

Troops, their families, and heck, ANY American living overseas who wants to vote, should visit (Federal Voting Assistance Program) to register, request a ballot or track the delivery of a ballot.

FVAP is a government office established to ensure the absentee process is easy and efficient and a new law that went into effect this year is helping its efforts by requiring that the 50 states make it easier for troops, ex-pats and overseas federal workers to obtain ballots and voter information online. (Wisconsin had some issues with the law, but recently reached a deal with the military and Justice Department to ensure compliance.)

Visitors to the Web site will find a 50-state map where users can obtain state-by-state information on how to register or obtain an absentee ballot.

"We encourage all military personnel, their family members, and overseas citizens to exercise their right to vote," said Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "We strongly recommend they complete and mail their absentee ballots immediately."

The process of obtaining a ballot used to take 30 to 40 days, Stanley recalled. Now it should take about 10 to 15 minutes, he said.

Are you a service member, government worker or American who's had problems voting from overseas in the past? Do you think this new program will help the process or do little to improve the ease of absentee voting?

RELATED: Will troops boost the midterm election turnout? (DailyCaller)

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

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By Ed O'Keefe  | September 28, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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In 2000 I was posted to the American Consulate in St Petersburg, Russia. As a resident of New Hampshire I requested an absentee ballot for myself and my wife. I found out under NH law the ballots could not be mailed out any earlier than 30 days prior to the election. Since we only received mail every two weeks this became an impossible exercise in voting. In many locations abroad DHL teamed up with the Embassies and consolidated the ballots at the Embassy and then carried them overnight to be placed into the US mail stream. This arrangement helped in some places, but was by no means the answer.

Posted by: hc01 | September 28, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

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