WASHINGTON (July 3, 2013)—U.S. Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., want to improve the opportunity to vote for hundreds of thousands of American military personnel abroad by penalizing states that are too slow in sending out absentee ballots.
The two said they will seek 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 use express mail to get the ballots to service members.
The senators say the changes aim to improve a 2010 law designed to address widespread deficiencies with absentee balloting.
“For far too long in this country, we have failed to adequately protect the right of our troops and their families to participate in our democratic process,” Cornyn said.
“These brave Americans put their lives on the line for our democracy, so the least Congress can do is ensure that both the Defense Department and the states do everything possible to safeguard their voting rights.”
A congressional report estimated that 25 percent of ballots cast by military and other overseas voters in the 2008 presidential election went uncounted.