Washington an All-star in helping military members voteJuly 17th, 2012 by Steven Gardner
A national organization is recognizing Washington and 14 other states for their efforts in helping members of the military vote.
One of the factors the Military Voter Protection Project looked at was the availability of electronic voting for military members away from home. As explained in today’s story on the upcoming primary, the state created legislation in 2010 requiring county elections officials to make online voting available for military members, people overseas and the disabled.
There is a process for military and overseas residents.
Dolores Gilmore, county elections manager, said county elections employees have no way of knowing who is disabled, so the online option is essentially available to every Kitsap County voter. You don’t actually vote online. What you do is download a PDF version of a ballot, with the option of marking it beforehand or not. You can then email, fax or mail the finished ballot. In all three cases you still have to turn in the signed affidavit that comes with your ballot. It’s the part you sign on the envelope.
More important to military members were the other factors cited by the Military Voter Protection Project.
- Outreach efforts to military officials.
- Specialized communications efforts.
- State legislative efforts to remove barriers.
- State efforts to make sure ballots are sent out to military members no later than 45 days before an election.
The organization’s press release follows.
FIFTEEN STATES RECOGNIZED FOR EXTRAORDINARY EFFORTS TO PROTECT MILITARY VOTERS
Military Voter Protection Project announces its All-Star states
WASHINGTON – The Military Voter Protection (MVP) Project today praised 15 states for their leadership in promoting and protecting the voting rights of America’s military service members and their families. As part of the MVP Project’s 2012 Heroes Vote Initiative, 15 states have been named as All-Star states for their extraordinary efforts.
“These states are led by a tremendous group of state and local election officials who have made military voters a priority in elections. They have provided the gold standard of leadership in the fight to promote and protect the voting rights of our heroes,” said Eric Eversole, founder and executive director of the MVP Project. “We still have a long way to go, but these states are providing the example for other states to follow.”
The All-Star states include: Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
In analyzing these states, the MVP Project looked at a number of factors including:
· The state’s efforts to work with and reach out to local military installations and National Guard units on a proactive basis to provide on-base voter assistance;
· Its use of electronic and web-based services to send election materials;
· Its willingness to create specialized communications to military voters either through public service announcements or web-based announcements;
· The state’s legislative efforts to eliminate barriers to military voter participation; and
· Its track record of making sure that absentee military ballots are sent out no later than 45-days before the election and, when they are not, a high degree of accountability to resolve any violations.
“We will continue to work with every state that is willing to make our military voters a priority and to provide them with the tools to participate in the election. We hope that all 50 states will join our Heroes Vote Initiative as All-Star states.” said Eversole.
For more information about the Military Voter Protection Project’s Heroes Vote Initiative or to view details about the MVP Project’s All-Star states, please visit http://www.heroesvote.org/.