Thank God this passed before the Koch Brothers New American John Birch Society overwhelmed the Repugnantcan Party and got their claws into the Congress. Then these nouveau KKK‘ers got to gerrymander the House districts until it will be at least 5 or more years until the Democratic and progressive parties, like the Democratic Socialist and Green Parties, can take back the Congress and compel the states to redraw the districts in a more equitable manner. But a great deal is riding on this and progressives are urged to abandon the Democratic Party and start lining up with the Green Party of the Democratic Socialist Party or the Communist Party.
Published: January 30, 2013
Whereas a full half of expatriate American voters surveyed by the group after the 2008 election reported not receiving a ballot or receiving it too late, that figure declined to one-third for the 2010 election and to just one-fifth in last year’s presidential election.
“The tipping point is in the use of technology,” said Claire M. Smith, research manager for the foundation. “There’s no going back.”
She said that more than 80 percent of survey respondents had used the Internet last year to help register or request a ballot form and that for the first time in five election cycles, more than half received a blank ballot electronically (via e-mail attachment, fax or Internet download).
The foundation surveyed more than 13,500 voters in 160 countries. Most of the names came from the foundation’s mailing list, so the findings cannot be considered scientific. But Ms. Smith said that by several standards — country of residence, state of origin, education level and economic status — they closely mirrored what is known about the American expatriate population.
Ms. Smith said the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act of 2009, passed in response to complaints by overseas civilian and military voters about a frustrating system, “does appear to have had a positive impact: More people are getting ballots on time, and they were able to submit ballots earlier.”
The act requires that states provide ballots at least 45 days before an election, or obtain a waiver if they are unable to comply. “The vast majority of election officials were able to get their ballots out on time,” Ms. Smith said.
More user-friendly election Web sites — operated by private groups like the Overseas Vote Foundation, or by governmental entities — have helped, too.
The use of technology, however, has brought its own problems. Both voters and election officials sometimes received electronic files that would not open, arrived corrupted or refused to print.
“Obviously, it’s a learning process and there’s a learning curve,” said Ms. Smith.
She also said service members overseas faced sometimes daunting obstacles in voting.
“A transport to Afghanistan crashed carrying ballots,” she said. “Many soldiers overseas requested e-mail ballots, but they would get caught in spam filters or could not get through military security settings on their e-mail.”
A persistent hurdle, Ms. Smith said, is lack of awareness of election deadlines and resources. For example, most states now offer Web sites where individuals can check their registration status. But only 28 percent of those surveyed used such tools in 2012. And many do not know they can print out and use a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot if a requested ballot fails to arrive in time.
The foundation is urging election officials to offer more-energetic outreach to ensure that voters understand how the process is meant to work.