I hope you take the opportunity to vote this year and every year offered. I, being one of many servicemembers deployed overseas that desire to vote via absentee voting wanted to vote but wasn’t successful. (sorry Walter B Jones North Carolina 3rd you didnt get my vote because our absentee system is all jacked up)

In August, long before the deadline of Oct 8, (US Senate/House representative elections),  I began perusing my absentee voting requirements and application process for registration. I began looking on the “rockthevote” website that helps you get the forms to your particular state.  It did direct me to a website that helps me for my state (in this case  North Carolina) where they sent me forms to fill out & mail, email or fax back to become a confirmed absentee voter.  I downloaded the required forms and mailed them in before the end of the month of Aug.

OK, if you’re in an austere environment where scanning is almost impossible, mailing is delayed weeks (at best) and calling is far and very few (like ummm Afghanistan), sending in a successful absentee voting ballot can be near but impossible.  After I sent my request (mailed it) to NC & didn’t hear or see a ballot returned to me I emailed them to see if they received it (they were able to confirm that they did not receive it). Because the Oct 8 deadline was approaching  I then downloaded another application, was remarkably able to scan the document and email it to them only to have the NC office email me back on Oct 7th saying “there is a problem with your ballot/request, please call XXXXX at the following number”  I was able to sweet talk my way to call NC (a task that would not be provided for 99% of the infantry Marines overseas) and big surprise by 1635 on Oct 7th…they were out of the office. I then, not being able to call them again emailed them several times asking what was the problem with the ballot, what could I do to fix it and not a reply was returned. Almost as they knew I was overseas and wouldn’t be able to respond by the Oct 8 deadline.

This is total bullshit! We are wrong as a five legged goat if we do not instill a system that provides servicemembers a way to easily vote and accurately account for their vote per state while they are defending this country.  How can we look at ourselves in the mirror if we do not fix this come future elections?  The inability for the government workers in the NC state office to comprehend that a servicemember overseas cannot simply pick up a phone and call some other gov worker that has no idea in the first place of what their job actually consist of blows me away & is just the tip of the iceberg of the problem. Obviously they have NO idea what their servicemembers are going through as they request an absentee ballot…..Freaking clueless. We should be embarrassed that we even think that any elections were accurate as obviously servicemembers ballots were not accurately collected. There is no way  you can tell me we have accurately collected absentee ballots for those overseas….no way. Especially if this is happening to me, I hate to see the amounts of younger/junior US servicemembers this is happening to that think their vote is being counted and in true reality, it is not.

I had the means to call in a favor to get access to a sat phone, I had the pull & resources to scan a document, many overseas do not. Why isn’t there a single site that compounds all of the states absentee ballots and feeds them to the servicemembers perspective state that would allow easy access voting? That is the only way we will fix this problem. Until this is done, I am not a believer that we are accurately accounting for our servicemembers votes in any election….and that my friend is a damn crime towards our servicemembers. Its a damn shame when an illegal alien can vote more readily and easier than a warrior protecting this country…


Have you been burned by absentee voting?

If you have any questions or concerns, you may send an e-mail to FederalVotingAssistanceProgram.FVAP@osd.pentagon.mil, or leave a message anytime, toll-free at 1-800-881-5307.


  1. Why can’t the folks that are fighting and dying for the rights that we cherish have the right to vote, unobstructed? This is total BS. The military knows who they have and where they are located, how hard is it for them to provide them with ballots? And then return them to be counted. And I feel your pain, Major. I was born, raised and live in NC, and have experienced firsthand the ineptitude of our state workers. Makes you want to bang your head against the wall. Or better yet, theirs. Semper Fi.

  2. Dear Major. Joyce McCloy here, hoping I can help. (My nephew Nick is in Marines, just went to Afghanistan a few weeks ago).
    According to OVF, you can still get your absentee ballot. Here’s the deadlines for all 50 states:
    Instructions on obtaining an absentee ballot are on NC’s State Board of Elections website here:
    But I recommend visiting the Federal Voting Assistance Program where they make it alot easier to get exactly what you need:
    I know you can get a blank ballot faxed to you, but I think (not sure) that you can request it be emailed to you. FVAP has a online wizard that is very user friendly that will help you.
    While it is ok to receive a blank ballot via email, computer scientists do not recommend using email to return the voted ballot.
    I am not sure how the North Carolina State Board of Elections maintains the chain of custody of an emailed ballot. I have asked and up until this election they didnt’ have a chain of custody for emailed overseas ballots. (Scary)
    http://www.FVAP.gov now has 24 X 7 “live chat” assistance on their website, and they should be able to help you get any information you need.
    FVAP advises that you can use free military express mail to mail your ballot.
    Another option is to visit the website of http://www.OverseasVoteFoundation.org who has partnered with FedEx Express to get reduced rates on that mailing system. It costs $25 to express a ballot via FedEx, here’s a list of countries FedEx has a discount rate for military ballots:
    I realize that perhaps you can’t get trucks in where you are but I am giving you the best info I can.
    Also, if you want to make sure your ballot was received, you can email your county Board of Elections Director. If you use the FVAP.gov site, they will help you track your ballot.
    See this link for contact info of your County BoE.

  3. Great info & links Joyce. However, in remote Company Out Posts COP there is no actual post office (just a couple mail Marines) that sort mail as it comes in (they are actually Marines deemed to work the mail) Although it goes out of the COP regularly, it may sit at a bigger outpost for weeks until they have enough to send to the states & vice versa.
    A battalion size unit may have 12 computers for the entire unit to use (no fax machines). Now, ¾ of that Bn isn’t where the computers are so the internet access is very limited unlike that of much bigger bases. So across the board this eliminates literally thousands of servivemembers from voting even electronically unless there is a one stop shopping that is quick & easy. Also remember bandwidth in Afg/Iraq is shitty at best. If you only get 30min a day or week to use the computer are you going to wait forever and try to vote or are you emailing your wife?
    I sent my emailed 3rd try absentee ballot into the NC county Board of Elections Director, followed up on its progress & they were the ones telling me to “call them b/c of an issue with my ballot” see my frustration?? I wish I could call them & they would actually answer their phones but again not every servicemember can even get access to a phone nontheless use that crucial time to call their local voting office vice their family…the whole process is a joke and the American people need to know how transparent it is for your servicemembers to vote.

  4. Deploying service members should have the option of straight ticket voting before deployment for November elections (specific candidates may not be selected by then).

  5. Dear Maj Pain.
    You have up till Nov 1 to obtain a ballot. I don’t know why officials didn’t tell you via email what was wrong with your request. Perhaps your registration record needs to be updated. Perhaps something was left blank.
    Another issue is that we don’t know how to secure email balloting, and also certain browsers can result in a blank ballot instead of a voted ballot.
    I believe you will get an answer if you email Don Wright, General Counsel of the NC SBoE at don.wright@ncsbe.gov
    I’ve found Don to be responsive to requests/inquiries from voters.
    A recent public test of D.C.’s internet voting pilot for overseas military showed that internet voting is too dangerous.
    Voting Test Falls Victim to Hackers
    Internet Voting Halderman Testimony part 1, October 8, 2010 YouTube

    Prof. J Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan describes how he and a team of students gained the ability to alter votes and violate voter privacy in an internet voting test conducted by Washington, DC. The testimony took place on October 8, 2010. This is Part 1
    There are no easy answers for voting for troops stationed in places like you are in, but the MOVE act passed in 2009, then in 2010 DoD agreeing to act as voter registration agency and finally FVAP offering 24X7 online chat help plus voting wizard are huge advances for overseas military. And this is just a start.

  6. I began perusing my absentee voting requirements and application process for registration. I began looking on the “rockthevote” website that helps you get the forms to your particular state.

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