A group of Republican senators said Monday that thousands of voter
ballots are unlikely to reach military service members until after Nov.
One day ahead of the election, Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas),
Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and
Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to
express their concern over delays in ballots reaching military voters
“We write to express concerns over another serious failure by the
Department of Defense (DoD) to safeguard the voting rights of our
overseas military service members, which we believe could result in the
imminent disenfranchisement of thousands,” the letter stated.
redirection in the military can take between 14 to 50 days, meaning a
ballot could reach the voter possibly more than a month after ballots
have to be mailed back in order to be counted. The Military Postal
Service Agency (MPSA) identified problems with the system after the 2010
election, but hasn’t implemented changes.
“DoD’s failure to fix this longstanding problem means that the blank
ballots of thousands of overseas service members, as well as some who
have recently returned from overseas, could be currently trapped in an
archaic and inefficient mail forwarding system,” the senators wrote.
“These ballots are unlikely to reach these service members until after
Election Day has passed."
The senators advised Panetta to create a centralized mail redirection system and modernize military mail delivery.
are perplexed as to why DoD did not do everything in its power to
modernize the system for redirecting blank ballots in order to eliminate
this roadblock for military service members, per the top 2010
recommendations from MPSA,” the letter stated. “As we know you agree,
they deserve to have a voice in choosing their elected leaders. Our men
and women in uniform should be able to participate in the very same
democratic system of government that they defend, not be relegated to
mere spectator status because their ballot never reached them.”
The senators asked that a new mail system be in place by the next election, in 2014.