A group of Republican senators said Monday that thousands of voter ballots are unlikely to reach military service members until after Nov. 6.
One day ahead of the election, Sens. John CornynJohn CornynHow the White House got rolled on the Saudi-9/11 bill GOP leaders express reservations a day after 9/11 veto override McConnell opens door to changing 9/11 bill MORE (R-Texas), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteGOP senator: Block cash payments to state terror sponsors The Trail 2016: Just a little kick Abortion rights group ads tie vulnerable GOP senators to Trump MORE (R-N.H.), John McCainJohn McCainGOP lawmakers slam secret agreement to help lift Iran bank sanctions Kerry: US 'on the verge' of suspending talks with Russia on Syria Trump, Clinton to headline Al Smith dinner MORE (R-Ariz.), Rob PortmanRob PortmanOvernight Healthcare: Watchdog says ObamaCare program made illegal payments Portman ad features father of fallen Iraq soldier Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables MORE (R-Ohio) and Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio, Heck help out at car crash scene Florida paper endorses Clinton, writes separate piece on why not Trump GOP lawmakers slam secret agreement to help lift Iran bank sanctions MORE (R-Fla.) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to express their concern over delays in ballots reaching military voters overseas.
Mail 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.
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“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.
“We 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.