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 CornynJudiciary Dems seek hearing on voting rights First US Zika death reported in Puerto Rico Senate confirms Obama's long-stalled ambassador to Mexico MORE (R-Texas), Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteTrump ticket looms over vulnerable GOP senators The Hill's 12:30 Report Hassan gets personal in first Senate ad MORE (R-N.H.), John McCainJohn McCainAgainst all odds: It’s Trump Five takeaways from the Indiana primary Overnight Energy: Clinton takes on former coal industry CEO MORE (R-Ariz.), Rob PortmanRob PortmanTrump ticket looms over vulnerable GOP senators Poll: Government not doing enough to fight drug abuse Koch network super-PAC launches ad buys in Wisconsin, Nevada MORE (R-Ohio) and Marco RubioMarco RubioAgainst all odds: It’s Trump How Trump did it Different playbooks for Ryan, McConnell in wild 2016 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.