As has been reported for the past few months, there are dozens of efforts to restrict ballot access, both under consideration and already enacted from Pennsylvania toWisconsin. We know that thousands upon thousands will have their right to vote impeded by these laws. What we don’t know, however, is how many men and women in uniform will be among them.
For example, we know in Colorado that many troops would be disenfranchised by the 2011 decision of Secretary of State Scott Gessler to order that no ballots be sent to so-called “inactive voters” — those voters who did not vote in 2010. We know from news reports that this would disenfranchise 64 active duty troops in one county in Colorado. But there has been no review done on how many troops would be disenfranchised state-wide.
We know that in Missouri, a version of legislation passed through the State House that would eliminate mail-in absentee ballots for all members of the military, who are unable to cast their vote in person. The legislation allows those in combat zones to submit their ballot via fax or email, which can make it nearly impossible for many who are in the field. There is no such provision for those who are stationed at overseas bases, such as in Germany or Korea, or at U.S. bases far away from the state. We know that about 11,000 troops from Missouri voted by absentee ballot in 2008, but there has been no review to determine how many troops potentially would be disenfranchised in 2012.
And in Florida, as the Center for American Progress discovered, we know of at least one case where a veteran was wrongly booted from the voter rolls, in a purge that supposedly was supposed to target non-citizens who are registered. We have no idea how many troops may have been affected by the purge, or if the state has been able to contact any deployed troops who were, to allow them to appeal.
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