Military Voters to Receive Absentee Ballots by Email
New York Complies with Federal Law to get Servicemembers their Ballots Earlier than Ever Before.
ALBANY, NY (10/05/2010)(readMedia)-- The New York State Board of Elections, in complying with the MOVE Act (Military & Overseas Voters Empowerment), has established a new webpage to allow military and overseas voters to obtain their general election ballots by email in addition to the existing fax and mail options.
To establish an account, please visit www.elections.state.ny.us and click on the link for "Military & Overseas Voters". Once your account is established, you will be notified when your ballot is ready and how you will receive it. By obtaining their ballot by email, military voters can receive their absentee ballots earlier than they ever have before. This will also allow more time for the ballot to be mailed back to New York for the election. Military and overseas absentee ballots must be postmarked no later than November 1st and received by the appropriate local county board of elections by November 15th to be counted.
The State Board of Elections, in its efforts to insure armed forces personnel and U.S. citizens living abroad receive their ballots in enough time to be counted, has been working with the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), the Department of Defense, the Overseas Vote Foundation and private vendor, Scytl, to improve timeliness and opportunities for military and overseas voters to receive their ballot and submit their votes in adequate time to be counted in the election.
In addition to the State Board's website, military voters can visit the FVAP website: www.fvap.gov and the Overseas Vote Foundation website: www.overseasvotefoundation.org. All three websites are set up to make the absentee voting process seamless, easy, intuitive, and quick for military and overseas voters.
Military members can now fill out their voter registration and absentee ballot applications using these online tools, and if they do not receive their ballot in time, they may use the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB), for which a full online tool is available.
"This year, the states and FVAP launched new online products that make completing absentee ballots much easier,' said Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Dr. Clifford Stanley. "In many cases voters can request their ballot, fill it out and mail it back in 10 to 15 minutes. When I was a junior officer, I remember how difficult it was to complete all the voting steps by mail; registering to vote, hoping the election official received my form; and waiting, praying the absentee ballot would get to me in time to return it by the due date. Now, with the online tools at www.FVAP.gov and www.elections.state.ny.us we've reduced that wait time from 30 or 40 days to 30 or 40 seconds."
In addition, FVAP has launched a 24/7 call center (1-800-438-VOTE) for military and overseas voters, voting assistance officers, and election officials to get help with voting. Individuals can also e-mail their questions in to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the online chat capability at www.fvap.gov to accommodate an easy flow of absentee voting assistance and information. FVAP enhanced its existing service by teaming with the Navy's Global Distance 24-hour Support Center to respond immediately to emails, calls, faxes and online chat from military members, their families and overseas voters worldwide. Toll-free numbers from 67 countries are listed at: www.fvap.gov/contact/tollfreephone.html.
Military and overseas voters may also call 1-518-474-1953 or send email questions to INFO@elections.state.ny.us.
The MOVE Act was enacted in 2008, after a delegation of state secretaries of state reported after visiting military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Germany that, everyone they visited stated a preference for greater e-mail and Internet access to voting. Those same troops stated that email access extended even to remote areas of their theater of operations.
There are approximately 70,000 military and overseas voters registered for absentee ballots in New York State.
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