E-mail eases voting for military and others overseas

8:42 AM, Sep 28, 2010   |    comments
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  • The MOVE Act
  • Voters from Tennessee who are overseas now have a faster option for voting absentee.

    An e-mail option is part of the MOVE Act, Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act.

    That's a federal law designed to improve the delivery of absentee ballots to members of the armed forces and Americans temporarily living overseas.

    Tennessee voters already don't have to wait until Election Day to cast a ballot.

    Early voting starts twenty days before the election.

    "Over 50% of the people now vote early and they like it. It's easier, it's less confusing. You can go to any one of the sites and vote during the early voting process," Knox County Administrator of Elections Greg Mackay said.

    For the upcoming November 2 election, early voting starts October 13 and ends October 28.

    He explained that overseas voters now have an easier option, too.

    They no longer must mail a request for a ballot to the Election Commission and then wait for the ballot to be mailed to them.

    "Now what they can do is they can e-mail the request and we can e-mail the ballot out to them which they print out and mail back to us," he said. "It takes a whole step out of the process. Which you know if you're over in Afghanistan or Iraq it might take you a month to get a letter so we're hoping this will make it where more of our military and overseas people will be able to vote."

    So far, Knox County has e-mailed more than 50 ballots and expects many more requests.

    Counties come up with their own ways to comply with the e-mail option the MOVE Act mandates. In Knox County, the IT Department already developed a voter registration system that tracks absentee ballots. Now overseas ballots are part of that system.

    Mackay said the process is secure.

    Every ballot comes back to Knox County with a signed affidavit and that signature is compared to the voter registration on file.

    "Just trying to make it easier for people to vote. That's what we're all about," Mackay said.

    All absentee ballots, including those from overseas, must be at the Election Commission by Election Day when every ballot is counted.

    Editor's note: We have corrected the last date of early voting to Oct. 28th.  It was previously reported as Oct 29th.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

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