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House Weighs Grant Program To Track Absentee Ballots

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-21-09 02:33 PM
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House Weighs Grant Program To Track Absentee Ballots

House Weighs Grant Program To Track Absentee Ballots

Legislation aimed at spurring states to do a better job of tracking absentee ballots was headed for House consideration Tuesday.

The bill, approved by the House Administration Committee by voice vote on June 10, would create a grant program to reimburse states for costs associated with establishing an absentee ballot tracking program for federal elections.

Several states and jurisdictions have seen an increase in absentee voting over the past decade. According to a study conducted by the Overseas Vote Foundation, more than half of surveyed military and overseas voters who tried to vote absentee by mail in the 2008 election were unable to do so because their requested ballots either were received too late to be counted or were not received at all.

In order to qualify for grant funding, states must have tracking systems that allow voters to confirm whether their absentee ballots for federal elections have been received and counted, either through official Web sites or toll-free telephone numbers. The bill does not require states to establish such programs, although a number of them already offer such services, according to the committee.

The Senate Rules Committee approved its own legislation July 15 designed to ensure that the votes of U.S. troops and other Americans living overseas are counted in upcoming elections.

That bill, approved by voice vote, would require states to send ballots to military and overseas voters at least 45 days before an election and provide a 10-day grace period for ballots to be received after Election Day, as long as they are postmarked in time.
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