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Dems To Start Online Voting From Abroad

From a delighted Associated Press:

Americans abroad can now vote online

By JESSICA BERNSTEIN-WAX, Associated Press Writer

MEXICO CITY – This year, for the first time, expatriate Democrats can cast their ballots on the Internet in a presidential primary for people living outside the United States.

Democrats Abroad, an official branch of the party representing overseas voters, will hold its first global presidential preference primary from Feb. 5 to 12, with ex-pats selecting the candidate of their choice by Internet as well as fax, mail and in-person at polling places in more than 100 countries.

Democrats Abroad is particularly proud of the online voting option — which provides a new alternative to the usual process of voting from overseas, a system made difficult by complicated voter registration paperwork, early deadlines and unreliable foreign mail service.

“The online system is incredibly secure: That was one of our biggest goals,” said Lindsey Reynolds, executive director of Democrats Abroad. “And it does allow access to folks who ordinarily wouldn’t get to participate.”

U.S. citizens wanting to vote online must join Democrats Abroad before Feb. 1 and indicate their preference to vote by Internet instead of in the local primaries wherever they last lived in the United States. They must promise not to vote twice for president, but can still participate in non-presidential local elections.

Members get a personal identification number from Everyone Counts Inc., the San Diego-based company running the online election. They can then use the number to log in and cast their ballots.

Their votes will be represented at the August Democratic National Convention by 22 delegates, who according to party rules get half a vote each for a total of 11. That’s more than U.S. territories get, but fewer than the least populous states, Wyoming and Alaska, which get 18 delegate votes each

Online voting may give absentee voters more assurance that their ballots are being counted, since confirmation is not available in some counties. The Everyone Counts software even lets voters print out a receipt, unlike most electronic voting machines now in use in many states…

But online voting has been slowed by a lack of funding for pilot programs. In a floor speech this month, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., pushed for the distribution of money already approved under the Help America Vote Act so that states can improve ex-pat voting before the general election.

Some 6 million Americans living abroad are eligible to vote in U.S. elections, but only a fraction do so. Until recently, the only option was to mail absentee ballot request forms to the last U.S. county of residence, then wait in hopes that shaky mail systems would deliver the ballots in time to vote.

The system is so unreliable that of 992,034 ballots requested from overseas for the 2006 general election, only 330,000 were cast or counted, and 70 percent of those not counted were returned to elections officials as undeliverable, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission found.

In 2004, Juliet Lambert took her Oregon ballot to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, where drop service is available because of Mexico’s notoriously undependable mail.

“I had to go through security to drop off my ballot, and I remember thinking I really must want to vote,” said Lambert, a 37-year-old caterer who works with Democrats Abroad in Mexico. “I think it can be really daunting for people.”

This year, Lambert is voting by Internet, “because it’s easier, and I’m always online anyway.” …

Why not? (Those absentee ballots are so difficult.)

Soon the whole world should be allowed to have a say in who runs our country.

As long as they promise to only vote once.

And of course our Democrat controlled media is already pushing for this to be allowed domestically.

But do recall that this is being done by the Democrats. The selfsame party that sought to close voting on military bases here in the US.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, January 21st, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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