VAN DE PUTTE & CORTE FILE MILITARY VOTING PILOT PROGRAM
AUSTIN, TX -- Today Senator Leticia Van de Putte and Representative Frank Corte, Chairs of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations and the House Committee on Defense Affairs and State-Federal Relations, filed SB 90 and HB 17, which make a small, but significant, change in Texas law to help address military voters' problems.
According to a March 2006 report released to Congress by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, there is a 33 percent rate of disenfranchisement among military and overseas voters.
Many of these problems stem from the ballots experiencing delays when traveling through overseas and military mail systems.
The bill will allow a county clerk or election administrator in Texas to e-mail a blank ballot to a military voter if the voter is outside the United States, cutting in half the amount of time the ballot spends in the postal system. The bill incorporates several measures to safeguard the integrity of the voting process.
This bill provides election administrators and county clerks an additional tool to do their jobs, and provides military voters whose ballot was lost in the mail a second chance to vote.
Senator Van de Putte stated, "It is so important that our service members be able to participate in the democracy they are sacrificing to protect. Voting is a cherished American right that should be available to these patriots."
With first hand experience of not receiving a requested mail ballot in Iraq, Representative Corte noted, "In this day and age, we have technology available to overcome 19th century problems. The Texas Legislature should absolutely be able to accommodate voting by military service members with a computer, no matter where they are."