COLUMBUS - State Reps. Adam C. Miller (D-Columbus) and Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) today introduced legislation that would require the Secretary of State to create a system where U.S. service members, and other government employees, can vote electronically. Local boards of elections are required to mail uniformed services or overseas absentee ballots before the primary or general election. For people serving overseas, often in dangerous or remote areas, traditional mail or landlines are not feasible or practical.
“Those serving to protect our right to vote should not be saddled with antiquated or impractical ways to carry out that right,” said Rep. A. Miller. “Around the globe, business is conducted online. Surely, our system can move beyond snail mail when it is not possible or feasible.”
Currently, voting rules require paper requests and ballots be mailed under tight timelines in order to vote. This aged system is simply not feasible for military service members or other US employees like Foreign Service Officers, USAID personnel, and Peace Corps volunteers who serve in remote or dangerous areas with little or no access to modern, efficient, and timely postal resources.
“For our military men and women who need to vote by absentee, this bill will correct the current problem,” said Rep. Hicks-Hudson. “It will allow them to exercise their most basic citizenship right to vote. For those that are abroad defending our country, we must defend their right to make their voices heard.”
The Department of Defense recently denied Ohio’s waiver request for military overseas voting due to delays in the finalization of new district maps for Congress and the Ohio General Assembly as well as prohibitions of Ohio law that does not permit the electronic return of ballots. The bill would create a pathway to solving this problem and ensure our service men and women have fair opportunity to have their voices heard.
Multiple states (Arizona, Colorado, Missouri and North Dakota) have adopted electronic voting.