Everybody wants a say in who our next president will be this year. Especially the people whose lives will be most affected by the decisions of our next commander in chief: US troops overseas.
As it turns out, a vote from the other side of the world is not easily cast.
Ballots are often not ready until 45 to 30 days before an election. Add two weeks of transit time and very mobile troops — most of the two-thirds of returned ballots in 2006 were undeliverable — and we have an ineffective system.
To combat the disenfranchisement of the troops, this year 13 states will allow them to vote via email and districts in another seven will allow voting over the Internet. It sounds like a simple solution, but electronic voting of any kind is still fraught with trouble. Concern over not having a paper trail in the event of voter fraud and the security risk of transmitting personal information (birthdates, addresses, Social Security numbers) run high.
Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita said, "What people want ultimately is a safe, electronic system for voting, and nothing has been developed yet that passes the test." Indiana voting also had its day in the Supreme Court today, with a 6-3 ruling upholding Indiana's strict photo ID requirement, which Democrats and civil rights groups said ironically might deter poor, elderly, and minority voters from casting ballots.
What do you think? Should troops overseas be allowed to vote over the wild, wild Web?