There could have easily been a few major elections this last fall that were impacted by this problem
One out of every four military personnel and other Americans living abroad may have been thwarted in their efforts to vote in the 2008 election because of communications and bureaucratic problems, according to a congressional report released Wednesday.
"Registration deadlines, notary requirements, lack of communication, mail delays, poor address information and state laws that put in place untenable mailing dates are all severe problems," Sen. Charles Schumer, chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, said at a hearing.
Schumer, D-N.Y., said the study prepared by the committee and the Congressional Research Service, while providing only a snapshot of voting patterns, "is enough to show that the balloting process for service members is clearly in need of an overhaul." He plans to work with Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., in crafting legislation dealing with the issue.
The study surveyed election offices in seven states with high numbers of military personnel: California, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and West Virginia.
It said that of 441,000 absentee ballots requested by eligible voters living abroad — mainly active-duty and reserve troops — more than 98,000 were "lost" ballots that were mailed out but never received by election officials. Taking into account 13,500 ballots that were rejected for such reasons as a missing signature or failure to notarize, one-quarter of those requesting a ballot were disenfranchised.
The study found that an additional 11,000 ballots were returned as undeliverable.
Gail McGinn, the Defense Department's acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness, told the committee that the Pentagon "has taken extraordinary steps to ensure that members of the uniformed services, their family members and overseas citizens have an opportunity to vote." . . . . .
From the census:US 229,565,092 adults = 304,059,724 total population x .755
Minn 3,957,057 adults = 5,220,393 total population x .758
Note the Military Times did a "voluntary" survey that found
McCain, R-Ariz., handily defeated Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., 68 percent to 23 percent in a voluntary survey of 4,293 active-duty, National Guard and reserve subscribers and former subscribers to Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times and Air Force Times.
The results of the Military Times 2008 Election Poll are not representative of the opinions of the military as a whole. The group surveyed is older, more senior in rank and less ethnically diverse than the overall armed services. . . .
A much earlier Gallup survey from August indicated that "McCain leads Obama 56 percent to 34 percent."
If ballots were lost at the same rate for Minnesota as for the nation as a whole, that implies 1,689 ballots were lost and another 189 were undeliverable. If Republicans got 66% of military votes, that would have been a net pick up of 601 votes in the Minnesota Senate race. If it is 62% to 38%, there would be a net pick up of 460 votes in the Minnesota Senate race.