Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Doug MacGinnitie Launches Effort to Increase Voting Opportunities for Military Personnel

Republican candidate for Georgia Secretary of State Doug MacGinnitie today launched an effort to increase opportunities for active duty service members and Reservists serving on active duty to participate in Georgia elections.

Research done by the Heritage Foundation in 2008 shows that 75-80% of military voters from across the United States were disenfranchised by their inability to request and return an absentee ballot within time limits as required by law. To make matters worse, for those who did cast an absentee ballot; local officials often reject military absentee ballots at far higher rates than other absentee ballots.

"Our men and women in uniform are putting their lives on the line to defend our freedoms," said MacGinnitie. "We should do everything possible to ensure they have the opportunity to participate in the most basic of American rights, the right to vote."

In Georgia all absentee ballots must be returned by 7pm on election day. In runoffs, it is virtually impossible for active duty personnel forward deployed in hazardous duty environments; serving on ships or aboard submarines to request and return a ballot in four weeks.

To address this problem, MacGinnitie has created his Military Voting Advisory Committee, composed of veterans and reservists from across the state. Experts from the legal and technology communities will also serve on the committee to assist in their respective fields. The mission is to develop policy ideas to solve this critical flaw in our voting laws.

"Our current Secretary of State has done an outstanding job focusing on stopping voter fraud, and has implemented reforms to help military voters. As Secretary of State, I will ensure Georgia leads the nation in giving active military voters the opportunity to cast a ballot," said MacGinnitie.

The members of MacGinnitie's Military Voting Advisory Committee include:

Brad Carver, Esq., Hall Booth Smith & Slover, P.C.
Brigadier General Walter C. Corish, Jr., GAANG, Ret.
Major General (Ret.) Bruce W. MacLane, USAF
Lieutenant Colonel Oz Hill, USA, Ret.
Jim Lester III, retired CIO AFLAC, former chairman Georgia Technology Authority
Brigadier General Denis Shortal, USMC, (RET)
Craig Thornton, President, Cnetics Technologies

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