MONTGOMERY - Secretary of State Beth Chapman
has been a long-time advocate of military voting rights and her commitment is
ongoing, despite the stall of legislation introduced in the 2009 legislative
session designed to help Alabama’s military and overseas voters cast their
ballots more effectively and efficiently.
Chapman chaired the Military and Overseas
Task Force which crafted legislation creating an ongoing committee to work with
the Secretary of State to assure that whatever method of voting is instituted
will be done with openness and fairness. The popular legislation failed to pass
due to an unrelated technical amendment that was added at the last minute.
However, Representative Jimmy Martin, the sponsor of the bill, has already
pre-filed the legislation in hopes of introducing it in a special session or
the next regular legislative session in 2010.
Secretary Chapman is asking those
individuals, whom the legislation sets forth, to make appointments to this
Alabama Electronic Overseas Voting Advisory Committee now so that there is no
delay in addressing the imperative issues confronting our overseas voters.
In 2010, the Alabama National Guard will
deploy 1,600 troops overseas. Due to this fact, Secretary Chapman says there is
little time to lose. “Because of this circumstance, and to make sure we will be
ready to hit the ground running when the legislation is passed, we must prepare
now,” Chapman said. “We would like to convene the committee as soon as possible
to gain their assistance in getting the bill passed and gaining their insight,
which will be invaluable to this process.”
Chapman continues to be a leading national
advocate for electronic military voting and was one of only two Secretaries of
State invited to participate in a news conference with the Pew Charitable
Trusts and Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF).
She also addressed the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House
Administration in Washington, D.C. on behalf of the National Association of
Secretaries of State on the subject. “We must ensure that the men and women of
the United States military who are fighting for our right to vote are given
theirs,” Chapman said. “Anything short of that would be un-American.”