Secretary of State Beth Chapman announced today that Alabama’s first step in electronic voting for members of our military was made. Chapman hosted a conference call with key leaders of national organizations to discuss the common commitment she and Governor Bob Riley share in making Alabama a "flagship" state for military voting.
"Today was a monumental step in bringing military voting via electronic means to our state," Chapman said. "Governor Riley and I both committed to make Alabama a flagship state with regard to military voting and today we had the ear of the nation’s key leaders to walk us down the path of making our commitment to military voting a reality."
The chairmen and chairwomen of the Overseas Vote Foundation, the Federal Voting Assistance Program of the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission joined in on the call. "Today Alabama had an audience and the full attention of the brightest and best our nation has to offer on election practices," Chapman stated.
Chapman said she intends to keep a clear line of communication with national elections specialists that might not have been kept open in the past. She hopes to foster good relationships with people who can bring Alabama the best elections processes possible. Chapman said the conference call was encouraging and, more importantly, productive.
Chapman pointed out that overseas voting is not just about members of the military having the most efficient and effective means to cast their votes, but also employees of the state department, CIA, and most importantly, the families of our men and women in uniform.
According to Chapman, Alabama has 19,020 Uniformed Services members, 27,209 family members and approximately 56,315 overseas citizens that claim Alabama as their residence. "We are talking about massive numbers of Alabamians (and their families), who are fighting to protect and defend our country and the least we can do is to provide them their right to vote back home. They defend our right to vote, so we should ensure theirs. That is what Governor Riley and I are working hard to do," Chapman said.
Since taking office on January 15, Chapman has attended meetings in Washington, DC with members of the groups involved in today’s meeting and future meetings are planned with other pilot states that are implementing similar efforts. Chapman and Riley are long-time advocates for our military.
Alabama is under Section Five of the Voting Rights Act, so any changes made with regard to voting must be pre-cleared by the Justice Department. "The time is now for military and overseas voting to become a reality in Alabama and Governor Riley and I join forces in paving the way," Chapman said.