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September 15, 2008
Secretary Chapman to Address a National Military and Overseas Citizens Voting Summit

MONTGOMERY- Secretary of State Beth Chapman will be a featured panelist at the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Military and Overseas Citizens Voting Summit today.   The summit will be held in Washington, D.C.  In addition, Chapman appeared on C-SPAN for an hour long interview Monday morning and represented Alabama regarding the issue of military voting.

 

At the summit, Secretary Chapman will address how Alabama is moving forward in its efforts to make voting more accessible and convenient for the military and overseas voters in the state. 

 

Chapman has been the head of the Military and Overseas Voting Task Force for Alabama which is composed of a number of officials in the state who have provided continuous advice on what the state can do to make the voting process more accessible.  Chapman was also asked to give testimony to the House Committee on Administration, detailing to members of the Congressional committee the difficulties faced by overseas voters. Early in Chapman’s term, Alabama became one of only three states in the country that partnered with the Overseas Vote Foundation to expedite the military and overseas voter registration process. Since that time several other states have begun to participate.

 

“We know Secretary Chapman is a leader who is well-positioned to create change in this arena,” said Carolyn Race, a spokesperson for the Pew Center on the States.

 

“This is a great time to talk about the voting process and the accessibility of absentee ballots to those men and women who are serving overseas as the November General Election will bring record numbers of voters to the polls in our state.  However, if history repeats itself, the vast majority of our soldiers’ votes will not be received in time to be counted.  We must focus on the issue of timing and successful receipt of the absentee ballots as well as the registration process for military and overseas voters for that to change,” Chapman explained.

 

The September summit will bring together stakeholders in the area of Military and Overseas Voting, including election officials, legislators, military organizations and groups representing overseas citizen constituencies, including businesses, university consortia, the U.S. Department of State and nonprofits with operations overseas. The participants will discuss new technological innovations to make the voting process simpler, new research and pilot projects in the field and strategies aimed at making voting more convenient and secure for the estimated six million Americans military and overseas citizen voters. 

 

“I am honored to be a part of this summit and am enthusiastic about moving forward with our efforts for military and overseas voters in the State of Alabama,” Chapman said.


For more information, visit Secretary of State Jim Bennett’s Web Site:  http://www.sos.alabama.gov/