Secretary of the State Denise Merrill today released a report submitted to the Connecticut General Assembly detailing ways to improve voting for military voters stationed overseas. In the report, Secretary Merrill noted a dramatic improvement in the voter participation by absentee ballot of men and women in uniform serving abroad during the 2012 presidential election, the latest year for which statistics are available. During the 2012 Presidential election, some 94% of absentee ballots requested by Connecticut military personnel serving overseas were returned in time to be counted by election day, a nearly 30% improvement over the same numbers for the 2010 state and federal election. The statistics are contained in the report submitted January 1, 2014 to members of the Connecticut General Assembly committees on Government Administration and Elections, and Veterans’ Affairs. Secretary Merrill was required to submit the report and select a method for more timely return of military ballots by Public Act No. 13-185 “An Act Concerning Voting by Members of the Military Serving Overseas,” enacted in 2013 by the General Assembly and Governor Dannel P. Malloy.
“For years, delays in the military postal service meant many absentee ballots cast by our brave men and women in uniform serving our country overseas would not arrive in time to be counted on election day,” said Secretary Merrill, Connecticut’s chief elections official. “These logistical delays in effect disenfranchised the very people who put their lives on the line overseas to defend our right to vote.
The great news is that since Congress and the states implemented the federal MOVE act allowing electronic transfer of absentee ballots and applications in 2010, Connecticut has seen a huge improvement in the number of military overseas ballots returned in time for Election Day.