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« Green Beret to Receive Medal of Honor for Saving 22 Lives in Afghanistan | Main | NC isnt the only state jacking with servicemembers voting rights »

October 10, 2010


Mike P.

Why can't the folks that are fighting and dying for the rights that we cherish have the right to vote, unobstructed? This is total BS. The military knows who they have and where they are located, how hard is it for them to provide them with ballots? And then return them to be counted. And I feel your pain, Major. I was born, raised and live in NC, and have experienced firsthand the ineptitude of our state workers. Makes you want to bang your head against the wall. Or better yet, theirs. Semper Fi.

Joyce McCloy

Dear Major. Joyce McCloy here, hoping I can help. (My nephew Nick is in Marines, just went to Afghanistan a few weeks ago).

According to OVF, you can still get your absentee ballot. Here's the deadlines for all 50 states:

Instructions on obtaining an absentee ballot are on NC's State Board of Elections website here:

But I recommend visiting the Federal Voting Assistance Program where they make it alot easier to get exactly what you need:

I know you can get a blank ballot faxed to you, but I think (not sure) that you can request it be emailed to you. FVAP has a online wizard that is very user friendly that will help you.

While it is ok to receive a blank ballot via email, computer scientists do not recommend using email to return the voted ballot.

I am not sure how the North Carolina State Board of Elections maintains the chain of custody of an emailed ballot. I have asked and up until this election they didnt' have a chain of custody for emailed overseas ballots. (Scary) now has 24 X 7 "live chat" assistance on their website, and they should be able to help you get any information you need.

FVAP advises that you can use free military express mail to mail your ballot.

Another option is to visit the website of who has partnered with FedEx Express to get reduced rates on that mailing system. It costs $25 to express a ballot via FedEx, here's a list of countries FedEx has a discount rate for military ballots:

I realize that perhaps you can't get trucks in where you are but I am giving you the best info I can.

Also, if you want to make sure your ballot was received, you can email your county Board of Elections Director. If you use the site, they will help you track your ballot.

See this link for contact info of your County BoE.


No excuses allowed for this.

Maj Pain

Great info & links Joyce. However, in remote Company Out Posts COP there is no actual post office (just a couple mail Marines) that sort mail as it comes in (they are actually Marines deemed to work the mail) Although it goes out of the COP regularly, it may sit at a bigger outpost for weeks until they have enough to send to the states & vice versa.

A battalion size unit may have 12 computers for the entire unit to use (no fax machines). Now, ¾ of that Bn isn’t where the computers are so the internet access is very limited unlike that of much bigger bases. So across the board this eliminates literally thousands of servivemembers from voting even electronically unless there is a one stop shopping that is quick & easy. Also remember bandwidth in Afg/Iraq is shitty at best. If you only get 30min a day or week to use the computer are you going to wait forever and try to vote or are you emailing your wife?

I sent my emailed 3rd try absentee ballot into the NC county Board of Elections Director, followed up on its progress & they were the ones telling me to “call them b/c of an issue with my ballot” see my frustration?? I wish I could call them & they would actually answer their phones but again not every servicemember can even get access to a phone nontheless use that crucial time to call their local voting office vice their family…the whole process is a joke and the American people need to know how transparent it is for your servicemembers to vote.


Deploying service members should have the option of straight ticket voting before deployment for November elections (specific candidates may not be selected by then).

Joyce McCloy

Dear Maj Pain.

You have up till Nov 1 to obtain a ballot. I don't know why officials didn't tell you via email what was wrong with your request. Perhaps your registration record needs to be updated. Perhaps something was left blank.

Another issue is that we don't know how to secure email balloting, and also certain browsers can result in a blank ballot instead of a voted ballot.

I believe you will get an answer if you email Don Wright, General Counsel of the NC SBoE at

I've found Don to be responsive to requests/inquiries from voters.

A recent public test of D.C.'s internet voting pilot for overseas military showed that internet voting is too dangerous.

Voting Test Falls Victim to Hackers

Internet Voting Halderman Testimony part 1, October 8, 2010 YouTube
Prof. J Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan describes how he and a team of students gained the ability to alter votes and violate voter privacy in an internet voting test conducted by Washington, DC. The testimony took place on October 8, 2010. This is Part 1

There are no easy answers for voting for troops stationed in places like you are in, but the MOVE act passed in 2009, then in 2010 DoD agreeing to act as voter registration agency and finally FVAP offering 24X7 online chat help plus voting wizard are huge advances for overseas military. And this is just a start.


You might want to write J. Christian Adams regarding this. He's the DOJ attorney who recently testified before Congress. He has a blog now,

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    These views, opinions and ideas are my own and do not represent those of the US Marines, Department of Defense, or any Government organization. I usually think about this stuff when I'm running or suffering from stress or lack of sleep. You can torture me, kill me but just don't bore me "All original material copyright © by Maj Pain, 2004-2015. All rights reserved. No content may be reproduced in whole or in part without express permission."