State senator: Nearly 40 percent of military absentee ballots never received

Nearly 40 percent of the absentee ballots Connecticut service members cast from overseas in the last election never were received, according to a state senator.

The state requires that these service members, who are often at remote posts, return their ballots through the postal service. State Sen. Gayle Slossberg and five other legislators introduced a bill to allow them to e-mail or fax their ballots, like 29 other states currently do.

"We owe them something more than this antiquated system we have for them right now," Slossberg, D-Milford, said.

At a public hearing Tuesday, a Connecticut Air National Guard sergeant testified he voted but his ballot was in a cargo plane that went down. Rhode Island election officials said at the hearing they haven't had any problems with privacy or fraud since they began accepting these ballots by e-mail and fax in 1999, Slossberg said.

Data from 2010 also showed that about 40 percent of the service members' ballots weren't making it back.

"It we disenfranchised 40 percent of any other population, there would be a march on the Capitol," she said. "Why do our soldiers get something less?"

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vetoed a bill last year which included the voting provision for overseas service members, citing concerns with the service members waiving their constitutional right to a secret ballot and security issues.

j.mcdermott@theday.com

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