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Tucked into the *military spending bill is a provision mandating states to allow more time for the return of overseas ballots (absentee ballots) starting 2010. For the State of Minnesota it may mean moving back the primary to August to comply with the 45 day requirement to allow for mailing ballots back and forth. In previous elections not all ballots returned from our military members would get here in time therefore are not counted on election day and that is a travesty.
Whether the Democrats in Congress and President Obama knew it or not, supported it or not, our military will now have full opportunity to participate in elections. Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Richie and Governor Tim Pawlenty support this change. A good thing for our military members and of course our elections.
Politically for Democrats it may not be the wisest moved in allowing our military more access to the elections since the majority vote for Republican, especially in Presidential elections. Constitutionally it is a win for the liberties of Americans serving in the military.
Anyone serving in the military can attest that in certain theaters of operation it is most difficult to participate in the elections because the APO and FPO's do not work like the regular United States Post Office of receiving mail within a few days after the post mark. That has always been a problem for the military. Now with the added time required by Federal law our service members can truly have their votes counted.
Some voters may not like the Minnesota primary moving back to August because it may interfere with their summer plans. However, those taking their duty and right to vote seriously will make it priority to vote in August. And there may be benefit for parents who find September a very busy month with their children starting school again.These positives far outweigh the primary moving up a month. This is one federal mandate that benefits states and Americans for a change.
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