Press Release from Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga; April 26, 2010:
(April 26, 2010, NASHVILLE) – Representative Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) successfully shepherded legislation through the Tennessee General Assembly that will make it easier for troops stationed overseas to vote. Last week, the law was assigned a Public Chapter number after being signed by the Governor.
The new law allows election commissioners to email ballots that troops could then print and return by mail. Before passage of the law, election administrators mailed the ballots overseas and did not use electronic means, making it difficult for troops to cast their ballots in time to be counted.
“Our men and women in uniform are overseas protecting our freedoms, and they should be able to exercise one of our most precious freedoms—voting—with ease,” said Representative McCormick. “We discovered that many of the ballots were mailed too late, making it difficult for our troops in the field to fill out and return by mail in time. Hopefully, our election administrators will use this new law as a means to ensure our troops’ votes are counted.”
The legislation hit a roadblock in the Elections Subcommittee last year, as the bill failed on a party line vote. Republicans were outraged, arguing that the state should do all it can to ensure the votes of our brave men and women serving overseas count.
“I’m glad that we could reach an agreement on a bi-partisan basis this year that enabled this legislation to pass,” continued Representative McCormick. “I’m proud that my colleagues have come together to ensure the votes of our troops count.”
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Pew Research Center for People and Press reported last year that one-third of states did not allow enough time for overseas voters, listing Tennessee as one of 16 states that sent ballots after the date necessary for voters to meet deadlines. Last year, at least seven states enacted legislation to authorize some form of electronic transmission.