MONTGOMERY, Ala. — For the first time ever this week, a member of the U.S. armed services — an Alabamian — voted electronically while deployed abroad.
Alabama is the first state in the country to implement fully electronic voting for service members stationed overseas. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill says the system is rolling out at the county level, and he hopes all 67 Alabama counties will be up and running by the presidential primary March 1, 2016.
Alabama National Guard Maj. Chris Theilacker told WSFA he and other Alabamians deployed around the globe are excited about the more streamlined process to vote.
“It doesn’t seem like a lot of trouble, but taking the time out to request that ballot, wait for it to get there, mail may or may not ever get to you when you are in an overseas environment,” Theilacker said. “I go out everyday to make sure our citizens have the right to vote, so by the state and the city providing access to voting no matter where in the world we are, that says a lot about their commitment.”
Alabama Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise), a military veteran who was instrumental in passing a bill setting up the new system, told Yellowhammer he hopes it will make life easier for Alabamians who are deployed serving their country.
“As chairman of the House Committee on Military and Veterans, I am proud Alabama is leading the way on this important issue,” he said. “Americans’ voting rights are sacred. Nothing could be more important than ensuring that the men and women who are protecting our freedoms abroad have a voice in our political process. That is what this law does.”
Secretary Merrill concurred.
“Every military serviceman or woman who is interested in voting now has the opportunity to receive their ballot electronically, to vote electronically, and have their ballot returned electronically,” he concluded. “They’ll have their vote cast and counted the same way they would if they were at their home with their family.”
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— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) June 9, 2015