GOP lawmakers say ‘thousands’ of military votes will not be counted

U.S. Army soldier member of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo walks by a poster urging soldiers to vote Nov. 2. U.S. Army soldier member of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo walks by a poster urging soldiers to vote Nov. 2. Visar Kryeziu/AP

Several Republican lawmakers have voiced concern about the system members of the military use to vote, claiming the slow mail process will cause thousands of ballots to not be counted.

Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., John McCain, R-Ariz., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sent a letter to Defense Department Secretary Leon Panetta on the eve of the election, saying military mail can take between 14 and 50 days to process and ballots will therefore arrive at their intended destinations well after the election.  

“We write to express concerns over another serious failure by the Department of Defense to safeguard the voting rights of our overseas military service members, which we believe could result in the imminent disenfranchisement of thousands,” the letter said.

The lawmakers said the solution to the issue is to modernize military mail delivery by centralizing mail redirection.

The Pentagon’s own inspector general recently criticized Defense Department efforts to improve the voting process for members of the military, when its investigation concluded installation voting assistance offices had not yet been adequately instituted.

While the senators acknowledged the problem cannot be fixed in time for Tuesday’s election, they called for a solution to be instituted in time for the next election cycle.  
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