I'm sitting here doing my e-mail and forum thing while waiting for a phone call. A reporter from NPR is going to call me for an interview. What is happening could probably only happen in our family. We are active in the political party of our choice. Our daughter has followed suit. She lives with her Air Force Staff Sergeant husband in Colorado Springs and attends a local university studying Political Science. (straight A's, BTW) They have been out there about three years. When they left they applied for regular mailings of all ballots so they could absentee vote. Never have they gotten them without me having to run to the courthouse and ask what happened. Two years ago, the deputy clerk in charge of elections told me, flat out, that she didn't mail military absentee ballots because so many of them didn't come back and she considered it a waste of her time. (I think I heard a confession to a Federal Felony in that conversation. Oh, well.) Jumping ahead, our daughter learned that many stateside based military are in locations where getting and re-mailing the ballot is not possible. Example, our SIL is currently in some remote location at (Army) Ft. Riley in Kansas training for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. He doesn't get mail and doesn't have the means to send mail. Denied his vote. Plus, other stateside military may not have adequate postage on hand to mail back their ballot as it costs almost $2.00 in postage. (digress: this is getting longer than intended, folks. But keep reading, you might find interesting. And, I am trying to stay apolitical.) So, wife (I told you this is a family thing) went to courthouse and, under the Freedom of Information Act for Arkansas, got a list of all military absentee requests and as many spouses as could be identified. I wrote a letter, which she had copied, and she mailed off the letter and $2.00 postage to every one of them. So far, she has received a couple thank-you notes and we know some have voted as a result. And, I found a website called "Count Us In" devoted to just this cause. I posted a comment about our local experience and they contacted NPR, hence the upcoming interview. Further, I am going to begin a campaign to try to get Federal laws changed to permit stateside military, and spouses, absentee ballots mailed back postage free. Also, we will try to find a way for servicemen, like my Son-In-Law to vote even while training outside a military facility. To my way of thinking, it shouldn't be hard. After all, the people overseas do get their ballots and can send their votes back postage free. I think it is just plain stupid that our stateside military can't do it also.
End of sermon. Thanks for hanging in there.