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Action to Take on Ranked Absentee Ballots

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  • irv@fairvote.org
    Action to Take on Ranked Absentee Ballots Earlier this month, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee signed legislation providing for overseas military voters to
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 25, 2005
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      Action to Take on Ranked Absentee Ballots

      Earlier this month, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee signed legislation
      providing for overseas military voters to receive ranked absentee ballots
      in all federal, state and local elections that might have a runoff.
      Proposed by Republican legislator Horace Hardwick, this bill enjoyed
      widespread bi-partisan support and passed with only one dissenting vote in
      the legislature. This bill, HB 1770, presents a solution to the problem of
      overseas military personnel being excluded from runoff elections. With a
      limited amount of time between the primary and runoff elections, there is
      often only a brief window for states to calculate the results of the
      initial vote, print new ballots and mail them to absentee voters while
      allowing sufficient time for the ballots to be returned in time to be
      counted. In the 2000 presidential election, nearly 30% of registered
      military voters did not receive a ballot, or received it too late.

      In this system, the ballots sent abroad allow voters to rank their
      preference for all the candidates in the primary. In the event of a runoff,
      the remaining candidate who received a higher ranking from the voter is
      awarded the vote. A similar system has been in place for over a decade in
      Louisiana, where the ranked ballots have been made available to
      out-of-state military voters as well as all overseas voters, both military
      and civilian. In 2004, over 10,000 Louisiana voters were issued ranked
      absentee ballots.

      The text of the Arkansas bill can be found online at:
      http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/ftproot/bills/2005/public/HB1770.pdf

      We urge everyone to contact their legislators and inform them of this
      solution, and to advise that they show the same leadership by fighting to
      adopt similar legislation.

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