Skip Nav
34 Love Songs to Send to Your SO
7 Reasons I Wish I Hadn't Taken My Husband's Last Name
Game of Thrones
This Sexy Jon Snow and Daenerys Fan Art Proves That They Just Need to Do It Already

Is Internet Voting OK For Troops Overseas?

Everybody wants a say in who our next president will be this year. Especially the people whose lives will be most affected by the decisions of our next commander in chief: US troops overseas.

As it turns out, a vote from the other side of the world is not easily cast.
Ballots are often not ready until 45 to 30 days before an election. Add two weeks of transit time and very mobile troops — most of the two-thirds of returned ballots in 2006 were undeliverable — and we have an ineffective system.

To combat the disenfranchisement of the troops, this year 13 states will allow them to vote via email and districts in another seven will allow voting over the Internet. It sounds like a simple solution, but electronic voting of any kind is still fraught with trouble. Concern over not having a paper trail in the event of voter fraud and the security risk of transmitting personal information (birthdates, addresses, Social Security numbers) run high.

Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita said, "What people want ultimately is a safe, electronic system for voting, and nothing has been developed yet that passes the test." Indiana voting also had its day in the Supreme Court today, with a 6-3 ruling upholding Indiana's strict photo ID requirement, which Democrats and civil rights groups said ironically might deter poor, elderly, and minority voters from casting ballots.

What do you think? Should troops overseas be allowed to vote over the wild, wild Web?


Join The Conversation
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
the government can have secure ways for troops to vote overseas. There are so many restricted govt websites that I don't know how we are not voting via itnernet NOW. I honestly can't see it taking much money setting up polling places in the major FOBs and write ins in more remote areas if internet doesn't work.
megnmac megnmac 9 years
"I think that at the very least, a secure internet system should be created for the troops." Once again, Jillness is reading my mind. There has to be a way that is better than just emailing, something secure, like online banking... and then if it is good and works it could go more widespread... the fear of widespread would be who has the codes to get in, and at the end of the day could someone just 'vote' the people who haven't voted? I think we're all scared of the tech loopholes, but there are already such problems in paper voting I'd like to know which is really worse.
yesteryear yesteryear 9 years
of COURSE they should be able to vote! we do absentee ballots here about 45 days before an election - why wouldn't that work there? i understand that it takes time to ship and count ballots, but what about fed-ex? i find it hard to believe the government can't get this simple task together. what a shame if they aren't able to vote. 100% unfair.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Of course they should, Twink! I think the military mail system and the mobility of troops add another layer of difficulty to the voting process. But, of course Americans living abroad should be able to vote too!
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
No. If you can afford to get overseas, you can afford to come home and vote.... (I'm just jealous because I can't go to Europe.....)
Twinkle1 Twinkle1 9 years
What about Americans living abroad who aren't in the military? Shouldn't our votes be counted as well?
Jillness Jillness 9 years
This part kind of makes me queasy: "Add two weeks of transit time and very mobile troops — most of the two-thirds of returned ballots in 2006 were undeliverable." 2/3rds!!! Yowza! I don't know if anyone has had issues with voting, but during our primary my precinct had some seriously confused volunteers, and it felt so...dirty, to walk away and not know if my ballot even counted. I can't imagine being in Iraq and then hearing that 2/3rds of the votes didn't get counted. How disheartening.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Well, every unit has a voting officer whose job it is educate the servicemembers of that unit as to how to get an absentee ballot and what the dates are, how to register to vote, etc... Some places it takes 2 weeks to get mail, but I would argue that MOST places it only takes 1 week and they don't have to pay postage back to the states. However, electronic voting sounds much better all around. Only it is common practice that if an incident or act of violence or casualty happens near a base, there is a communication blackout in which no phones are operable and Internet is down. So what if that happened on Election Day? Also, the Internet there is spotty at best, so that could result in votes not transmitted properly or even transmitted many times. I think Jen's idea about setting up a base polling place is a much better idea. Do polling place people have to go through some kind of training? If so, it may make sense to ask for volunteers who would do that on the FOB and then submit the results to a state official on the same day.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I don't think soldiers should be allowed to vote. If they weren't smart enough to stay out of the military, they aren't smart enough to decide who the next president should be. (Total sarcasm.) My only concern with internet voting is the security. We need to figure out some way that every soldier gets to vote.
brittanyk brittanyk 9 years
I like trying this out on the small scale for the troops. I don't think it would work so well in the entire US because I'm sure there would be fraud and glitches and who knows what else.
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 9 years
raciccarone - Well said!
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I think the least we can do for the people who are creating democracy is to let them participate in their own.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"Why can't each FOB host a poll place? I guess that would be expensive. But, seriously it's just wrong to not let soldiers vote." I agree. It is really disturbing to me to think that they would not get to about sad irony. Fighting for our freedoms while they can't exercise their most basic freedom? I think that at the very least, a secure internet system should be created for the troops. This has to be a top priority.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
Hmmm...I hear the concern about Internet security. At the same time, my husband was pissed last time around when it looked like his vote might not count. Why can't each FOB host a poll place? I guess that would be expensive. But, seriously it's just wrong to not let soldiers vote.
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 9 years
I think internet voting for the troops is a great idea. I do think it's an ideal way to 'beta' a more effective way of voting. Plus - these folks are out there fighting for our country - their votes should count. It's a tragedy that they don't even get their ballots. I always wonder about early voters, etc - what happens if you have to be out of town for work on the day your primary occurs or if you are too sick to go cast your ballot - seems like there should be a better tech savvy way to do it if you need to. I do understand that there are security risks involved, but it just seems like you should be able to go certify yourself at the county recorder's office or something with your id and then have a secure pin or something to log-in to the system with.
Things Your Boss Notices
Service Dog For Soldier With PTSD
Tips For Using LinkedIn
High School Team at SpaceX Hyperloop Competition
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds