Protecting Military Voting: A Blue Star Mom Speaks Out
A military mom describes her experience fighting the bureaucracy to ensure that her deployed son receives his ballot in time to participate in elections back home.
October 25, 2010 - 10:24 am
It was difficult enough waiting to hear that he had made it safely to his new posting. Now, I had to deal with an administrative person questioning a form we were both looking at (fortunately, I had made a copy of the form so I had proof of the original request). The woman eventually stated that she believed the mail ballot could be sent at the earliest date, but that I would need to send my son’s email address so he could verify the information himself.
Ugh. I stated that a) he does not have a computer and b) and he does not have access to the internet — except when he waits in line for 2-3 hours and then he gets only 15- 20 minutes of computer time, which he likes to spend on Facebook chatting with friends. Facebook is the only place where I have been able to communicate with my son. Not through email or through the mail — he does not write letters, cards, or send photos, etc. His communication is brief, never more than a few words or letters like “IDK” or “O.”
I sent the email like they requested with the APO address to email@example.com on August 17, and followed up after a few days to check on the status. I got the “privilege” of talking to the head of the mail ballot department about the request: she said she would send my son an email to check on the request — but that she would check with the secretary of state to see if she can accept the address from me.
My frustration with the system was now beyond belief. I knew the correct forms, and I was not trying to do anything not allowed. I was just trying to have the Ft. Campbell address changed to the APO address! I was about to yell at the lady at this point.
Recently, I called the mail ballot department to check on the status of my son’s mailed ballot and was told that it was mailed on September 17. As far as I know, he has not received it yet, but I have not heard from him in several days.
Had I not known what to do, would he have been sent a ballot? If it had been sent to Ft. Campbell, would it sit in the mail room and not arrive in Afghanistan?
We must do better; we can do better!
PJ Media is asking military voters who had problems getting their ballots to send their stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.