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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Absentee Ballots From Afghanistan Lost?

By Susan Duclos

The Army Times reports that there appears  be a number of absentee ballots mailed from Afghanistan that cannot be found. These are ballots that were mailed in September and still have not reached their destination to be counted for the 2012 presidential race.

A contractor who sent an email to Military Times said his county elections clerk in Texas had not received his ballot or his co-worker’s ballot by Thursday, although they mailed the ballots Sept. 27. “The Bagram Airfield Army post office placed Express mail tracking numbers on them, placed the ballots in an orange ‘Ballot Box,’ and probably in a dedicated mail bag.

“If our ballots got lost, how many other ballots are lost as well?” he wrote.

Military Postal Service Agency officials are working with the U.S. Postal Service to resolve the issue, said James Clark, chief of the operations division of the Military Postal Service Agency. It’s unknown whether other ballots may have been affected.

The contractor stated the tracking information shows their ballots are still in Bahrain, and have been sitting there since Sept. 30.

However, DoD spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan said to her knowledge, the ballots were not stuck in Bahrain.

She said DoD has verified that all absentee ballots at Bahrain have "departed the Bahrain Military Postal Facility on a [U.S. Postal Service]-contracted air carrier destined for a U.S.P.S. international service center in the United States."

U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Katina Fields confirmed that her agency is working with military postal service officials to determine what happened to the ballots.

Texas will accept absentee ballots mailed from outside the U.S. until Nov. 12, if they are postmarked by Nov. 6.

Military and overseas voters who mailed their ballots by Military Express Mail can check the whereabouts of their ballot using the tracking number and the U.S. Postal Service website. If there’s been plenty of time for the ballot to get there and it hasn’t, voters can mail a backup ballot, the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Local election officials have mechanisms in place so that they will only count one ballot.

 H/T Hyscience and Doug Ross.