Counting All Votes

By Andrew Kirshenbaum
Published September 12th 2004 in Kansas City Star

Permitting Missouri service members to vote for president via e-mail while overseas (9/7, A-1, “Right to vote vs. right to secrecy”), raises the question: Why can't this apply to all Americans overseas?

The answer is simple. States, not the federal government, set voting policies and procedures, such as ballot design (remember the infamous Florida butterfly ballot), polling hours, registration requirements and now untested absentee voting methods. This is the result of our Constitution's failure to provide a federally protected right to vote.

Fortunately, there is a bill in Congress to amend the Constitution and establish an individual right to vote. It would lead to greater uniformity in voting procedures so that all votes are treated alike regardless of where you are.

Andrew Kirshenbaum
Center for Voting and Democracy, 
Takoma Park, Md.