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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dean Urdahl (R)

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OVERSEAS VOTING MADE EASIER

Tuesday, August 05, 2008
To the editor: Here’s some information about a new Web site that will make it easier for military personnel and Minnesotans overseas to vote more easily this fall. The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State has created a Web site that allows service members to receive a ballot via e-mail or fax. Absentee ballots still will need to be printed and returned by mail, but officials say the Web site will process ballots twice as fast as the traditional paper system. The Pentagon and the Minnesota Secretary of State report only about 3 percent of the Minnesotans who were eligible to vote from overseas in 2006 exercised that right. That is a bit disheartening, but the new site should help bring about stronger voter participation abroad. Persons who benefit include eligible Minnesota voters who are in the military, their spouses and dependents, as well as civilians who are temporarily or permanently overseas during the fall primary (Sept. 9) and/or general election (Nov. 4). This includes government workers, students, members of faith-based organizations, and employees of private firms. This new Web site is the product of recent legislation that unanimously passed the Minnesota House. An estimated 90,000 Minnesotans could be eligible to vote this fall. Voters can log on to https://minnesota.overseasvotefoundation.org/ to request a ballot. The page has good instructions for navigating, but a help desk is available if you need it. If you know of anyone else who might benefit from this, please pass word along to them. I encourage anyone who can benefit from this service to visit the site and request their ballot right away. Sincerely, Dean Urdahl State Representative
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