Massachusetts: Military Ballots No Longer Secret | The Valley Patriot

We ask the men and women serving overseas to make the ultimate sacrifice, to protect the rights you and I take for granted. And how do we thank them? – by asking them to waive their right to a secret ballot. Under MA General Laws: Chapter 54, Section 95: “… Email or facsimile transmissions of a federal write-in absentee ballot shall include a completed form approved by the Federal Voting Assistance Program, or any successor program, declaring that the voter voluntarily waives the right to a secret ballot….” Allowing overseas citizens the option of electronic voting, assuming they have access to it, was the state’s solution to our September primary being too close to the November election (see May 2014 Massachusetts Military: The REAL Disenfranchised). Nine other states and the District of Columbia, that had similar conflicts, have changed the dates of their primaries. But despite repeated opportunities, politicians on Beacon Hill refuse to do so, seemingly because they oppose extending their campaign season. State Senator Jamie Eldridge, disagrees with those colleagues, and supports moving the primary to late spring or early summer. “As it is now, whoever wins the primary has only 6 weeks before the general election.”

Massachusetts has a history of callousness when it comes to military voting, even to the point of non-compliance with federal law. The Uniformed Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) was enacted in 1986 to ensure that military members and other overseas citizens have the opportunity to vote in federal elections. In 2008, the Department of Justice threatened to sue the Commonwealth, for failure to provide data reflecting how many overseas voters were able to successfully vote. A settlement was reached with Secretary of State, William Galvin, who bears full responsibility for providing proof of compliance with federal election laws.

Malden’s City Councilor at Large, David D’Arcangelo, who is challenging Galvin for the seat in November, said this: “The Secretary of State’s office has been under the same leadership for 20 years and as a result the policies and procedures have not kept up with the times. When I am elected Secretary I will ensure that each and every vote from our brave service men and women is counted with the integrity of our voters here at home.”

Full Article: MA Military: Ballots No Longer Secret | The Valley Patriot.

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