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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Letter from Secretary Chapman

A letter I received in my inbox today:

As Alabama’s Secretary of State, I want to ask for your help in encouraging the Alabama Senate to adopt and pass House Bill 711 which provides members of our military with a more accessible, efficient and effective means by which to cast their votes while serving abroad.

I had the privilege of chairing the Alabama Military and Overseas Task Force which worked for more than a year researching, investigating and proposing such legislation. After a few additions to the bill and with the leadership and sponsorship of Representative Jimmy Martin of Chilton County, it passed on an 89-3 vote in the House of Representatives.

Now this valuable legislation lies in the hands of the Alabama Senate. Please call your Senators today and ask them to ensure that this legislation is placed on the calendar for a vote. This is imperative, as there are only seven days left for the Senate to meet.

This legislation would allow Alabama to use other means in addition the U.S. Postal Service including fax, secure electronic transmission and commercial carriers such as Fed Ex or UPS to send ballots. The system would provide for a paper ballot trail for auditing purposes. These changes would provide the time needed for our military members to cast their votes and return them in time to guarantee that they would be counted which has not been the case in the past.

Alabama has the highest percentage per capita of National Guardsmen and Reservists deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, with almost 2000 more deploying in the very near future.

It goes without saying that members of our military deserve the right to practice what they provide, protect and preserve – the sacred right to vote. Providing them with anything less would be disenfranchising them all; and that is not America’s or Alabama’s way of treating our military. Let’s prove it.

Please call 1-800-274-VOTE today and ask to be transferred to the Senate offices. Leave a message for your Senator to help the military have a more accessible and guaranteed way to cast their votes while serving our great nation abroad.

Beth Chapman
Secretary of State


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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 

As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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