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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Military voting passes House

HB 711 has passed the House by an 89-3 vote.

Now the bill that expands voting options for military members and overseas citizens heads to the Senate.

Secretary of State Beth Chapman said, "We've come a long way."

Chapman has headed Gov. Bob Riley's task force on military and overseas voting, which has been meeting for the last year to develop this legislation. The committee includes election officials, court clerks, military members, lawmakers and others.

"Its just one of those moments for me as Secretary of State that I have to pinch myself and say, 'Has this really happened?'"

If the bill passes the Senate, as Chapman expects to happen, the bill would create one of the nation's first electronic voting programs.

The bill would establish five methods of requesting ballots -- mail, e-mail, fax, secure transmission (kiosks) and commercial carriers. Ballots could be returned in four ways -- mail, fax, secure electronic transmission and commercial carriers.

"There's so many days that people beat up on the legislature and sometimes its justified and sometimes its not, but when a day like this occurs and they pass something monumental that's not just great for the state but the nation, you just have to take your hat off and say thank you," Chapman said.

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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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