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Monday, August 3, 2009

Alabama veterans support military voting legislation

The Alabama Council of Chapters of the Military Officers Association of America passed a resolution earlier this year calling on the Alabama Legislature to pass HB 711, which would have made voting for military members easier.

The Legislature failed to pass the bill, due in large part to some last minute political maneuvering and the addition of what many considered and unrelated amendment.

Now the Council of Chapters has sent a letter to each Alabama state senator expressing their concern with the handling of the bill. Each chapter has signed the letter in support of HB 711.

"We have been given to understand that a single Senator helped derail passage of the bill in the Senate by attaching a politically expedient amendment to it. This caused the bill to be referred to committee where it died.

"While the actions of this Senator concern us, we are especially upset that the Senate as a whole and each senator individually did not deem this matter important enough to promptly fix the problem and get it passed as other bills were at the last minute.

"How could protecting Alabama's servicmen and women's right to vote not be at the top of every legislator's list of problems needing fixing?

"The Alabama Council of Chapters of the Military Officers Association of America has thousands of members throughout the state. Our purpose here is to let you know that we will hold each of you personally responsible for the prompt and successful passage of this bill, or similar legislation, during the next legislative session. Our servicemen and women, particularly those deployed in harm's way, are important to us and depend upon us at home to see to the protection of their rights, including their right to vote.

"We urge you to make this a top priority. Nothing less will do. We will be watching."

Secretary of State Beth Chapman and her office have been pushing this bill for several years and have worked with other states, federal agencies and global voting organizations to draft the legislation. Chapman said earlier this year that she was disappointed the bill wasn't passed during this session, since that means the expanded voting options can't be implemented in time for the 2010 gubernatorial election, but that she plans to support the bill again next session and expects it to pass. If it does, the additional voting options will be in place for the next presidential election.

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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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