Tags: Florida | Attorney | General: | Include | Military | Ballots

Florida Attorney General: Include Military Ballots

Monday, 20 November 2000 12:00 AM

Republicans had complained that more than 1,400 military ballots were thrown out of Friday's counting because of difficulties with the postmark. Overseas absentee ballots, many of them from military personnel, have broken overwhelmingly for Texas Gov. George W. Bush.

"No man or woman in military service to this nation should have his or her vote rejected solely due to the absence of a postmark," Butterworth said in the letter to the state's 67 county elections supervisors and other canvassing board members. Democrats were criticized over the weekend for aggressively challenging ballots that had no postmark.

Butterworth directed county canvassing boards to count overseas ballots if there is a postmark no later than the Election Day or "if the ballot is signed and dated no later than the date of the election."

On Saturday, retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf said it was "a very sad day in our country" when overseas ballots, many of which came from military personnel abroad, were disqualified this weekend because the envelopes in which they were mailed did not include postmarks.

"These men and women do not have the luxury of getting in their cars and going to the post office to mail their ballots," said Schwarzkopf in a weekend statement.

"They must depend upon a system that takes their ballot directly from their front-line positions on a circuitous route to the ballot box."

The Center for Military Readiness, a public policy group that specializes in military personnel issues, issued a press release Sunday condemning the rejection of so many military ballots.

"Regardless of his own self-interest, the vice president should be defending the rights of military voters, instead of disenfranchising them," said the center.

Many of those rejected overseas ballots were never even opened to see if they were dated inside. The Center for Military Readiness said the ballots cast by military personnel were being treated like junk mail.

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Republicans had complained that more than 1,400 military ballots were thrown out of Friday's counting because of difficulties with the postmark. Overseas absentee ballots, many of them from military personnel, have broken overwhelmingly for Texas Gov. George W. Bush. No...
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Monday, 20 November 2000 12:00 AM
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