Charleston, W.Va. – Some members of the military and citizens living overseas will soon
have a quicker, easier, and more secure way to cast their absentee ballot.
|Gov. Joe Manchin signs the Online Voting Pilot Program into law December 3 at the Capitol.
Governor Joe Manchin signed the Online Voting Pilot Program Bill into law this afternoon at the State Capitol. Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant’s office drafted the legislation.
Manchin and Tennant were joined by Lt. Col. David Rabel and several other members of the Air National Guard’s 130th Airlift Wing, stationed at Charleston’s Yeager Airport. Monongalia County Clerk Carye Blaney and Jackson County Clerk Jeff Waybright also attended the bill signing.
Counties that choose to participate will set up an online system where the military and overseas voter receives a security code to go online to a secure website and access a ballot. Once the person has cast their ballot that vote is then transmitted back to the county to a secure computer.
Not only is this system secure but it ensures the privacy of the voter and their vote.
Currently the voting system is costly and inefficient. The pilot program gives them better access.
Tennant thanked members of the 130th for their service, and said it is up to elections officials to make it easier for them to cast their absentee ballot when they are overseas defending the American right to vote.
“These men and women are overseas defending the right to vote, and yet it was so difficult for them to cast an absentee ballot,” Tennant said. “That had to be changed. This way, members of the military can cast their ballot easily and more securely. And they save time and money by not having to mail their ballot all the way home.”
There are more than 42,000 West Virginians overseas who are eligible to vote absentee ballots. In the 2008 general election, only about 4,200 absentee ballots were cast. The pilot project is in response to the federal legislation, the Military and Overseas Voting Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) that calls for a better form of electronic voting for the military.