Charleston, W.Va. – Some West Virginia military voters will soon have an easier way to cast a ballot while serving overseas.
A pilot program is being tested that will allow not only members of the military, but other citizens living overseas, the opportunity to vote online.
House Bill 406 passed the Legislature unanimously Thursday during the special session.
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.
“This is a comprehensive plan to make sure our service men and women and people overseas can exercise their rights as Americans,” Tennant said. “They will be exercising the rights that they are fighting to preserve.”
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. Tennant expects adding an online voting option will increase turnout in 2010.
The pilot project is in response to the federal legislation, the Military and Overseas Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) that calls for a better form of electronic voting for the military.
The West Virginia bill is now awaiting Governor Manchin’s signature to become law.