Bysiewicz Slams PEW Report On Military Voting

Update 1/16:PEW Director responds, defends report. Doug Chapin letter to the editor in New Haven Register:<read>

The 90-day period referenced by Bysiewicz is available only when service members request a special, blank ballot. As we note in our report, special absentee ballots are not an adequate solution…Bysiewicz is wrong in her assertion that Pew recommends electronic remote voting. Our report repeatedly cites privacy and security concerns associated with returning a completed ballot using electronic means. We do recommend providing overseas voters with a blank, printed ballot by fax, e-mail or other electronic means. This raises no security concerns and allows more time to complete the voting process — a conclusion shared by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology.

********Original Report*******
Secretary Bysiewicz slammed a PEW report on Military voting citing  incorrect information on Connecticut. The New Haven Register has the story: Study slams state over military voting <read>

The study, by The Pew Center on the States, takes Connecticut to task for sending out absentee ballots after the date necessary for military voters to meet all required deadlines. The study in all 50 states and the District of Columbia examined the process that military personnel stationed overseas have to go through to vote.

Overseas military voters from Connecticut can fax their ballot requests, but the state requires the ballots to be transmitted to and from voters by postal mail, according to the report. Because the time needed for ballots to travel by mail takes longer than the time Connecticut provides in its process, the statemilitary voters abroad would need 13 additional days to have enough time to vote…

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz responded angrily to the report, saying that Pew researchers simply didn’t do their homework.

“If they had gone to the trouble of calling my office, they would have known that there is a 90-day period during which military personnel from the state can request a ballot and send it back, Bysiewicz said. The 45-day period cited in the report is for civilians who are overseas at the time of an election.

Bysiewicz said her office has a section of its Web site devoted to how state residents who are overseas serving in the military can go about voting. And now that the General Assembly has begun its 2009 legislative session, Bysiewicz said she is seeking to have legislation introduced that would make blank ballots available to overseas military personnel in January every year.

“While many candidates for office have not declared at that point, it would allow military personnel to take their time, research who is running and write in their names,” Bysiewicz said.

Byseiwicz statement on Internet voting:

“There are significant security issues surrounding electronic remote voting that need to be overcome,” she said. “Until there is a technology like digital imaging or retinal scanning that is widely available that can identify an individual that is casting a ballot via electronic remote voting, I don’t think youre going to see this kind of voting method used.”

We completely agree with Secretary Bysiewicz on Internet voting. Her statement is consistent with the Computer Technologists Statement on Internet Voting, which I have signed. <read>.


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