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Military, Overseas Voters’ Ballots Sent As Voting Gets Underway

Army Pfc. Jerome Clunis, from the 94th Chaplain Detachment, reads an absentee...

Photo by Sgt. Jermaine Jackson / U.S. Army

Above: Army Pfc. Jerome Clunis, from the 94th Chaplain Detachment, reads an absentee ballot while in the Post Exchange on July 29, 2020, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

Voting season is officially underway, with new rules designed to boost turnout among military and overseas voters.

San Diego is one of only 11 counties in the country with more than 10,000 overseas ballots.

More than 13,000 overseas and deployed military voters were sent ballots by the deadline Saturday, according to Michael Vu, registrar of voters. The earliest ballots to go out this election season.

“And the reason why is transit time in getting them their ballot. And of course, the other reason is giving them sufficient time to vote and get it through whatever postal system of where they are at,” he said.

The 45-day window is a federal deadline, as part of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. Overseas voters can still request a ballot. Federal law also allows overseas and military voters to fax their ballot back to the county. Voters can also track their ballots to see when they arrive and if they have been counted.

“They can simply call us up or they can email us or they can go online and find out if their ballot was received and accepted by our office,” Vu said.

New this year, voters in San Diego County can sign up for email or text alerts.

Overseas ballots typically have a lower rate of return than other mail-in ballots in San Diego County. Until this year, ballots would only be counted if they arrived within the days after the election. Nationally, the law changed in time for this election, to allow overseas ballots to arrive up to 17 days after the election, as long as they are postmarked by election day.

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Aired: September 21, 2020 | Transcript

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Steve Walsh
Military Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover military and veterans issues for KPBS and American Homefront, a partnership of public radio stations and NPR. I cover issues ranging from delpoying troops along the California border to efforts to lower suicide rates among veterans.

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