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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Short ballot a solution for military voters

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The difficulty faced by active-duty military personnel in casting their ballots appears to be a case of the perfect being the enemy of the good ("Obama frags military voters," Comment & Analysis, Monday). While it would be great if each service member received the exact same ballot as his neighbors back home, waiting for his local ballot to be finalized results in many service members being unable to receive and then cast their ballots in time for their local boards of election to include them in the vote count.

Perhaps this problem could be averted if a short ballot were offered, whereby the individual service member could opt to fill out a ballot that would include entries for just the top offices, such as those of president, vice president, U.S. senator, U.S. representative, state governor, state lieutenant governor and state attorney general. This would enable the troops to get their ballots earlier. Once the ballots were filled out, they could be sent to a single polling station in the soldiers' U.S. congressional districts rather than to the individual boards of election, again speeding up the process.

Those who choose the short ballot would lose the opportunity to voice a preference on local bond issues and city council members, etc., but at least they would have a voice in the most important decisions to be made by the electorate. Service members who prefer to vote on the full ballot could continue with the current system.


Washington, D.C.

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