Overseas voter bill sinks

Published 10:53 pm Friday, May 15, 2009

A bill that would have allowed military personnel and their families overseas to vote online has died in the Alabama Senate.

Friday was the last day of the Alabama Legislature’s 2009 regular session, meaning that the bill will have to go through the entire legislative process again next year in order to become law.

State Rep. Jimmy Martin, who sponsored the bill, said the senate added “bad amendments” to the bill.

The first amendment was to prevent the transfer of federal campaign funds to candidates of state offices.

“Both the Black Caucus and the Republican Caucus were against it,” Martin said. “The Black Caucus didn’t want to obscure Artur Davis’ ability to transfer funds.”

The other amendment provided that the bill would go into effect immediately instead of 90 days after passage.

“[The bill] would still have to be cleared through the Justice Department,” Martin explained.

Martin’s voter bill, which gained much support from the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office, would have expedited the voting process for military voters and their families in select areas overseas through the Internet.

Currently, overseas voters who file absentee ballots often miss the deadline because of the time it takes to mail the ballots.

Martin said he plans to re-enter the bill next year.