Bill helps country’s bravest vote

Published 10:52 pm Friday, January 15, 2010

American soldiers overseas fighting for our rights should be the first ones guaranteed those same rights.

Sadly, that hasn’t always been the case. Overseas voters from Alabama, including soldiers, have had problems voting in past elections because the only method provided by law was for ballots to be mailed through the U.S. Postal Service. Too often, ballots wouldn’t be received in time.

But the Constitution and Elections Committee of the Alabama House of Representatives on Friday unanimously passed a bill sponsored by local representative Jimmy Martin that would allow for four additional methods of receiving ballots: commercial carriers like FedEx and UPS, a secure fax line, e-mail, and secure electronic transmission. Overseas voters would then be able to return their ballots using the same methods.

The bill will now go before the House for a vote of all members.

“We are excited our legislation passed the committee [Friday],” Secretary of State Beth Chapman said in a release. “Committee Chairman Jimmy Martin of Clanton has been a tireless advocate for this cause. I am thankful to him and the entire membership of the committee for their support of this very important bill.”

It is a tribute to our county that a local public servant, Martin, would be such an influential proponent of such a worthwhile cause.