Secretary of State Kemp Delivers on Promise to Georgia's Military and Overseas Voters
Atlanta - Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp today delivered on a promise to the State's 200,000 military and overseas voters as Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law two bills, House Bill 665 and House Bill 1073, which increase their opportunity to participate in Georgia elections.
Governor Perdue and Secretary Kemp were joined by HQ Command Coordinator Otis Womack, Maj. Helen Duggan, Sfc. Michael Cornelius, Sgt. Irvin Balfour, Sr., Spc. Roger Hillegas and Capt. Nicholas Williams from Fort McPherson; State Representatives Mark Hamilton, John Meadows, and Bob Bryant; State Senators Jim Butterworth and John Douglas; Colonel Bill Cain, Deputy Executive Director, Georgia Military Affairs Coordinating Committee; Doug Chapin, Director of Election Initiatives for the Pew Center on the States; and Forsyth County Board of Elections member Gary Smith.
Secretary Kemp Stated, "One ballot cast by a member of our military that is not counted due to slow mail service or a missed deadline is one too many. These bills increase Georgia's commitment to our men and women in uniform, who fight to protect our Constitution and our freedoms, by providing them additional opportunities to vote and fully participate in our elections."
House Bill 665 establishes a pilot voting project that allows overseas and military voters to cast their ballots and have them received by local election officials in time to be counted. One method is to establish kiosks where voters cast their ballot, and the ballot is transmitted to the Secretary of State's office or the voter's county via a secure online network. Currently, Georgia's overseas and military voters may only submit their absentee ballots by mail.
HB 1073 strengthens Georgia's compliance with the federal Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act - or MOVE Act.
Among the features in this bill:
- Absentee ballots must be sent to overseas voters 45 days prior to a general primary or general election,
- Increased access to absentee ballots for an entire election cycle, and
- Allows absentee ballots to be emailed to military and overseas voters.
Brian Kemp was sworn in as Secretary of State in January 2010. Among the office's wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives and the Capitol Museum.