US overseas voting hot topic at Madrid Conference

14th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

14 November 2007, Madrid - In the wake of the US 2004 elections, complicated by new voting machines, alleged voter intimidation and hanging chads in a halted Florida recount, rumors about problems with absentee ballots began swirling, adding more heat to an already fiery political frying pan.

14 November 2007

Madrid - In the wake of the US 2004 elections, complicated by new voting machines, alleged voter intimidation and hanging chads in a halted Florida recount, rumors about problems with absentee ballots began swirling, adding more heat to an already fiery political frying pan.

Al Gore's abdication effectively turned down the flame in 2004, but three years later, these issues are resurfacing due to the results of a report issued in September by the US Election Assistance Commission. The survey concluded that only one-third of all absentee ballots requested for the 2004 election were actually cast or counted.

The explanations for why approximately 666,000 of the one million absentee ballots requested never made it into the official tallies range from voter apathy to technical snares within decentralized, state-by-state voting methods, misfilings and procedural errors on the part of misinformed voters.

Perhaps most troubling is the fact that under the Overseas Citizens Absentee Act, of the six million oversees Americans eligible to vote (two-thirds of whom are non-military), "less than 16.5 percent sought to participate in the 2006 election."

These are numbers and issues that will be addressed by ALLAMO (the Alliance of American Organizations Iberia), in their annual conference held this Friday in Madrid.

The pitch is simple: "ALLAMO is providing a platform to enable as many people as possible to realize what they have to do to be sure their votes are counted," according to Graham Shanley, long-term Spanish resident and president of ALLAMO.

Susan Dzieduszyckya-Suinat, president of the Overseas Voting Foundation (OVF), the non-partisan group which has recently released new online voter services for overseas Americans, will be highlighted on the program.

Along with helping voters to register to vote on the spot, the annual conference will also provide non-resident Americans with unique opportunities to be informed by sector specialists on issues directly affecting them, from social security to tax and consular matters.

The event, open to all Americans, will take place this Friday at Madrid's Suites Foxa Hotel 32 from 10.30am until 6pm. The registration fee for the event is €50, which includes lunch and reception at the prestigious Club Financiero. OVF web: http://www.overseasvotefoundation.org

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ KELLY RAMUNDO 2007]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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