Marines

New program brings voting a click away;

11 Jun 2003 | Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Ohmen

Camp Lejeune Marines, sailors and their family members may be able to vote online in 2004 with a new program initiated through the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

The program will showcase new technological initiatives with the Secure Electronic Registration and Voting Experiment.  The project will improve voting poll access and make online voting available for service and family members residing inside and outside the United States and other U.S. citizens serving abroad, according to a June 2 Department of Defense news release.

Mail can be slow for service members aboard ship or deployed overseas, so trying to go through the absentee ballot process can take too long to be feasible, said 1st Lt. James E. Crabtree, voting officer, 5th Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.

Thousands of service members and U.S. citizens who can access a Windows-based computer with Internet access will have the opportunity to vote almost instantaneously from anywhere in the world using the new program, according to the DOD release.

When someone thinks of the Internet and voting, one of the biggest concerns is security, which is one of the driving factors of the SERVE system design, said Polli Brunelli, Federal Voting Assistance Program director, in the release.

"Once the Marines at Camp Lejeune understand the program is secure and it is easy to use, it will be a great program for the Marines to get involved in," said Crabtree.

The SERVE's efficiency will encourage more Marines and sailors to vote while deployed or stationed outside their home state, said Crabtree.

Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Washington are the states expressing interest in using the program to allow residents to vote in general elections, state primaries and the presidential election, according to the DOD release.

Brunelli said he encourages eligible uniformed service and family members and U.S. citizens overseas to use SERVE in 2004 at the SERVE Web site, www.serveusa.gov. Program organizers will update jurisdictions as states and counties confirm their participation.

Additional information on the Federal Voting Assistance Program is available at http://www.fvap.gov/.