BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A measure written by a local assemblywoman that would give military personnel overseas more voting rights has cleared its first hurdle.
Assembly Bill 269 would allow the ballots of military service members and other Californians overseas to be counted up to three days after Election Day, so long as the ballots are postmarked by that day.
“Californians in our nation’s military serve and sacrifice to ensure that their family, friends, and neighbors maintain the right to free and open elections. These selfless men and women deserve to have their voices heard at the ballot box,” said Shannon Grove of the measure.
Current California law requires that mailed ballots be received by county election officials no later than close of Election Day. But those in the military face inconsistent conditions from day-to-day, which often causes slow mail service. These circumstances make it more difficult for their ballots to be counted.
The measure would also ease restrictions on other Californians living abroad, including those engaged in business ventures, serving on religious missions, or performing humanitarian efforts.
“It is absolutely necessary that the votes of patriots serving in our armed forces be counted,” stated Grove. “This is a simple measure that will enable them to do so, and I am pleased that my colleagues recognize the importance of making sure these individuals are not disenfranchised.” Assemblywoman Shannon Grove is a veteran of the U.S. Army and was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany.