Thursday, September 30, 2004

So I wasn't paranoid! U.S. Government Blocks Federal Voting Site from Expat American's

O.K. For the past year. I've been told to go to www.fvap.gov for information on my absentee ballot. I could never get the site to come up. Today I find out why. I was right. Is there nothing these sick creatures won't do? Jon
P.S. I can get on today.....

From: Mother Jones
September 23, 2004
(Dis)Counting Overseas Votes
Full Story
We're continually being told that every vote counts, but if you're an American overseas, don't count on the U.S. government to protect your right to vote. On Monday, the International Herald Tribune reported that the Defense Department, citing hacking concerns, has been blocking its Federal Voting Assistance Program website -- the site that both overseas civilian and military voters use to register -- to users of, among other major Internet Service Providers (ISPs), British Telecom and France's Wanadoo.

Following an uproar among Democrats, the Pentagon issued a rapid reversal of the Internet blockade on Wednesday. This was remarkable, not least because the block seems to have been in place for months, if not years. However, the Pentagon continues to refuse to explain why the blockade was in place in to begin with, and now claims it had been left in effect "inadvertently."

Given that the civilian overseas vote is predicted to go in Senator John Kerry's favor, Democrats were quick to cry foul, questioning the Defense Department's motives. It is estimated that there are around 6 million American civilians and 500,000 military troops overseas. According to a recent Zogby poll, Americans who hold a passport favor Kerry 58 percent compared to 35 percent who favor Bush, and requests for overseas ballot are way up this election. The military vote is considered to be overwhelmingly Republican and it is military, as well as civilian, overseas ballots that have been credited for Bush's narrow victory in Florida in 2000. With the memories of that voting debacle still fresh and an equally close election this year, overseas voters are receiving much more attention than usual. (See "Every (Offshore) Vote Counts")



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