National Summit Participants Praise New Ballot as a Solution to ContinuingProblems for Americans Away from Home Who Want to VoteWashington, D.C. – An estimated six million Americans who are members of themilitary or live overseas have a new way to ensure their vote for presidentcounts this November, according to experts speaking at a high-level summiton military and overseas voters. Attended by members of Congress,secretaries of state and other election officials, “Democracy at a Distance:A Summit to Make Voting Work for Military and Overseas Voters” was convenedby the Pew Center on the States, in collaboration with the JEHT Foundation.At the summit, Pew, the Overseas Vote Foundation, JEHT and Bear Code (aVermont company that builds custom online software) launched a new onlinetool that allows voters to complete the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot(FWAB) more easily and with fewer errors. This tool can be used byAmericans covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee VotingAct who have requested an absentee ballot from election officials but havenot yet received it.The need to help military and overseas voters is supported by a newbipartisan Tarrance/Lake poll commissioned by the Pew Center on the Statesand released at the summit. It found 96% of Americans believe it’simportant that these voters get the chance to participate and vote in U.S.elections. The poll results also show that 81% of Americans favor creatinga uniform national set of rules for military and overseas voters.The new FWAB tool, available at www.overseasvotefoundation.org(link is external), provides animmediate solution for registered voters whose ballots are late or lost intransit. The site offers easy access to the “Vote-Print-Mail” system.”Military and overseas voters do not share an equal opportunity to vote,”said Michael Caudell-Feagan, director of Make Voting Work, a project of thePew Center on the States. “According to research from the U.S. ElectionAssistance Commission, only one-third of the nearly one million ballotsmailed to these voters were cast or counted in the 2006 general election.FWAB is a powerful tool for these voters.””It is unacceptable in this day and age that administrative hurdles shouldimpede the counting of overseas military and civilian votes,” said NicoleGordon, vice president of the JEHT Foundation, which has supported theOverseas Vote Foundation in efforts to partner with states to facilitate theregistration process for overseas voters. “The launch of the FWAB tool is asignificant step in easing and modernizing this outdated process.”The FWAB tool works by matching users’ 9-digit zip code for their U.S.residence to their voting district. The system automatically presentscandidate lists for federal races in one’s district. Voters select theircandidates for office and then download, print, sign and send the FWAB intothe local election office.”Through our help desk, I’ve heard thousands of stories from voters who havebeen frustrated during presidential campaigns as they anxiously waited fortheir absentee ballots to arrive,” said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, Presidentand CEO of Overseas Vote Foundation. “The new FWAB tool replaces that worrywith an immediate, user-friendly, online and secure process that overseasand military voters from all 50 states and the District of Columbia can use.”For more information about the challenges facing overseas voters, visitpewcenteronthestates.org and download “Military and Overseas Citizen VotingProject,” an overview developed by the Pew Center on the States.The new FWAB tool, as well as the entire Overseas Vote Foundation system,was developed by Bear Code over the course of the last year.
What is a Jug Rock? It is a sandstone formation outside of Shoals, Indiana, that actually looks like a jug. It is located on Highway 231, and it became the mascot name for the Shoals High School basketball team.Normally, Shoals makes little noise on the Indiana basketball scene. This year, however, the Jug Rocks are having one of their better seasons. At the time of this writing, they were 14-8. In their previous 3 seasons, under their present coach, they had only won 21 games.On a personal note, Batesville resident, Barb Dunker, is quite familiar with this school system. Her husband Willis (better known as Dunk) was their head basketball coach at one time.Except for their unusual rock formation, the town is better known for their gypsum productions.