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State Officials Talking with DOJ About Overseas Voting

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MADISON, Wis. (WTAQ) - State officials are negotiating with the U.S. Justice Department to make sure those overseas can vote in November.

Last week, the federal government refused to give Wisconsin a waiver from a new law that requires November ballots to be sent to troops and civilians overseas at least 45 days before the election.

The state said it could not make the deadline, because it would still be canvassing votes from the September 14th primary – and it could use faxes and e-mails to get ballots overseas in plenty of time for November.

But the Defense Department still didn’t believe there would be enough time to get the ballots processed and returned in time to be counted. The Government Accountability Board said the defense agency failed to recognize Wisconsin’s record of, “exemplary service to military and overseas voters.”

And board spokesman Reid Magney said his agency is working with the Justice Department on other measures to make sure the state complies with the spirit of the new federal law. He assured those overseas that they will not be denied the right to vote.

Magney said the state sent about 10,000 ballots overseas in the 2008 presidential election. Wisconsin was among 4 states which had waivers denied. Five others had their requests granted.

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