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Elections official attends summit in Germany
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Forsyth County News
From America to Estonia, creating a fair way to vote overseas has become a global challenge, according to one local expert.

The Overseas Vote Foundation has been working to solve the problem and recently hosted its fourth annual Uniformed and Overseas Citizen Absentee Voting Act Summit.

Among the many guest speakers and panelists at the summit in Munich, Germany, was Gary J. Smith, chairman of the Forsyth County Board of Elections. Smith served as moderator of a panel dealing with election policy indexes.

“I was pretty excited about my program,” Smith said.

The event covered technology, research and initiatives in overseas voting, and what Smith called a heated debate on the pros and cons of Internet voting.

“That was a lively thing,” he said. “I learned a lot from that — listening to people who were concerned about it, and people who were for it.”

Personnel from all branches of the American military, as well as several from various international militaries, were on a panel discussing “what they call voting at the front line,” which Smith said is focused strictly on the military voter.

Another group discussed civilians living and working overseas, and how they can benefit from overseas initiatives.

While no formal action was taken, Smith said the event was a step in the right direction.

“The people that went back home are pretty powerful people. They’re going to be sitting down and getting involved in making improvements on how you can make it even easier for people to vote,” he said. “From my perspective, I think we’re doing something very positive to help the overseas voters.”