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Voting measure signed into law
Hamilton pleased with legislation
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Forsyth County News
Georgia is making a MOVE toward what officials hope will be more accessible elections as Gov. Sonny Perdue signed two bills into law Wednesday.

The first is aimed at increasing compliance with the federal Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act, or MOVE. The second will test electronic voting overseas.

District 23 state Rep. Mark Hamilton authored the latter, which will establish through the secretary of state’s office a pilot program that enables military personnel and civilians to cast an electronic ballot from abroad.

“I was pleased that the governor signed HB 665,” said Hamilton, a Republican from Cumming. “[It] will provide the next step in allowing our brave men and women serving overseas in the military to exercise their privilege of voting.”

Secretary of State Brian Kemp said in a statement that the state’s 200,000 military and overseas voters will benefit from the two bills.

“One ballot cast by a member of our military that is not counted due to slow mail service, or a missed deadline is too many,” Kemp said.

“These bills increase Georgia’s commitment to our men and women in uniform, who fight to protect our constitution and our freedoms, by providing them additional opportunities to vote.”

As part of the MOVE Act, overseas ballots must be sent at least 45 days before a general primary or general election.

The law also allows for absentee ballots to be sent electronically to military and overseas voters.

Hamilton said the pilot program likely will not be implemented until the 2012 election.

The pilot program expires shortly after that, at which point the secretary of state must submit a report detailing results from the program.

But before the program can begin, the state must secure funding and decide on the best electronic ballot method.

“I am confident that with the passage of this legislation, the secretary of state’s office will be able to fully implement the pilot project for the 2012 election and we will be able to implement the process permanently by the 2014 election,” Hamilton said.

“I have repeatedly said that if we can get them a bullet, we should be able to get them a ballot. We are truly getting close to making this a reality.”