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Could Uncounted Military Absentee Ballots Have Swayed the Election to Romney?

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Two days after Americans cast their final ballots for the next president of the United States, an article is circulating around the web that states “Military Absentee Ballots Delivered One Day Late, Would Have Swung [the]Election For Romney“.

It appears the article originated on the ‘The Duffel Blog’, a blog run by a former Marine for the purpose of serving “the men and women of the US Military with a daily dose of military humor, funny military pictures, and faux news.” The blogs ‘About‘ page clearly states it is “in no way, shape, or form, a real news outlet.” And that “[j]ust about everything on this website is satirical in nature.”

While the main stream media outlets across the globe, and in particular the United States as of late, have placed their journalistic ethics into question over the past several years, not one of them have made mention of this new revelation. That is not to say that there is no validity to Duffel’s article, however.

While uncounted absentee military ballots may have made a difference in some counties across the nation, it is not clear if they have not or will not been counted, nor is it clear if there are enough military absentee ballots that could affect the outcome of the election across the board. It is also not clear how many of the service members actually cast a ballot, or even how many were delivered in order for them to express their right to vote.

According to the American Center for Law and Justice, based in Washington, D.C., there was a 70% drop in requests for absentee military ballots since the 2008 presidential election. Even with the mandate passed in 2009 that there are to be voting assistance offices on every military base, the ACLJ found that “50 percent of bases didn’t have an operating voting assistance office” which could “explain why military absentee balloting is down 50 percent or more”, especially in critical swing states such as Virginia, where there was an average 53% drop, and Ohio, where the drop ranged about 70%.

Yesterday, ‘theBlaze’ online news site stated that the 2012 presidential election may not be called until December due to the states of Ohio and Florida having such tight margins that it may trigger provisional ballot recounts.

On November 2, four days before the general election, Army Times posted an article to inform service members on what to do if their ballot was late.

Some ballots, bound for Texas, had been mailed out by service members on September 27, but by early “Friday [Nov. 2], the U.S. Postal Service tracker showed those ballots were still in Bahrain, and had been sitting there since Sept. 30.” However, “DoD spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan said Friday that to her knowledge, ballots were not stuck in Bahrain.”

Army Times also highlights that “[o]nce the ballots reach the U.S., they are the responsibility of the U.S. Postal Service. Until then, they are the responsibility of the Military Postal Service Agency.”

While “Texas will accept absentee ballots mailed from outside the U.S. until Nov. 12, if they are postmarked by Nov. 6,” some states like Florida and Ohio, will accept absentee ballots, postmarked by Nov. 6, until Nov. 16.

In the end, it appears that some military ballots have yet to reach their final destination, and from earlier articles posted by major news sources some ballots may not have reached the intended military service members in order for them to cast their ballots. The exact numbers and whether there are enough to determine a different result in the outcome of the 2012 U.S. Presidential elections, may not ever be known.

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