About 40 percent of ballots sent to America's military members stationed abroad are lost or don't make it back in time to be counted, says state Sen. Gayle Slossberg.
That surprising level of what amounts to disenfranchisement is unacceptable, especially for voters who are putting their lives on the line.
Ms. Slossberg, D-Milford, and Rep. Russ Morin, D-Wethersfield, have a common-sense fix for the problem: Allow the ballots of U.S. military serving overseas to be returned to Connecticut by e-mail or fax, as is done in more than two dozen other states. Connecticut should climb on the bandwagon.
Now, state law provides that absentee ballots can be sent electronically as well as through the mails to military voters and other registered U.S. citizens living abroad — but must be returned by traditional mail. Under the Slossberg-Morin bill, the overseas voter could still opt to send a voted ballot home by snail mail but could also choose either e-mail or fax.
Military personnel in 28 other states can avail themselves of the fax option, and in 20 of those states they can return voted ballots by e-mail. Other states are considering it.
Connecticut's chief election official, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, has "some concerns" about the Slossberg proposal. In testimony at the bill's hearing, Ms. Merrill's deputy, James Spallone, talked of "the vulnerability of electronic systems to corruption of the voting process."
The secretary of the state's office will instead work with the Connecticut Bar Association to tailor its own solution, which "might be before your committee this session," Mr. Spallone said. That doesn't show enough urgency.
The Office of Legislative Research issued a report based on a questionnaire sent to all 28 states that permit return of ballots by fax or e-mail. Uniformly, the returns showed that overseas voters love it and that there wasn't a whiff of fraud.
What's not to like?