Overseas voters won't be stopped by Pentagon

Published September 22, 2004 7:10PM (EDT)

The Pentagon's decision to restrict international access to the government's official overseas voting-assistance Web site came under new scrutiny today, as intrepid Bush administration watchdog Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to immediately reverse the policy. There's slim hope, though, that Rumsfeld will respond to Waxman's call; in the past, the congressman's letters to Bush officials -- calling for, say, a more transparent reconstruction contracting process in Iraq, or for an investigation into the White House's misleading cost estimates on its Medicare reform bill -- have all gone unanswered.

But in the absence of the federal voting site, Americans living abroad can now look to a couple of other sources for help in registering to take part in the November election. One site, run by the nonpartisan Voter Verified Foundation, is an exact mirror of the site the government is now blocking. Another, Overseas Vote 2004, offers an easy-to-use Web form to guide expats through the labyrinthine overseas-voting registration process. Overseas Vote 2004 is funded by the Democratic National Committee, but its managers tell Salon that the site is open to anyone, regardless of party affiliation, which voters are never asked to disclose.

By Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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