SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — When election officials count the votes in November, they want it to go off without a hitch – and that includes properly counting absentee ballots from America’s fighting forces.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, a new study from the Pew Center for the States goes state-by-state, and says Illinois comes up fairly well in assuring that votes from overseas service members are counted.

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LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports


Of four major factors, Illinois fulfills three – a 45-day advance time, electronic transmittal, and no need for notarization. The fourth factor, which Illinois doe snot fulfill, is expanded federal write-in ballots for local races.

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The Pew Center says electronic transimittal is a particularly crucial development.

“Even if they’re getting the ballot electronically, for them to get to any kind of a postal facility after they filled it out, some of the states either had to have it notarized or have it witnessed,” said retired Rear Adm. James Carey, a senior advisor to Pew Center. “Well, not many notaries in foxholes.”

The fact that this is a presidential election year provides a perfect opportunity, Carey said.

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“The things that work well, we can pat ourselves on the back and congratulate ourselves on,” Carey said. “The things that do not work well, we need to keep track of, and then we need to go back to the U. S. Congress in 2013 and ask them to tweak and fix the federal law, and we need to go back to the states where there were problems, and ask the state legislatures to fix the areas that were problems there.”