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Sunday May 24th, 2015 9:16AM

New law speeds up overseas military voting

By Jerry Gunn Reporter
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GAINESVILLE - Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp told Gainesville area disabled veterans Saturday that for the first time Georgia service members overseas get to cast electronic ballots and speed up the election process.

Kemp, appearing at the annual Disabled Veterans Appreciation Day picnic at Longwood Park, said the recently passed Military Overseas Voting Empowerment Act makes it possible.

"Sometimes because of slow mail service in a compressed time frame you have military ballots that don't get back in time to be counted and that should not happen," Kemp said. "For the first time ever in the General Election this year in November our men and women serving overseas will be able to receive an electronic ballot that they can print out, fill out and then mail back."

Kemp said the electronic mail-in ballot should cut voting time in half for service men and women in foreign countries.

DAV Chapter 17 Commander Wendy Paradis said the Veterans Administration needs to increase eligibility for medical care and stop issuing prescriptions that overdose veterans.

"We've had veterans that are only rated at 10 percent coming out of the military and that to be is very upsetting, that's the level that they're put at and that determines how much money they get," Paradis said. "They need to get a fine line and do better evaluations and I blame the VA system for that."

The disabled vets and their family members enjoyed bar-b-que chicken with all the trimmings and got an update on available benefits; they also received assistance in filing claims. Paradis said Chapter 17 has around 500 members across Northeast Georgia and despite rainy weather the event was well attended.
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