Troops from New York currently serving overseas might not get their state ballots in time for the November election, according to a report in the New York Daily News.
The newspaper reported Monday that several New York counties, including New York City’s five boroughs, missed an Oct. 1 deadline to mail absentee ballots to U.S. citizens living overseas. City election officials said ballots for residents fighting abroad began getting shipped out on Sunday, 10 days after the deadline.
The delay could jeopardize troops’ chances of completing and returning the ballots in time for the Nov. 2 election. Federal law requires states to mail overseas ballots 45 days before the general election. The Daily News reported that absentee votes in New York are counted until 13 days after election day.
In an interview with the newspaper, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., angrily blasted the delay.
“Our troops sacrifice their lives to protect our freedoms. They should never, ever be denied the right to vote,” he told the Daily News. “Put these ballots on the next plane to Afghanistan. There is absolutely no excuse for failing to get this done.”
According the newspaper, the state of New York has 49,468 registered overseas voters, in New York State, 20,172 of whom are in the military.
Officials from the Federal Voting Assistance Program have encouraged any overseas troops who did not receive their state ballots by Oct. 4 to send in a federal write-in absentee ballot immediately, to ensure their vote arrives in time to be counted.