Unless Massachusetts takes action, the votes of troops serving around the world may not count.
According to the Department of Defense Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP), there are 11,691 active military duty Massachusetts residents serving overseas. A report to FVAP by the Secretary of State revealed that in the November 2010 election only 400 ballots from our troops were counted. In that election, Massachusetts requested a waiver from a requirement to send absentee ballots to Americans overseas at least 45 days before the election “due to a late primary.” Although our troops can vote by fax or e-mail, they have to waive their right to a secret ballot.
The Statehouse is considering H1972, a bill that moves the primary to allow Massachusetts residents residing overseas to vote privately and securely, and combines the presidential primary with the state primary to save taxpayers at least $8,000,000.00.
In written testimony, the FVAP noted that the bill is in line with federal law and with a number of states that have recently moved their primary elections earlier in the year. The FVAP testimony concluded “passing HB1972 will significantly improve voter success for many military members, overseas voters and their families.”
The FVAP, a number of legislators and city and town clerks support H1972 so that our troops’ votes count. Our troops deserve to know that their votes count.
Let the troops vote.
William C. Campbell
Woburn City Clerk
The Banner’s July 14, 2011 story “Obesity rises across US, but MA 4th thinnest state” featuring the study “F as in Fat” (authored by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) detailed the alarming findings that 16 states have seen an increase in obesity over the last year and no states have seen a decrease.
While the news that Massachusetts is the fourth skinniest state is good, that is still with an obesity rate of 22.3 percent. The report advised fighting childhood obesity through kids’ active participation in their own health and well-being (not just passively listening to lectures) — and getting parents involved, too.
My magazine, ChopChop, has as its mission helping families to have fun cooking together while teaching healthy eating habits. Obesity will remain an epidemic until kids and their parents value home-cooked and nutritious meals.