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Tue., Oct. 6
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Military voters will get 2 separate ballots for federal, state races


County elections officials have sent out 158 absentee ballots to Jefferson County residents serving in the military so they can vote in the presidential and congressional contests.
In about two weeks, they'll have to send out another batch, a totally separate ballot for state and local races, which elections officials hope won't confuse those voters.
The double dose of election ballots stems from the fact that the state Legislature couldn't agree on having one primary. The presidential primary happened on April 24. The congressional primary happened on June 26. And the state and local primary happened on Sept. 13.
That set up two separate deadlines for sending out military voters for federal elections (45 days before the Nov. 6 general election) and for state and local elections (32 days prior).
Jerry Eaton, the Jefferson County Republican elections commissioner and the head of the Election Commissioners Association, said that Jefferson County sent out its federal ballots to military voters several days ago. By Oct. 5, a separate ballot will go out for state and local races.
Mr. Eaton said that he hopes it doesn't cause too much confusion. Overseas should know that it's not just the same ballot being sent twice.
The presidential and congressional ballots must be sent 45 days before the election to comply with a federal law passed to make sure military voters who are overseas have ample time to their ballots back. But the law doesn't apply to state elections. The state didn't expand its time frame, so the risk remains that military voters won't be able to send the state and local ballots back in time.
"There is the possibility," Mr. Eaton said. "But it's likely (Jefferson County) will be mailing state and local absentees before 32 days."

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