WASHINGTON, November 5 – Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s campaign filed suit on Tuesday complaining that Virginia counties failed to send absentee ballots to military personnel soon enough for them to vote on time.,
The lawsuit filed with the US District Court of eastern Virginia demands that the late arriving absentee ballots be counted as valid.
‘There are many military service members and overseas voters who support Senator John McCain for president in the upcoming election and whose right to vote will be denied without relief from this court,’ the suit said.
The military’s postal service agency so far has delivered 519,032 absentee ballots to local election officials, said Lieutenant Colonel Les Melnyk, a Pentagon spokesman.
The agency delivers mail sent from overseas by US military personnel and their dependents.
About 525,000 US military personnel are stationed overseas, including more than 180,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan.
An estimated 1.3 million members of the active duty military are eligible to vote and can cast absentee ballots even if they are stationed in the United States.
It was not known how many of them are registered to vote in Virginia.
The complaint filed by the McCain campaign argues that some Virginia counties sent out absentee ballots 35 days before the elections, which it contended was not enough time to ensure they would be received in places like Iraq or Afghanistan in time to vote.
Virginia law requires that the completed ballot be put in the mail by Nov 4 and received by local election officials by 7.00pm