Much of my job is governed by the Texas Election Code as well as a multitude of state and federal laws. Keeping track of all the legal requirements is part of what makes this job interesting and fun. These laws were designed to protect the integrity of elections and a few were created in response to individuals circumventing the election process to their own ends. When issues occur during an election which effect the results; legislatures of the state or federal governments attempt to correct these by refining election laws. Keeping up with these changes and properly implementing them in our policies and procedures is an ongoing process.

Changes to laws occur when citizens contact their elected representatives. An instance of harm to the any part of the general population is cited with a request to create a solution to prevent future harm.

One example is legislation from the federal government in a law entitled the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act or MOVE. This act would create a method to provide a ballot by e-mail to voters who are currently in the military or overseas.

Current laws and regulations regarding mailing of ballots has no mention of electronic ballot delivery. A pilot program authorized by the Texas Legislature a few years ago was not extended so it is fortunate we will soon have a means of getting a ballot in the hands of a soldier in a timely fashion.

Sending e-mails is a marvelous way to communicate. Attaching a ballot to an e-mail for an individual serving his country or someone currently living and working overseas will greatly reduce the amount of time it takes for a ballot to be delivered to the voter. We will not be able to receive that ballot back through the digital medium but at least it will be in the voter's hands quicker than what some people refer to as snail mail.

Don't misunderstand. We, I, we all depend on the US Postal Service for delivery of election materials and not everyone will be able to take advantage of ballots attached as e-mails. It is currently being reserved for members of the military and citizens who are overseas. Those who qualify for ballots by mail and are not part of the select group will continue to request their ballot using the postal service.

Rules for MOVE are being proposed this summer in the June 4th issue of the Texas Register. If you have any comments regarding ballot delivery by e-mail you should contact the Texas Secretary of State before June 30th.