LAMPASAS — County commissioners took steps last week to participate in a program that streamlines the voting process for military voters deployed overseas.

County elections administrator Randy McGuire was given the green light Monday to apply for a Defense Department grant to fund Lampasas County’s participation in the program.

“If we’re approved, it would enable us to join 26 counties throughout Texas that will be allowed to send sample and voting ballots via the Internet to our service members overseas,” McGuire said.

The program is designed to enhance the effectiveness of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act and make additional voting information and electronic resources available to service members.

McGuire said the government believed it wasn’t capturing all available military votes, so the program was launched to give military voters stationed overseas more flexibility and extra time to research candidates before submitting their votes.

“Until now, the voting process has been handled on paper only and by mailing the ballots to and from military installations overseas,” he said. “If we get the grant, we will work with a voter information technology service called Democracy Live to implement all this. We can then send the company our voter registration list, and they take care of everything.”

McGuire expects the program will save time by lightening the workload at the elections office and money by eliminating printing and mailing costs.

The program will not cost the county any money.

“We have to apply for the grant by June 24, and there will be up to a 30-day review process of all the applications,” McGuire said. “A formal announcement will be made in September announcing the counties who receive grant approval, but I hope to have a preliminary response by the end of July.”

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