A new, fasterway is being used to get absentee ballots to Missourians anywhere in the world outside of the United States, the first time voters overseas will be able to get their absentee ballot e-mailed to them from their county election authority. The first ones started going out Friday because the Pentagon says military absentee ballots must be available 45 days before the election. For those of us who are stateside, absentee ballots will become available tomorrow.

Secretary of State spokesman Laura Egerdal says the new system could shave as much as 18 days off the overseas absentee balloting. She says the Federal Voting Assistance Program estimates about 26,000 Missourians are int he militayr and another 86,000 Missourians are overseas in other roles.

In most cases, the voter will have to send the ballot back by regular mail. But soldiers who are in combat zones can e-mail their ballots back.

Two years ago, more than 16-thousand-500 ballots were mailed to overseas voters. About 72% of them were returned, a better “turnoutj” percentage than the total state voter particpation of 69%.

Laura Egerdall talks votes with Bob Priddy