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New Chairman

Already eager to begin work on next year’s agenda, the Republican Study Committee announced Wednesday that Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.) will become the conservative group’s chairman in the 109th Congress. [IMGCAP(1)]

“I am deeply humbled to be elected to lead those in Congress I have long admired for their principled and conservative stands,” Pence said in a statement.

Pence is currently in his second term in the House. A former radio talk show host, he makes frequent media appearances. The RSC is currently chaired by North Carolina Rep. Sue Myrick.

Please, Mr. Postman. The Election Assistance Commission this week released a series of recommendations intended to help streamline the absentee voting process for members of the military and overseas citizens.

The agency suggested that states mail out ballots at least 45 days before the Nov. 2 election. Though a great many states already do this, a “significant” number of states don’t mail ballots out until 30 days before the election, the EAC found.

“Even though electronic transmission of election materials offers an alternative to speed ballot transit time, inadequate ballot transit time through the mail remains the primary obstacle to timely delivery of absentee ballots” provided to overseas and military voters, the report stated.

The agency also suggested considering “changing [primary] election dates where necessary to allow sufficient time for local offices to print ballots and for the voter to receive, vote and return the ballot.”

A copy of the full report and recommendations can be found at

Catholics Courted. Members of several anti-abortion religious organizations plan to unveil an “extensive education campaign” today aimed at convincing churchgoers that it is morally wrong to vote for pro-abortion rights candidates.

Catholics make up approximately 25 percent of the electorate.

The Rev. Frank Pavone, a Staten Island priest and the national director of a group called Priests for Life, is spearheading the effort to deliver to churches, synagogues and mosques between now and Election Day the message that abortion contradicts the “notion of public service,” according to a press release.

Some priests have gone so far as to ban pro-abortion rights politicians from taking Holy Communion. Other bishops have argued that despite the church’s strict opposition to abortion, voters should not be expected to make political decisions based on just one issue.

Regardless of one’s stance, Pavone’s campaign could fall upon deaf ears.

A poll of Catholic voters conducted over the summer for Catholics for a Free Choice and published in Conscience magazine found that 61 percent of Catholic voters “agree that it should be legal for a woman to have an abortion.”

Seventy-four percent do not believe Catholics have a religious obligation to vote against those who support abortion.

— Ben Pershing and Amy Keller

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