Defense & National Security

Military absentee ballots remain drastically low

Military absentee ballots remain drastically low

As of today, voting registration deadlines in 18 states and territories have passed, and military absentee ballot requests remain at a worryingly low level compared with past election years.

According to the most recent data, released Sept. 22, Florida has sent 65,173, compared to the just over 95,000 it counted four years ago. Virginia has sent out 12,292 military and overseas absentee ballots, less than 43 percent of the 28,816 it counted in 2008.

“It doesn’t take much to figure out that it will be difficult to meet the 2008 participation levels, even if every single ballot is returned and counted,” Military Voter Protection Project Executive Director Eric Eversole told Human Events.

Eversole said he was encouraged by a short message Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued from the Pentagon Oct. 4, reminding troops of the importance of voting. But he worries it’s too little, too late.

“It’s important when the defense secretary emphasizes the importance of voting; it carries a lot of weight with our service members,” Eversole said. “What’s disappointing about that is it’s issued 35, 30 days before the election.”

It’s clear that the Pentagon has been feeling the pressure from recent news reports, including a story by Human Events, about low military voter participation. In a media briefing delivered in early October, Pentagon spokesman George Little highlighted the work of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, noting that more than 500,000 troops have been assisted in some way during the first six months of this year alone.

But a troubling report released earlier this year by the Defense Department Inspector General showed that half of the more than 200 voting assistance offices attached to military installations were unreachable by phone or email, and Eversole said the results in participation still show that some part of the message is not getting through to the troops.

With little time left before the election, he is encouraging service members to vote with the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, which allows troops to register and vote for federal offices with the same form. For most states with postmark deadlines, the ballots must be in the mail by Nov. 5 or 6.

In most states, troops can still request a ballot until the end of October. Eversole said he is still hopeful that his organization’s information campaign can boost participation numbers and remind troops of their importance in the process.

“I think the attention has helped us significantly,” he said. “We’re going to continue pushing as much as we can. We’re not fully there yet.”

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  • RenegadeScholar

    Chairman O and his fellow leftists are doing everything they can to make sure that our warriors are disenfranchised.

  • Dustoff

    Yep. everytine a dem is in control. These votes just some-how disappear

  • loshombre

    Gosh, the government botched this same issue in the last presidential election. I believe they said they would fix it for this election. How’s that working out? It appears about the same as employment and the national debt.

    In four years this administration has stumbled from one fiasco to another with no success. It’s time to change leaders and Obama ain’t it.

  • globalcrap

    The liberal O Bogus socialist know that our Heroes in our American Military will not vote for this criminal in our American White House.Without their honest votes they know they may have more illegal votes getting him elected.Wake up America ,vote this O Bogus regime out for the future of America,not the future for a foreign country..

  • al1949

    I believe that Obama is impeding our military men and women’s ability to vote. He has filed a suit in Ohio because full time military have been accustomed to getting an additional 5 days to get to the polls. This man will do anything. Lie cheat, and steal to win reelection.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GEJYXREM3KZPVCMATZ65ORJRMQ Kay

    The regime is doing everything they can to disenfranchis our brave military. All the commies want to do is eliminate those they know WILL NOT vote for Obama. The military, like the majority of the rest of America knows what he is and will vote against his agenda.

  • Big Goober

    So let me get this straight. Our boys who have sacrificed so much to protect our vote are being the denied the right to vote by this shameless sham of an impostor of a leader because he KNOWS they will vote for true leadership and not his mealy mouthed, apologetic, whiny, communist give America away agenda? And meanwhile Obama fights to preserve the vote for anyone who walks in off the street without an ID? Do everything you can to remove this disgusting third world style dictator from office in November. Volunteer your time or donate to Mitt Romney as much as you can. Obama is pulling every sneaky, underhanded, vile trick he can to stay in power. May God help us.

  • grumpy_old__man

    That would be a good argument if it were true. In fact, the suit was not to prevent the military from voting during those days but to keep the state from taking the right away from other people who have been accustomed to having that ability.