They Protect Democracy. Let's Protect Their Votes

Publication: Stars and Stripes

Author: Rear Admiral James J. Carey

10/18/2010 - For decades, millions of U.S. military members have made extraordinary sacrifices to protect and represent our nation's system of democracy around the world, while missing out on the democratic process at home. Americans serving overseas have faced numerous obstacles to participating in their own elections. Next month, however, men and women in the armed forces, their families and civilians stationed abroad have a historic chance to cast ballots—and have them count.


In 2009, the Pew Center on the States published "No Time to Vote," a report showing that the laws and procedures of 25 states and the District of Columbia left the votes of overseas military personnel at risk of being uncounted. Thankfully, Congress responded with overwhelming bipartisan support later that year by passing the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act.

This November marks the first general federal election since the enactment of that law, which requires states to provide ample time and multiple avenues for ballots to be sent abroad, returned and counted.

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