New Absentee Law Increases Military Voting 21%

Wednesday, 19 Oct 2011 10:15 AM

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A new law that required states to make absentee ballots easier to get overseas has led to a 21 percent increase in voting among members of the military. Nearly half of the military voted last year, according to a report from the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

The 46 percent was slightly higher than the general population voting of 45.5 percent and represented a 21 percent increase over 2006 voting, according to The Washington Post.

The voting assistance program, which oversees distribution of absentee ballots to service members and spouses, also noted that voter registration in 2010 was higher among military members than civilians. Nearly 80 percent of troops were registered, compared with 65 percent of civilians, the Post reported.

Legislation passed in 2009 required states to mail absentee ballots 45 days before elections to those who wanted to vote from overseas and the Pentagon urged troops to register for ballots. The report also noted that the Justice Department pressed states that were slow to comply with legal actions, the Post reported.

The report said the law “substantially improved the opportunity for active duty military voters to successfully cast a ballot.”
On the other hand, the report noted that 112,000 military voters never received ballots they requested in 2010, according to the Post.

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