By Heather Randall, Guest Blogger
Recently searching for voting information, I googled my way to an article written my Mathew Clark for the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ). According to Mr. Clark’s article, absentee ballot requests from military personnel declined by about 70% since 2008. Disturbed by this fact, I read on to discover that although Congress passed The Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) in 2009 – a law designed to help overseas-based military citizens vote in U.S. elections and to streamline the military absentee ballot process – only 15 states complied with the law (Wikipedia – September 7, 2012).
This is unacceptable. Local, state and federal governments must work to ensure voting
accessibility to all American citizens, particularly those of our military service members.
There’s no other organization in this country that does more to protect peace than the U.S. Military. As General Douglas MacArthur stated during his Farewell Speech to West Point Cadets (May 12, 1962), “…the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
Throughout history, hundreds of thousands of military service members sacrificed their lives to protect our constitutional rights. By exercising our right to vote, we give purpose to those lives lost and sacrifices made by our service men and women every day, at home and abroad, in the name of democracy.
Regardless of our political positions, it’s our responsibility to vote as American citizens. James E. Koutz (National Commander of the American Legion), recently stated, “Voting is not a political act. It’s an act of citizenship.”
Our votes not only influence governmental reform and progress; our votes serve to prevent threats against our liberty – an American value for which our Armed Forces fought and died for over the past 200 years.
There’s still time for you to vote if you haven’t done so, and there’s still time to make sure our military members cast their ballots. If you know a military-serving family member or friend challenged to get to a polling booth, please offer to help them. When you do that, you assist those who protect your right to vote, with their right to vote as well.
Why do you vote? What will you do today to help a military service member vote? If you’re a military service member, was it challenging for you to vote this year?