Note from MOAA: Have you registered to vote yet? There is still time! Check out www.fvap.gov to ensure you are ready to vote in November!
As the November election inches closer, MOAA joined forces with 14 other military service organizations in forming the Military Vote Coalition. The nonpartisan group seeks to ensure voting is accessible to military servicemembers and their families no matter where they are serving.
Why is this necessary? A 2018 survey by The MOAA Foundation, The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), and The Democracy Fund found military voters have higher voting participation rates than their civilian counterparts, and most military voters had confidence in the absentee voting process, but there were some significant issues with casting ballots.
Only about 27% of military spouses responding to our study felt encouraged to vote, compared with 70% of active duty servicemembers. And nearly 1 in 5 of military spouse respondents did not vote because they did not know how to get their absentee ballot.
[RELATED AT MILITARY TIMES: Overseas Military, Family Members Now Have This Free Express Mail Option for Their Absentee Ballot]
As a member of the Military Vote Coalition, MOAA will continue educational outreach to military families to ensure they are registered to vote, know how to get their absentee ballot, and know due dates and ballot-tracking procedures.
Timely Ballot Access
One of the coalition’s first actions was on behalf of the more than 87,000 servicemembers who told a 2018 Federal Voting Assistance Program survey they received their ballot too late to be able to vote. The coalition sent letters to state election officials to ensure absentee and overseas voters receive their ballot 45 days prior to election—a legal requirement stated in the Uniformed and Oversees Citizen Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). Ensuring military voters receive their ballot on time is more crucial than ever this year with the U.S. Postal Service experiencing delivery delays.
Ten organizations from the coalition, including MOAA, also signed onto a letter to five states with high populations of servicemembers (California, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia) to encourage their legislatures to consider allowing military families to volunteer as poll workers. Most states require poll worker volunteers to be registered to vote in the state they are volunteering, which prevents many out-of-state military voters from volunteering.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a record shortage of poll workers; with an exception to policy, military families can help fill that gap in their communities.