By: Bryan Charles Moore

You’d be hard pressed to drive through an American neighborhood and not see the iconic blue and red signs that pop up every four years. You’d be equally hard pressed to attend a social event without hearing discussion of a political manner. Yes, my friends, it is Presidential election season and, whether you are annoyed, enthralled, or somewhere in-between, American society is consumed by the electoral process on a national scale.

 

Following the major economic collapse, widespread political decision-making on many issues, and the continuance of large-scale war efforts in two countries for much of the last decade, it should come as no surprise that there are strong emotions on both sides of the aisle. Governor Romney and President Obama both have energetic, determined supporters and offer two distinct visions for America’s future. After millions of dollars in fundraising, multiple debates, and many unsolicited phone calls and emails, the only day that truly matters is Tuesday, November 6, 2012. On that day, millions of Americans will flock to the voting booth and decide which candidate will become the next Commander in Chief of the United States.

 

Considering the large impact the President has on foreign affairs and national security, one would likely assume that huge numbers of the armed forces would be excitedly ready to help determine the future of the nation they bravely defend. However, recent statistics paint a far different picture. Statistics from the Military Voting Project show absentee ballot requests have dropped dramatically since the 2008 Presidential election. As of September 22, 2012, Virginia citizens serving in the military abroad had only requested 12,292 absentee ballots – less than 43% of the number of ballots requested four years earlier.[1] The Military Voting Project released statistics shortly after showing that this is not uncommon. In many states, the absentee ballot requests through early October were down by over 50% in comparison to the 2008 election.[2]

 

The statistics clearly show an unfortunate outlook on military voter participation for this Presidential election. This could be due to many variables. It is abundantly clear though that it will be hard to get voter participation to levels comparable to the 2008 election.  However, with some states such as Virginia allowing uniformed service members to register and request ballots through October 30, it is possible that more service members will make the choice to have their voices heard and help decide the future of the nation they proudly and bravely sacrifice for daily.

 



[1] http://www.humanevents.com/2012/10/11/hodge-military-absentee-ballot-requests-remain-drastically-low

 

[2] http://www.dvidshub.net/news/96256/election-with-big-military-implications-voter-turnout-among-troops-appears-bleak#.UITFoWl27R1

 

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