U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) today expressed his concerns about recent reports indicating a steep decline in absentee ballot requests from military personnel and their spouses compared to 2008. Reports also indicate that on-base voter assistance for military service members, which was mandated by the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act of 2009, is inadequate.
"The right to vote and choose our nation's leaders is the most important privilege we as citizens have in a democracy." Sen. Moran said. "As service members and their families are frequently moved around the nation on short notice or sent abroad, having access to an absentee ballot should be the least of their concerns. The Department of Defense has an obligation under federal law to assist those voting on military installations overseas. No effort should be spared to make certain the men and women serving our country in uniform -- and the families by their side -- can exercise their right to choose the leaders responsible for sending them into harm's way in defense of our democracy."
The Military Voter Protection Project (MVPP) indicates a 92-percent drop in absentee-ballot requests by service members in the state of Virginia as well as a more than 50-percent decrease in other swing states including Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Nevada and Alaska. The MVPP report follows a report released by the Inspector General of the Department of Defense which calls into question the ability of American service members to obtain on-base voter assistance, which is mandated by the MOVE Act. The MOVE Act mandated installation voting assistance offices on all military bases outside war zones. The Pentagon report states that independent Pentagon investigators could only reach 114 of the voting assistance offices among 229 military bases -- 50 percent.