U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced today that the Military Voter Protection Project recognized West Virginia for its strong leadership efforts in promoting and protecting the voting rights of America's military service members and their families. As part of the Military Voter Protection Project's 2012 Heroes Vote Initiative, West Virginia is one of 15 states to be named as "All-Star" states for its extraordinary efforts to make it easier for servicemembers to vote.
"The brave men and women who protect our freedoms should also be able to exercise their freedom to vote. As a former Secretary of State who oversaw our elections, I am so proud that West Virginia has been recognized for proactively promoting voting rights for military servicemembers and their families," Senator Manchin said. "Voting is one of the greatest rights that a free people of a free nation possess, and every single vote matters. It is so important to continue to make sure that the very people who protect those rights for us every day can participate in this voting process."
According to the Military Voter Protection Project's press release, they considered the following leadership state criteria to choose the "All-Star" states, including:
The state's efforts to work with and reach out to local military installations and National Guard units on a proactive basis to provide on-base voter assistance;
Its use of electronic and web-based services to send election materials;
Its willingness to create specialized communications to military voters either through public service announcements or web-based announcements;
The state's legislative efforts to eliminate barriers to military voter participation; and
Its track record of making sure that absentee military ballots are sent out no later than 45-days before the elections and, when they are not, a high degree of accountability to resolve any violations.