WILSON INTRODUCES BILL TO REDUCE BARRIERS FOR MILITARY VOTERS

May 28, 2021
Press Release

On May 28, Congressman Joe Wilson introduced the Reducing Barriers for Military Voters Act.

“I am grateful to introduce this bipartisan legislation to reduce barriers for our nation’s military voters. The ballots of military voters are rejected at three times the rate of the general population. Of those rejected, nearly half are because they arrived too late to be counted. We must do better for our servicemembers who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our families by ensuring their ballots are received in a timely manner according to state laws. The Reducing Barriers for Military Voters Act provides servicemembers deployed in conditions with limited or no postal service access to a safe, secure electronic ballot delivery system with an auditable vote trail,” said Congressman Joe Wilson. “Thank you to my Republican and Democratic colleagues who helped contribute to this effort. I also want to thank the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), National Military Families Association (NMFA), Blue Star Families, Secure Families Initiative, Partners in Promise, and Mobile Voting Project for their support of this legislation.”

"For some service members and their families, voting is the only way they feel comfortable elevating their voices politically. Our military families should not have to worry about their vote not counting as a direct result of their service to our country,” said Michelle Norman, Executive Director and Co-founder, Partners in PROMISE. “That is why Partners in PROMISE is in full support of this legislation that removes the barriers placed before our military families. It's more than just a voting issue, it's a civil rights issue.”

“Overseas service members face steep logistical barriers to casting their ballots,” said Sarah Streyder, Executive Director, Secure Families Initiative. “We strongly support this bold new step toward making it easier for our troops to participate in the democracy that they serve to protect.”

“Mobile Voting Project supports Representative Wilson’s ‘Reducing Barriers for Military Voters Act’ and applauds the Congressman for taking much-needed action to expand voting options for our military voters serving overseas and on the front lines,” said the Mobile Voting Project. “Despite decades-old attempts to make voting easier for our military and overseas voters, current options that only offer electronic delivery still require access to printers, scanners, and reliable mail service. Only a quarter of eligible military voters voted in 2018 and even worse, a third of eligible military voters tried to vote but faced too many obstacles or saw their votes tossed due to missed deadlines. We can and must do better for the soldiers who put their lives on the line to protect our nation. These voters should not just have the ‘right’ to vote, they should actually have the ‘opportunity and means’ to vote. Representative Wilson's bill will expand secure, electronic voting options to ensure overseas citizens can not only vote but that their votes count. We urge Congress to support this important next step to expand access for our military voters."

“MOAA supports Rep. Wilson’s Reducing Barriers for Military Voters Act and asks Congress to send this bill to the President. Those who fight for our democracy should not face barriers to their rights to vote – especially overseas or in harm’s way. Expanding secure electronic voting options to all servicemembers will support participation for our uniformed servicemembers wherever they are stationed," said Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), MOAA President and CEO.

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