Bill To Make It Easier For Troops To Vote Gets Bipartisan Support

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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Republicans and Democrats joined together Friday to propose legislation that allows for active members of the military to vote at their present duty station in the community they live and serve as opposed to their “home of record.”

Introduced by California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa and Minnesota Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, the bill would amend the Service Members Civil Relief Act to improve security regarding voter registration.

If a service member decides to register to vote in a state where he or she lives and serves, that individual would need to notify the Service Voting Action Officer of the military department branch in question no later than 10 days after such registration.

Issa said of the bill, “Members of the military have long been disenfranchised from voting in the community they live and serve by restrictions that fail to take into account the unique set of challenges presented by the transitory experience of a military member’s service. Men and women in uniform send their kids to school, coach little league, go to PTA meetings, use their local parks and roads, yet are often discouraged from being able to participate in the democratic process in those very same areas. This important piece of legislation will remove unnecessary barriers that limit participation in one of their most fundamental rights in our democracy, which they’ve already given so much to preserve and defend.”

From there, a Service Voting Action Officer who receives such notification will inform the state that the service member lives in for that particular registration no later than 10 days after such registration.

“American service members commit their lives towards protecting our country and its freedoms. On many occasions, these brave men and women are required to relocate to other parts of the country as well as the world, which can restrict their right to vote. I am hopeful this bill will assist military members with the right to participate in the democracy they help protect,” Rep. Peterson said.

Service members would be able to vote for federal, state, and local officials this way. However, members of the military cannot register in a state through this process if they acquired a residence or domicile in that particular state; have decided to become a permanent resident of that state; or have lost a residence or domicile in any other state without regard to whether or not that individual plans to return to that state.

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