This content is provided courtesy of USAA

By Steve Speakes, executive vice president, USAA External Affairs

Members of the military defend our democratic way of life. But for many military service members, one important aspect of our democracy — voting in presidential elections — often takes place without their voice.

In the 2008 presidential election, approximately 60% of Americans voted, but only 30% of military voters cast ballots. And in the 2010 primary election, 40% of Americans voted, but only 15% of the military did so.

The main cause behind lower military voting levels is that service members stationed overseas face more obstacles to voting than those of us in the States. Fortunately, there’s a solution we can all support and promote: registering overseas Americans to vote absentee.

If you’re serving overseas in the military, visit fvap.gov or heroesvote.org. At those sites, you can complete a Federal Post Card Application. The FPCA is accepted in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the territories, and it allows you to register and request an absentee ballot.

If you’re in the military and have already registered, if you’re a military spouse, or if you know someone serving overseas, talk to others about how easy and important it is to register.

The time to act is now. Given slow mail delivery to overseas locations and the uncertainties related to military service, delaying could mean more military voices won’t be heard.

Please register now, so your voice can be heard when it matters.

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