For immediate release: February 24, 2020
American Constitutional Rights Union launches project to protect military voters whose votes may be suppressed or mishandled by local officials.
Washington, D.C. – One in six U.S. military voters didn’t vote because their absentee ballot arrived late or not at all, a statistic a non-profit committed to protecting military voting rights has labeled an “unconscionable irony.”
The American Constitutional Rights Union (ACRU) is launching a new initiative—ProtectMilitaryVotes.org– aimed at helping military personnel request and return their absentee ballots in time to be counted in the upcoming 2020 election. It will feature a “Military Voter Bill of Rights” highlighting the voting rights guarantees that already exist in federal and state laws and include a hotline that U.S. troops can use to report problems exercising their voting rights.
Ken Blackwell, a policy board member of ACRU, former Secretary of State (Ohio) and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights said “the unconscionable irony is that while American military personnel overseas are fighting to defend the rights of others to vote, we still have a lot of work to do back home to protect their right to vote.”
“Outrageous as it is,” Blackwell said, “each election cycle there are reports that men and women overseas often do not get their absentee ballots on time or at all. Whether it’s by outright suppression or neglect by careless local government officials, it is inexcusable.”
Only 20 percent of military voters overseas voted in the 2008 election. Since then progress has been made, but in 2018 only 26% of military members voted.
ACRU President Lori Roman said, “We will educate members of the military and their families about voting rights, methods and deadlines. And we will take action against any local or state officials not adhering to military ballot regulations. They fight for us, so we will fight for them.”
ProtectMilitaryVotes.org is a project of the American Constitutional Rights Union (www.theacru.org) designed to encourage military voting and ensure all votes cast by members of the United States military and their family members are counted—and honored.
(Supporting statistics can be found at https://www.fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Reports/RTC_20190531(Final).pdf )