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An U.S. Election Assistance Commission blog written by former Commissioner Matthew Masterson


Defend Vets by Making Voting More Accessible to Them

Nov 15, 2017

The nation observed Veterans Day last weekend. The public holiday provides the opportunity to highlight a number of issues critical to veterans after they return home. 

This weekend, I wrote in Stars & Stripes about one such issue: the challenges veterans can face when attempting to vote. Although veterans vote at a significantly higher rate than civilians, this community can face considerable challenges when they go to cast a ballot. We have an obligation to ensure those who have given so much in service to our country can exercise their most basic right as Americans – the right to vote.

Many states have already created programs to support and recognize veterans, such as Vote in Honor of a Veteran Programs. The EAC has funded studies, including the Military Heroes Initiative, to identify ways to make voting more accessible to veterans, and organized a roundtable to share best practices on helping veterans with disabilities in the voting process. Still, the election community has much to do to improve the process of voting for U.S. veterans and veterans with disabilities. 

Part of the answer though lies in involving more veterans in the voting process. As we consider how we can better serve veterans in the year ahead, I would humbly ask those who spent their time in the military fighting to defend our right to vote to serve their country again by volunteering to be poll workers on Election Day. 

When veterans go to vote, few poll workers are veterans themselves. It is also true that, unlike the nearly four million U.S. military veterans with a service-connected disability, very few poll workers have firsthand experience managing such disabilities. Involving more veterans and veterans with disabilities as election workers will go a long way towards ensuring poll workers reflect the diversity of the voters they are serving.

Read my complete piece on Stars & Stripes. It is my hope in the coming year that we can engage more veterans in the election process and continue improving the experience of voting for all Americans. 

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