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Editorial: Uncle Sam’s Shameful Neglect of Military Voters

It’s the rare political rally, Republican or Democratic, that does not include a “thank you” and a prayer for American troops, especially those serving overseas. Yet once again in 2012, the ability of those same troops to exercise their right to vote was, incredibly, still not assured. At a time when so much is being asked of our service members, and in an era when long distances are supposedly no obstacle to the flow of information, this remains a national disgrace.

In 2008, only about 20 percent of overseas military were able to vote by absentee ballot, according to the Military Voter Protection Project. In 2010, it was even worse, at 5 percent. The other 95 percent of those serving overseas simply didn’t vote.

The precise numbers won’t be known for some time, but the percentage of military voters figures to be low again this year. The military was supposed to create Installation Voting Assistance Offices to facilitate voting on all installations worldwide. A late August report by the Defense Department’s inspector general found offices on only half of the installations.

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