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Expand chart
Data: FairVote, Federal Voting Assistance Program; Chart: Axios Visuals

While military voters may seem like an engaged bloc, they consistently turn out at lower rates than the general electorate.

By the numbers: According to data from the Federal Voting Assistance Program, active duty service members turned out at lower rates than the total general population in every recent election.

Civilian voters:

  • 2018: 49.6%
  • 2016: 60.1%
  • 2014: 36.7%
  • 2012: 58.2%
  • 2010: 41.0%

Active duty military voters:

  • 2018: 31%
  • 2016: 46%
  • 2014: 24%
  • 2012: 55%
  • 2010: 29%

The big picture: On the surface, military voting doesn't appear too different from the typical absentee voting process. According to USAGov, military members abroad looking to vote must:

  1. Register by the deadline in their state of residence.
  2. Complete the Federal Post Card Application, which allows service members to vote abroad.
  3. Receive a ballot, fill it out and send it back. Emergency ballots are available if a proper ballot is not received in time.
  4. Contact the state you're voting in to ensure your ballot arrived.

Between the lines: The demands of military lifestyle add some complexities to this process.

The bottom line: While a lack of turnout can often be dismissed as a lack of determination, it’s worth remembering that obstacles beyond a citizen’s control can be significant deterrents.

Go deeper: Military vets are setting a record in 2018

Go deeper

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The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

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The FBI believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Bay Area headquarters of Twitter and Facebook were targets of a man facing federal explosives charges, according to a criminal complaint.

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What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

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