Nov 11, 2019

The woes of military voting

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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

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The sticky web of felon voting laws

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Multiple states have started to rethink voting rights for convicted felons, but the steps toward restoring that privilege aren't always clear.

Driving the news: Florida's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that felons must complete "all terms of their sentence" before regaining their right to vote, including financial obligations such as fines, fees or restitution. The ruling comes after a yearlong battle between lawmakers and advocates over whether discharging financial penalties should be required before the right to vote was restored.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 16, 2020

The immigrants who have fought for American freedom

Adapted from Migration Policy Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals

Immigrants have helped protect America through U.S. military service throughout most of the nation's history. But it's becoming harder for non-citizens to enlist — and to gain citizenship after their service.

The big picture: 2.4 million of the nation's veterans were born outside the U.S. or are children of immigrants, according to the Migration Policy Institute — 13% of the overall veteran population.

Go deeperArrowNov 11, 2019

2 U.S. troops dead in helicopter crash in Afghanistan

Two U.S. service members were killed Wednesday in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. military announced.

The big picture: The deaths bring the number of U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan this year to 19, making it the deadliest year for American military personnel in that country since the end of combat missions in 2014, reports. About 2,400 have died in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001.

Go deeper: Pentagon chief travels to Afghanistan to assess state of peace process

Keep ReadingArrowNov 20, 2019