Lessons from Overseas Military Voters

Oct 15, 2020
Originally published on October 19, 2020 11:38 am

Voting by mail is nothing new for military service members. Deployed worldwide at any of the nearly 800 foreign bases, military personnel are offered some exceptions during the elections. Some vote by fax from a battleship, and many sent their ballots weeks ago, after receiving them earlier than most voters, at least 45 days before the election. 

This year, ballots were sent automatically to citizens overseas if they voted in the last cycle, no request needed. If that ballot failed to arrive in time, voters could fill out a back-up blank write-in ballot for any election.

Candidates are vying for the attention of the 1.3 million active duty service members. But reaching the voters at remote military outposts can be difficult, and even troops stationed in the U.S. are likely not in their home state. Host Anita Rao talks about the effort to get out the vote in the military with Steve Walsh, a military and veterans affairs reporter for KPBS and the American Homefront Project.