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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, January 2, 2006

Military survey reports 80 percent voting rate

Washington Post

WASHINGTON They fight and they vote.

Voter participation among members of the U.S. military reached an all-time high in 2004, reflecting a streamlined absentee balloting process and increased outreach efforts, Defense Department officials said.

Nearly 80 percent of people in the uniformed armed services voted or attempted to vote in the last presidential election, according to a survey by the Federal Voting Assistance Program, which is supervised by the Pentagon. The 2004 participation rate reflected an increase of 10 percentage points from 2000 and was higher than the 2004 rate for the general public, which was 64 percent.

The increased participation coincided with efforts by both leading political parties to reach out to service members, who number more than 1.4 million.

The participation survey the 17th such report included responses from more than 29,000 people but did not ask how people voted or for party affiliation.

Officials tried to work with local jurisdictions to allow for electronic absentee balloting. Overseas, commanders were charged with ensuring that any ballots originating from battlefield bases in Iraq would make it to U.S. voting locations within five days.