More troops voted than ever before, but were all ballots counted?
By LISA HOFFMAN
Scripps Howard News Service
December 12, 2005
– More U.S. troops voted in the 2004 election than ever before, according to a new Pentagon study. But critics say that the report by the Federal Voting Assistance Program sheds little light on the most important question: How many of their votes were actually counted?
The study, based on questionnaires sent to those in uniform overseas and on the home front, found that nearly 8 out of 10 service members said they voted in the election, which included the closely contested presidential race.
That amounted to a 10 percent increase in military turnout over that in the 2000 election and the highest ever for those in uniform. Of the ballots cast this time, 53 percent were absentee – a sharp increase from the 37 percent who voted long distance the last time when no U.S. troops were at war overseas.
The study cited high interest in the election as one of the spurs for the increased participation, along with the availability of electronically transmitted absentee-ballot requests and the voting program’s extensive informational Web site, which was accessed more than 8 million times between November 2003 and December 2004, the study said.