While Florida is called the Sunshine State, it should be better known for the work it does for its quarter of a million active duty military personnel and their dependents. Home to many noteworthy military instillations like Fort Zachary Taylor, a key Civil War landmark, and Jacksonville Naval Air Station, the main port for the first Gulf War, it should come as no surprise that Florida values and honors the voting of its defenders of democracy.
Florida houses 30 military instillations within its borders, and these bases and stations are home to 109,000 soldiers (active duty, National Guard, and reserves) and their dependents. Florida also is the home of more than 1.6 million veterans. These men and women are the living legacy of a state that has a storied past of military service.
Two of these proud veterans include the current Governor, Rick Scott, and his Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll. Both are Navy Veterans and know how difficult it is to fulfill their civic duty to vote when on the move due to military orders.
As home to the most overseas troops besides Texas, Florida has had a tough task to ensure its overseas voters are able to cast their ballots from around the world.
In the last ten years, Florida has made tremendous advancements to be at the forefront of states that take care of their military voters. From having election officials dismissing military absentee ballots out of hand because they were difficult to authenticate in the 2000 races, Florida now ensures that members of our armed forces have every opportunity to vote by shipping out all absentee ballots 45 days before the election to give them ample time to be returned.
Many of Florida’s extraordinary efforts have been accomplished by the hard work and dedication of its local Supervisors of Elections. The Supervisors in Duval, Escambia, and Seminole Counties, to name a few, have made military voting a priority and have greatly enhanced Florida’s reputation as an All-Star military voting state.
Florida’s state and local election officials have made military voters a priority in their state. Florida military voters are now far more protected than ever before. Now the brave men and women, who defend our freedoms, and their families, can make their voices heard.