The State of Iowa has a long and proud history of military service to our state and country. Even before Iowa was officially a state, the territory responded with several companies of volunteers to serve in the War with Mexico in 1846. During the Civil War, Iowa was called upon to help preserve the Union. In four years Iowa gave 72,000 volunteers and 4,000 draftees. A total of 46 infantry regiments, 9 cavalry regiments, and 4 artillery batteries were formed. Iowans have responded to every call of duty since and have served our country valiantly.

That proud tradition of answering the call to serve and defend our country continues today with thousands of Iowa National Guard and active duty soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan and in many other areas around the world. A top priority of the Office of the Iowa Secretary of State in ensuring that our troops, no matter where they are serving, are able to exercise their right to vote.

Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz has worked diligently to remove obstacles for military voters and facilitate the potentially complicated process of casting a ballot from outside the country. Secretary Schultz implemented by administrative rule the ability of ALL active duty military personnel serving outside the boundaries of the United States, to cast a ballot via fax or email, a method that previously had only been available to a restricted number of soldiers serving in specifically classified areas. This will help guarantee that all military ballots arrive in time to be counted.

Secretary Schultz also added a “Military Voting” feature on the front page of the Secretary of State’s website, where men and women of our armed forces are directed to a dedicated section of the website that provides detailed information and instructions on voting by absentee ballot when away from home. Military voters will find information on how to register, how to request and return their absentee ballot, contact information for their local county auditor, and even a ballot tracking function that allows them to confirm delivery of their ballot at their county of residence.

In addition to facilitating voting for active duty military personnel, Secretary Schultz launched the Vote in Honor of a Veteran program at the Memorial Day services at Camp Dodge. The program offers participants the opportunity to honor a veteran on the Secretary of State’s website in an online tribute. All participants are also provided with a lapel pin to wear on Election Day as a reminder that the right to vote did not come free.

The Office of the Iowa Secretary of State and Secretary Matt Schultz are committed to ensuring that those who defend our freedoms, including our right to vote, can be confident in their own ability to participate and vote in the country they continue to defend.

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