The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a military history as old as the nation. From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to our current conflicts, the brave men and women of Massachusetts have raised their hands to protect this great land and our freedoms.

Massachusetts is currently home to more than 15,000 active duty service members and their spouses. A majority of these military members are serving far from home in locations around the world.

To protect these heroes, the Commonwealth has worked hard to make voting as accessible and easy as possible. For example, Massachusetts waives the requirement for military and overseas voters to register and allows them to request an absentee ballot until noon on the day before an election. Massachusetts also allows a service member’s family to apply for an absentee ballot—something particularly useful for those troops serving in remote locations. Finally, the Commonwealth allows an additional 10 days for a ballot to be returned after the election so long as it was cast before the election.

Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin has shown a steadfast commitment to protecting the voting rights of our troops. That commitment was highlighted over the last few years as Secretary Galvin worked closely with the legislature to implement numerous changes to state law. Those changes include increased opportunities for military members to use write-in ballots, the availability of electronic delivery of blank ballots (fax and email), and a change in the Commonwealth’s primary date to provide military voters with more time to vote.

Secretary Galvin’s office also works closely with National Guard units to make sure that deployed guard members receive their ballots. It also makes sure that all troops receive their ballots in a timely manner.

All of these factors have demonstrated the Commonwealth’s strong commitment in promoting and protecting the voting rights of military and overseas voters. These voters can be assured that they will have the ability to vote no matter where their service to this country takes them.

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