North Carolina and its citizens have played and continue to play a vital role in our national defense. North Carolina is currently home to eight military installations including Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune. Fort Bragg is one of the largest and busiest military complexes in the United States and provides specialized training to some of America’s elite warfighters including Special Operation Forces. Camp Lejeune has been training generations of Marines and is the largest Marine Corps Base on the East Coast.
With so many military installations in the state, it is no wonder that North Carolina has the fifth largest military voting population in the United States. Currently, more than 110,000 active duty military members and their dependents claim North Carolina as their voting residence.
Fortunately for these voters, North Carolina and its State Board of Elections have undertaken significant efforts to promote and protect the voting rights of our men and women in uniform. In 2011, for example, North Carolina was one of the first states to adopt the Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act (UMOVA). That legislation not only required absentee ballots to be sent 45 to 60 days before an election, it also provides for electronic transmission of unmarked absentee ballots and eliminates the witness requirement on absentee military ballot.
In addition, the North Carolina Board of Elections recently launched an online tool that allows military voters to retrieve a customized list of candidates and initiatives on a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot. The web-based application allows military and overseas voters to easily view their ballot from any computer in the world, mark their choices, and to return that ballot via mail. They have also supported a Vote in Honor of a Veteran Program since 2008 which allows a North Carolina citizen to pay tribute to those who have served and protected our freedom.
With such efforts, among others, military voters in North Carolina can be assured that their voting rights are being protected at home. North Carolina is at the tip of the spear when it comes to defending the rights of our men and women in uniform.