Military Families: Get 'Election Ready' 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 View Comments

By Karen Driscoll, Autism Speaks' associate director for federal government affairs and military relations. She is a Marine Corps wife and mother of 3 (one with autism).

As a Marine Corps wife, the term “family readiness” is a phrase used frequently and one of high importance in my military life experience. For those not familiar with this unique military term, I often explain “family readiness” as keeping the things I rely upon for the health and well-being of my family (including medical care, educational services, finances, etc.) in good order so that my husband can focus on his duties. The warfighter must remain focused on his mission. Lives depend on it. Bottom line, “family readiness” is “combat readiness.”

The assurance of family healthcare plays an essential role in “family readiness.”  This is especially true for the military family with disabilities as care is often disjointed and coverage of recommended treatments is problematic and limited. Improvements are urgently needed.   

While many of you may be wondering…”How can I make a difference?”… the answer is an easy one and especially relevant today  -- VOTE! Our nation’s military work to support and defend our right to vote; it is important they participate in the process as well. Military families deserve the opportunity to be heard. 

Preparation and planning is essential to participation. Data from the Military Voting Project shows that in 2008 less than 20 percent of 2.5 million military voters were able to request and return their absentee ballots and have that ballot counted. In 2010, that number was just 4.6 percent.

I offer the following tools and resources to get you “election ready” and make sure your vote is counted:

Register to Vote (deadline is Sept. 25, 2012):
http://www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org/register-to-vote

Request an Absentee Ballot:
http://www.heroesvote.org/election-ready/

Thank you for your continued sacrifice in service of our great nation.  Semper Fidelis.

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