WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration with oversight over federal elections, introduced the bipartisan Supporting Military Voters Act to require a study by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office to examine and identify improvements needed to ensure servicemembers and their families have access to voter registration information. The legislation also requires a study of the Department of Defense’s compliance with existing federal law to provide servicemembers timely access to absentee ballots. This legislation is led in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Laurel Lee (R-FL), Chair of the Committee on House Administration’s Elections Subcommittee, and Joe Neguse (D-CO).
According to a recent study, more than one in five servicemembers wanted to vote during the 2020 election but were unable to complete the process, citing difficulty registering or requesting an absentee ballot as one of their top challenges.
“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, but access to absentee ballots and registering to vote are obstacles for too many of our brave servicemembers and their families,” said Klobuchar. “Our bipartisan legislation would help us examine and better understand the barriers so that we can make sure members of our military - who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms and defend our nation - are able to access the ballot box and make their voices heard.”
“Our military men and women overseas put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. This great service to our nation shouldn’t restrict their ability to exercise their right to vote. Our legislation would identify opportunities to improve voting access for service members and their families,” said Fischer.
Klobuchar has long worked to support our military families, servicemembers, and veterans.
Earlier this month, Klobuchar and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the Military Spouse Entrepreneurship Act, bipartisan legislation directing the Small Business Administration to develop a training program to help military spouses start, develop, and operate their own small businesses.
In April, Klobuchar and Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced the Servicemembers’ Credit Monitoring Enhancement Act, bipartisan legislation to provide free credit monitoring for all servicemembers and their families. Currently, only active duty servicemembers and members of the National Guard are eligible for free credit monitoring services.
Last year, Klobuchar worked to successfully pass the SFC Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act, historic legislation that will deliver comprehensive relief to all generations of veterans who were exposed to toxins for the first time in our nation’s history. The legislation, signed into law last August, included Klobuchar and Senator Mike Crapo's (R-ID) Toxic Exposure Training Act, a bipartisan bill to improve education and training for Department of Veterans Affairs health care personnel to treat illnesses related to exposure to burn pits and other toxic substances.
Additionally, Klobuchar recently introduced legislation to expand access to colorectal cancer screenings for toxic-exposed service members. The Barbosa Act, named after former Army Captain Rafael Barbosa, would authorize the Department of Defense to provide servicemembers who have been exposed to burn pits or other toxins with preventive colorectal screenings. Under the PACT Act, the Department of Veterans Affairs now considers any gastrointestinal cancer as “presumptive'' or caused by service and exposure to burn pits.
As a member of the National Guard Caucus, Klobuchar has been steadfast in her support of the Minnesota National Guard members. She worked to create a position on the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the National Guard and Reserves as well as improve federal-state military coordination in domestic emergency response scenarios.
Klobuchar fought to secure regular funding to extend and expand to the national level Minnesota’s pioneering Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program, which provides community support to Guard members and their families throughout the deployment cycle.