Infinite and Unique
The influence of the military spouse is infinite and unique. So much of military families’ lives are determined by a vote whether the voting is for policy or for those who assume the role of public office. A group that is so directly impacted, have voices that should be amplified. Access to voting should be made available whatever their situation.
Military spouses manage their households through the maze of rules and regulations for healthcare, residence, and their children’s education. They are also subject to the challenges of occupational licensing that vary across the country. Each vote is important.
With more than 90% of military spouses being women, I believe it is important to acknowledge that we are approaching the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. August 26, 1920, the 19th amendment was ratified. It reads,
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex…”19TH Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Women’s Right to Vote
It took nearly a century to gain the required 36 states to make the 19 Amendment eligible for federal ratification. In November of that same year, 10 million women voted. It surprised me to learn that it took another 60 plus years for the rest of the states to follow suit – the last state to ratify the 19th Amendment did so in the mid 1980’s – the 80’s! The lessons and the “win” are relatively recent and should not be taken for granted.
The Voice of the Military Spouse at Camp Marfa
If there is any doubt as to the influence of the military spouse, I would like to visit Camp Marfa.
At Camp Marfa in 1923, 3 years after women won the right to vote, active service men were not eligible to vote. Nowhere in this rule were military spouses stated to be ineligible. So, in a very tight race, a candidate called on military officers’ wives to join him at the ballots. In the end, the military wives’ votes made the difference. Their candidate won! Uproar quickly ensued and, in the end, the military wives’ votes were nulled. However, the point was made, and the power of the military spouse vote came to light.
The Importance of Your Voice
If you are a military spouse, recognize your importance on our election process. Know the direct impact you can have on the military community.
To make sure everyone’s voice is heard:
- Visit your home state’s voting eligibility requirements at the office of the Secretary of State and register, and
- Pay specific attention to deadlines of the entire process. For example, there is generally a deadline for requesting ballots as well as a deadline for completed ballots to be received. Be sure there is enough time between requesting the ballot and having it counted. https://www.usvotefoundation.org/
For more information on the events at Camp Marfa, Camp Marfa, visit https://www.msjdn.org/homefront-rising/ or read “Command of Honor: General Lucian Truscott’s Path to Victory in World War II”, By Harry Paul Jeffers
For more information on the 19th Amendment, visit History.com at https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/19th-amendment-1. You can also find ready-made lesson plans to incorporate from NewseumEd, (https://newseumed.org/)