WASHINGTON (Oct. 30, 2009) — Rounding out the month of October with the enactment of legislation strengthening the political franchise of active duty military personnel has made the leader of The American Legion feeling good.

        “It’s with a sense of great satisfaction,” said Clarence E. Hill, national commander of the nation’s largest veterans’ service organization. “that The American Legion can celebrate victory in our long-fought battle to award the Department of Veterans Affairs advance appropriations and, with the President’s signing this week of the Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Appropriations Act, applaud a 3-point-4 percent military pay raise and the strengthening of our Army by 30-thousand troops.

        “But, something else was contained in the Defense Appropriations Act that may, in the long run, have the greatest significance of all, not just to our military, but to our nation as a whole,” said Hill. “And that is the military voting reform measure contained in the legislation.  As Texas Senator John Cornyn said in his original and excellent bill – which got folded into the Defense Appropriations Act – ‘the ability of the members of the Armed Forces to vote while serving overseas has been hampered by numerous factors, including inadequate processes for ensuring their timely receipt of absentee ballots, delivery methods that are typically slow and antiquated, and a myriad of absentee voting procedures that are often confusing and vary among the several States.’

        “The new military voting reforms correct those discrepancies and also provide for expert guidance through the military’s absentee voting process,” Hill said.  “What this all means is that our citizens most deserving of a voice in the affairs of our nation and the choice of our leaders can now be heard in full strength.  This is something The American Legion has long championed and so I say, with great pride on behalf of our two-and-a-half million Legion members, ‘mission accomplished’!”