FVAP research says marital status contributes to voting behavior

| March 4, 2016 | 0 Comments

The U.S. Army Golden Knights urge Soldiers to make their voices heard by voting. (Courtesy photo by U.S. Army Golden Knights)

Federal Voting Assisting Program
News Release

New research recently released by the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) validates initial research findings that military members who are married are more likely to vote than those who are unmarried.

The differences in voting rates between married and unmarried active duty military are positive and larger for active personnel who are stationed overseas than for those living in the United States.

Previous research concerning marriage and voting propensity attributes the increased participation to the fact that spouses discuss politics with one another and naturally share information about the voting process.

FVAP explored this notion and discusses in its research note the importance of family and friends for active duty couples to obtain voting information. The note provides a review of the previous research and details the data, methodology and results of the new study.

 

Key findings

The gap between married and unmarried is much larger for overseas; in fact, overseas married couples are only slightly less likely to vote than domestic married.

 

Domestic  

Unmarried             63%

Married                  72%

Overseas

Unmarried             52%

Married                  68%

Overseas, married personnel were 10.5 percentage points more likely than overseas unmarried to have received voting information from family and friends, which indicates that spouses are the most likely source of this information.

Although the unmarried do not have access to information from a spouse, they likely do obtain information from other social contacts. Gathering more information about their social networks may assist FVAP in marketing its services to all active personnel, especially those who are unmarried.

The data presents little evidence that spouses influence voting through increased use of DoD/FVAP resources. This may indicate that spouses are unaware of these resources, and thus a marketing campaign targeting spouses could positively affect awareness of the absentee voting process and their likelihood of voting.

Spouses can have a strong direct influence on the service member’s probability of receiving voting information, as well as the probability of voting. This would suggest that information about voting resources provided to spouses may reach the service member.

FVAP is leveraging these research findings to inform its outreach efforts.

To increase spouses’ awareness of their absentee voting rights under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, FVAP is ramping up its social media efforts targeting this key population. Digital and social media ads will encourage them to visit the military spouse page at FVAP.gov to learn more.

In addition to developing an online marketing campaign targeted at spouses, FVAP coordinated with senior DoD leadership to establish relationships with the services’ respective Family Readiness Programs.

FVAP is working directly with the services’ outreach coordinators to share military education and awareness outreach kits on absentee voting at the installation and unit levels.

Federally Approved Voting Absence

The federal government has a long-standing policy of granting employees excused absence from work to vote in elections when the polls are not open at least three hours either before or after an employee’s regular work schedule, as long as it does not interfere with operations.

The general rule is, employees may be permitted to report for work three hours after the polls open or leave work three hours before the polls close, whichever involves less time away from work.

Hawaii election days are as follows: (Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

  • March 8 – Republican presidential primary.
  • March 26 – Democratic presidential primary.
  • Aug. 13 – State primary.
  • Nov. 8 – General Election Day.

Visit www.cpol.army.mil/library/permiss/5012f.html or call 655-5546, Bldg. 750, Room 102.

 

Federal Voting Assistance Program

Alternately, visit FVAP.gov or call FVAP at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584) or email (vote@fvap.gov).

Find FVAP on Facebook at facebook.com/DoDFVAP and follow @FVAP on Twitter for election updates throughout 2016.

The research note is available at fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Reports/2015_FVAP_ResearchNote4_20160105_final.pdf.

(Editor’s note: All references to married marital status in this article refer to active duty personnel.)

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