Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today gave the keynote speech at the Fort Leonard Wood Women’s History Month Ceremony, hosted by the 14th Military Police Brigade. Speaking about the gains made by women both in society and in the military, Carnahan praised Fort Leonard Wood as a world-class facility where women can become strong leaders.


Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan today gave the keynote speech at the Fort Leonard Wood Women’s History Month Ceremony, hosted by the 14th Military Police Brigade. Speaking about the gains made by women both in society and in the military, Carnahan praised Fort Leonard Wood as a world-class facility where women can become strong leaders.

Carnahan noted that there are over 35,000 women in Missouri who are veterans, and that women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have earned awards such as the Silver Star and Purple Heart in recognition of their service.

“There is no more fitting place to recognize women’s history than Fort Leonard Wood, where so many women serve our country every day.” Carnahan said. “I am honored to be here and have the opportunity to listen to their stories.”

Women have worked hard to open doors throughout our country’s history, whether in the military or even when securing the right to vote.  Today, members of the military still face many hurdles to voting, including the length of time necessary to mail ballots overseas and lack of information about other options available to cast their ballot.

During 2008, Secretary Carnahan worked closely with Missouri’s military community to improve service members’ knowledge of the voting process and increase participation.  Events across the state aimed to educate soldiers and their families about options for receiving and returning a ballot as quickly as possible. Partnering with Congressman Skelton, the Secretary of State’s Office distributed information on voting to more than 1,000 service men and women currently serving in Kosovo. These efforts paid off, increasing the return rate of military absentee ballots by nearly 20 percent.

Men and women serving in the military deserve every opportunity to have their ballot securely returned and their vote counted.  After hearing feedback on the current process from Missourians around the state, Carnahan pushed for the General Assembly to improve the voting process for members of the military.

House Bill 649, Sponsored by Representative and former marine Steven Webber, would allow those serving overseas in a hostile fire or combat zone to receive their ballots securely by email or fax.  This bill would also allow extra time for all overseas voters to return their absentee ballots.  The majority of rejected military ballots are not counted because they arrive after Election Day.