Military Voting: Checking Assumptions, Accounting for the Majority
Is it true that the military vote is always for the republican candidate? Evidence suggests that this is the case for military officers, but that doesn’t account for 85-86% of all military personnel. For Don Inbody, this was an open space ripe for investigation.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Whether higher voter turnout impacts the outcome of elections one way or the other
- Whether internet security is strong enough to support online internet voting
- Why it’s not feasible to commit voter fraud on a scale large enough to have a meaningful impact on the outcome of an election
- How Florida and Texas handle absentee ballots, and why all states should follow suit
Don Inbody is a retired senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Texas State University who specializes in American civil-military relations and public opinion. For 28 years, he served as a Navy officer, which gives him unique insight on his areas of expertise.
During the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, there was a major question surrounding Florida absentee ballots, which were assumed to be from military personnel overseas. Initial reactions by both political parties at the time seemed to confirm a major underlying assumption: the large majority of the absentee votes from military members overseas would be cast for the republican candidate (Bush). This sparked Inbody’s interest in military voting.
Based on the fact that non-whites in the military are largely overrepresented compared to the American population, as well as the understanding that, in general, non-whites tend to vote democrat, Inbody wondered what it was about being in the military that would make those individuals vote republican instead.
The question of whether enlisted personnel indeed voted republican versus democrat, and if so, why that might be the case, formed the crux of Inbody’s dissertation and book, The Soldier Vote: War, Politics, and the Ballot in America. His research was based largely on a poll he took on enlisted personnel in 2008. His findings were contrary to the popular belief: in terms of party and ideology, enlisted personnel mirrored the rest of the American population, meaning there was an even split, more or less.
Inbody touches on the key takeaways of his book, discusses the importance of making voter IDs free and easily accessible to everyone, how the voting process can be improved, and much more.
Tune in, and follow Inbody on Twitter @inbodyd.