Celebrating our freedoms and counting all military votes this November
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Ahead of Independence Day, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) unanimously approved one of the most important bills Congress passes annually: the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Included in the Fiscal Year 2021 NDAA is a bipartisan amendment that embodies the freedoms Americans across this country will be celebrating this holiday weekend. The Counting All Military Votes amendment protects the right to vote for all active duty military serving overseas.

Every American has the right to vote, including our military men and women serving overseas. However, each election, the votes of more than 10,000 military members serving in our embassies, consulates, and diplomatic posts not under jurisdiction of the Department of Defense are at risk of not being counted. If signed into law, the Fiscal Year 2021 NDAA will change this.

In February, I introduced the Counting All Military Votes Act to ensure the ballots of all of our servicemembers arrive on time. This legislation makes a simple change to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) to require an Express Mail Label for the ballots of all deployed active duty military serving overseas. Currently, the Express Mail Label, which expedites and tracks absentee ballots for a successful, on-time delivery, is only guaranteed on traditional military bases. Military members serving at our embassies and consulates have access to a “Diplomatic Pouch” service, but items using this service do not enter the Express Mail stream until they reach the United States – making on-time arrival extremely uncertain.

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With mail-in voting increasing across the country due to the pandemic, it’s critical we do everything we can to help ballots of active duty military arrive on time. I want to thank my colleagues, Reps. Mike TurnerMichael Ray TurnerDemocratic lawmakers lambast Trump over Esper firing as GOP remains mum Overnight Defense: How members of the Armed Services committees fared in Tuesday's elections | Military ballots among those uncounted in too-close-to-call presidential race | Ninth US service member killed by COVID-19 Turner fends off Democratic challenge in Ohio MORE (R-Ohio) and Jason CrowJason CrowGiffords launches national Gun Owners for Safety group to combat the NRA House approves .2T COVID-19 relief bill as White House talks stall Lawmakers grill Pentagon over Trump's Germany drawdown MORE (D-Colo.), who serve on the House Armed Services Committee for offering the Counting All Military Votes Act as an amendment to the NDAA and for their leadership in getting it passed. Having this language included in this must-pass bill to fund our military will hopefully ensure that all the voices of our men and women serving overseas are heard this November.

As we celebrate the Fourth of July with family and friends this weekend, let’s remember our military members serving overseas and give thanks for the work they do each and every day to protect our freedoms.

Congressman Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisGOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter tests positive for coronavirus Biden's gain is Democratic baseball's loss with Cedric Richmond MORE serves as ranking member of the Committee on House Administration (CHA), which has jurisdiction over federal elections.