As American citizens, most of us have grown up in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. We often take for granted the many liberties we enjoy and the fact that these freedoms are due, in no small part, to our uniformed men and women. Some served in the military many years ago. Some are serving today. Some paid the ultimate sacrifice. ALL deserve to be honored and remembered.
Unfortunately, the right to vote is often not exercised by the younger voters in our county. Numbers show that in the most recent Presidential Election (2016), (approximately) 46%* of voters between the ages of 18 and 25 actually voted. Compare that with the (approximately) 85%* of voters ages 60 and up who voted and it is easy to see why our Charlotte County Outreach department makes talking to high school seniors about voting a priority.
In order to inspire our young voters and honor our veterans, the Supervisor of Elections office instituted in the Vote in Honor of a Veteran Program.
This is how it works:
- Biographies, with photos, of local veterans are collected and presented as part of our voter registration outreach program to high school seniors;
- Seniors wishing to participate in the program choose a biography from our selection or provide one that he or she has collected (usually a family member);
- Those participating will receive a military-style dog tag embossed with the veteran’s name, rank and branch of service;
- The participant will sign a pledge card (pledging to cast his or her vote in honor of their selected veteran);
- Participants and his or her veteran will be listed on this website.
Even though the Vote in Honor of a Vet program is geared toward educating and motivating high schoolers to register to vote, and honor our armed forces while doing so, we welcome citizen participants as well.
Veteran biographies can be selected online by going to Vote in Honor of a Vet/Veteran Participants. The Charlotte County Supervisor of Elections office also has hard copies of collected veteran biographies available for viewing and selection. Potential citizen participants can email their intent to vote in honor of a chosen veteran to Program Coordinator, Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Punta Gorda office in person to make a selection. For questions and inquiries, please call 941-833-5400.
Dog tags and pledge cards are reserved for high-school participants as a form of incentive. Citizen participants will be provided with a biography of the selected veteran. Their names will be listed along with the chosen veteran on our SOE website.
If you have served, are currently serving or know someone in the service, we encourage you to click on the tab “Submit a Veteran Bio” and complete a short information form. The form would then need to be submitted to our office, along with a photo (no larger than 5x7) of the veteran (preferably in uniform). Please be sure to include a current address so the photo can be returned once it has been processed.
Local author, Don Moore, writes an article about a local veteran each week for the local Charlotte Sun newspaper. His web site, www.donmooreswartales.com, is host to all of Dons’ past veteran articles and has been instrumental in building our veteran biographies, but we welcome any veteran to participate in the program.