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Military heroes voting access bill passes house

Oklahoma City_Press Release_Legislation to give veterans an easier way to participate in elections, a right they've fought to protect, passed the House today.

House Bill 1402, by State Rep. Wes Hilliard, gives veterans the right to vote in elections from their place of residence in a veterans' center.

Hilliard said he wants to make sure Oklahoma veterans are given the ability to participate in the democratic process they once protected.

"Currently, state law allows the secretary of a county election board to assemble an absentee voting board to go to nursing home facilities and give residents the opportunity to vote in an election, but this service is currently not available to those in veterans' centers," said Hilliard, D-Sulphur. "It is time we insure these men and women also have an active voice in government so they can participate in the very freedoms they fought to secure."

Although elderly veterans can be transported to county voting sites, many of them are incapacitated and unable to travel. Hilliard's bill would allow them to vote directly from their rooms in the veterans' center in the same fashion as nursing home residents.

Oklahoma has seven veterans' centers that are home to over 1,400 retired or disabled veterans. 

House Bill 1429 passed the full House and will now go to the Senate for a hearing.

The Sulphur Democrat filed a similar bill last year. It passed the House unanimously but was held up in the Senate.

"We should go above and beyond the call of duty to insure voting rights and I am glad to see that my fellow House members agree; however, I hope to not be disappointed with my Senate comrades."

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