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The Soldier Vote

The Civil War became the first conflict in which arrangements were made for deployed soldiers to vote. Who the Union soldiers would support—President Abraham Lincoln or their former commander, George McClellan—was critical in determining the outcome of the 1864 presidential election.

Poll book, Company C of the 150th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers

Gift of John M. Swanner

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During World War II, federal ballots were provided for service members who had not received their own state’s absentee ballots.

Official Federal War Ballot for Servicemen, 1944

Gift of Leo Seybold

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Official Federal War Ballot for Servicemen envelope, 1944

Gift of Leo Seybold

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Vote While You’re Still Around

Vote While You’re Still Around

Signs reminded soldiers in Korea to be mindful of enemy surveillance and to vote in the 1952 election.

Courtesy of Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images