Carter Adams ’15: The Military Voter Protection (MVP) Project

Carter Adams ’15:  This summer, I am out in Washington, DC working for the Military Voter Protection Project (MVP Project).  The MVP Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the voting rights of military personnel and their voting-eligible dependents.  It was started in 2010 by Wabash grad Eric Eversole ’94.  Eric is a former U.S. Navy JAG officer and then went on to work for the Voting Section of the Department of Justice.

The MVP Project’s goal is to protect the voting rights of military voters.  Military voting has not been an issue in the forefront or one people usually consider.  However, military voters are one the most disenfranchised groups in the electorate.  Many factors contribute to this but consider the difficulty of registering to vote, applying for absentee ballot, receiving it, filling it out, returning it on time, and not messing it up for it to be counted…then add being in warzone halfway around the world.  The aim of the MVP Project is to improve the current electoral system that seems to be disenfranchising America’s military.

This is the fourth week on my internship and I will be here until the beginning of August.  In my first week it is safe to say I was bombarded by every piece of legislation passed that had anything to do with military voting.  From the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act to the National Voter Registration Act to the Military and Overseas Empowerment Act, you name it; I have read and learned about it.  It has definitely been a quick learning curve.  And since, my internship has involved applying this knowledge to drafting testimony for congressional committee hearings and papers to be published.

There have been a lot of exciting things happening around the MVP Project this summer.  With a large military population, Virginia and their 2013 election has been our focus, helping us develop the Heroes Vote Initiative, a new organization started by the MVP Project. Working alongside the Virginia State Board of Elections, the Heroes Vote Initiative and our Boots and Ballots Campaign will help put on on-base registration drives throughout the state.  With registering alone being one of the largest obstacles for many military voters, these military voter registration drives we are organizing will aid military voting participation.  Next month, we are having a kickoff event for our Boots and Ballots Campaign in Richmond, VA, where Bob McDonnell, the Virginia governor, is going to speak.

One of the highlights of my internship so far was having a breakfast meeting with Jason Kander, the Missouri Secretary of State, and his chief of staff, Abe Rakov.  Mr. Kander is the youngest elected statewide official in the U.S.  He is also a former Army Captain, so he has personally experienced the issues the MVP Project fights for.

I am currently going through Officer Candidate School for the United States Marine Corps. I spent last summer in Quantico, VA receiving training and will return next summer.  And upon graduation, if I make it through the program, I would be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps.  Thus, the MVP Project fights for issues that I care deeply about and have a great deal of interest in and I am so thankful to Wabash and Career Services for connecting me to this internship.  I would like to also thank the Small Business Fund for giving me the opportunity to live out here and work for a cause that is tremendously important.  Personally, I would like to thank Laurene, whom I work directly with, and Eric for working tirelessly for the MVP Project and being so great to me here in the nation’s capital.

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