Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Peter Wielhouwer

Second Advisor

Dr. John A. Clark

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Hoffmann

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This study involves analyzing the Rational Choice Theory presented by Anthony Downs (1957) regarding the cost of information when casting a ballot. The context of the study will be under the auspices of casting a ballot according to the Uniform and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). Of particular concern, the study will focus on uniformed members of the U.S. Armed Forces deployed overseas to Department of Defense combat zones. The policies put into place regarding political participation while serving as a military member will be addressed. Additionally, the study will employ a comparative case study of each individual service and how the policies of each branch impacts its members in terms of political participation. Outside resources such as living in a combat zone, individual state laws that govern absentee voting, and the inherent barriers to casting a ballot from the combat zone will illustrate that it is more difficult to cast a ballot from a combat zone than from the United States.

This study of the military voter in a combat zone will attempt to fill in where other recent researchers have left off in terms of the military voter. The environment of the combat zone that is inherently part of service while deployed will be brought forward to show that the military voter incurs additional costs and barriers when casting a ballot. Solutions will be proposed to the issue of ballot transmittal as well as procedural changes to make gathering information easier for service members who choose to cast a ballot.