Americans have the right to vote because generations of military veterans have secured and defended that privilege, according to Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz.
He came to Fort Dodge Tuesday to introduce a program that encourages people to honor those veterans when they cast their ballots.
In the Vote in Honor of a Veteran program, people can write a tribute to individual veterans on the secretary of state's website. Those who do will receive a lapel pin with an Honor a Veteran logo on it.
''This program is there to honor those people who have made sacrifices so that we can vote,'' Schultz said. ''It's a great way to honor those who are currently serving and those who have served in the past.''
''Dozens and dozens of people have already gotten involved,'' he added.
There is no cost to participate in the program. Schultz said his office incurs a small cost to buy the lapel pins.
To participate in the program, people can go to the secretary of state's web site at www.sos.iowa.gov, click on the link labeled ''Honor a Veteran With Your Vote'' and fill in the blanks on the screen.
Tributes to veterans can also be submitted by mail. People wishing to submit tributes by mail can fill out cards available from local veterans organizations.
The red, white and blue Honor a Veteran pin will be mailed to everyone who submits a tribute.
''Our hope is people will wear that pin when they go to vote this November because we owe the veterans for their sacrifice,'' Schultz said.
While in Fort Dodge, Schultz also reported that all troops serving overseas can now vote by email or fax. Previously, only those troops serving in designated combat zones could vote in that manner.