This month marks the 151st anniversary of absentee ballot voting in the U.S. This measure was introduced during the Civil War to permit Union army soldiers in the field to choose between re-electing Abraham Lincoln or sending his opponent, George McClellan, to the White House. But on this date in 1896, Vermont became the first state to enshrine in law the concept of voting away from home, though the voter had to be within the state. All that was required to vote at any polling location was a certification of state residency. Early voting, including absentee balloting, is increasingly used in our elections. In 2014, of the 92 million votes cast, over 20.5 million were by the early or absentee vote method. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.