military vote

Disenfranchising military voters by refusing to enforce the MOVE Act

It isn’t exactly a mystery that military voters favor Republicans over Democrats by at least 3 to 1 margin. For the brave men and women responsible for protecting our nation, it is only natural that they would gravitate towards the party that believes in a strong national defense and is unwilling to sacrifice the military budget in favor of short-sighted political expediency as has been demonstrated by Democratic politicians time and time again.

If anyone deserves to have their voice heard it would be the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. However years ago liberal voting officials found a novel method to suppress the military vote: by mailing out ballots late to troops stationed overseas ensuring there wasn’t enough time for them to be returned and counted.

A study of the 2008 election by the nonpartisan Overseas Vote Foundation confirmed the mail based system was indeed massively disenfranchising military voters:

  • More than one in four, 22%, of the 24,000 voter survey respondents did not receive the official ballot they expected.
  • More than half (52%) of those who tried but could not vote, were unable to because their ballots were late or did not arrive.
  • Early state attempts to apply fax and email technologies are not improving chances of receiving ballots. 23.8% of respondents who sent in a request by email did not receive a ballot and 21.5% of respondents who used fax did not receive a ballot.

Even more ominously the OVF study found that in 2008 “39% of (military) voters received their ballots during the second half of October or later … too late to guarantee return in a timely manner”, which was much worse than the 2006 mid-term election when 25% reported receiving late ballots, a seemingly fortunate coincidence that just so happened to benefit then candidate Obama.

In response to the 2008 debacle Congress passed the Military and Overseas Voting Empowerment (MOVE) Act which required states to mail out ballots no later than 45 days before an election. This would ensure overseas military voters had ample time to return their absentee ballots.

The DOJ was given the task of enforcing the law and granting waivers where appropriate, a responsibility they ignored in order to benefit Democrats. During a 2010 meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), deputy chief of the DOJ voting section Rebecca Wertz was reported by Fox News as calling “the provisions of the law as ‘fairly general’ and ‘somewhat of an open question as to what type of information’ a state needs to submit in order to for their waiver application to be granted.”

According to J. Christian Adams, “bureaucrats inside DOJ expressly crafted DOJ litigation decisions with open contempt for congressional mandates … as long as ‘most’ (military voters) had a ‘reasonable’ chance to participate, DOJ washed their hands of it.” Sixteen states and territories took the hint when they deliberately missed the deadline for the 2010 mid-term elections. “Maryland passed legislation to allow 16 year olds to register to vote, but couldn’t take the time to ensure that military members got a ballot in time by complying with the MOVE Act,” Adams wrote for Pajamas Media.

In a statement to Fox News Sen. John Cornyn said, “military voters have been disenfranchised for decades, and last year Congress acted. But according to recent information, the Department of Justice has expressed reluctance to protect the civil rights of military voters under the new law. All our men and women in uniform deserve a chance to vote this November, and the Obama administration bears responsibility for ensuring that they have it.”

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