July 31, 2009
Time for a Military Suffrage MovementBy Keli Carender
Remember the last election and all the rhetoric from the Democrats about making sure every vote counted, and reaching out to "traditionally" disenfranchised voters and communities? Remember how they were constantly accusing Republicans of deliberately and maliciously alienating and suppressing minority voters? Remember all that? In fact, claims of specific instances of disenfranchised voters were alleged long before the One ran for office.
It turns out that the brave men and women of our military are the most disenfranchised group of voters today. Literally. The Heritage Foundation has published the results and analysis of research performed by Hans A. von Spakovsky, a legal scholar and a former Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, and by Eric Eversole, a former active duty officer in the Navy JAG Corps and former lawyer in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The authors assert that members of the military have traditionally been disenfranchised at both the state and federal levels due to the unique circumstances and situations in which soldiers find themselves (i.e. war). Spakovsky and Eversole also conclude that unless Congress does something about this injustice, "military personnel will continue to be the largest group of disenfranchised voters in the United States."
Key portions of the research:
(Minnesota? Wasn't that the state with the heavily contested election for US Senator, where Norm Coleman lost to Al Franken by roughly 312 votes? )
Ensuring that the men and women fighting for their lives - and ours - in 115 degree weather, dodging bullets, eating horrible food, and carrying gigantic loads of equipment are able to partake in their Constitutionally guaranteed civil right -voting - is apparently not as exciting or politically satisfying as ensuring homeless thug thizzles get to vote.
More from the study:
If there were a minority group that had this low of a return rate and voter turnout, and said group was completely dependent on the government for the disbursement and transportation of their ballots, the cries of racism would never cease.
The Heritage Foundation report also finds:
It comes as no surprise that this data does not solely reflect the 2008 elections. Apparently there was almost identical disenfranchisement of military personnel in 2006 as well. Research has determined that 45 days prior to the deadline is the minimum amount of time that the ballots need to be sent to military personnel, particularly those serving abroad and in combat zones. However, one-third of all states refuse to follow the 45 day guideline!
According to the authors, some government officials say that 60 days is necessary to ensure that personnel receive the ballots with enough time to return them before any deadlines. Think about it, not only do the ballots move through the US postal system both ways (and the Department of Defense won't even spring for expedited service), but they must also move through the achingly slow military postal system.
The report goes on to list the main reasons behind the military voter disenfranchisement and then suggests some very simple solutions to alleviate this travesty and injustice. The four main reasons a high percentage of military personal unable to vote: (1) inability to participate, (2) lost and undeliverable ballots, (3) not enough time to vote, and (4) votes rejected for other state law reasons.
Soldiers tend to move around a lot and the government has not figured out a way to help soldiers make necessary changes to their voter registration information, or even just make the information readily available for the soldiers to do it themselves.
How hard is it to understand that some of our military personnel are in WAR ZONES? Why is no one sympathetic to their plight and lack of participation in our most sacred right? Why did Nancy Pelosi allow a bill, introduced by Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) that addressed these issues, to expire in the 110th Congress? Why was this not an important enough civil rights issue for her to allow it to the floor for debate and a vote? Why is the fact below not plastered everywhere?
I think we all know the answer to those questions and it isn't pretty. Bigotry and voter disenfranchisement in the USA is as disgusting now as it was in 1965.
Keli Carender is a graduate of the University of Oxford and a proud Tea Partier. She also blogs at Redistributing Knowledge.