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 Military Absentee Ballot Requests Dropped by 70%

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Lora
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PostSubject: Military Absentee Ballot Requests Dropped by 70%   Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:40 pm


Military Absentee Ballot Requests Dropped by 70%

By: Matthew Clark
Filed in: US Constitution |

Oct. 24, 2012



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There are new reports that military absentee ballot requests have
dropped by as much as 70 percent since the last presidential election.

Fox News reports:

Requests from
military voters for absentee ballots have dropped significantly since
2008, according to newly released statistics, prompting claims that the
Department of Defense is dragging its feet in enacting a law meant to
boost military voting.

The drop in the
battleground states of Virginia and Ohio is among the most pronounced.
According to statistics released Monday by The Military Voter Protection
Project, the number of absentee ballot requests by both military
members and other overseas voters in the two states has dropped 70
percent since 2008.

The precipitous drop in swing states is the most concerning. In
August, “military ballot requests in Virginia were down 92 percent.”
While a recent push in the military-heavy Commonwealth of Virginia has
improved that number, the State Board of Election reports that military
voter absentee requests ended down by about 53 percent.

The drop-off in military absentee balloting is even worse in the
critical swing state of Ohio. The number of military and overseas
absentee ballot requests has dropped by nearly 70 percent in that critical state.

Why the huge drop-off when Congress has made concerted efforts to
improve military voting? The mounting evidence is disturbing. The
Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act passed in 2009 mandated that
military bases have voting assistance offices.

However, a Pentagon investigation in August revealed
that “investigators had been unable to contact voting assistance
offices on half the military's bases.” In other words, 50 percent of
bases didn’t have an operating voting assistance office when federal law
requires every base to have one of these offices.

Failing to have the mandated voting assistance offices operating
successfully on 50 percent of bases could certainly explain why military
absentee balloting is down 50 percent or more. Yet the acting director
of the Pentagon’s Federal Voting Assistance Program, Pam Mitchell,
doesn’t see any problem whatsoever. In response to these reports, she said, “From my perspective, voting assistance has never been better.”

While some members of the military feel they have adequately been
made aware of the opportunities available to them to ensure their vote
is counted, others do not.

“No one told us
anything,” said Leonel Rayes, an enlisted fireman from Texas. Rayes said
he was transferred to a ship that had recently returned from a
deployment and he wasn't aware of what the rest of the unit had been
told. “It kind of bothers me that they were supposed to tell us and they
didn't.... You just guess you can't vote.”

No American soldier should ever feel like they “can’t vote” to select
their Commander-in-Chief. Our men and women in uniform deserve every
opportunity to vote. The military, the Administration, and America owe
it to those who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms,
including our right to vote, to ensure that their vote is counted.

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Military Absentee Ballot Requests Dropped by 70%
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