Thursday, August 26, 2010

Military Votes That Could Decide Mid-Term Election Results May Not Be Counted

10 States Asking for Waiver Exemption from DOD

The majority of Americans and all politicians consistently applaud the men and women of the U. S. military for the sacrifice they and their families make every day in their service to our country. The American fighting men and women stationed in foreign lands and on the battlefield right now in the Middle East are revered for their bravery and honor on behalf of our country.

Can you imagine the irony of military votes possibly systematically not being counted in an American election? Would you consider the possibility of military votes not being counted simply due to a ballot mailing timing issue to not only be a disservice to them but to be the height of hypocrisy in our government’s display of the value of their service? I would.

Ten states – AK, CO, DE, HI, MA, MD, NY, RI, WA, and WI – as well as the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have asked the Department of Defense for a waiver exempting them from the law requiring ballots be sent out 45 days before an election day. Most are justifying the waiver request for the November 2 mid-term election; because they have late primaries that they say make it impossible to meet the 45-day requirement. If this is the case, and this is the law, shouldn’t the law just be revised before having states have to request and be granted a waiver or just not get the ballots out in time to be within election law? If sent late, are accommodations made to include military votes in the election tally especially since they may have to be hand-counted in some cases?

Beyond the hypocrisy of not putting the warranted value on votes coming from those that are serving the security of our country, hasn’t the “every vote needs to be counted” mantra been a political rallying cry when an election is razor-close in recent elections – 2000 Presidential Bush/Gore and 2008 MN Senate Franken/Coleman as examples? Haven’t both Democrats and Republicans loudly protested when it was felt a candidate won an election only because all votes were not counted?

Americans serving in the military consistently have a higher voter registration percentage compared to the overall population. Military votes often have the potential to determine the result of elections. Many attribute the win of George W. Bush in 2000 to the military votes counted in the deciding state of Florida. In this November’s mid-term election, four states – CO, MD, WA, and WI – are considered to be running so tight a few thousand votes, possibly military votes, could in fact determine the election results.

This is not a new, unknown, or unpredicted vote counting situation. It’s time for American politicians of both parties to put their integrity where their talk is regarding the value and honor they hold for our military citizens. Every accommodation and effort including military absentee ballot requirement law revision and assurance that hand-counting of military ballots are included in the vote counts must be the only acceptable resolution. Real world considerations must be made to uphold the integrity of the voting process so that indeed “all votes are counted” – including those of our military.

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