Cast aside: Thousands of votes from our military troops uncounted or missing
The military mail service is notoriously slow, and lawmakers have said that it could be almost two months after the election before ballots even arrive to be processed.
“We write to express concerns over another serious failure by the Department of Defense to safeguard the voting rights of our overseas military service members, which we believe could result in the imminent disenfranchisement of thousands,” stated a letter sent to Defense Department Secretary Leon Panetta by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., John McCain, R-Ariz., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla..
Add to that the incident on October 19th, just two and a half weeks before the November 6th elections, when a transport plane crashed at Shindad Air Base, destroying almost 5,000 pounds of mail – including absentee ballots being sent to U.S. military serving in Afghanistan. Election officials recommended resending the ballots – just two and a half weeks before the elections (bears repeating).
Michelle Malkin reported in an article published at Townhall.com, “Despite a federal law mandating that every base establish a voting assistance office (the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act), the Pentagon reported this summer that it could only contact such offices on half of the military's bases. In Wisconsin alone this election cycle, at least 30 municipalities failed to send absentee ballots to members of the military before the 45-day election deadline.”
Experts, veterans groups, and advocates for soldiers agree that a minimum 45-day mailing standard is necessary to allow sufficient time to get military absentee ballots home. But the federal government has done nothing to enforce the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. In fact, according to Malkin, “the Obama administration has actively worked against pro-troop voting protection efforts by suing to stop Ohio's military enfranchisement reforms.”
The bottom line is that our military, those men and women who risk their lives to protect our freedom, those most deserving to exercise their right to vote, are being prevented from doing so. This is unconscionable.