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2012 ElectionMilitaryOpinionPolitics

Absentee Ballot Problems? … Our Military Deserves Better

Here’s something that you won’t hear in the mainstream media.  Our soldiers and sailors fighting overseas are being disenfranchised, purposefully in some cases, by various governmental entities, who have made it either incredibly difficult to obtain an absentee ballot, or by outright not sending them in a timely manner as required by law … and a Court Order!  This is an outrage and it needs to be addressed.
I know from experience how difficult it can be to even find information on absentee ballots.  My son, who started college this year in another state, can vote for the first time.  He registered last summer so that he could exercise his right to voice his opinion at the ballot box; but in order to do so this year he will need to do it by absentee ballot.  It’s too far to bring him home just to vote, so I tried to find him an absentee ballot application to fill out and send in.  It took me an hour, and I’m not a naïve college freshman who wouldn’t know where to start looking … nor am I a service member who is on the front lines and doesn’t have an hour in my day to go look.
The worst offender, so far, of this disgraceful situation is the State of Wisconsin.  A MacIver Institute report stated that  “At least 30 Wisconsin municipalities failed to send absentee ballots to military voters before the 45 day deadline, according to former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Anthony Principi, and he’s demanding the Government Accountability Board address the problem immediately.”  

The deadline was figured out by using an estimate of the time required to send, complete, and return absentee ballots.  So what’s the big deal?  Well if they get the timing wrong there’s a huge risk that military ballots won’t be returned in time to be counted in the election.  The deadline was not a suggestion either, it is required by law under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act.  

What’s worse is that only six months ago a federal court entered a consent decree against this same state and the Government Accountability Board for doing the very same thing.  Violations like this deprive those who understand the gravity of voting rights best: our military service members.  

Why would this happen?  Carelessness, if you are an optimist.  Given the track record above, the cynic in me says to bolster the Democratic vote.  A 2009 Gallup poll found that military service men and women tend to be more Republican.
It gets even better for Wisconsin.  The ballots they did send — and information on its website listed a return date for absentee ballots as seven days after the actual deadline.  The Defense Department rushed to address the situation by emailing every Wisconsin service member the correct deadline, but only after House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren (R-CA) demanded that this be done.  The website still had the return date listed as November 16, 2012, as late as September 25, 2012.  It was changed to November 9, 2016, the correct date, later that afternoon.  A demand that an extension of any deadlines be made for military was also made, but the GAB said it would take a court order.  I say someone needs to go get one!
Other battleground states are seeing a drop in requests for absentee ballots as well.  Virginia had a 92% drop.  Ohio had more than 32,000 in 2008, compared with 9,700 this year.  It raises concerns that the Department of Defense, now under the control of a Democratic President, is not looking out for the voting rights of our military.  The DOD says otherwise, but given that in the sharply contested election of 2000 it was alleged that many military votes were simply not counted or thrown out, the message to our men and women overseas is clear:  THE POWERS THAT BE DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR VOTE. So why bother even trying?
The ridiculousness of this is just mind boggling.  The left has been going nuts over voter ID laws for weeks now.  They think it’s racist to require people to show identification that proves that you are who you say you are, and that you have the right to vote in the US.  To me, this is just common sense.  

So where is their outrage at the disenfranchisement of our military?  The military, as the left also likes to point out, are also largely comprised of poorer members of our society, and has all races, religions and sexual orientations.  Why would they not want their votes to count?  

Again, I believe that it comes down to the fact that as a whole, the military tends to vote more conservatively.  It would seem that they are willing to skip a few liberal votes to keep the block of conservative ones from being counted.  Maybe that’s a cynical thought, but what other conclusion can be drawn?
Our military men and women put their lives on the line, daily, all over the world, in order to protect the rights we enjoy to speak freely, worship freely and vote, among others, and we are going to reward them by keeping them from exercising the same right to vote?  George Washington is spinning a 180 at Mt. Vernon …

Image: Navy personnel filling out an absentee ballot form; public domain

Suzanne Olden

Suzanne Reisig Olden is a Catholic Christian, Conservative, married mother of two, who loves God, family and country in that order. She lives northwest of Baltimore, in Carroll County, Maryland. She graduated from Villa Julie College/Stevenson University with a BS in Paralegal Studies and works as a paralegal for a franchise company, specializing in franchise law and intellectual property. Originally from Baltimore, and after many moves, she came home to raise her son and daughter, now high school and college aged, in her home state. Suzanne also writes for The Firebreathing Conservative website ( and hopes you'll come visit there as well for even more discussion of conservative issues.

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