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August 02, 2012

Disenfranchising the Military Is The Most Rational Thing In the World

Hmmm.... where have we heard this before?

President Barack Obama, along with many Democrats, likes to say that, while they may disagree with the GOP on many issues related to national security, they absolutely share their admiration and dedication to members of our armed forces. Obama, in particular, enjoys being seen visiting troops and having photos taken with members of our military. So, why is his campaign and the Democrat party suing to restrict their ability to vote in the upcoming election?

On July 17th, the Obama for America Campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party filed suit in OH to strike down part of that state's law governing voting by members of the military. Their suit said that part of the law is "arbitrary" with "no discernible rational basis."

Currently, Ohio allows the public to vote early in-person up until the Friday before the election. Members of the military are given three extra days to do so. While the Democrats may see this as "arbitrary" and having "no discernible rational basis," I think it is entirely reasonable given the demands on servicemen and women's time and their obligations to their sworn duty.

The National Defense Committee reports:

[f]or each of the last three years, the Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program has reported to the President and the Congress that the number one reason for military voter disenfranchisement is inadequate time to successfully vote.

I think its unconscionable that we as a nation wouldn't make it as easy as possible for members of the military to vote. They arguably have more right to vote than the rest of us, since it is their service and sacrifice that ensures we have the right to vote in the first place.

Wait! It's coming back to me!

Once again, we'll hear ad nauseam about disenfranchisement of convicted felons and people who can't be bothered to fill out a ballot correctly.

But no one in the Democratic Party seems particularly concerned that more than 160,000 troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan may lose their right to vote in the coming election. Apparently "supporting the troops" doesn't mean supporting their right to vote. The outrage only extends to registered Democratic voters. This is likely to be a repeat of what happened in the 2000 election, when the Gore campaign aggressively blocked overseas military ballots cast by active duty enlisted personnel and officers from being counted:

When vote counters arrived Friday in heavily Republican Duval County, five lawyers from the Al Gore camp stood poised to contest virtually every military ballot waiting to be opened. During a 19-hour process that ended Saturday at 4:30 a.m., the Gore team challenged the authenticity of signatures, dates and addresses. They got one Navy lieutenant's ballot thrown out. The officer wrote on the envelope he could not get a postmark on his ship before sending it to Florida. "The big story here is this was a systematic, heavy-handed effort by the Democrats to eliminate absentee military ballots," said Jim Post, a Republican attorney who fought the Gore challenges. "That was clear from the beginning of the day." Mr. Post said he has never seen such a concerted campaign to disqualify overseas ballots.

...Due to frequent moves, deployments, TAD, and field assignments, many military personnel do not receive their voting materials on time and cast last-minute votes. So it is not at all unusual to receive a flood of late votes from active duty servicemembers - it is hardly suspicious as the Gore campaign alleged. Unless they mean to imply that active duty servicemembers are forging ballots en masse and sending them in at the last minute? That is an allegation I would like to see them make openly, but somehow I doubt it will be made.

How appalling is it that the Commander in Chief of the armed forces would fight to disenfranchise the very people who guarantee our freedoms?

There are no words adequate to describe my contempt for this man.

Posted by Cassandra at August 2, 2012 05:44 PM

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"How appalling is it that the Commander in Chief of the armed forces would fight to disenfranchise the very people who guarantee our freedoms?

There are no words adequate to describe my contempt for this man."

Other than boiling blood and a loathing to my core for this <EXPLETIVE DELETED> <EXPLETIVE DELETED> <EXPLETIVE DELETED> <EXPLETIVE DELETED> <EXPLETIVE DELETED> <EXPLETIVE DELETED>and his <EXPLETIVE DELETED> <EXPLETIVE DELETED> <EXPLETIVE DELETED> <EXPLETIVE DELETED> idiological traveling companions, I'm pretty much in the same boat...

Posted by: bthun at August 2, 2012 06:59 PM

"There are no words adequate to describe my contempt for this man."

Ohhh, I have a few...but they'd be inappropriate at a Hell's Angels rally around 3am-- much less a classy joint like this.
So, I'll just say, "Well, bless their hearts."

Posted by: DL Sly at August 2, 2012 06:59 PM

Posted by: bthun at August 2, 2012 06:59 PM
Posted by: DL Sly at August 2, 2012 06:59 PM

You owe me a beer.

Posted by: DL Sly at August 2, 2012 07:01 PM

*does the fist-bump with DL and raises a brewski in salute to the day, 95 and a wake up hence...*

To correcting the course of the floundering ship of State and to lessons learned! And may those who knew no better four years ago, now know! Salute!

Posted by: bthun at August 2, 2012 07:04 PM

..."95 and a wake up hence...*"

*lifts second beer of the day (hey, the Braves start @ 5 now for me.)*
What a kohh-inkie-dink! The last countdown on my 2012 calendar ends in 95 days & a wake-up! Must be a verrry important day if two such fine, upstanding citizens have it marked on their respective calendars.

Posted by: DL Sly at August 2, 2012 07:10 PM

As usual, the information provided by Breitbart.com is completely false. Obama is not suing to restrict voting rights for military members or anyone else; in fact, he's doing the exact opposite. The lawsuit is meant to compel Ohio to EXPAND early voting rights to all citizens of the state.


Nothing is being taken away from the military here. Mike Flynn lied to you. That should have been obvious when he didn't cite any sources for his claims and only quoted a few out-of-context words from the people behind the lawsuit.

Posted by: Chris at August 2, 2012 07:33 PM

That's right! This is a 14th Amendment issue. Voting rights and equal protection are at stake!

What? Why is the campaign suing instead of the Justice Department? Well, that's just because I couldn't persuade my lawyers of... uh... never mind that. Rights are at stake, if military voters in Afghanistan get extra hours to vote between patrols.

Posted by: Eric Holder at August 2, 2012 07:53 PM

Ordinary citizens already have 25 days to vote early. They already have early voting rights.

Civilians don't face the same restrictions as military personnel - hence the 3 days of extra time.

There are plenty of other articles out there (and I read several before posting). State law mandates that early voting ends on the Friday before the election.

Federal law guarantees military personnel the right to cast early votes up until the Monday before the election. They are given extra time in recognition of the extra burdens imposed by military service.

It never ceases to amaze me that Democrats will argue for disparate treatment for their favored constituencies based on things like skin color or Jim Crow (which hasn't existed in this country for decades) or gender. But when it comes to people who have actually earned something through their actions, all of a sudden everyone has to be equal.

What a farce.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 2, 2012 08:15 PM

Mr. Holder...

You, the Campaign, and the individual known as Chris seem to discount the difficulties in squeezing in a trip to the polls.

What with only a month of leeway prior to election day, it's hardly reasonable to expect todays citizen to allocate their time such that they get to the polls with only a month in which to complete the task.

On the other hand, the life of Riley that the military enjoys, those individuals who might be hunkered down in an armpit on the other side of the world, attempting to carry out their orders, based on the policies of this nation and the POTUS, all while trying to distinguish between those who want their protection and those who want to turn them into particulate matter, hardly compares to the hard put upon citizen...

Every reasonable person knows the hardship of the average citizen is far and away above that of the deployed military personnel.

Posted by: J. Edgar Hubris at August 2, 2012 08:19 PM

Obama, in particular, enjoys being seen visiting troops

Shoulda told ya all you needed to know, right there.

Not "enjoys visiting", but "being seen" to visit.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at August 2, 2012 08:29 PM

You call that an unfair burden? What about the crushing burden on people who have four years to get ready for a presidential election, but can't find the time or money to get a photo i.d. even when they're being given away free? And what about family pets, non-citizens, and dead people who couldn't get a photo i.d. no matter how much time and money we gave them? Now that's disenfranchisement. Don't come whining to me about service members who are risking their lives for our country.

Conservatives. Always hatin' on the voters. And then lying.

Posted by: Texan99 at August 3, 2012 11:34 AM

Bites disenfranchisement meme's butt, the contextual snark does...

Posted by: Yoda at August 3, 2012 12:33 PM

There's also this, from the plaintiff's brief [emphasis in the original post]"

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs request of this Court the following equitable relief:…

B. A preliminary and permanent order prohibiting the Defendants, their respective agents, servants, employees, attorneys, successors, and all persons acting in concert with each or any of them, from implementing or enforcing lines 863 and 864 of Sec. 3509.03 (I) in HB 224, and/or the SB 295 enactment of Ohio Revised Code § 3509.03 with the HB 224 amendments, thereby restoring in-person early voting on the three days immediately preceding Election Day for all eligible Ohio voters;

The full brief is here.

Sometimes context matters.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at August 3, 2012 01:37 PM

I think we all know that in most things, context matters. As does the history of ones acts.

Ohio, as I understand it, sought to apply a state-wide uniform standard on hours of operation for the polls. I seem to recall the reasoning was to control costs and not disenfranchise voters in those counties that closed their polls the weekend prior to the election. The only exception to this attempt to standardize the hours of operation was to accommodate military personnel and their immediate families. I do not believe this to be an unusual precedent as per the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act. Especially given the demands placed on uniformed military and overseas families. Similarly situated voters? Hardly.

Yep, while the plaintiffs verbiage says one thing, the intent of the suit, given the history and the context of the Dems actions regarding insuring the Military's votes count, is pretty clear IMO.

As always YMMV.

Posted by: bthun at August 3, 2012 03:56 PM

...while the plaintiffs verbiage says one thing, the intent of the suit, given the history and the context of the Dems actions....

I can only go by what the beef is, as filed.

We have plenty with which to decry the Progressives in government--including plain and obvious attacks on voting rights by Obama (vis., his attempts to block Texas' efforts at protecting the sanctity of the vote, and his similar attack on Pennsylvania). We don't need to shoot ourselves in the foot--and blow this election--with unforced errors and bad beefs.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at August 3, 2012 05:05 PM

...while the plaintiffs verbiage says one thing, the intent of the suit, given the history and the context of the Dems actions....

I can only go by what the beef is, as filed.

Stop the fighting you kids! You're both right! The motivation behind the plaintiff's claims may be utter crap, but the law pays little mind to intent (unless it's a fraud or criminal matter). The Dems' motivation may be the perfect embodiment of scummy suckitude, but that does not mean that their complaint has no merit. Members of the military are not a "protected class" deserving of special protection (or privileges) under the Constitution, so tough muffins, soldier. And thanks for your service!

Now I have to go take a shower.

Posted by: spd rdr at August 3, 2012 07:46 PM

"I can only go by what the beef is, as filed."
As a rule, I try to take the same approach. However, in the case of the most transparent/ethical Administration evah, history causes me to first check to see if the lips of anyone in the administration are moving...

At least we can rest easy in the knowledge that DOJ is bringing their balance-beam of impartia..., ah, blind... mmmm, situational judicial integrity to this matter.

Posted by: bthun at August 3, 2012 09:39 PM

I haven't any sympathy for the argument that the military is receiving unconstitutional preferential treatment here.

Nevertheless, if the lawsuit really is asking to leave the military rights alone and only seeks to add another three days of early and/or absentee voting for domestic residents, I don't think it's harmful, only offensively tone-deaf. It's appalling the way states send out military ballots late and demand them back early, as if they didn't have to travel all over the world to find our servicemen, and as if the servicemen didn't often face tall hurdles in getting them filled out and sent back on time. What a disgrace. And then to whine about how this new law "prefers" servicemen, and yet constantly to demand that polls stay open late for domestic voters who'd already had a chance to vote on multiple days of early voting -- sheesh.

Posted by: Texan99 at August 4, 2012 10:52 AM

Agreed Tex...

We'll just have to wait and see how the Court responds.

Maybe the Clerk can put the case on the docket for, oh, Wednesday, 07-Nov-12 at 1 p.m. Then Ohio can have a couple of years to rethink their costs/efficiencies strategies, or the DOJ can do what the DOJ does. <Leaves that notion open for future consideration/discussion>

Posted by: bthun at August 4, 2012 11:57 AM

2012. It's more than an election; it's a restraining order.

Posted by: MathMom at August 5, 2012 07:39 PM

That's an outstanding line, MathMom.

Posted by: Grim at August 5, 2012 08:43 PM

Wish I could take credit for it, Grim. Saw it on the intertubes. I'm thinking "Bumper Sticker"!

Posted by: MathMom at August 5, 2012 09:03 PM