Thursday, October 4, 2012

Holder Doesn't Investigate Voter Suppression

While Attorney General Eric Holder, his political lawyers, and the Democratic left screams voter suppression in states which require some kind of photo ID to vote, they all seem to be actively involved in making sure that our overseas troops are denied their right to vote. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that active-duty military tend to lean rather strongly Republican. It's all about fairness, right?

Some of the active-duty military don't vote simply because they have been deployed for a lengthy period of time during which they could have voted had they been out of the line of fire. But that's a small number. Others fail to vote, or miss voting, because of the same kinds of events which cause civilians in the United States to forget to go to the polls. Again, those numbers are small. The largest number of “missed” votes grows out of the internally-conflicting state laws and federal rules regarding absentee ballots for our military serving overseas. Much of it can be chalked up to human error, much more cannot.

In 2010, the Military Voter Protection Project calculated that in 2008, only 20% of the active duty military cast absentee ballots. In 2010, the number had dropped to 5%. The Project concluded that there was something much deeper than apathy or clumsy voting rules involved in such low figures. Common sense alone says that the very people who daily defend our right to vote and live in a free republic simply can't be that uninterested in who their representatives will be.

In 2009, Congress also recognized that something was rotten, and passed legislation to assist active duty military serving overseas to know their voting rights, and assist them in exercising those rights. It was called the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. Our military-loving president signed the legislation into law. The main provision of the law is to set up installation voting assistance offices (IVAOs). Their sole purpose is to recognize that the military personnel have far more problems knowing where they will be at any given time, particularly during the election cycle, than the average civilian at home. They are charged with following up on new and sudden deployments so that the serving military man or woman won't get lost in the shuffle and lose his or her ability to vote.

So where does the Obama administration and the Holder Justice Department fit into this plan? Mostly, they don't. It's up to them to implement the plan and protect our military's right to vote. When states began passing voter ID law, the Holder Justice Department devoted a substantial part of its legal efforts to attempting to void the voter ID laws. Six people who are too stupid or too lazy to obtain a valid state voter ID might have their votes “suppressed,” so it was time to employ the awesome forces of the federal government to prevent such a disaster. When arm-twisting didn't work, Holder started filing lawsuits at an astounding rate of speed.

Meanwhile, back on the military posts in Afghanistan and Iraq (and throughout the rest of the world), the quick-as-a-rabbit Holder Justice Department suddenly developed a strange and exotic case of the slows. It's a contagious disease, and has been passed on to the Department of Defense and the Obama White House. With the money already approved and set aside for implementation of the assistance offices, and “hot spots” identified, fewer than half of the assistance offices have been activated since 2009.

One of the major functions of the IVAOs is to instruct service members on the complexities and vastly differing rules for absentee voting from state to state. But the administration decided it had a better way. Rather than put all those people to useful work serving the people by increasing military voter participation, the government set up a website instead. If you've ever tried to get answers to your specific questions from a website, you've probably been jerked around through twelve different links, including useless FAQs.

The website of the Federal Voter Assistance Program is no different. Say, for instance, you are a soldier recently deployed to Afghanistan from your home in Wisconsin. After circling around within the site to find a simple answer, you suddenly come upon the answer. Miracle of miracles. You have until November 16 for your vote to be counted. The problem is that under Wisconsin law, all overseas military absentee ballots must be received by November 9. One military officer discovered the error, and after battling with the webmasters, got the figure corrected. The question is, how many military personnel have already retrieved the incorrect information, and will simply vote too late for it to count?

Properly implemented, the program would have an advocate at every overseas military base of any importance to physically contact the soldiers, give them the correct rules, and tell them to ignore the website. A physical human body talking directly to our military personnel, charged with guaranteeing that each soldier has the right information makes a lot more sense than a website that the military men and women may or may not have consulted. Human beings are always more motivated by a plea from a fellow human being than by dry, technical, and occasionally incorrect information provided on a website.

On September 13, appearing before a Congressional subcommittee, the acting director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, Pam Mitchell said: “I strongly believe that voting-assistance is the best that it has ever been.” I suspect that if she were over in the State Department, she'd be one of those still claiming that the riots and murders in the Middle East were spontaneous and caused by a video trailer that nobody has actually seen. “Baghdad Bob” syndrome seems to permeate the entire Obama administration.

I'm sure the New Black Panthers will be out in force to make sure no ineligible white person attempts to vote. But who is going to be there for the men and women of the military who are denied their vote, if only by gross negligence?

12 comments:

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

I don't think I have ever seen such a disinterest in what soldiers are due.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: And sadly, nothing much will be done about it until after the election.

Individualist said...

I think there is a method that the Pentagon could solve this problem easier. Mili9tary men are not free in the sense that we civilians are. Barack Obama can not order me to go vote. But a soldieer in Active Duty can be Ordered to vote.

Now to be clear that person can't be told how to vote nor even that he has to make a choice between the candidates. He can only be ordered to fill out the ballot. Abstaining from recording a vote on the ballot is as much a choice available as voting for a condidate.

The order is that he has to register to vote, get the ballot, mark in secret whom he or she wishes to vote for if anybody and properly execute that ballot.

If this is done then the state department can order the states to find a method to allow these soldiers to comply with their direct orders. The state deaprtment could even intervene with those states that refuse to accept votes for technical reasons. Done enough in advance the states would probably have ample ways to ensure these votes are counted and controlled.

Of course I think Holder would rather issue an executive order forbidding the military from voting and that is the problem.

LawHawkRFD said...

Indi: I don't know the UCMJ well enough to know whether they can be ordered to register and/or vote. So I claim ignorance. I do know if such a rule were to be implemented, Holder would be all over it with TROs and injunctions.

Tennessee Jed said...

when it comes to being totally rotten, nobody holds a candle to E-HO. Mitchell (under Nixon) was like a rank amateur by comparison when it comes to naked partisanship at the Justice Department. It is already long over due to have a new sheriff in town.

Individualist said...

Tennessee Jed

What makes Holder's reign so obnoxious is all the caterwauling and faux complaining they did about every Attorney General under a Republican admninistration. Compare John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzalez to Holder and they can't "Hold a candle" to him when it comes to corruption and unfairness.

It really is sickening that this man does these outrageous abuses of power and is never called on it.

tryanmax said...

I suppose the one bright spot is that there actually is a program in place to address this problem. Hopefully it will improve under different direction.

AndrewPrice said...

Holder is a turd, there's no doubt about that, and it's shameful whenever the Democrats try to keep the military from voting.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

If I remember correctly, the whole idea of absentee voter is because of the military being on maneuvers or something similar. I remember in the mid-seventies, my brother traveled from San Diego to Sacramento just to vote. Around that time, absentee voting was introduced. Everybody else was included to make it fair.

So, the original reasoning is being deliberately ignored.

BevfromNYC said...

THere is NO voter fraud except for Republicans who will steal the election from Obama through voter fraud.

Yes, that's the liberal logic.

rlaWTX said...

well, if you have a bloc that tends (just tends) to support the Opposing Party of Evilness (AKA GOP), then of course those in charge should suppress this horror. It is least of what any Czar of the Party of Goodness and Social Justice (AKA Democrats) should do!!!!


Have I mentioned that I really, really HATE Senor Holder?
I like Jed's nickname: E-HO!!!!

LawHawkRFD said...

TO EVERYONE WHO COMMMENTED, MY EXTREME APOLOGIES. I WILL POST THE REASON I DISAPPEARED FROM SIGHT ON MY NEXT POST, WHICH WILL BE EITHER SUNDAY OR MONDAY. TOTALLY UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES TOO LONG TO EXPLAIN HERE. Love you all. LawHawk.

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