Jurisdictions in Vermont, Michigan, Mississippi and Wisconsin have failed to mail absentee ballots to military members by the Sept. 22, 2012, deadline established by the MOVE Act. That was 45 days before the November 6 elections, which was what was required.
Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee; Rep. Daniel E. Lungren, R-Calif., chairman of the House Administration Committee; and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), R-Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the Defense and Justice departments reading:
“We are concerned that, absent prompt and effective remedial action, some men and women in uniform will be deprived of the 45-day window to vote guaranteed by the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. While implementation and enforcement of the MOVE Act appear on course as an improvement over the poor performance we saw in the 2010 elections, we are concerned about the currently reported shortcomings. If any element of local, state or federal government does not abide by the MOVE Act, the result should not ever be the disenfranchisement of any member of the armed services.”
The congressmen stated that the jurisdictions responsible should extend the deadline for accepting military and overseas ballots by the same number of days as the ballots were mailed late. The congressmen also asked Defense Department officials whether they have established installation voting assistance offices where they are required. It is the service branches’ responsibility to establish these offices.
It is unconscionable for these states to fail to give military members their due. Is it any coincidence that it is only Republicans who seek to rectify the situation?