Recently Obama and his team filed suit against the state of Ohio to change their voting laws to disallow members of our Military to vote a bit early. That was the essence of the headlines that signaled this action.
The president and his campaign responded (This is an excerpt from their website on the issue):
"In a blatant attempt to mislead Americans, Mitt Romney is falsely accusing the Obama campaign of trying to restrict military voting in Ohio. In fact, the opposite is true: The Obama campaign filed a lawsuit to make sure every Ohioan has early voting rights, including military members and their families.
What happened to early voting in Ohio?
- In the 2008 presidential election, more than 93,000 Ohioans utilized early voting in the three days before the election.
- Earlier this year, Ohio’s GOP-controlled legislature passed an election reform law that cut off early voting three days before the election.
- More than 300,000 Ohioans signed a petition to secure a referendum on the November 6th ballot in order to repeal this law. Rather than face the referendum, the legislature, at the urging of Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, decided to repeal the law.
- However, “in an unusual turn of events,” Ohio Republicans managed to keep a technical provision of the bill that shortens the early voting process and eliminates the last three days of early voting for all citizens except military personnel and their families."
"As you may know, last month the Obama re-election campaign sued Ohio state officials in an attempt to suppress, in that pivotal swing state, the votes of America’s military men and women – people who traditionally lean conservative and vote Republican. (CNN exit polling data from 2008 show voters favored Republican John McCain over Obama by a 10-point margin, 54 to 44 percent.)
Now, the Obama camp vehemently denies any and all suggestions it is suppressing the military vote, claiming it simply wants an even playing field for all.
Let’s look at it: Current Ohio law – being challenged in the lawsuit brought by Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and the state’s Attorney General Mike DeWine – includes a special provision to allow military voters to cast their ballots during the last three days (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) immediately prior to Election Day. However, according to the Obama lawsuit, Ohio’s special concession to military voters – an acknowledgment of the difficulty soldiers deployed overseas often encounter in trying to get their vote in on time – is “arbitrary” and has “no discernible rational basis.” Remember those words, for as we’ll soon see they are the key to understanding this grand deception.
Because the Ohio situation is somewhat complex and involves several different bills and a bit of recent legislative history, I will only touch on the highlights, but will commend to you a good RedState blog posting if you’re up for an in-depth, play-by-play review of the relevant Ohio voting laws.
However, beyond a few right-thinking bloggers, reporters and talk-show hosts, the vast, perpetually mesmerized pro-Obama media – and even the establishment’s arbiters of All Truth On The Internet, Snopes, Politifact and FactCheck – side with Obama and characterize as “shameful” the comments made by the Romney campaign and the few analysts who see the Obama lawsuit for what it is – an attempt to restrict military voting.
Indeed, the elite press currently overflows with articles accusing those claiming the Ohio lawsuit is bad for the military of being both wrong and dishonest.
Is that why no fewer than 15 military organizations have joined together to fight this particular Obama-machine lawsuit in court? I’m talking about:
The Association of the U.S. Army
The Association of the U.S. Navy
The Marine Corps League
The Military Officers Association of America
The Reserve Officers Association
The National Association of the Uniformed Services
The Non Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S.A.
The Army Reserve Association
The Fleet Reserve Association
The Special Forces Association
The U.S. Army Ranger Association, Inc.
The National Defense Committee
The Military Order of the World Wars
Or – is it just possible our military knows something about military voting that Obama and his sleazy lawyers don’t know? Yes, “sleazy.” The lead counsel on this case is none other than Robert Bauer, who author/analyst Matthew Vadum reminds us, “asked the Department of Justice to prosecute Obama critics and fine television stations for daring to carry an ad about Obama’s close personal friendship with Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. Bauer, Obama’s former White House Counsel, is married to Anita Dunn, the Mao-loving former director of communications in the Obama White House. Bauer has been instrumental in whitewashing Obama’s radical roots by filing lawsuits keeping a bewildering array of the president’s personal papers hidden away.”
Should Team Obama prevail in the Ohio lawsuit, there are several possible outcomes: The judge could overrule Ohio’s Legislature and governor and resolve the issue by eliminating the three extra voting days for everyone, including military voters – something even the plaintiffs concede could be the result. That would hurt our soldiers. Or the judge could overrule the Ohio government, but impose the opposite remedy, forcing all voting precincts in the state to stay open all three days prior to Election Day for all voters in the state, not just military voters. That would hurt our soldiers even more.
What?, you may ask. How could everybody, including the military, having three more days to vote hurt our soldiers? Indeed, “what’s the matter with everybody having three extra days to vote?” is the current establishment refrain, its purveyors claiming incorrectly that all Ohio voters used to have those same three days for early voting. They didn’t: Although state law allowed it, local voting authorizes could decide if they wanted to implement early voting or not. Only “six counties had weekend voting and extended hours and 82 of them didn’t,” lead defendant and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted told the Associated Press.
And why was that? Husted explained, in a Bloomberg Businessweek interview, that setting limits on early voting for most Ohioans – other than the relatively few in the armed forces – is necessary so Ohio’s election boards can synchronize the early balloting records with those at 9,800 polling places to prevent voter fraud – people voting more than once. And as Ohio’s state GOP chairman, Bob Bennett, said in a written statement: “Nobody is being disenfranchised here, as Ohio’s voters who choose to vote early can do so by mail 24 hours a day, seven days a week or at early voting polls.”
The REAL issue at stake here, the one virtually no one is talking about, and the reason it hurts the military if the judge forces Ohio to open all its polling places for all voters for the final three days, is the legal precedent that will be set – namely, that our soldiers cannot constitutionally be given a break, a few extra days, to get their votes in.
Friends, you can’t obtain “reasonable results” through abominable means and then call it good. (That would be like me robbing a bank and then going home and saying, “Dear, I made a lot of money today.”) The price America will pay to obtain in Ohio a totally unnecessary “three extra days for everybody to vote” (if the judge rules the way Obama for America is asking it to rule) is the creation of a new legal precedent that it is unconstitutional to give any special consideration to military voters. After all, that is precisely the plaintiffs’ legal argument.
But as the Ohio defendants’ legal response points out so eloquently, America has always made special concessions for its soldiers to assure their opportunity to vote, going back to the Revolutionary War.
“Unfortunately,” argue lawyers for the Ohio defendants, “throughout history military personnel have been prevented from … [exercising their right to the franchise] due to both procedural and logistic hurdles, resulting in their franchise being effectively ‘hollow.’” They explain:
- The problem of how to allow those serving in the United States Military to cast a ballot has been with us since the time of our nation’s war for independence.
- Dating as far back as the Civil War, President Lincoln issued an executive order declaring a cessation of military operations in order to allow military personnel to travel home so that they could cast their ballots.
- In order to make sure that those serving in the Civil War had access to the franchise, many states authorized elections officials to travel to units in the field to set up polling locations and to collect ballots from soldiers.
Military voters – the shocking truth
Putting aside arguments pro and con, is there or is there not a serious problem in today’s America with active-duty members of the armed forces having enough time to vote?
Here’s a one-question quiz: During the 2010 election, what percentage of America’s military and overseas voters do you think were able to cast a vote that actually counted in the election results?
If you guessed “5 percent,” you’re too high.
“Tens of thousands of service members’ votes not counted” was the headline of a June 27, 2012, McClatchy newspaper article detailing just how seriously flawed the current system is for enabling the millions of men and woman in the U.S. military to vote.
The story includes the following shocking statistics:
In 2010, of the approximately 2 million military and overseas voters accounted for in data reported by the states to the Election Assistance Commission, only 4.6 percent of those voters were able to cast an absentee ballot that counted, according to the Military Voter Protection Project’s analysis of that data from the federal Election Assistance Commission, which tracks participation in voting. That compared with 5.5 percent in 2006, which was also a midterm election, the organization concluded.
The overall national voter participation rate for the 2010 election was 41.6 percent, authorities said.
According to that report, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted – yes, the same Jon Husted being sued by Obama for America – was so disgusted he told county election boards “it would be considered grounds for removal of board members if their agencies should fail to electronically send out absentee ballots 45 days prior to an election” to all military voters who requested one.
Maybe Team Obama didn’t like Ohio’s zeal to make sure our brave soldiers get to vote along with all the illegal aliens, dead people and others the left is so eager to have vote “early and often” this November.
It’s the same thing every election
This problem is not new. Ever since the Bush-Gore Florida recount in 2000, every election cycle has brought with it controversy over the counting of overseas military votes – which traditionally lean Republican.
Two weeks after Election Day 2000, Mark Herron, a Democrat lawyer in Florida, circulated a memo to members of his party throughout the state instructing them on how to disqualify overseas military ballots. The entire five-page memo, obtained and published by the Drudge Report, included tips on how to lodge protests against military ballots which were thought to heavily favor Republican George W. Bush.
Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the Coalition Forces in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, led widespread condemnation of the Democrat memo, saying: “It is a very sad day in our country when the men and women of the armed forces are serving abroad and facing danger of a daily basis … and are denied the right to vote for the president of the United States who will be their commander in chief.”
Thousands of overseas military members registered to vote in Florida complained that they either never received requested absentee ballots, the ballots arrived too late or their votes were rejected. In an election won by Bush by just 537 votes, Florida officials had disqualified 1,527 military votes for lack of a postmark.
In 2004, the same sorts of complaints arose. And in 2008, legal complaints, news stories and studies showed dozens of states failing to allow soldiers enough time to vote.
Then in 2010, ex-DOJ attorney M. Eric Eversole spoke out against the Obama Justice Department for its failure to safeguard the military vote.
Although Congress had passed in 2009 a law mandating that military personnel overseas be given sufficient time to participate in U.S. elections, the DOJ’s Voting Section was ignoring the new laws, potentially allowing thousands of uncounted ballots to fall through the cracks, said Eversole, a former litigation attorney for the DOJ Voting Section.
And according to a 2009 Pew Center report, more than one-third of states did not provide military voters stationed abroad enough time to vote or were at high risk of not providing enough time. The study found six states provided time to vote only if their military personnel overseas return completed absentee ballots by fax or email – a practice with privacy and security vulnerabilities.
Although current law requires that absentee ballots be shipped to military voters overseas a minimum of 45 days prior to Election Day, Eversole said in a Washington Times column that tens of thousands of soldiers received their ballots too late to ensure their votes could be counted in 2010. After the 2010 midterm elections, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission released data showing less than half of the 119,000 overseas military votes cast were counted.
Leftists are masters of projection; they reflexively accuse others of the evil they themselves commit. So when Occupy protesters display widespread anti-Semitism, rape women and defecate on police cars, the leftist media ignore it and accuse tea partiers of similar misbehavior, utterly without evidence.
In the same way, while leftist-engineered vote fraud is a genuine problem in today’s America, the left denies it and instead projects its guilt onto Republicans with indignant cries of “voter suppression” in response to the most mild and reasonable attempts on the part of state officials to identify who people are before they vote.
Yet there is one form of voter suppression that is real and vexing. It is being perpetrated by the left. And its target is the one group that deserves, more than you or me or anyone else in America, to be able to vote for our next commander in chief.