Military Voters Dissed by Big Government?

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By Stefanie Schappert
Special to The Clyde Fitch Report
stefanie@lipstickconservative.com

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So, here we are with less than two weeks to go in another “one of the most important elections of our time” and again we are faced with another case of disenfranchisement involving thousands of brave men and women in our U.S. military fighting overseas in the “War on Terror,'” ahem, cough, ahem, I mean, President Obama’s latest “Overseas Contingency Operation.” But for those of us who really don’t care what you call it, the real issue is how many local election boards in how many states failed to send out their absentee ballots to our soldiers within the 45-day advance deadline required by the Department of Justice’s recently passed MOVE legislation

The Military Overseas Voter Empowerment Act was enacted last year in response to the “tens of thousands of absentee military ballots” rejected in the 2008 presidential election because of late arrivals. The whole idea of overseas absentee ballots not being counted came to light during the 2006 midterm elections, where Democrats took over the Congress and liberal hero Nancy Pelosi took her throne as Speaker of the House. Statistics show only 300,000 votes out of the one million absentee ballots sent out, representing soldiers and other ex-pats living abroad, were actually counted nationwide. In the end, election officials estimated roughly 400,000 overseas military ballots were left in the dust.

I find it unbelievable that even with this law is passed, dozens of counties in more than a dozen states, including New York, couldn’t get their $@#% together in time. It’s pretty simple: send the absentee ballots out 45 days before the election. But the wiles of Big Government seem to have confounded us again. It’s an outrage for soldiers risking their lives every day on the battlefield, and it’s an outrage that taxpayer money is going to be wasted on all these should-have-been-unnecessary lawsuits.

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It’s also an outrage for the political candidates fighting tooth and nail for every last vote in local races, and for the voters supporting their candidates. In my 19th Congressional district (Putnam County), only one percentage point separates the candidates, yet roughly 20,000 military absentee ballots are in question. I know for my Hudson Valley town, population 13,000, only 4,000 people came out to vote in the last midterm election.

An even bigger scandal is rocking states like Illinois, where, disgracefully, more than a fifth of the state’s counties missed the deadline, and where one local county clerk just seemed annoyed by the hubbub, telling the DOJ to buzz off after being confronted with missing the deadline by 14 days. This star employee’s exact words:

“All they’re doing is trying to make political hay out of nothing. I think its desperate candidates and they should be ashamed of themselves… I really don’t care what the Department of Justice thinks.”

Turns out this bozo — a Democrat by the way — has disenfranchised voters before. Although, in his defense, he seems an equal opportunity disenfranchiser. In 2009, he was sued by a group of citizens from a predominately African American community for sending out letters to hundreds of voters threatening to scrap their voter registration if they didn’t attend some bogus county hearing. Sounds like a typical government employee with an ax to grind against the bloated bureaucratic system. Yet somehow he’s still in charge over there. Probably because he’s a unionized federal employee, and you know how hard it is to get rid of them.

Not to blame it all on the states — the DOJ had ample time to force the deadline with many local boards. But the DOJ obviously chose to ignore this travesty, just like they chose to ignore a caught-on-video case of two New Black Panthers members standing outside a Philadelphia polling station with billy clubs during the 2008 election. The two were allegedly using racial slurs and insults to scare would-be voters, but Attorney General Eric Holder dismissed the case even though the evidence was overwhelming and the two Panthers had been barred from local polling stations because of past intimidation. Holder was probably too busy promoting the temporary lawyer in charge of the absentee ballot fiasco to a permanent position as the new head of the DOJ voting section.

So, with the DOJ dragging its feet, you’d think the American Civil Liberties Union would pick up the slack, but it’s obvious they’re not interested. Surprising, since the ACLU was trigger-happy to sue local election boards for perceived voter fraud during the 2008 presidential election. One ACLU lawsuit in Missouri and Indiana, for example, claimed it was too much of a “burden” to require voters to show proper identification at polling stations before pulling the lever. Hm, I wonder what population group would find it a hardship to carry legal documentation?

Or how about when the ACLU was so worried about students being disenfranchised in Virginia a few years ago? They filed another lawsuit there, accusing the Norfolk election board of making “burdensome” the requirement that out-of-state students trying to register to vote show proof of residency, even as many students boasted of being registered in two states.

And let’s not forget the ACORN debacle, which spanned multiple states. Volunteers got bonuses to register as many voters as they could. Does Mickey Mouse ring a bell? The ACLU was so worried about poor, helpless, disenfranchised voters like Mickey Mouse that it filed suit — this time in Pennsylvania — challenging the state’s law to bar such questionable registration tactics again citing an unconstitutional “burden” for the workers.

Is it willful deceit by local Democrats and the Obama administration trying to throw an election in their favor? Probably not. Is it another example of an inept government too big and unwieldy to be efficient when it matters most? Probably yes. Either way, if you’re one of the 100,000-plus men and women serving overseas, living on top of one another for months on end in filthy third-world conditions where psycho extremists are trying to blow your head off day in and day out and all you want is make it home alive to put your arms around the ones you love, it’s just like getting kicked in the balls, even if you’re the 20 percent of the military that doesn’t have any.

If you’re still not outraged over the military losing its vote while fighting to protect your freedoms, take a look at this. Then imagine this guy not being able to vote. It’s long, but worth it.

Stefanie Schappert is a freelance journalist based in New York. A staunch conservative in a self-professed city of liberals and the military wife of a Green Beret, she created Lipstick Conservative to share her unique viewpoint on politics and culture. This broadcast news veteran and former NFL Cheerleader is known to hang out with quite a liberal crowd and has been the buzz kill during many a dinner party. Contact Stefanie or learn more at lipstickconservative.com.

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Lipstick Conservative does not necessarily represent the views of The Clyde Fitch Report.