Even as First Lady Michelle Obama eloquently addresses the needs of military families, her husband’s Defense Department is cutting back on programs mandated by Congress to increase military voter turnout.
In 2009, Congress passed the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE) to stimulate turnout among active duty military, in part, by establishing Installation Voter Assistance Offices (IVAO) on each base to help military personnel vote. But, in a report just issued by the Pentagon’s Inspector General, only about half of the installations have voter assistance offices even though the MOVE Act required them all to have them.
Why is the Obama Pentagon dragging its feet in catalyzing a turnout of military voters? It is probably because they would overwhelmingly back Romney if they were able to vote.
Among military veterans, Romney leads Obama by 58-34. One would assume that active duty military have a similar inclination. In the 2000 cliff-hanger Gore/Bush election, Democrats moved to exclude military absentee ballots from the Florida vote tally because they skewed so heavily against them.
How outrageous is it that the Pentagon is failing to implement a bi-partisan act of Congress designed to help those who defend our freedom participate in it by voting on Election Day?
This Pentagon report comes on the heels of lawsuits filed by the Democratic Party in Ohio to cut back the number of days during which military personnel can cast absentee ballots. The Ohio legislature had extended the period until the day before Election Day. But the Democratic lawsuit is trying to cut it back to four days before Election Day. Their suit is based on their contention that treating military absentee ballots differently from other kinds of absentee voting is discriminatory. But how easy is it to vote when you are in the wilds of Afghanistan, out on patrol during the day, constantly on the alert for snipers? These are obstacles most absentee voters don’t face and the military are entitled to special efforts to make their voting easier.
Please sign this petition to Michelle Obama, her husband, and the Pentagon to insist that the Defense Department move immediately to implement fully the requirements of the MOVE Act and establish voter assistance centers on all military bases and installations. We'll add your e-mail address to our Alerts list so we can keep you posted on progress and next steps.
Put your actions where your words are!