Wisconsin absentee ballots for military voters sent after deadline
By: John Hayward
10/2/2012 09:41 AM
If you are a member of the U.S. military on deployment, and you hail from the state of Wisconsin, please know that you have the heartfelt thanks of every patriotic American for your service… but you might not be able to vote in the 2012 election.
That’s because, as reported by the MacIver Institute, “At least 30 Wisconsin municipalities failed to send absentee ballots to military voters before the 45 day deadline, according to former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Anthony Principi, and he’s demanding the Government Accountability Board address the problem immediately.”
The deadline was calculated using the estimated length of time required to send, complete, and return absentee ballots. This creates a strong risk that military ballots won’t be returned in time to be counted in the election. The deadline was not an idle suggestion – it’s part of the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act.
“This violation is particularly unsettling in light of the fact that, only six months ago, a federal court entered a consent decree against Wisconsin and the Government Accountability Board for similar violations of military voting rights,” Principi pointed out. He said these violations “may deprive service members of their fundamental right to vote.”
Principi wrote on behalf of the Romney campaign, which has asked the Government Accountability Board to push back the deadline for receiving absentee military ballots, to fully account for the failure of these Wisconsin municipalities to send them by the prescribed date. The GAB says this would require a court order.
Furthermore, the Federal Voting Assistance Program gave Wisconsin service members an incorrect deadline for submission of their absentee ballots on its website, listing the return date as seven days after the actual deadline, prompting action from House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren (R-CA). The Defense Department rushed to address the situation by emailing every Wisconsin service member with the correct deadline.
“It’s alarming to know that an untold number of our men and women in uniform were provided incorrect information,” Lungren said last week, when this little snafu was discovered by the MacIver News Service. “This is an unacceptable error that cannot continue. Whether it’s from the battle field or at the ballot box, our men and women in uniform deserve to have their vote counted.”