Obama sup­pressed the mil­i­tary vote

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Ned Ryun

The men and women who risk their lives to pre­serve free­dom for all Amer­i­cans are at risk of los­ing one of the very free­doms they pro­tect.

Over­seas mil­i­tary ab­sen­tee vot­ing was abysmal in 2008 — only 20 per­cent of over­seas mil­i­tary turned in ab­sen­tee bal­lots — and it looks like it’s go­ing to be even worse in 2012. In Vir­ginia and Ohio, mil­i­tary and over­seas bal­lots have fallen 70 per­cent since 2008, ac­cord­ing to the Mil­i­tary Voter Pro­tec­tion Project. Ohio re­ceived only 9,700 bal­lots in Septem­ber, whereas in Septem­ber 2008, it re­ceived 32,000.

So, why aren’t sol­diers vot­ing? In many cases they sim­ply can’t, and they have their com­man­der in chief, Pres­i­dent Obama, to blame.

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of our uni­formed per­son­nel have been shut out of the process, and we can thank the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and even the Obama cam­paign for this tragedy. Af­ter poor turnout in 2008, Congress passed the Mil­i­tary and Over­seas Voter Em­pow­er­ment (Move) Act to en­sure that all mil­i­tary are pro­vided with the op­por­tu­nity to vote.

The act put stan­dards in place, such as mail­ing ab­sen­tee bal­lots no later than 45 days be­fore an elec­tion and re­quir­ing in­stal­la­tion vot­ing as­sis­tance of­fices to be built at most mil­i­tary bases and posts.

The Pen­tagon has ut­terly failed to meet these stan­dards.

As of Septem­ber, the Depart­ment of De­fense in­spec­tor gen­eral’s of­fice found that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion had “not es­tab­lished all the [as­sis­tance of­fices] as in­tended by the Move Act.”

Frankly, that’s an un­der­state­ment. Only 116 of the 229 man­dated of­fices were con­structed, and of the 116, many were set up af­ter their pro­jected dead­line and in places not of­ten vis­ited on mil­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties.

The ex­pla­na­tion? The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion by way of the Pen­tagon blamed a lack of funds for their fail­ure to com­ply with the law. That’s right, the same ad­min­is­tra­tion that has spent more money in less time than any other in Amer­i­can his­tory is plead­ing poverty when it comes to en­sur­ing that our mil­i­tary can vote in this year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

The same Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion that funded Solyn­dra, Oba­macare and Cash for Clunkers couldn’t spare any change to help en­sure that our na­tion’s heroes can ex­er­cise the right to vote.

We can af­ford to send $2 bil­lion to the Egyp­tian gov­ern­ment, run by the rad­i­cal Mus­lim Brother­hood — whose pres­i­dent has re­cently called for the de­struc­tion Depart­ment when it comes to our mil­i­tary vot­ers?

Where’s the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union?

Where is the com­man­der in chief ?

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion should be pros­e­cuted for know­ingly and will­ingly vi­o­lat­ing the Move Act, as well as the Vot­ing Rights Act.

Team Obama is es­tab­lish­ing a record of be­hav­ior re­gard­ing mil­i­tary vot­ers that should call

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion should be pros­e­cuted for know­ingly and will­ingly vi­o­lat­ing the Move

Act, as well as the Vot­ing Rights Act.

of Is­rael — but we can’t fund ef­forts al­low­ing our own sol­diers to vote?

It’s a na­tional dis­grace. Worse, the facts make us won­der if it is in­ten­tional. Af­ter all, mem­bers of the mil­i­tary vote over­whelm­ingly Repub­li­can.

While se­lec­tively choos­ing not to fund this law, Mr. Obama and his Depart­ment of Jus­tice have at the same time been on a cru­sade su­ing states with voter-iden­ti­fi­ca­tion laws, ac­cus­ing them of “voter sup­pres­sion.”

Where is the Jus­tice into ques­tion the va­lid­ity of the process. The Obama cam­paign re­cently sued the state of Ohio for ex­tend­ing mil­i­tary vot­ing by three days. It didn’t want to give our armed forces spe­cial treat­ment, stat­ing in the law­suit that the ex­ten­sion was “ar­bi­trary” and had “no dis­cernible ra­tio­nal ba­sis.” No ra­tio­nal ba­sis? En­sur­ing that our mil­i­tary per­son­nel over­seas have the tools and time to vote seems rea­son­able, ra­tio­nal and part of our moral obli­ga­tion to them.

His­tor­i­cally, they don’t of­ten sup­port his anti-mil­i­tary poli­cies and have a his­tory of vot­ing against lib­er­als.

The ef­fect of this dis­en­fran­chise­ment has been felt. Only 2 per­cent of ac­tive-duty mil­i­tary fam­i­lies voted in the swing states of Vir­ginia, North Carolina and Ohio thus far.

Only 16 per­cent even made re­quests for bal­lots in Florida. The mil­i­tary vote could have made the elec­tion — as it did in Florida in the 2000 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

This year, the pres­i­dent gave him­self a big ad­van­tage and should be ashamed of choos­ing pol­i­tics over our ser­vice­men.

Amer­i­cans need to tell Mr. Obama to stop dis­en­fran­chis­ing our mil­i­tary.

All Amer­i­cans should hold the pres­i­dent ac­count­able for this crime.

In­stead of de­fend­ing voter fraud and al­low­ing vot­ers with­out iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to cast their bal­lot, Mr. Obama should have been fight­ing for those who fight for us ev­ery day. Ned Ryun is CEO of Amer­i­can Ma­jor­ity Ac­tion and spon­sor of the na­tional Lib­erty Head­quar­ters pro­gram.

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