According to many the balance of voters in the military break largely for the Republican candidates or just towards a more conservative ideal when they vote. It has been in my experience that while this is true, the balance is closer to less than a 60/40 split than it was the 80/20 or 90/10 the pundits would have you believe it is. However that being said, the fact that troops favor a more conservative line of American government is fairly important come election time.
In the day of razor-thin election margins and squads of lawyers waiting to pounce on any inconsistency, the weight of the military voter carries a little more heft than in the past. In fact, all absentee voting carries more weight than it has before. There are those that know and understand this, which is why there have been numerous lawsuits over the absentee voter this year.
The FVAP (Federal Voters Assistance Program) for Wisconsin had the wrong date listed for the return of absentee ballots, not by a day but by a week. Had those returned late, they would not be counted. The democratic party in Ohio just went through a federal lawsuit to keep absentee voting from military members in that state. And now this. The government has been complicit in failing to comply with the Military and overseas Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which addresses the difficulties caused by time and distance for deployed personnel. The act stipulates each military branch must have an installation voting assistance office (IVAO) for every base outside and immediate combat zone.
Less than half the IVAO’s mandated to be created have been. Why? Apparently lack of funding was the answer. It was estimated to cost $15-20 million a year total for all these installations, which in terms of government spending amounts to pocket lint, yet we can’t seem to get the job done. QE3 is kicking out $40 Bil a month, we wasted $530 million on Solyndra, $34 million of the Dept of education to teach Americans to be better shoppers, $19.6 million for the International Fund for Ireland for projects like a golf video and a pony trekking center. Really? All of this crap is more important than voting? Seems to me if you really wanted the troops to vote you’d get this crap done. I mean it’s not like it is a law or anything. Oh wait, it is.
The government rails about the unfairness of voter identity laws in the states and fights in federal court to reject anything that might hinder the tide of undocumented voters for certain politicians, but nary a peep over the fact that in 2008 less than 20% of military voters were able to successfully vote by absentee ballot. In 2010, it was 5%. The law says servicemen must have their ballots 45 days before the election so as to not disenfranchise military voters, the department of Justice can actually file suit to ensure this happens. In 2010, they gave waivers to states who failed to deliver the ballots. This resulted in the disenfranchisement of 1/3 of all deployed troops in 2010 according to testimony at a House committee hearing this February.
Why oh why would the government ever want to disenfranchise anyone? They are so vocal about making sure the poor, who wouldn’t have access to an ID, gets to vote, or that the dead should have their say until someone brings it up, or felons really aren’t felons until someone spots them on the rolls. But the military? We would prefer if the troops did not vote.
They say the military is there to protect democracy, not practice it. That is fine and dandy for a military structure, but when you start disenfranchising them because it inconveniences you or you’re not sure you like how they might vote you start down a slippery slope that leads to totalitarianism. How long before you start disenfranchising others?