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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

The Military Ballot FUBAR

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This is rapidly becoming a major story.

[Madison, Wisc...] 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.

As reported by the website, Principi sent a letter to the GAB on Monday pointing out the failure to meet the 45 day deadline is in violation of 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," wrote Principi.

Principi cited a study by the Military Postal Service Agency, which found less than 45 days is not enough time to ensure service members can receive, complete and return in time.

"Your office's violations therefore may deprive service members of their fundamental right to vote," he wrote.Screen shot 2012-10-01 at 7.09.56 PM.png
This comes on top of a report by the MacIver News Service that the Federal Voter Assistance Program was providing Wisconsin service members the incorrect deadline for when their ballots must be received by for the general election.

The Department of Defense is scrambling to undo any damage caused when the Federal Voting Assistance Program provided the wrong absentee ballot deadline to Wisconsin service members. Also in Washington, DC, House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren, (R-Calif.) took action to ensure that the voting rights of military and overseas voters are protected, including sending a staff attorney to meet with state election officials here. 


Here is the coverage:

Mitt Romney's campaign demanded today that the GAB extend the deadline for local election officials to receive absentee ballots from military voters.

But a Government Accountability Board spokesman said such a change would have to come through a court order.

The Romney campaign wrote in a letter that federal law requires election officials to send absentee ballots to military voters at least 45 days before a federal election. But at least 30 Wisconsin municipalities failed to send the ballots by the deadline of Sept. 22.


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