Participation in yesterday’s election by military personnel deployed overseas plummeted to record lows, as the Department of Defense bungled its mission to get absentee ballots in the hands of our soldiers in a timely fashion. As a result, thousands upon thousands of Americans serving in Afghanistan and other dangerous, remote locations around the globe were left disenfranchised. Whether this represented yet another textbook example of government incompetence or was done by design to suppress a potential pool of conservative voters, the failure is inexcusable.
Congress in 2009 passed the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (or MOVE Act) to avert this train wreck. US Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, among other Congressional critics, warned Defense Secretary Leon Panetta months ago that the problem had not been addressed, and reiterated last month, “The price of DoD’s failure to follow the law will likely be paid this November by military service members and their families, whose voting rights were to have been safeguarded by this provision.”
The argument that this lapse was deliberate and willful is reinforced by the fact that on July 17, the Obama for America Campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party sued the state of Ohio to strike down its law that governs voting by members of the military. As Breitbart reported: “Their suit said that part of the law is `arbitrary’ with `no discernible rational basis.’ Currently, Ohio allows the public to vote early in-person up until the Friday before the election. Members of the military are given three extra days to do so.”