DoJ stalling on protecting voting rights of military?

posted at 12:55 pm on July 28, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

After complaints from several election cycles that thousands of men and women stationed abroad in our military had trouble getting their ballots counted, Congress passed the MOVE Act to force states into compliance.  According to one of its authors, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), the language is unambiguous and creates a mandate for enforcement by the Department of Justice.  However, two whistleblowers formerly within the voting-rights section of the DoJ claim that the Obama administration is stalling on enforcement:

The MOVE Act, enacted last October, ensures that servicemen and women serving overseas have ample time to get in their absentee ballots. The result of the DOJ’s alleged inaction in enforcing the act, say Eric Eversole and J. Christian Adams — both former litigation attorneys for the DOJ’s Voting Section — could be that thousands of soldiers’ ballots will arrive too late to be counted.

“It is an absolute shame that the section appears to be spending more time finding ways to avoid the MOVE Act, rather than finding ways to ensure that military voters will have their votes counted,” said Eversole, director of the Military Voter Protection Project, a new organization devoted to ensuring military voting rights. “The Voting Section seems to have forgotten that it has an obligation to enforce federal law, not to find and raise arguments for states to avoid these laws.”

Cornyn has fired off a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding an explanation:

In his letter to Holder, Cornyn cites minutes from the 2010 winter meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), during which Rebecca Wertz, deputy chief of the DOJ’s voting section, told state election officials that the legislative language regarding waivers is not completely clear. Wertz described the provisions of the law as “fairly general” and “somewhat of an open question as to what type of information” a state needs to submit in order to for their waiver application to be granted. She said it was also unclear whether waivers are for one election only, or if they apply to future elections.

According to the meeting’s minutes, obtained by FoxNews.com, Wertz also said “that the DOJ is working to find effective ways to disseminate any information guidance that can help states with different questions about MOVE interpretation. She invited questions and dialogue from states, and said that litigation is always the last resort.”

Cornyn wrote, “If these are the positions of the DOJ, then they fly in the face of the clear statutory language, undermine the provisions in question, and jeopardize the voting rights of our men and women in uniform.”

He said the language of the law makes it clear that there is no ambiguity when it comes to states’ eligibility for being granted a waiver, and that the statute does not leave room for the Justice Department to decide whether to enforce its requirements.

Adams notes that the DoJ website has an entire section for felons looking to recover their voting rights, but nothing at all on MOVE.  Their information on military voting pre-dates MOVE and is now inaccurate, Fox News reports, and the DoJ doesn’t appear to consider fixing that a priority.

Several states have either applied for waivers or have indicated that they will, including Washington, Hawaii, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and Alaska.  It would be interesting to see why these states (almost all blue states) feel the need to avoid complying with MOVE, and whether they actually qualify for the exemption.  It should be a non-partisan notion that every effort to count ballots from military members overseas should be made, which is exactly what MOVE intended.  If there’s something wrong with the law, the DoJ should have gone back to Congress rather than start advising states how to avoid compliance.

Congress needs to add this to their list of oversight items that will have to wait for a Congress that bothers to conduct oversight at all.


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Unbelievable.

Ignoring the votes of our members of the armed services? How the hell can this to tolerated? Oh wait, DOJ has to sue AZ to protect illegal aliens.

BuckeyeSam on July 28, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Holder is busy with being sure illegals get their “rights”. Priorities I guess.

As a Veteran, this ticks me off.

BobK on July 28, 2010 at 1:01 PM

This just adds insult to injury…

ladyingray on July 28, 2010 at 1:03 PM

I hope the military men and women can ban together (active and retired) and sue Holder. :)

upinak on July 28, 2010 at 1:03 PM

I’ve voted absentee military several times and this is enraging.

ted c on July 28, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Where are the cries of “Count every vote!” We have heard from the democrat party in the past?

BobOfTexas on July 28, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Well, I read where some town was giving hispanics four or so votes, so why not let the wife or husband of a military member out of the U.S. vote for them? There could be a notarized signature for said wife or husband to vote when they were overseas.
L

letget on July 28, 2010 at 1:06 PM

DOJ resources are being taken up by arranging for terrorists to get full civil trials in NYC, there just aren’t enough left over to serve the baby kil…er…the soldiers.

Bishop on July 28, 2010 at 1:06 PM

As a practical matter, I guess I’d be fine if the GOP stayed away from the thorny social issues and zero in on these kinds of undemocratic efforts of the Obama administration: military voting rights, clearing state voter rolls of deceased people and those who’ve moved away, the NBPP case, and the like.

The GOP simply does nothing to get the message out.

BuckeyeSam on July 28, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Pretty soon we are going to be running out of ways to describe the chutzpah of this administration!!

desertwanderer on July 28, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Maybe some service personnel could stand in front of the DOJ brandishing nightsticks, uniforms and tell the DOJ what’s up. Then again, that might be illegal….

ted c on July 28, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Of course Dear Leader does not give a cr*p about service poeple who risk their lives for this country voting. Dear Leader is very concerned however about the threat of the Tea Party Racists blocking the polling places with nightsticks and threatening voters and taunting them with racial slurs…

Oh Wait…

Kuffar on July 28, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Just a little reminder: Remember in November!

These slugs must be stopped.

30 pcs of silver on July 28, 2010 at 1:13 PM

BREAKING: Judge blocks police from determining immigration status in Arizona law.

Enoxo on July 28, 2010 at 1:15 PM

More sand in our eyes from our Department of Social Justice.

Holder: Justice for me, cake for thee.

petefrt on July 28, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Judge blocks police from determining immigration status in Arizona law.

Enoxo on July 28, 2010 at 1:15 PM

ding ding.

off to round two.

ted c on July 28, 2010 at 1:17 PM

O/T BREAKING more:

Judge blocked portion of law that making it a crime for illegals to seek and perform work in Arizona, blocks police from determining immigration status of someone detained or arrested, and blocks making it a crime for not carrying your immigration papers.

Pretty much the entire law.

Enoxo on July 28, 2010 at 1:19 PM

More outright voter suppression for the liberals and their journolist friends to ignore…..


…. ACORN defended by the democrats after their own employees call them out for voter fraud and tens of thousands of fraudulent voter registrations passed off by them…..


…..Black Panthers brandishing a club defended by democrats after threatening people going to the polls and yelling racial slurs at them……


…..Minnesota officials defended by democrats for not following the law that requires them to purge felons and dead people from their voter rolls, which pretty much handed the election to Franken.


Now once again….democrats are doing everything they can to keep our military votes from not counting……

How Progressive!!!!

Baxter Greene on July 28, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Judge blocked portion of law that making it a crime for illegals to seek and perform work in Arizona, blocks police from determining immigration status of someone detained or arrested, and blocks making it a crime for not carrying your immigration papers.

Pretty much the entire law.

Enoxo on July 28, 2010 at 1:19 PM

So she placed an injunction on federal law?

darwin on July 28, 2010 at 1:20 PM

When Republicans get on the Sunday talking-head shows, this is the sort of thing they should be bringing up, regardless of what question the host asks them about.

“Yeah, Breitbart sort of blew it, but what I’m concerned with is the fact that the Justice Department is trying to keep our men and women in the military from being able to vote. Now THAT’s a scandal….”

Because it IS a scandal.

notropis on July 28, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Pretty much the entire law.

Enoxo on July 28, 2010 at 1:19 PM

So much for the will of the people.

Baxter Greene on July 28, 2010 at 1:20 PM

Regarding AZ. law… Clinton appointee…. nuff said.

sandee on July 28, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Our entire system has been corrupted.

darwin on July 28, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Commie/libs

enemies of autonomy

Sonosam on July 28, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Do the appeals from the Arizona ruling go to the Ninth Circuit?

d1carter on July 28, 2010 at 1:22 PM

So she placed an injunction on federal law?

darwin on July 28, 2010 at 1:20 PM

isn’t that considered preemption?

ted c on July 28, 2010 at 1:22 PM

ALL of this bullsh!t is like watching a thermometer rising slowly and relentlessly towards boiling. Maybe (probably?) that is President Obama’s goal. I suspect those in power have made a grave miscalculation.

CC

CapedConservative on July 28, 2010 at 1:23 PM

d1carter, unfortunately yes….

sandee on July 28, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Regarding AZ. law… Clinton appointee…. nuff said.

sandee on July 28, 2010 at 1:21 PM

my thoughts exactly…welcome all illegals, you can pack up your yard sales now…

cmsinaz on July 28, 2010 at 1:23 PM

sandee on July 28, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Oh, jeez…

d1carter on July 28, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Anarchy will prevail in Arizona and then spread…

d1carter on July 28, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Come on everyone…we all know that the progressive liberals are only going to help out those that they have in their pockets…why on earth is anyone acting shocked about this???

Ltlgeneral64 on July 28, 2010 at 1:25 PM

This judge ruled even worse than I thought she would. Pitiful. Now their hands are tied even more. Though, in all honesty did we really believe Holder would be allowed to lose?

sandee on July 28, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Adams notes that the DoJ website has an entire section for felons looking to recover their voting rights, but nothing at all on MOVE. Their information on military voting pre-dates MOVE and is now inaccurate, Fox News reports, and the DoJ doesn’t appear to consider fixing that a priority.

priorities are in the eye of the beholder

cmsinaz on July 28, 2010 at 1:25 PM

Anarchy will prevail in Arizona and then spread…

d1carter on July 28, 2010 at 1:25 PM

I don’t have the TV on, but I’m sure the illegals and their buddies are dancing in the streets there

cmsinaz on July 28, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Arizona … ignore the judge, ignore the federal government and do what you need to protect the rights, lives and property of the citizens of Arizona.

Send illegals back yourself, forget ICE or the INS. Every state should now ignore this tyrannical beast.

darwin on July 28, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Isn’t that great…in the Obama administration, dead people, convicted felons, and Mickey Mouse all have the right to vote (Democrat, of course), but our Military men and women, who are actually putting their lives on the line, won’t have their votes counted, just because their votes are legitimate and they vote overwhelmingly Republican. This is what winning means to some people: you get to re-write the rules.

Is this Change you can believe in?

stonemeister on July 28, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Not surprising. Most military voters are conservative and/or Republican.

VidOmnia on July 28, 2010 at 1:28 PM

Do the appeals from the Arizona ruling go to the Ninth Circuit?

d1carter on July 28, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Actually, I believe that they could go directly to the US Supreme Court if they wanted to.

ConservativePartyNow on July 28, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Here is a question that is not answered… Why can’t counting machines be placed overseas at military bases? Then the votes can be counted for each district and a number be sent via email or whatever as well as sending the paper backups in case a recount is needed.

jeffn21 on July 28, 2010 at 1:29 PM

darwin, I agree. Just go ahead and enforce it themselves. Brewer should stand up and say, arrest me! I know that’s not practical. Wishful thinking I guess.

sandee on July 28, 2010 at 1:29 PM

If obama gets his way on this, we may as well open the gates and let them all come in, because that is what he wants. I am convinced that he hates America

ConservativePartyNow on July 28, 2010 at 1:31 PM

WASHINGTON – Caving in to public wrath, Democratic Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth urged county officials yesterday to go back and count hundreds of military ballots that were rejected because they weren’t postmarked.

It was a development that could significantly boost George W. Bush’s vote total and bury any small gains Al Gore gets in ongoing hand recounts.

“No man or woman in military service to this nation should have his or her vote rejected solely due to the absence of a postmark,” Butterworth said in a letter to county canvassing officials.

Butterworth, who headed Gore’s campaign in Florida, can’t order the ballots counted, but he pressed the officials to reconsider.

About 1,400 absentee ballots were thrown out because they lacked proper postmarks or signatures.

It is not known how many of those were military, but the 2,206 overseas ballots that did get counted went 2-1 for Bush, and adding 1,400 would almost certainly increase his margin.

The Democratic push to insist that counters hew to the letter of the law on absentee ballots proved to be a public relations disaster over the weekend.

The Bush and Gore teams flipped roles, with Republicans demanding that every vote count and Democrats talking piously about the rule of law.

The issue also allowed the GOP to take the public relations advantage and make political hay of the image of servicemen in harm’s way being wronged.

“It is a very sad day in our country when the men and women of the armed forces serving abroad and facing danger on a daily basis . . . are denied the right to vote for the President of the United States who will be their commander in chief,” retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf said in a statement circulated by the Bush campaign.

Many Democrats, including Gore running mate Joseph Lieberman, criticized the move to block military absentee ballots.

Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.), a Gore supporter, said any military ballot should be counted.

“I don’t care when it’s dated, whether it’s witnessed or anything else. If it is from someone serving this country – and they made the effort to vote – count it, and salute them when you do it,” said the former Marine.

New York Daily News.

I recall the Dems were going to try to nitpick every mlitary ballot they could. Then Lieberman was asked about it on TV, and said that military ballots should not be disqualified for minor matters or because they came in a little late.

You could almost hear Gore and his henchman scream, “Say it isn’t so, Joe!”

Wethal on July 28, 2010 at 1:31 PM

To see Delaware take up this issue is a joke. Beau Biden completed a successful mission to Afghan. He is the state’s Attorney’s General. I guess they would make an exception for him or have daddy fly him home to vote.

djaymick on July 28, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Confirmed.

All three branches of our government are corrupt beyond recognition.

At this rate, unless there is upheaval, Obama’s re-election in 2012 will be a shoe-in. They can, and have demonstrated they will stop at nothing to achieve their goals.

fogw on July 28, 2010 at 1:35 PM

Lock and Load my friends Lock and Load!!!

Reality Checker on July 28, 2010 at 1:39 PM

I voted absentee during my 25 year career. I’ve never been sure that my vote was counted. Never. The obstructionist attitude of many public officials regarding the voting RIGHTS of the military makes me sick.

NavyMustang on July 28, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Grrr. I was deployed to Bosnia in 2004 and never got my ballot from Washington State. “Coincidentally” neither did hundreds of other servicemen, and Christine Gregoire (D) managed to win by just over a hundred votes, after 3 recounts.

JamesB on July 28, 2010 at 1:49 PM

The commies are shepards in the sense that their mindless constituancy are nothing more than livestock

they have ceased to exhibit the qualities that used to seperate them from lower animals

let’s hunt them

Sonosam on July 28, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Look at the two top threads and consider that is pretty interesting. DOJ prevents military from voting but illegals can roam free in AZ without fear of having to produce documentation.

Illegal aliens are more welcome voters to the Democratic Party than are the military.

This is going to hurt.

ted c on July 28, 2010 at 1:56 PM

3 recounts and “oh, gee a NEW bag of ballots we didn’t know about! Whee, count these now too! [psst make sure these are felons and not military votes]

WitchDoctor on July 28, 2010 at 1:57 PM

What the hell are our military personnel fighting for if this is the way they are treated???

PatriotRider on July 28, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Come on folks, the democratics’ mantra “count every vote” only holds for ballots likely to be democratic.

Without the endemic cheating that goes on in democratic voting districts, we might have an entirely different Congress. This will not change until democratics are no longer certain that cheating overwhelmingly favors them.

slickwillie2001 on July 28, 2010 at 2:01 PM

the DoJ website has an entire section for felons looking to recover their voting rights, but nothing at all on MOVE.

Dishonorable constituents:
Fellons
Illegal aliens

Honorable constituents:
Servicemen

I’m sure this list could be bigger.

shick on July 28, 2010 at 2:03 PM

If members of our military would simply vote Democrat, I’m sure these problems could be resolved quickly.

When that Kennedy brat, I can’t remember which one, made the rounds after Gore’s 2000 loss and then again after Bush’s 2004 win whining about how the voting system was corrupt in the U.S. and how people weren’t getting their votes counted, he never seemed too concerned about military ballots either. Hmmmmmm.

29Victor on July 28, 2010 at 2:04 PM

My mom Worked at ny board of elections

they were expressly forbidden from asking any questions pertaining to citizenship

the system is sick and the virus infecting it must be exterminated if we are to continue to exist

Sonosam on July 28, 2010 at 2:04 PM

It’s really an abomination and a travesty that we haven’t been able to articulate this disenfranchisement.

Democrats are doing everything they can to get illegal aliens into voting booths. In Minnesota – they allow prisoners to vote … twice … for the Democratic candidate of their choice.

But our kids risking their lives overseas for our freedom – they are disenfranchised. At every turn, Democrats work as hard and as covertly as possible to keep their votes from counting – why?

Because they vote Republican to the tune of 60-70 percent.

But … who’s fault is that? It’s WE who allow the Democrats to do this. It’s WE who allow the MSM to ignore this story.

It’s OUR fault folks. These guys are fighting for us – and we can’t even get off the couch to make some noise to make sure their vote counts.

Make some noise folks.

Get off the couch.

Go to Washington DC to the Lincoln memorial on 8/28.

Give $$ to candidates who will change this when they are elected.

Give $$ to organizations that act up and make noise!

Get in the street!

Our kids are catching bullets – and we’re pretty chicken-$h1t not to do something about this.

HondaV65 on July 28, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Next up: New law restricting the DoJ from FOIA requests.

BKeyser on July 28, 2010 at 2:10 PM

Since the military predominately votes Republican, you can see why this IS NOT a priority of the current Democratic administration. You know, the same people who are always screaming that EVERY vote counts.

GarandFan on July 28, 2010 at 2:15 PM

The military vote should be counted, in full, before any other. Without these brave men and women, none of us would have a vote.

gary4205 on July 28, 2010 at 2:20 PM

But don’t question their patriotism. They “support the troops”, or something.

CP on July 28, 2010 at 2:20 PM

It is time for two Attorneys General. One appointed by the President and the other appointed by the Senators of the opposing party.

As it is the AG can ignore Jim McDermott’s illegal activities until the statute of limitations has passed.

Neither party is above the law.

The Rock on July 28, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Sadly I am not shocked.

barnone on July 28, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Bwteeen the thrown-out military votes, and the premature calling of the state while the western counties were still voting, I have zero doubt that Bush actually did win Florida in 2000, and by a lot more than 535 votes or whatever the official tally was. There are three giant military bases in the Florida Panhandle, and many service members claim Florida residency because of the favorable state tax laws.

Dover AFB also probably produces a lot of military absentee votes, which would explain why Delaware is trying to get a waiver.

rockmom on July 28, 2010 at 2:44 PM

This went on through the Clinton years. Felons and illegal aliens vote Democrat and the military votes Republican.

Who do you think the Dems will side with?

Hening on July 28, 2010 at 2:53 PM

can we rally yet?

Inanemergencydial on July 28, 2010 at 3:04 PM

So the DoJ cares more about the voting rights of felons than it does about the voting rights of our military members? Surprise, surprise.

Naturally they don’t want military people voting, because they know how it would go.

Worst. Administration/Congress/DoJ. Ever.

RebeccaH on July 28, 2010 at 3:07 PM

It should be a non-partisan notion that every effort to count ballots from military members overseas should be made, which is exactly what MOVE intended.

Why? The military votes very conservatively.

I’d love to know who’s going after the waiver in DE.

Akzed on July 28, 2010 at 3:39 PM

My bf has NEVER been able to vote while deployed. Doesn’t matter if he’s in Korea or Iraq. The ballots don’t show up. Not ever. Not even late.

I’m sure he won’t get any in Afghanistan either.

tuffy on July 28, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Well, of course he* does. He is more interested in ‘protecting the voting rights’ of illegal aliens and felons.

He is more interested in protecting the ‘rights’ of black racists to intimidate and impede white voters.

*he, meaning Holder and his boss, and many of their underlings of whatever gender.

LegendHasIt on July 28, 2010 at 4:25 PM

A modest proposal: Since servicemen have this trouble voting while in uniform, all honorably-discharged veterans and widow(er)s thereof should get to vote twice the rest of their lives.

The Monster on July 28, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Wow. Just…freaking…wow.

This is so supremely depressing; but unsurprising.

The majority of Americans cannot support this line of thought.

All we need is a clear voice, untainted by the media, and this nation will witness a clarity of vision not seen since Reagan? 9:03 EDT 9/11/01? ever???

It is for this reason I am glad that many of the good leaders on the Right are keeping their powder dry for 2012.

Many need to lead in November 2010; but if any raise their head now and profess their intent to lead the righting of our ship, they will be attacked mercilessly and needlessly by our “courageous” fourth estate.

Allow the current politicians the rope to hang themsleves; and be ever faithful.

Droopy on July 28, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Special thanks to George Soros and his Secretaries of State project. Pay attention to this and get them out of office!

indypat on July 28, 2010 at 4:57 PM

This, and several “Blue” States legislating around the Electoral College cannot be good for the Republic. 47% of Americans pay no Federal Taxes. They’re doing it, a pure Democracy is the goal.
Prepare for the Balkanization of America, this is making me ill. We are watching our Mother waste away and die.

M-14 2go on July 28, 2010 at 8:05 PM

I’ve voted absentee military several times and this is enraging.
ted c on July 28, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Wanna bet?

Herron was one of Gores lawyers in Florida during the 2000 election.

The Herron Memo stated postmark and “point of origin” criteria Herron maintained could be used to invalidate military ballots.

Conveniently, the memo attached a form that could be duplicated and used to protest the validity of individual ballots.

By the time the Herron memo made headlines, the Democrats had challenged more than 1,500 absentee ballots (which grew to more than 2,400) mostly from soldiers overseas

Military ballots. Many of these votes were disqualified for the most mundane and trivial reasons. At least 1,527 valid military ballots were discarded in Florida by Democratic vote counters (Drudge Report, 11/19/00).

The 2000 election was no exception. In Miami-Dade County, for example, … At least 1527 valid military ballots were discarded in Florida by Democratic…

Sorry Ted, but the Dems don’t like military ballots absentee ballots.

If you used the military mail (no postage due) then your ballot did not have a postage-canceled stamp.

No postage-canceled stamp means no date that it was received.
No date that it was received means they can’t tell if the ballot was cast before or after the election, according to Dem lawyer Herron.

DSchoen on July 28, 2010 at 8:12 PM

This is just part of Obama’s racist, anti-american agenda.

proconstitution on July 28, 2010 at 8:47 PM

Hmm… apparent obstruction of the right of military members to vote in Constitutionally mandated elections. It’s a good thing those military members are sworn to uphold and defend that self same Constitution. Just sayin’, you know…
I have to really work hard sometimes these days to remember I still need to uphold that oath, regardless of what our political overlords pull.

creekspecter on July 28, 2010 at 8:51 PM

Some responsible journalist should ask Sec. Def. Gates what he thinks of this problem. Kind of an integrity test.

slickwillie2001 on July 28, 2010 at 11:20 PM

The Black Panthers obstructed the voters in Philadelphia, Holder refused to prosecute. Now he ignores the law on the voting rights of the Military serving abroad but takes the time to sue the State of Az for doing what he refuses to do,enforce the Law. Folks, remember this man is working under the direction of Obama. He is doing exactly what Obama wants him to do. The same with Judge Bolton. She did exactly what Obama wanted her to do.
Can you just image what it would be like if all the police agencies in our Nation operated like the Dept. of MisJustice. They would protect the law breakers and sue the victims.

flintstone on July 29, 2010 at 10:08 AM