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  • Keeping the Military from Voting in Ohio

    Numerous military veterans groups have expressed consternation over a recent lawsuit filed by Obama for America as well as the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party against the Ohio Secretary of State over early voting in Ohio. They are right to be concerned.

    The lawsuit is over a series of election bills passed by the state legislature that imposed a deadline for early voting for most voters of the Friday before election day. This makes perfect sense, because it allows election officials time to update their records of who has voted to ensure no one who voted early is able to vote again on election day.

    However, Ohio still allows the relatively small number of voters qualified under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) to vote early through the end of the day before the election. The essence of the Obama campaign’s complaint is that providing any extra time to such a special class of voters is “arbitrary and capricious” and therefore a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The lawsuit demands that all other voters be given the same extension.

    UOCAVA is a federal law passed in 1986 that guarantees the right of members of the military and overseas American civilians to vote by absentee ballot in federal elections. It was passed because of the horrendously high disenfranchisement rate of military voters, which is caused by the unpredictability of military life and military deployments. UOCAVA was amended in 2009 to require states to mail out requested absentee ballots to members of the military at least 45 days prior to election day because of the long delays in overseas mail service, particularly in war zones like Afghanistan.

    Regular voters have the ability to vote by absentee ballot in all states, and many also allow in-person early voting prior to election day. But civilian voters in the continental U.S. simply do not have the unforeseen problems faced by military voters. Many members of the military don’t know where they will be a week from now, let alone three or four months from now. This is especially true for those services running high-tempo operations—they are here today and gone tomorrow. A lot of military personnel who are deployed may come home for some brief R&R and having those few extra days before the election—especially over the weekend—may make a big difference in their ability to vote.

    Contrary to the claims being made by the Obama re-election campaign, there is no comparison between the average resident of Ohio who knows he may be on a business trip on election day, and therefore should vote by absentee ballot or vote early, and a Marine who is suddenly given orders to deploy to Helmand province or is ordered on a field exercise with little advance notice.

    Another good example is Air Force reserve pilots at Wright-Patterson AFB where the 445th Airlift Wing is located. Those pilots may be flying missions all over the country and, by virtue of that service, may be away from their residences on election day. Even though they are reservists, they are on active duty when they fly these missions and qualify to vote under UOCAVA. The extra days may be the only time they can exercise their franchise.

    Contrary to the claims of the Obama campaign, there is nothing wrong with giving military voters extra time to vote. As already demonstrated, men and women in our armed forces have unique obstacles to exercising their franchise that are in place because of the exigencies of military service. It is neither arbitrary nor capricious to ameliorate those government-imposed obstacles. This is particularly true when one looks at the shockingly low participation rates of military voters, which is currently as severe as any in our nation’s history, including the low participation rate that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to strike down barriers to voting for black Americans.

    In 2008, when election turnout was the highest since the 1964 election at almost 62 percent, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission reported that only 5.5 percent of the eligible military and overseas voters under UOCAVA cast ballots that were counted. This compares unfavorably to historically low voter participation rates.

    The Obama campaign is not just wrong on policy here—it is also wrong on the law. The courts have already held that it is not a violation of the Equal Protection Clause for states to treat UOCAVA voters differently than other voters.

    In Igartua De La Rosa v. U.S. (1995), residents of Puerto Rico brought a lawsuit claiming that UOCAVA’s differing treatment of voters violated the Equal Protection Clause and was unconstitutional. The First Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the claim, concluding that Congress had rational reasons for providing extra help to UOCAVA voters. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a similar ruling in 2001 in Romeu v. Cohen. In fact, the Supreme Court in McDonald v. Board of Election Comm’rs (1969) upheld absentee voting statutes that were “designed to make voting more available to some groups who cannot easily get to the poll,” without making voting more available to all such groups. None of these cases are mentioned in the motion for a temporary restraining order filed by the plaintiffs.

    Ohio has a rational and practical reason to provide members of the military, many of whom put their lives on the line for us every day, extra time to vote. This is not arbitrary, capricious, or somehow unfair to other voters. And it has a perfectly rational reason related to election administration to end early voting for other Ohio voters three days before election day. The courts should rule against Obama and the DNC to ensure that those who defend and serve will have every opportunity to vote in November.

    Hans A. von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org) and a former member of the Federal Election Commission and Justice Department counsel. He is the co-author (with John Fund) of “Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk” (Encounter Books, August 2012).

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    49 Responses to Keeping the Military from Voting in Ohio

    1. John says:

      Clearly you havn't read the complaint filed by the DNC and others. Nobody is suggesting that early in-person voting be restricted for members of the military and their spouses. The petition requests only that all Ohioans, including the military, be allowed to vote during the 3 day period prior to the election. Remember that 93,000 Ohioans previously took advantage of voting during this 3 day period. Can you please explain how allowing everyone to vote during this period will adversely affect military voters?

      • Ron says:

        The military has a reason to vote over an extended period. The only sane reason to extend the vote period across the board is to allow the demothugs to plug in Obama votes from dead people, illegal aliens and grifters.

        • That Guy says:

          And all those 900K Ohio veterans who will no longer be able to vote during those three days. Who would ever want them to have extra time to vote? Crazy liberals trying to allow people more time to vote! Make those old geezers wait in line and vote like the rest of us! #Romney2012!!!

      • nanblan says:

        What they so worried about, then? And why are they trying to change state laws? It's none of their business. This has been a current Obama theme over the last 3 1/2 years; suing states whose policies they believe aren't beneficial to their progressive ideology. I haven't done any research in this area, but I simply can't recall a time when the federal government ever sued a sovereign state. Unfortunately, it's just one of the methods this Chicago thug-like administration is using to try and gain as much power and control as possible. Part 2 to follow.

      • nanblan says:

        Part 2
        As for the military, they have plenty to worry about. Back in 2008, a number of states (most of which were blue,) were given waivers by Obama & Co. in regard to military votes received after their cut-off dates, even though the states admitted the ballots weren’t sent out in time to be returned by the deadline. That was so big of Obama, wasn't it? Duh! We all know that the majority of military personnel vote conservative, so it was quite an easy, convenient move for Obama. It was a very bad move for the military and the American people, however, because these votes might have made a difference in the results of those states. Unfortunately, Obama's desire to win was much stronger than that of allowing our brave soldiers their constitutionally protected right to vote.. This was just one of many examples of his blatant disregard for the use of ethics, fairness, morals. Since then there've been so many it's hard to keep count. What a disgrace; the future Commander in Chief of the best military in the world denied his soldiers their fair votes so he could win the election.

      • Pat Blue says:

        I agree with John. No where was it ever suggested that the voting rights of Ohio citizens serving in the military be restricted in any ways. All we are saying is that lawful non-military citizens of Ohio should not lose three days in which to vote simply because the Republican led legislature is seeking to limit the number of Democratic voters which tend to vote during that time. This is clearly an attack against black voters in Ohio who comprise the majority of that group.

    2. Bobbie says:

      We don't like these types governing over our own. They leave open the opportunity to fraud and corrupt and care less about voter integrity which means they have absolutely no respect for the person voting for them or the fact democrat opposition to voter id (and troubling the system,) certainly shows they have no integrity that would protect it.


      America deserves better and so much more of the inner good who are with positive principle these people are totally oblivious to bring themselves to…
      how dare America's troops are treated like this!

      How dare America have to stand against government disrespects forcing America beneath her principles, values and civil humanity! Since they're unwilling to bring themselves up to America's level, we'll have to take them out!

    3. This is the real deal; despite what team Obama is spinning…

    4. Henry Felter says:

      The point is to get those military votes suppressed in a close State. The Demos do it when ever they can Virginia 2008, Florida 2000. The military usually will vote Republican 65% over Demo. Good reason for them to get those votes not counted. Demos scum of the earth to deny the people protecting them the right of voting while pushing through illegal votes for their candidates

      • @Rafique979 says:

        Meanwhile, on planet Earth…

        Did you even read the complaint? The only ones trying to suppress the vote are those who support these laws, and Voter-ID laws, in order to stop all the "widespread voter fraud" that no one can sem to find any concrete evidence of…

    5. Kathy Casey says:

      Read and weep America. Stealing the military's vote, how low can you go?

      • That Guy says:

        I know right? Because doing nothing to change how the military can vote is TERRIBLE!!!

      • Annie says:

        I wish they'd be able to get their votes/ballots to a safe location to be handled and counted. We are hand delivering our absentee ballots to the election polls, because we do not trust the Post Office or anyone to actually get them to our intended destination. Obummer will cheat in any way possible and has union goons, NBPs, and unlimited depraved assistants to insure he wins. This will be our last chance at freedom.

    6. Absolutely infuriating. Indefensible, and any liberal trying to do so is disgusting.

      • Recce1 says:

        Why? I've read postings by liberals on other forums that service people give up their constitutional rights when they enlist. They claim they're paid mercenaries, nothing more.
        Why? I've read postings by liberals on other forums that service people give up their constitutional rights when they enlist. They claim they're paid mercenaries, nothing more.

        Also consider the case of Sen. McCain. The Democrats challenged his right in 2000 to run for the presidency claiming he wasn't a natural born-citizen because he was born outside the US despite both his parents being natural born-citizens, and grandparents, and his father being a military officer overseas pursuant to military orders.

        Well…McCain's great-great-grandfather was a private in the CSA. Maybe that disqualified him.

    7. David Morse says:

      To give Military voters "Special Rights" is not acceptible. I find it odd that the Republican Party which has always complained that giving minority groups equal protection of the laws was granting "Special Rights" and un Constitutional, are now seeking such "Special Rights" to a class of voters. There is no clear reason to force an unfair deadline on most Ohio voters. There is plenty of time between elections to do record keeping of the voter rolls. The days before election day is not the time.

      • Nick says:

        You remind me of the memo the DNC sent to Democrat workers in key precincts in 2004, at the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, instructing them on how they could reject military postal votes (overwhelmingly Republican) with such technicalities as not being date stamped. I other words, brave service people in combat areas would have their votes rejected because they didn't go to a post office and get them properly date stamped. At the same time, the DNC filed law suits to overturn the prohibition against felons voting in several states, such as Florida. Murderers, rapists, child molesters etc. are OK; soldiers in danger of their lives are not.

      • check6 says:

        Unfair deadline???? I believe I've not missed a single election in 45 years of voting (employing one absentee ballot as a result of a long-planned overseas trip). And, while I'm not of the Democratic/fascist persuasion, I don't recall that I've ever considered voting dates to be "unfair." Weird logic, I must say. If you haven't given enough thought to the election to plan how you're going to participate, perhaps it isn't unfair at all.

      • MickMc says:

        @David Morse – learn some history before you demonstrate your ignorance! You wrote, "…the Republican party which has always complained… blah, blah, blah"
        If not for the Republicans the civil rights legislation of the 1960s and 70s would have been doomed to failure! You drink the kool-aid and just ignore (or, more likely, are ignorant of) Bull Connors, the KKK and the Democratic party's opposition to just about every piece of civil-rights legislation throughout the 20th Century! Good Lord, and YOU vote!?

    8. CSC says:

      And where is the proof that the suit the Obama administration has filed will RESTRICT military voting rights? In you own words,

      'The essence of the Obama campaign’s complaint is that providing any extra time to such a special class of voters is “arbitrary and capricious” and therefore a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The lawsuit demands that all other voters be given the same extension.'

      How is this "Keeping the Military from Voting in Ohio", as your inflammatory headline proclaims? The Obama suit does no such thing: it simply extends the same right the military has to others.

      Your headline isn't even spin — it's an outright lie.

      • The injunction stays the law until the final outcome of the lawsuit. Which means that there would be NO early voting. Thereby eliminating the early vote of the Military.

        • AmM says:

          An injunction would restore the law to its previous state, thereby restoring the rights of all voters during those days. It would not remove it from the military.

      • Recce1 says:

        The "proof" lies in previous elections such as 2000, 2004, and 2008 where the Democrats delayed the counting of military overseas absentee voting by delaying the sending of ballots overseas too late to make it back in time for counting, delaying the return of ballots from APOs and FPOs, or delaying counting when received near the deadline thus saying they were valid.

        The law would allow an extended deadline for service people deployed OVERSEAS because of these previous problems. Sure, the Obama administration is arguing that it doesn't give equal rights to civilian voters inside the country. However, many non-Democrats don't accept the administration's argument due to the Democrat history of under counting or disregarding, even wholesale throwing out, of military votes.

        In other words, many are saying that the Obama administration is resorting to what they consider typical Mayor Daley Chicago Mob Democrat machine politics.

    9. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Sorry HF, I cannot agree with the premiss of your headline. As much as I HATE what Obama is doing to this nation, the suite is NOT denying members of the military 3 additional days to vote. The suite is more of a states rights issue, i.e. Obama overthrowing a state law that was passed by the Ohio legislation in 2008. That law ended Ohio voters ability to vote during the last 3 days before election day because of the chaos involved with calculating all votes before the end of the actual voting day. It's not about military voters. It.s nothing more than Obama's distracting the American voters from his failure as president.

    10. Paul Terry Stone says:

      Is this another way that Obama is trying to manipulate the election returns?

    11. Sandy Caruso says:

      Obama and the dems are losing and they know it. This is nothing more than trying to 'steal' the election.

    12. Meredith G says:

      It's really a shame, in fact disgraceful, the lengths this disgrace for a 'president' is going to in order to guarantee 4 more years to finish crippling the U.S. financially. Destroy from within is their motto and now that a win for him is in danger he's doubling down to do the damage quicker. However, if he looses, we still will not be done with him for a very long time. These type don't go away easily or quickly. A vote recount will go on forever and Florida's hanging chads will seem like a child's game. I do understand this is not aimed at the Military – or is it – in a round about way?

      • Philip W. says:

        I see you put "president" in quotes as I ALWAYS do. That commie scumbag is not our president.

    13. kenmarx says:

      The Obama administration couldn't care less about what's in the interest of fairness or the American people. Their purpose is clear. They want to suppress votes from anyone that is likely to vote against them. They make no such pretense when it comes from votes from dead people, cartoon characters, and illegal aliens. Of course, we know who those groups vote for. The courts have got to say "no" to the administration, the democrat party, and the state democrat party.

    14. PaulE says:

      The DNC would have no problem with early voting being extended, if it were strictly for a reliable pro-Obama group, such as say UAW workers. However, since this is the military and the military usually tends to vote for the Republican candidate, that may put Ohio at risk for Obama. Since the DNC can't come right out and say this is their main concern, we instead have this suit filed to effectively ensure this measure is blocked until AFTER the election.

      I'm sure we'll hear from the DNC that this is all about "fairness" or "equality" or whatever buzz words will fit the political spin of the moment, but this all comes down to Obama and the Democrats trying to control the vote as much as possible to ensure a win in November. When you can't win based on your record, you simply try to control as much of the vote as possible to ensure the desired outcome. Sleazy as hell, but that's their game plan.

      • Janet Brown says:

        Best response I've read so far. You are exactly right. Just another diversion to keep the American voters from seeing the real truth of his failures.

    15. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Obama wants to disenfranchise military voters so he can win the election. He's desperate.

    16. Larry says:

      Obama realizes the miltary will vote against him so the best way to remain President is to deny their vote.

    17. Hypocrites! It's OK to give Big Labor special privileges when it suits the Administrations goal to destroy America, but don't dare give our military a break. This is twisted and just plain wrong. Sham on you Democrats.

    18. Ruth Sylvia says:

      Your ballot needs a post office STAMP of DATE/ HAND STAMPED BY post office personal.
      If it arrives without the hand stamp the vote is not counted.
      How is someone in the field going to get his or her envelope hand stamped?

      The directions are found : How to mail back to your state.

    19. Rick_in_VA says:

      This is just another case of the li(e)berals throwing up a trial balloon to see what sticks.
      This suit should be thrown out for lack of merit.

    20. Richard Carthay says:

      No one is restricting the right of military personnel to vote. Romney lied because he knows you're too stupid to think before you react. And I have to admit, from the comments on this board, he was right.

      • Danny Morales says:

        You need to research further in your reply because it is incorrect. So that makes you stupid.

    21. Ron says:

      The overseas mail is unpredictable at best. I worked as a military civilian for 8 years, 2 of those in Bahrain. By the time my absentee NV ballot arrived there was no way it would get back in time to be counted. I never knew how many of my ballots arrived in time. Overseas Americans, both military and civilian, should have extra time to receive their ballots, vote, and then be confident their vote counts..

    22. Charlotte Dwyer says:


    23. Stephen says:

      Another Obama ploy, challange states rights by suing the state for the "fairness and equality" doctrine that all liberals espouse and never practice unless it's in their intrest! I wonder how many times Presidents have sued to change state laws? Before he's done, I bet Obama will be the all time leader.
      The Obama administration continues to produce steaming piles of bovine dung at an alarming rate!
      Washington has always had a bad aroma, but now the stench is overwhelming, it's triggering my gag reflex.
      Where's the EPA when you need them?

    24. ray says:

      as a veteran of wwii iagree with you 100%.

    25. Danny Morales says:

      The Republican party and Mitt Romney the Republican candidate are needing monies for this campaign to run over and defeat obama. Let us make plans when we will send donations to this campaign on a regular basis for the next few weeks till November when we go and vote.

      Let me hear from you guys as to what will be the dates and the plan. We don't have to give a particular amount but we need to give. Example one week we can all give $5.00 the next week $10.00 the next week $15 and etc.

      We can do it, I know we can.

      God Bless America and God Bless Romney.

    26. DS in Chattanooga says:

      I am a Vietnam Era veteran. I understand how some people view our veterans and military personnel in general. I encourage everyone who is intent on voting Obama out of office this November to not lose that focus because of any diversions that will be thrown our way. Active duty military personnel stationed overseas should have the right to vote in any of the elections as they see fit. If extra time is needed because of their deployment location, then I feel it should be allowed,no exceptions.

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