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2008 Election &Conservatives &Virginia politics Richard Falknor on 23 Oct 2008 02:13 pm

Fairfax County Rejecting Military Absentee Ballots?

THE LAST WORD OCTOBER 25? Let’s hope so, but we’ll still be on the case. We should be grateful for the good work of the National Defense Committee whose Bob Carey gave us their view last night about the position of the Fairfax County General Registrar’s posted position here: Declared Carey: “He’s correct,and I think his current position in interpreting Virginia law is reasonable. Generally, all voters have to request an absentee ballot before they can cast one.  Virginia went above and beyond the requirements of the federal law to allow military voters to use the provisional military absentee ballot (known as a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, or FWAB),to also serve as the absentee ballot application.  Hence, the unique requirement for the witness signature, name, and address in that special circumstance. What the Registrar fails to admit is that prior to National Defense Committee contacting him, the Virginia State Board of Elections, and the US Department of Justice yesterday, Fairfax County was wrongly interpreting that special state allowance to mean that ALL military voters, regardless as to whether they had previously submitted an absentee ballot application, had to get the witness signature with name and address.  That interpretation is what was going to disenfranchise almost all the military ballots.  Now it looks like almost all the ballots will be counted. In 2006, about 6% of all military ballots were rejected, but about 36% of Federal Write-In Absentee Ballots are rejected.  With the apparent large increase in the use of FWABs by military voters this election cycle, National Defense Committee is going to focus efforts on protecting those vulnerable ballots.” (Bolding Forum’s.) The tone – “misinformation that has been spreading about Fairfax County not counting certain ballots from military voters” – of the General Registrar’s post here strikes us as defensive and may portend more trouble.

FLASH! NRO‘s Jonah Goldberg reports here “Looks like the problem is being addressed” here but Forum will keep monitoring developments.

UPDATE OCTOBER 24! William C. Flook in the Washington Examiner reports today here:

 “’Our fighting soldiers ought to get at least the consideration that the prisoners in the jail get,’ said District 11 Rep. Tom Davis, a Republican, who said the disparate treatment of overseas voters violates federal law. [Fairfax County Registrar Rokey] Suleman was active in Ohio Democratic politics at his previous job with the Trumbull County Board of Elections, and ran for office earlier this year before taking the job at Fairfax. The office he holds in Virginia is officially nonpartisan.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

 

Here is an image of the website of the Trumbull County Democratic Party in Ohio listing “Rokey Suleman, Past President and Founding Member.”

UPDATE! Soren Dayton of The Next Right gives us more details here: 
“I have talked to several people involved in this process. They are not in fact, yet, rejecting the absentee ballots. They have not been counted and are picking a procedure for doing it. And the current procedure would result in rejecting military absentees.

The basic idea is that if military voters do not get their absentee ballots in time, they can fill out a ‘Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot’ that all election officials are required by federal law to accept. Virgina’s instructions are here. The ballot is here.

The position of the Fairfax Registrar is that the sealed (outside) envelope has to be witnessed. The thing is that there is no location to witness, and the instructions are unclear.

Furthermore, this is in violation of the US law, which pre-empts in this case. ASP [A Soldier’s Perspective] continues:

‘Federal law does not allow this type of disparate treatment of servicemembers. The Uniform and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (UOCAVA), 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff-2, requires states to process FWABs “in the manner provided by law for absentee ballots in the State involved.” (emphasis added). In other words, the FWAB must be treated like any other absentee ballot under state law and may not be subject to more restrictive requirements. Yet that is precisely what is being done here.’

No other kind of absentee ballots are required to be witnessed in Virginia. So the county registrar is improperly implementing federal law and ‘suppressing’ the military vote.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Fairfax County Rejecting Military Absentee Ballots? 

We had to know this was coming.

This afternoon here

“The McCain-Palin Virginia campaign announced that Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity and Virginia military servicemen and women will hold a press conference on Thursday to address military ballots being rejected by Virginia Registrars. Currently, the Fairfax County Registrar, and possibly other Registrars in Virginia, is rejecting many Federal Write-in Absentee Ballots (FWAB) cast by our men and women in uniform. Supervisor Herrity and a group of military servicemen and women from Virginia will call for a solution to this unfair practice.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)


Here is the Army Times poll on the presidential campaign:

“McCain, R-Ariz., handily defeated Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., 68 percent to 23 percent in a voluntary survey of 4,293 active-duty, National Guard and reserve subscribers and former subscribers to Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times and Air Force Times.

As we have been asking here with reference to the Ohio scandals, where is the Attorney General? Talk about voter suppression!

And where is the commander-in-chief – with his bully pulpit – on our troops right to vote?

 

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