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2008's First Disenfranchised Voters


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#1    Lt_Ripley

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 01:22 PM

2008's First Disenfranchised Voters: Injured and Homeless Veterans

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet. Posted August 11, 2008.



Despite new legislation in Congress, the VA is poised to prevent registration drives at its facilities before the November election.

The first large block of voters to be disenfranchised in 2008 are the wounded warriors from recent wars and homeless veterans living at hundreds of Department of Veterans Affairs facilities across the country, according to veterans and voting rights activists.

"President Bush and Karl Rove are attempting to block voter registration of at least 200,000 and possibly as much as 400,000 veterans," said Paul Sullivan, president of Veterans for Common Sense, referring to injured former soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in various VA treatment facilities, veterans living in the VA's nursing homes, and homeless veterans living in VA shelters.

"We may have all kinds of hurdles," Sullivan said. "We may have the clock running out on us, but we will not give up. This needs to be shoved in the face of every single elected official in the country. We can fix this in a second We are talking about two or three sentences in legislation. We are talking about the integrity of our democracy."

In recent months, the Department of Veterans Affairs has resisted efforts by U.S. senators and top state election officials to allow voter registration drives in its facilities. Just last month, the VA issued new rules that banned election officials -- whether local registrars or secretaries of state -- from registering voters, saying it was a partisan activity that interfered with its medical mission. In most states, any time a person changes their residence they must update their voter registration in order to vote.

The VA's ban on registration drives, even by state constitutional officers, provoked a rebuke from the National Association of Secretaries of State -- a resolution urging the VA to rescind its policy -- and revived the issue in Congress, where separate House and Senate bills would force the VA to become a voter registration agency like state motor vehicle departments, where people are proactively given an opportunity to register to vote. Under the VA's current policy, any resident in its facilities must seek help with voter registration and voting.

The problem with the congressional efforts, according to Sullivan and others following this issue, is that the VA appears to be on course to run out the clock before meaningful voter registration drives could be undertaken for this year's presidential election.

Under the most optimistic scenario, even if the Congress passed legislation within a week of reconvening, which would be mid-September, the president would have two weeks to sign it into law. That timeline places the bill's potential adoption very close to the first week in October, when voter registration closes for the November election in 27 states. Moreover, at that time, state election officials would have little time to organize and implement voter registration drives, voting rights activists said.

"This is a bill you can't vote against," said Scott Rafferty, who sued the VA in 2004 when the agency blocked voter registration efforts by Democrats at its campus in Menlo Park, California, but allowed the Republican Party onto the campus to register voters. "But it is almost physically impossible to get it passed and implemented in time."


On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected the Menlo Park appeal, upholding the VA's right to regulate voter registration activities at its facilities. The court said the agency could bar anyone from its grounds because of a presumed affiliation with a political party, Rafferty said.

The Appeals Court ruling means only Congress can change the VA policy.

"There may be one ace in the hole," Veteran for Common Sense's Sullivan said, "and that is a funding bill. If we can get any of this legislation tacked onto a funding bill, the president has to sign it."

Congressional staffers said the issue was a priority and would see action after Congress reconvenes in September. Yet there is little evidence to suggest the VA would abide by such a law before the presidential election. VA officials have stated in recent forums that the agency was opposed to allowing voter registration drives, even by election officials. Its lawyers said so much before the Ninth Circuit in June during a hearing on the Menlo Park litigation, and more recently at the secretaries of states' conference in late July. Moreover, the Ninth Circuit ruling fortifies the agency's stance.

In fact, just last week in Connecticut, where the Secretary of State, Susan Bysiewicz, was allowed into a VA facility to register voters after threatening to sue the agency -- after Bysiewicz and the state's attorney general were turned away in July -- VA officials sought to limit her efforts to register VA staff or outpatients, her staff said, saying that could be construed as a voter registration drive. Those VA officials also resisted her request to return this fall to show residents how new voting machines worked.

"This is not a solution," said Av Harris, her spokesman, saying the VA simply made enough concessions to blunt the threatened suit. "If the other secretaries of state are not as active as we are, the VA will not do anything for them."

The most pragmatic assessment for action on the voter registration issue suggests a new policy will only come in 2009, after the presidential election, when Congress can look at several voting rights laws that guarantee access to the ballot, regardless of the political implications for the party holding the presidency or a congressional majority.

"While the hope for 2009 is a real one, the practical effect now is that the first voters who have been suppressed by the GOP in 2008 are the wounded warriors living in the government's own facilities," Rafferty said.

http://www.alternet.org/story/94541/






#2    noyritus

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 01:28 PM

I've taken a vow to never vote for a Democrat or a Republican.  I wish everyone would take it with me.  Vote third party, independent.  Write in Ron Paul.  Anything but these Republicrats, they are ruining America.


#3    Lt_Ripley

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 02:09 PM

noyritus on Aug 15 2008, 09:28 AM, said:

I've taken a vow to never vote for a Democrat or a Republican.  I wish everyone would take it with me.  Vote third party, independent.  Write in Ron Paul.  Anything but these Republicrats, they are ruining America.


Ron Pauls not all that either. sorry. better but a bit of a nut .


#4    Mr Honeybadger

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 02:22 PM

Pretty soon a " Disenfranchised Voter " will be any voter who is not picked up at their house, driven to the polls, fed lunch, and then driven back home.



#5    SoCrazes

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 02:53 PM

Lt_Ripley on Aug 15 2008, 02:09 PM, said:

Ron Pauls not all that either. sorry. better but a bit of a nut .

What is wrong with Ron Paul and/or his platform?

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#6    SoCrazes

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 02:56 PM

ohio traveler on Aug 15 2008, 02:22 PM, said:

Pretty soon a " Disenfranchised Voter " will be any voter who is not picked up at their house, driven to the polls, fed lunch, and then driven back home.

Ohio, if you want a take on how voters were disenfranchised in the past two pres. elections, check out Greg Palasts investigative reporting.  Google "greg palast" and, if you have time, read his book "Armed Madhouse."

"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates

#7    eqgumby

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 02:57 PM

OK ,I have to ask...to what end are they trying (apparently) to keep vets from voting? I don't get the motivation. I read the article, but I didn't see anything about the why of it. Did I miss it?

I know that supposedly black voters or the poor have been disenfranchised by some vast right-wing conspiracy  wink2.gif  but I have no idea who or why vets are being disenfranchised.

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#8    AROCES

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 03:14 PM

Lt_Ripley on Aug 15 2008, 02:22 PM, said:

2008's First Disenfranchised Voters: Injured and Homeless Veterans
"President Bush and Karl Rove are attempting to block voter registration of at least 200,000 and possibly as much as 400,000 veterans," said Paul Sullivan, president of Veterans for Common Sense, referring to injured former soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in various VA treatment facilities, veterans living in the VA's nursing homes, and homeless veterans living in VA shelters.

This is nothing but a propaganda to win the Veterans vote, kind of the way the Democrats try to win the minority votes. Make it look like the GOP is out there to slime them.
As always the Libs thinks a lot of the American people are kind of dumb and can easily be lured with such propaganda.


#9    Lt_Ripley

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 04:19 PM

eqgumby on Aug 15 2008, 10:57 AM, said:

OK ,I have to ask...to what end are they trying (apparently) to keep vets from voting? I don't get the motivation. I read the article, but I didn't see anything about the why of it. Did I miss it?

I know that supposedly black voters or the poor have been disenfranchised by some vast right-wing conspiracy  wink2.gif  but I have no idea who or why vets are being disenfranchised.


it's the restriction of registration drives by the VA to  both sides.  

if they can't get out to register and vote especially.

funny how the cons jumped up to assume it was them.

Edited by Lt_Ripley, 15 August 2008 - 04:20 PM.


#10    eqgumby

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 04:34 PM

Lt_Ripley on Aug 15 2008, 11:19 AM, said:

it's the restriction of registration drives by the VA to  both sides.  

if they can't get out to register and vote especially.

funny how the cons jumped up to assume it was them.

I'm sorry, I don't see who gets benefited by this. WHO is behind blocking VA votes? I don't see why a McCain supporter would want to block veterans votes. So, what? Is this a Democrat trying to block votes?

Edit: Not questioning your source, but it is a liberal agenda news source too. I'm confused.

Edited by eqgumby, 15 August 2008 - 04:35 PM.

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#11    Lt_Ripley

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 04:40 PM

eqgumby on Aug 15 2008, 12:34 PM, said:

I'm sorry, I don't see who gets benefited by this. WHO is behind blocking VA votes? I don't see why a McCain supporter would want to block veterans votes. So, what? Is this a Democrat trying to block votes?

Edit: Not questioning your source, but it is a liberal agenda news source too. I'm confused.


it's the VA itself.

In recent months, the Department of Veterans Affairs has resisted efforts by U.S. senators and top state election officials to allow voter registration drives in its facilities. Just last month, the VA issued new rules that banned election officials -- whether local registrars or secretaries of state -- from registering voters, saying it was a partisan activity that interfered with its medical mission. In most states, any time a person changes their residence they must update their voter registration in order to vote.

The VA's ban on registration drives, even by state constitutional officers, provoked a rebuke from the National Association of Secretaries of State -- a resolution urging the VA to rescind its policy -- and revived the issue in Congress, where separate House and Senate bills would force the VA to become a voter registration agency like state motor vehicle departments, where people are proactively given an opportunity to register to vote. Under the VA's current policy, any resident in its facilities must seek help with voter registration and voting.


#12    SoCrazes

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 06:19 PM

eqgumby on Aug 15 2008, 05:34 PM, said:

I'm sorry, I don't see who gets benefited by this. WHO is behind blocking VA votes? I don't see why a McCain supporter would want to block veterans votes. So, what? Is this a Democrat trying to block votes?

Edit: Not questioning your source, but it is a liberal agenda news source too. I'm confused.

Hear it from an veteran then:

http://current.com/items/88870343_voter_pr..._lake_city_utah

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#13    SoCrazes

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 06:49 PM

eqgumby on Aug 15 2008, 05:34 PM, said:

I'm sorry, I don't see who gets benefited by this. WHO is behind blocking VA votes? I don't see why a McCain supporter would want to block veterans votes. So, what? Is this a Democrat trying to block votes?

Edit: Not questioning your source, but it is a liberal agenda news source too. I'm confused.

Hear it from some more veterans then:

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2008/08/12/t...from-locked-up/

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#14    eqgumby

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 06:52 PM

Lt_Ripley on Aug 15 2008, 11:40 AM, said:

it's the VA itself.

In recent months, the Department of Veterans Affairs has resisted efforts by U.S. senators and top state election officials to allow voter registration drives in its facilities. Just last month, the VA issued new rules that banned election officials -- whether local registrars or secretaries of state -- from registering voters, saying it was a partisan activity that interfered with its medical mission. In most states, any time a person changes their residence they must update their voter registration in order to vote.

The VA's ban on registration drives, even by state constitutional officers, provoked a rebuke from the National Association of Secretaries of State -- a resolution urging the VA to rescind its policy -- and revived the issue in Congress, where separate House and Senate bills would force the VA to become a voter registration agency like state motor vehicle departments, where people are proactively given an opportunity to register to vote. Under the VA's current policy, any resident in its facilities must seek help with voter registration and voting.

Ok, so...
The VA does not want it's hospitals to be used as...

Quote

voter registration agency like state motor vehicle departments, where people are proactively given an opportunity to register to vote.

And The House and Senate are trying to make the VA do this manditorily. The VA that can't even manage their own patients, that is under-funded, under-staffed, and over-looked, as it has been for decades, be it a conservative in office or a liberal. Why would you force a hospital to become a voter registration office? If a veteran in a VA hospital wants to vote, they should be able to do so without voting officials running a

Quote

voter registration drives in its facilities
. I don't see how this is an issue. I think someone is TRYING to create a political buzz, and TRYING to make it sound like the Bush/Cheney war-machine is blocking teh veterans votes, thereby implying that veterans are voting in a liberal manner, which would be historically UNTRUE and likely will be UNTRUE for this election as well.

The point is, keeping veterans from voting would NOT help the conservative agenda, so why would Bush/Cheney do it?



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#15    Mr Honeybadger

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 07:44 PM

What I'm getting from the article is this isn't  an issue with disenfranchised voters.  But rather an issue regarding registration drives.

No one is keeping registered voters from voting anywhere.






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