Where are all the public officials who should be speaking up for the troops?
I highlighted yesterday the precipitous drop in military absentee ballot requests in key battleground state Virginia.
It’s happening in battleground Wisconsin too, as reported by The MacIver Institute:
At least 30 Wisconsin municipalities failed to send absentee ballots to military voters before the 45 day deadline, according to former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Anthony Principi, and he’s demanding the Government Accountability Board address the problem immediately.
As reported by the website WisPolitics.com, Principi sent a letter to the GAB on Monday pointing out the failure to meet the 45 day deadline is in violation of Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act.
“This violation is particularly unsettling in light of the fact that, only six months ago, a federal court entered a consent decree against Wisconsin and the Government Accountability Board for similar violations of military voting rights,” wrote Principi.
Principi cited a study by the Military Postal Service Agency, which found less than 45 days is not enough time to ensure service members can receive, complete and return in time.
In these states, the outcome may be decided by a very narrow margin. And that margin could be the military voters who never voted.
Update: I received the following email:
Dear Professor Jacobson,
I noticed that you recently blogged about the situation in Wisconsin (http://legalinsurrection.com/2012/10/obama-may-win-by-diminished-military-vote-in-key-states/). I thought you might like some additional facts.
Overall, we have absentee ballot requests from 71,347 voters in 617 municipalities who use our Statewide Voter Registration System to track absentee ballots. There are a total of 1,851 municipalities.
We have identified 6,120 military and overseas voters in our system (3,740 military, 2,380 overseas). As of Sept. 20, we had 4,288 military and overseas voters from 731 municipalities who made requests for absentee ballots.
Of those, ballots were sent on time to all but 44 military and overseas voters in 30 municipalities. All military and overseas absentee voters have now been sent their ballots.
Of the 44 sent late, all but six ballots were sent out in time for there to be 45 days of transit time (from the day sent to the last day for return the Friday after the election).
Of the six, five were emailed to the voters, so they received them immediately. The sixth voter is in basic training in Georgia, and his ballot was sent to him by mail on October 1. He did not have an email address. He also received information about how to use the new MyVote.WI.gov site to receive an absentee ballot immediately online.
The Romney campaign was aware of the late ballots because we provided them with the information from our survey, which involved contacting all 1,851 municipal clerks. Our office has been diligent in following up with the clerks who failed to meet the deadlines, and we are also in the process of contacting every voter who was sent a ballot late.
Prior to moving its fall primary from September to August to comply with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, Wisconsin was ranked among the top states in the nation for serving its military and overseas voters.
Reid Magney, public information officer
Wisconsin Government Accountability Board