For the Military, Liberal Democrats are not Your Friends: Allen West Is…

| August 9, 2012

I just watched retired LTC Allen West try to provide some senior officer guidance to a second lieutenant type, Greta van Susteren, who, typical of 2LT’s, failed to grasp the point of the lesson. The topic of discussion was the lawsuit in Ohio filed by the Democrats to protest the additional three days that absentee military voters are given to comply with voting requirements. Greta kept protesting that she doesn’t understand why old people shouldn’t have the same privilege as serving military. Colonel West kept trying to explain why there should exist an additional period for those serving in the military in far-flung places. Greta, bless her inherently progressive, Wisconsin soul, just couldn’t grasp why there should be an exception for serving troops.

Nor did Greta seem aware of the history of the Democrat Party in doing its level best to negate the impact of the predominantly conservative, Republican-leaning, military absentee vote. My opinion is that she was being deliberately obtuse to blunt the effect of West’s comments. My long-felt instinct is that van Susteren is a liberal wolf masquerading in FOX clothing. To West’s repeated assertions that these serving personnel are entitled to a bit of an edge, she kept hedging until West finally nailed her with the argument that why should those who haven’t early-voted due to apathy be given the same grace period as those who haven’t voted due to complexities of service-directed deployment. An obviously flustered van Susteren spluttered to a close.

Truth is, Greta doesn’t get it, just like so many liberals don’t get it, for the very simple reason that they refuse to acknowledge military service to our country as being exceptional. Remember, these are the same folks who refuse to recognize the United States of America as exceptional. To these types of thinkers, our troops are unfortunate, misguided individuals being cynically manipulated by an even more misguided government for nefarious, totalitarian, political purposes. Many of them subscribe to the John Kerry view that those in the military are the culls of society. To liberals, we, this Band of Brothers, are the ignorant, unwashed, bad guys.
I’m too damned old and too damned fed up with liberal lunacy to fathom what it is about this Shakespearean quote that the libs never seem to be able to factor into their psyches:

From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered,
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition.
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s Day.

Liberals just don’t get it and now in my 71st year, with decades of that lifetime spent trying to make them see the light, I realize, they simply never will. They do not understand the bonds that exist between those who serve and I suspect it may be a deliberate obtuseness as Greta displayed tonight. They do not want to acknowledge the warrior ethos for fear they may have to then acknowledge the inherent conservatism of those who serve and engage the nation’s enemies.
Which brings us right back to the Democrat Party and their ongoing efforts to disenfranchise the military voter. They know that those who serve are mostly those with traditional American values who believe in the greatness and exceptionalism of this country. It goes without saying that our troops would not willingly place themselves in harm’s way and jeopardize their lives if they believed the basic liberal Democrat premise that America is the root of all evil in this world.

And that, in a nutshell, is why Democrats try to suppress military voting at every opportunity. That is why they would pervert the litigation, permitted by the laws established by the Constitution of this country, to deny the participatory involvement of the warriors who stake their lives out there on far, foreign frontiers, to defend that very Constitutional right.

In Afghanistan, and within our military, there is a term to designate the turncoat killings perpetrated by Afghan soldiers upon U.S. and Coalition forces: green on blue killings. I submit that the Democrat Party, in doing its best to stifle the military vote, is guilty of a Blue on Red killing of democracy as it pertains and applies to our military forces. The United States military establishment, past and present, should understand one thing very, very, crystal clearly:
Liberal Democrats are not your friends…

P.S. I love seeing Colonel West wearing those master-blaster wings on his lapel. He is probably the only master parachutist ever to serve in that nefarious organization. Good on ‘im

Category: 2012 election

Comments (41)

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  1. 3C3P says:

    Mr. West was a contractor for IMCOM until he ran for the House a few years ago, he was a real stand-up guy. Loved talking to him on the phone (never met him in person). He was in “DC” and we are in San Antonio.

  2. CI says:

    As I understand it, the suit is specifically desinged to restore the previous Ohio law that allowed for early voting for all Ohio registered voters. The Obama camp winning it’s suit in court would have no imposition placed on military voters, unlike the language of the Romney campaing is using.

    In my reading, I also understand this law to not affect absentee voters, but only in state voters. If the above is true, tell me how this issue is nothing more than crass political fodder?

    I also have a different personal opinion of West’s ‘uniform’. His permanent wear of his wings and bubble remind me of the vehicle bling found on every installation; what we would generally call an ERB [Enlisted Record Back-window]…or ORB in his case.

  3. BohicaTwentyTwo says:

    I heard West personally paid for the catering for a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus recently. He sent them a couple of trays from ChicFilA.

  4. Steadfast&Loyal says:

    this is the only reason I think a draft should be in place. we can then weed out liberals form office or speaking from false authority based on either

    1. going AWOL during service
    2. BCDs
    3. Leave the country to avoid draft
    4. Turn them to our cause (more hopeful then reality)

  5. Flagwaver says:

    Bohica, that wasn’t recently. I find it hilarious that people are claiming it was recently to get a stir against him. That catering event… happened SIX MONTHS AGO!!!

    That’s right, before the gay marriage debacle even saw the light of fast food. However, it is being brought up now to discredit and dishonor an honorable warrior.

    Personally, I find it hilarious that Chic-Fil-A is set to have its best quarter in the history of the company this quarter because of all the business they are receiving.

    I guess it’s true that there is no such thing as bad press.

    CI, what about Ohioans who are serving in places that require three weeks to get mail and an additional three days to return the ballots? I seem to remember a state last election that, through bureaucratic goat-rope, failed to mail out ballots to serving Service Members until one week before they were due, then stamped all as late and not countable when they received them back…

  6. CI says:

    Flagwaver….I’m not seeing where this issue is affecting absentee voters…but rather instate voting only.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Legal voting opportunities in democratic elections should be neither insufficient nor unequal – pick a length of time that accommodates the military voters, and extend that same courtesy to the non-military vote.

  8. Hondo says:

    Anonymous: justification, please. Under Ohio law, a civilian can neither be fired nor threatened with same for taking a reasonable time off to vote. They also have the opportunity to request an absentee ballot.

    In contrast, a member of the military can be deployed or otherwise ordered to perform military duties precluding their going to the polls on election day on such short notice that early voting the prior day may be the only way they are able to vote. And they could not refuse to comply with their orders to deploy or perform duty without literally risking going to jail.

  9. Anonymous says:

    @8 I’m certainly not advocating that we hinder the ability of a military voter in any way – they should CERTAINLY be able to cast their votes in the three days prior to the election. I’m just saying that we need to treat all votes -and all voters- as having an equal say in their elections, and giving one class of people more opportunities to vote than another goes against that principle.

    How much time is adequate for the military to vote? Take that number and, by all means, don’t restrict it in any way – but extend that same opportunity to non-military voters. They might not need as long, but fair elections are a pretty important idea for a democratic republic.

    Also, as CI points out, this law only applies to in-person voters, not deployed soldiers / absentee ballots.

  10. Hondo says:

    Anonymous: I understand fully that the policy applies to in-person voting vice absentee. But you’ve not demonstrated any justification for extending the voting period for everyone. The only justification you’ve advanced is “everyone should be able to do it”. Sorry, but in my book that’s not sufficient justification.

    There is a good rationale for allowing members of the military to vote early. Military personnel can be precluded by last-minute orders or duty assignments from voting in person under circumstances that also make it impractical or impossible for them to vote absentee. The same is not true for employed civillians. Under Ohio law no employer can fire or threaten to fire an employee who insists on taking a reasonable amount of time off from work to vote.

    Try again, please. There’s a reasonable argument demonstrating the need to allow military personnel the option to vote early. What’s the rationale for allowing any and everyone else to vote early vice on election day? Civilians in Ohio can’t be lawfully prevented from voting in person on election day by their employer. Military personnel can – under conditions that also preclude them from voting absentee.

    The only argument I see here in favor of your proposal is personal convenience. And, bluntly, that’s not IMO a good enough argument.

  11. Steadfast&Loyal says:


    Once the citizen carries a rifle and stands a post. Yes then by all means take all the time you want to walk the three blocks to the voting booth.

  12. MikeD says:

    CI, I’ll put it plainly here. I will quote one of my favorite bloggers as well (because the thought is hers, and she’s a wonderful writer). The problem with the lawsuit as presented is that “it would strike down as an unconstitutional violation of the 14th Amendment any law that extends additional time to military voters in recognition of the special difficulties faced by service members and their families – difficulties the Obama campaign deems it “arbitrary” and “irrational” to recognize.”

    In very plain English, it’s not what the lawsuit will do in Ohio. It’s the precedent it will set across the NATION.

  13. Anonymous says:

    @9 I would characterize my argument less as ‘personal convenience’ and more as ‘equal voting is a cornerstone in democratic elections’. In that sense, ‘everyone should be able to do it’ (equality of votes) is a pretty decent principle to operate from.

    Now, I agree that in theory, last-minute orders could preclude a military voter from casting a vote, but is this law something that’s designed to accommodate a theoretical situation, or is this something that happens frequently? If it’s theoretical, should a civilian trauma surgeon be given extra voting opportunities because, in theory, a natural disaster could require his presence at a hospital for the duration of the election? Sure, it’s not illegal for him to go out and vote, but people could die. How about a businessman who has to fly to an emergency meeting in Germany or he risks his entire business, and along with it, the jobs of four hundred employees? Yes, he could stay and vote, but in doing so he could leave many families in a dire situation. How about a mother who gets told on the Monday before the election that her son just had a stroke on the other coast, and she needs to fly out to see him immediately. She could stay and vote, yes, and doing so could mean not seeing her son before he dies. None of these actions are ‘illegal’, but they’re still pretty severe. I also imagine different people would answer them differently. If you don’t like any of them, I could also easily come up with ones that are closer to the military – let’s say an intelligence officer, a civilian, needs to travel immediately to meet an asset with critical information, and doing so is of tremendous importance to national security, but would not allow him to vote because he leaves the day before the elections? Should that person get a pass?

    It just seems to me to be far, far easier to strive for equality. What is the harm in doing that?

    Also, given that the law used to allow the non-military vote in the days before the election, do you mind if I reverse the question on you? What’s a good rationale for restricting the rights of non-military personnel to vote in the days before the election?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hondo @10: You stated: “Anonymous: I understand fully that the policy applies to in-person voting vice absentee.”

    It’s good that you do, because Mitt Romney, Allen West, and the rest of the GOP doesn’t, and they are just flat out lying (or at the very least, being disingenuous) when they imply or directly state that it applies to absentee ballots.

  15. Anonymous says:

    And, just to avoid confusion, Anonymous #13 and Anonymous #14 are different people.

  16. Mark says:

    Flagwaver “I seem to remember a state last election that, through bureaucratic goat-rope, failed to mail out ballots to serving Service Members until one week before they were due, then stamped all as late and not countable when they received them back…”

    That was Illinois in the 2008 and 2010 elections.

  17. Hondo says:

    Anonymous (13): The argument against allowing multi-day voting is that allowing voting over a period of time vice on a single day makes it substantially more difficult (and expensive) to ensure the integrity of the process. Spread voting over n days and there are now n-1 more opportunities for ballot tampering, ballot box stuffing, fraudulent voting, etc . . . .

    Here’s one hypothetical (I hope) scenario proving my point. Assume a person with ten different passable fake IDs in the name of 10 different deceased persons he/she knows to be still on the voter registration rolls in 10 different precincts. Such a person would have little difficulty in casting 10 fraudulent votes if early voting is allowed during a period of 10 days prior to the election. Restrict voting to one day, and that same degree of fraudulent voting becomes substantially more difficult.

    There is a demonstrated, valid case for allowing early voting for military personnel as an exception. However, the same rationale for allowing early voting does not apply to all and sundry. Maintaining integrity of the voting process dictates that any exception should be approved for the smallest number of individuals possible. Military qualify for such an exception due to documented need. The general population does not.

  18. Hondo says:

    Anonymous (14): not entirely. The Obama Administration has attacked Ohio’s exception to allow early-voting for military-only on 14th Amendment grounds. If applied broadly, this same legal rationale would require all states to treat non-military absentee ballots exactly the same as military absentee ballots.

    This would require, for example, that civilian absentee ballots “arriving late” or without postmark (or illicitly slipped in under the door vice arriving in the mail) be treated the same as military absentee ballots arriving in the same condition. This ignores the fact that military mail from deployed troops (1) is often not postmarked at all, (2) when postmarked, is often not postmarked at point of origin or on date of mailing, and (3) is often substantially delayed (delays of 2-3+ weeks each way from Afghanistan are not uncommon). In contrast, the same does not apply to stateside mail. For all its faults, the USPS actually does a fairly good job of postmarking and delivering stateside mail in a reliable and timely manner. The same isn’t necessarily true for mail coming from/going to remote military outposts. The military mail system simply isn’t as robust; and other things get priority for movement, like rations/supplies/ammo/medical items. In short: there is justification for allowing military personnel some additional consideration regarding absentee voting, particularly if they’re deployed to a remote location. The same justification for additional consideration doesn’t apply to civilian absentee ballots.

    Bottom line: if the suit prevails, the results likely will be applied to absentee ballots as well. And if so, the effect will be to unduly relax procedures associated with absentee voting in general without valid justification, thus substantially weakening the integrity of the voting process.

  19. Hondo says:

    Anonymous (13): the two examples you give (surgeon and businessman) are not good parallels for members of the military.

    In neither case you cite is the surgeon or businessman LEGALLY prohibited from voting. It may be a very difficult decision, and each choice may be distasteful – but both choices (voting, attending to business instead) are lawful ones. Their choice may be difficult, but it is also voluntary.

    When a member of the military receives an order to deploy or perform duty that requires his/her physical presence and which precludes going to the polls, the member of the military has no other option. He/she is legally required to comply with lawful orders; and an order to deploy or perform duties is a lawful order. Ergo, they have only one lawful option; the other option (disobey orders and go vote instead) is illegal and leads to jail. Not the same situation at all.

  20. CI says:

    Precedence could certainly come into play….as with nearly any legal argument. But one would think that Romney and his campaign would object on these practical grounds….as opposed to the spurious emotional opposition that they have been.

  21. Chuck says:

    This is why I normally avoid all of the politically twinged posts. This post does nothing to further the discussion of the lawsuit and culminates in a huge attack on liberals. Alienating those liberals that have served, continue to serve and have died for this country.

    Good job getting the discussion back on track in the comments guys.

  22. UpNorth says:

    I’d probably be a bit more disposed to see this lawsuit as something other than politics, if it had been filed by a person demonstrably impacted by this law and not a political party and someone’s campaign.

  23. Anonymous says:

    With all due respect, sir: Bad text, good comments. The political issue is one thing, but the way the Republicans have represented the action of the administration against the State is just pure lying. They are not trying to reduce the militarys 3day limit. Wether that is a good idea vis a vis fraud etc. is a issue to debate. But saying that the democrats are trying to make the military loose something is a flat out lie.

    For a long principal rebuttal not written by me, see

  24. Fnord says:

    That was me, not anon.

  25. Poetrooper says:

    For those of you commenters who say I’m wrong, or even that I’m lying, about the Democrats’ intentions in this issue, suffice it to say my position is commensurate with that of Congressman Allen West’s and I will most assuredly accept his legal and political interpretation of the situation over yours. You are spouting Democrat talking points.

    I do not understand how members of the military and veterans can defend a political party that has demonstrated itself over the decades to be so anti-military. To me you are KLDIU’s, Kool Aide Drinkers in Uniform.

  26. CI says:

    Read the suit Poetrooper. Defending facts isn’t defending a political party, nor does one party have the market cornered on the truth.

    But thanks for the slap against any veteran that doesn’t agree with your assertion. Good to know that you place your allegiance to the GOP over common sense and reason.

  27. Poetrooper says:

    Read my comment CI. I said I stand with the colonel’s interpretation, not the Republican Party’s, a position that is based more on his military background than his party affiliation. If it were the Republicans continually displaying contemptuous disregard for our military then I’d be hammering them. But they don’t.

    As for the specifics of this suit, due to their past history of attempting to disenfranchise military voters, ANY legal maneuver initiated by the Democrats in that regard must be considered suspect and challenged immediately as a camel’s nose in the tent. Several years ago I heard a prominent Democrat attorney boast, “Give me enough time to file enough lawsuits contesting votes and I can win any election.” It’s the Chicago Way, don’t you know?

    My “allegiance” to the GOP is very much based on common sense and reason. The Republicans don’t put forward as a candidate for Commander-in-Chief, a phony war hero with four purple band-aids repudiated by his fellow officers (oh, btw, whatever happened to that Kerry lawsuit for libel and slander against those vicious Swift boat liars, hmmm?)or a community organizer raised on a steady diet of Marxism with absolutely no executive experience and far too many questionable yet uninvestigated associations. Common sense and reason tells me that a political party that does this is not one I should support. What does all your common sense and reason tell you?

    Again, read my comment, CI. My slap is not at veterans who disagree with my assertion but those vets who do blindly align themselves with a political party that so obviously is not their friend, as you apparently do. That is if you are a veteran. Being relatively new here, I do not know, but if you are, you’re a fine one to be charging me with blind loyalty.

    I can cite example after example of the Democrat’s disdain for our military forces and I intend to do just that in another piece. I hope that when I do, you will refute my assertion of Democrat contempt by citing comparable examples by Republican politicians.

    I’m not the one arguing the minority position here. My opinion of the Democrats is shared by far more veterans and active duty than yours

  28. CI says:

    “My opinion of the Democrats is shared by far more veterans and active duty than yours”

    I have zero affinity for the Democratic Party, but as a Libertarian, I am quite used to being a minority opinion when I see hypocrisy and failure in both parties. And I am indeed a Veteran, but quite readily admit to shortcomings of the LP, so I refute the blind loyalty charge.

    I put stock in actions not posturing. I respect your right to use speculation as rhetorical currency, but speculation doesn’t engender factual basis. The problem I have with West, Romney and the GOPs public pushback is that they don’t couch their opposition in terms of speculation, they couch it in an erroneous framing-as-fact.

  29. Poetrooper says:

    CI, good to hear that you are in fact a veteran and not a Democrat although I have to tell you, your language makes you sound like a lawyer, a not particularly favored demographic..

    I’m a long way from being a doctrinaire Republican, being first a conservative, and a registered Republican only because registration is required here to fully participate in the electoral process. While I agree with libertarians on some of the issues, in New Mexico, every conservative needs to cast his essential vote for the Republican candidates to keep the loony Santa Fe liberals from taking over completely and turning this state into a corrupt, bankrupt New California as Bill Richardson tried to do. The sad truth is, in this state, a vote for any Libertarian candidate may as well be cast for the Democrat.

    If you have decided to take on the role of keeping me honest, I welcome it, as you seem a worthy adversary. I will be most particularly interested in your comments when I list the many transgressions of the Democrats against our serving military and our veterans. As an arbiter of equality you will no doubt want to present equal instances of Republican treachery. And yes I understand that you aren’t one of them, but you do seem eager to play referee on their behalf.

    As to the Ohio case, if you are, in fact, a lawyer then you well know that the law is whatever the presiding judge ultimately deems it to be. Of course, his/her politics and party affiliation won’t matter a whit there, now will they?

  30. NHSparky says:

    Poetrooper…as a former NM resident, people fail to grasp the fact hat Santa Fe and the surrounding area is primarily made up of expats who were too crazy for California. The same people who yhink the “Taos Hum” is real. Fortunately the Farmington area is decidedly still conservative.

  31. CI says:

    @29 – I’m not a lawyer…by a long shot. But I do try to look at issues from a factual basis, trying to not allow my ideology to color my assessment. I believe that challenging preconceived notions and testing my ideological biases makes me more informed. I would hope that others do the same. I cannot keep anyone honest, it’s enough to keep myself in line.

    But I am also not a referee for the left or an arbiter of equality. I am quite certainly harder on the right than the left because I know what the left stands for and am seldom surprised. The right however, has let me down. Instead of championing civil liberties and limited government, they have ceded those issues. Instead of carrying the banner for truth and reason, I have witnessed smoke screens of hyperbole and obfuscation. Instead of stating a case on it’s merits, they invent an elaboration framework of bovine excrement that finds it’s way ingrained in political culture, even despite an allegedly liberal media.

    In short, I fervently desire the right to succeed more so than the left, as long as they remain true to Conservative principles of individual liberty. But the right has become it’s own worst enemy, and I don’t like to simply stand by quietly.

  32. Hondo says:

    CI: in the Ohio case, it’s clear what the challenge to Ohio’s law is intended to accomplish. Put simply, it’s intended to give the Democratic party more “bites at the apple” in terms of getting likely Democratic voters to the polls – period. It’s a well known fact that, although registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans nationwide, a higher proportion of Republicans tend to actually vote. This is nothing more than an attempt by the Democratic party to negate, nation-wide, that internal disadvantage.

    Their mechanism of doing so is to claim “fairness”. By doing so, they are deliberately obscuring the fact that there exist good reasons for allowing military early voting that do not apply to the public in general. And by litigating this in Federal court, they are attempting to establish a precedent that will apply nation-wide – and that will likely also be held to apply to absentee ballots as well.

    It will also provide imminently more opportunities for voting fraud. Historically, the Democratic party has been much more skilled at that for at least the last 64 years.

    Bottom line: the Ohio suit was brought for partisan political reasons, not “basic fairness”. The intent is to change the rules in order to remove an inherent disadvantage that the Democratic party currently has because it’s registered voters simply don’t vote in as high a proportion as do Republicans. And they’re attempting to do this in such a way as to establish a nationwide precedent. Further, the practical effect will be to dilute military votes through extending justified special consideration given to the military due to military realities to all, regardless of justification. It thus indeed is a blatant attempt to offset the effect of military voting, which tends to be far more conservative than the general population.

  33. CI says:

    Hondo – It’s still speculation, and it’s still disingenuous to frame it as the opposition has. This opposition assumes that in-state voters who are military have a disproportional shortfall where it concerns being able to cast a ballot, above and beyond that of the civilian workforce. You and I both know the premium placed on voting by the Armed Forces [including the establishment of unit Voting Officers], where time is given to go vote by units and commands, far beyond what civilian wage earners are allowed.

    If you are against the concept of early voting [and I am not] you must still prove that in-state military members are at a disadvantage for being allowed the opportunity to vote. Not possibilities of duties that could occur, but an inherent obstacle to voting – and that they should be given preferential treatment over civilian voters.

  34. Hondo says:

    CI: I’ve already done that. See comment 17 above.

    A military member can be ordered to deploy on election day under pain of going to jail and under circumstances that preclude going to the polls (e.g., flight leaving at 0500). Under Ohio law, a civilian employee must be granted a reasonable amount of time to vote, and can be neither fired nor threatened with being fired for demanding same. The situations are therefore not comparable at all.

    In the early 1980s, there were assets based at Wright-Patterson AFB that literally could be called on to deploy at a moment’s notice. I believe they’re still based there today. If so the scenario is far more than theoretical.

  35. CI says:

    Hondo – No, you posed possibilities that could occur, as they do with other professions as well – you didn’t prove an inherent obstacle to voting.

    I am intimately acquainted with the nature of DRF/DRB status, but in Ohio, every registered voter, military or not, can not only acquire an absentee ballot for every election of that calendar year, but mail them in as absentee – whether one is out of the state or not.

  36. Hondo says:

    CI: the fact that I generated solely potential scenarios is true. It is also irrelevant. What is relevant is that the scenarios I posit are (1) plausible, (2) apply in such a way as to make it impossible for a member of the military to vote without risking jail time, and (3) do not apply with the same consequences to civilian employees. In Ohio, civilian employees can neither go to jail nor be fired/threatened with being fired for insisting on time to go vote in person. Scenarios exist where military personnel can in fact risk going to jail for doing exactly that.

    For the record: in Ohio, absentee ballots must be requested, either in person or by mail. However, when requested Ohio absentee ballots are sent to the requester by mail, and they’re sent only on request. Ballots must also be postmarked by NLT the day prior to election day. And absentee ballots that are hand-delivered must be hand-delivered by the Friday PRIOR TO the election. None of this exactly helps a member of the military who finds out on Monday that they have to deploy pursuant to short-notice military requirements early the next morning if said next morning happens to be Election Day and they’d planned to vote in person. However, if authorized early voting they could potentially make arrangement for doing so later that same day, provided their military duties allowed. Or he/she could have made arrangements to vote early on Saturday (3 days prior) if they had an inkling of such a possibility.

    And, as I’ve repeatedly stated, a member of the military doesn’t exactly have the option to tell his employer, “That’s against state law – you have to let me vote.” Try that and you’ll likely be telling the same thing to a courts-martial panel when you’re tried for missing movement or disobeying orders.

    In contrast, under the same circumstances a civilian employee in Ohio does in fact appear to have the legal right to tell his/her civilian employer, “I’m sorry, but I can’t go anywhere until noon tomorrow. I want to vote and haven’t requested an absentee ballot and can’t get one now. And state law says you have to afford me sufficient time to go to the polls and vote.” And he or she would have Ohio law on their side if his/her employee tried to force the issue.

    Bottom line: there is a demonstrable need to allow military some leeway for early voting that simply does not apply to members of the general population in Ohio. A military member can, literally, be told the day before election day that mission requirements mean he/she will not be able to go to the polls and vote – with threat of going to jail if they in fact disobey orders in order to go and vote the next day. Under such circumstances, it would also be impossible for them to vote absentee in Ohio – as absentee ballots must be mailed to the registered voter vice picked up in person. In contrast, under Ohio law a civilian employee appears to have legal standing to demand sufficient time be allowed to him/her on election day to vote in-person – regardless of his/her employer’s wishes or needs.

  37. CI says:

    Hondo – You’re still basing opposition to this suit solely on the possibility that some members of the military ‘may’ get deployed or otherwise waylaid on election day.

    Ohio law prior to the change alleviated that very possibility. Nothing you write is erroneous, but the manner in which the opposition has framed it is.

  38. Hondo says:

    CI: it is not necessary to wait until a foreseeable violation of civil rights takes place to put in place measures that forestall such a possibility. That is what the state of Ohio has done here. The special consideration of allowing military members a “window” to vote early in person takes care of exactly the scenario I propose (1) without affecting anyone else’s rights in any way, and (2) without grossly increasing the opportunity for fraudulent voting.

    What is being asked in the suit is to extend, without any justification whatsoever other than convenience, that same special consideration to all. (The “fairness” argument is a smokescreen, as civilians already have protection under Ohio law regarding the right to vote that military personnel stationed there do not.) There is no demonstrable need to do that, and any such extension merely increases opportunities for fraudulent voting without any corresponding compelling need. Ergo, IMO such an extension is illegitimate and should not be granted.

    Should the state of Ohio decided to do so, it is within their prerogative to extend early voting to all voters. However, that is a decision for the voters and lawmakers of state of Ohio and other states considering such changes in their voting laws, as they are the ones who must foot the bill for such changes. It is not a decision that should be made by the Federal courts based on a patently false justification advanced as a red herring solely to obscure the actual issues at hand.

  39. CI says:

    Has early voting for members of the Armed Forces been deems a civil right? I must have missed that.

    Early voting is not a revolutionary concept, and as such, it is unlikely to be considered a ‘special consideration’. I would agree that such cases should remain under the purview of the state, but at this time I’m not deeply versed in Federal voting law.

    Do these types of cases come under that purview?

  40. Hondo says:

    CI: no, but voting itself is. Military duties can conflict with free exercise of that right in a way far different than any such conflict experienced by civilian voters. Ergo, the state of Ohio has the authority to make allowances in their voting procedures that apply to the military in order to mitigate the unique impact of military duties on exercise of that right.

    I am no lawyer, and no expert in election law. However, based on very modest research, it appears that Federal law generally covers eligibility to vote and guarantees the right. States and localities have broad latitude to govern the details of the process so long as they comply with Federal law regarding eligibility and allow eligible voters to vote in a fair and equitable manner. Allowing special consideration to the military would not appear to violate the latter if that special consideration was (1) justified by foreseeable military duty requirements, and (2) nonmilitary voters were otherwise treated equally regarding voting. A law that allow the military to vote late as opposed to early would probably violate the latter, as it would present military personnel opportunities that were not available to the general public, for which the same effect could be achieved by less objectionable means, and could allow an “after the fact” effect on elections.

    For that reason, I’m even a bit uncomfortable with allowing military absentee ballots a later deadline for receipt than civilian absentee ballots received from the same geographical areas. That’s probably justifiable (the military personnel are generally not in remote locations by choice, and the military mailing system is secondary to other demands on the transportation system), but there IMO you’re pushing the allowable limits of special consideration rather hard. And as practical matter, the need to certify Federal elections does impose a “drop dead” date for all.

  41. OWB says:

    When I was kept from voting in a general election because I was deployed I really, really tried to get to vote in spite of being on the other side of the world. So pardon me if I am overly sensitive to any action which smacks me as throwing up additional obstacles for those for whom there simply are no options or opportunities to vote except by depending upon others to provide them with the means by which to do so.

    There are lots of hypothetical unforeseen situations which would preclude any voter from voting. Traffic accidents on the way to the polls, for instance. Not much we can do about each and every remote possibility.

    However, we know that there are and presumably always will be some military memebers (as well as members of the diplomatic corps) who are assigned somewhere in the world which means that they cannot vote in a local precinct somewhere CONUS. Not likely that they would all be allowed leave at the same time to travel to do so, is there? Really?? Someone somewhere has those numbers which could easily be tracked through time. Maybe some charts and graphs to go with them.

    So having some precedures existant for seeing that all those votes can come in and be counted just isn’t something which any voting jurisdiction should be surprised to need.

    Yes, last minute deployments/assignments are slightly different from those assigned long term somewhere. Again, it is nothing new.

    So, when the same party which is so proud of registering to vote (and providing absentee ballots to) convicted felons, Fido, illegal aliens, and Aunt Celeste who has been buried in the family plot for 40 years tell me to chill – that they really aren’t intending to disenfranchise the military vote, I simply am not buying it. Any way they want to couch the argument, they don’t win. Are they saying that folks too lazy to go vote are more important than military members who cannot, through no fault of their own, get to the polls? When they say they don’t want to impact the military vote, why not? We have been disenfranchised for decades that I personally know of. Looks like any honest politician would step out to see that serving members of the military get to vote!

    You professional pols fooled me once. Don’t expect it a second time.