August 19, 2004

Never again....

One of the ugliest, nastiest bits of our recent political history was the attacks on the ballots of our overseas military personnel during the 2000 election.

By the time the Herron memo made headlines, the Dems were challenging more than 1,500 absentee ballots (which grew to more than 2,400) mostly from soldiers overseas. This was almost three times the number of votes — 537 — that proved to be Bush's margin of victory. Had the Herron scam succeeded, and protests against those votes been sustained, Al Gore would be in the White House today.

This problem is not unique to Florida, and it didn't just happen in 2000. According to the results of a survey by the Reserve Officers' Association, ROA estimates that the disenfranchisement rate among military personnel who try to vote in Florida, Missouri, and South Carolina is 40-45 percent.

This is from a fine piece by Jeff Babbin... and a very pleasing one, because we learn that our Secretary of Defense is not going to let it happen again.
...For once, at the insistence of Don Rumsfeld, the folks in Fort Fumble are acting, not reacting, to solve this problem before it repeats itself.

On March 17, Rumsfeld sent a memo to the Joint Chiefs and Combatant Commanders telling them how the services will make sure all military members — and their family members — who are overseas, or stationed here but are away from home, get the chance to vote, and vote so that no Mark Herrons can disenfranchise them.

At the heart of Rumsfeld's plan is putting some teeth into the old Voting Assistance Officer idea. On top of it is a strategy — now underway — to use both the internet and the Postal Service effectively to help servicemen and their families request absentee ballots and get them returned in time to be counted...

How I admire that guy.

Posted by John Weidner at August 19, 2004 5:50 PM
Weblog by John Weidner