An election scandal is brewing in a number of states, though especially in New York, as local officials have failed to mail ballots to service men and women overseas in a timely fashion as required by the 2009 federal MOVE Act.
“New York election officials were required to ship the ballots to U.S. citizens living overseas by Sept. 17. Because New York primaries were held Sept. 14, the feds granted local officials an extension until Oct. 1.
“Several New York counties blew past the extension – including the city’s five boroughs.”
Suspicions of skullduggery have naturally arisen. New York is a primarily Democratic state. Members of the military, however, tend to vote Republican in disproportionate numbers. Deliberate attempts to deny service men and women their votes have certain precedence. Lawyers working for then-Vice President Al Gore attempted to nullify the votes of servicemen and women in Florida during the year 2000 fight over that state’s electoral votes.
Nevertheless, the cause for this year’s snafu appears to be incompetence rather than malice. New York election officials are now scrambling to find a way to get ballots into the hands of service men and women in time for them to vote and to have those votes counted.
Still, the probability that election officials in New York and some other states may have denied members of the military the vote through incompetence is something of a cold comfort. If anything, election officials should be especially diligent in making sure the very people who are risking their lives in places like Iraq and Afghanistan to protect freedom are able to vote.
The whole situation would seem to be just one more insult inflicted by public officials on the public that should become an issue in the upcoming election. Government tries to do too many things, to be sure. But one of the things governments should do and do well is protect the integrity of elections.
It doesn’t matter, in the great scheme of things, whether the prospect of thousands of military personnel may not be able to vote this year will be because election officials are not up to the job with which they have been charged or are engaged in mischief. The effect is the same, and is appalling.
The solution obviously is to start firing people. Those who hold their office by popular election should be turned out of office. Those who have been hired as a state employee should be terminated and replaced with people who will comply with the law and make sure that everyone who is qualified to vote will be able to do so.
Source: Board of Elections gaffe may nullify New York soldiers’ overseas absentee ballots, Thomas M. Defrank and Lukas I. Alpert, New York Daily News, October 11th, 2010