Military Members Not Able to Vote in Colorado?

 

In a move that is leaving many in the military community gasping, the Colorado Secretary of State has decided to not allow Gilbert Ortiz, the Pueblo County Clerk to send ballots to “inactive” voters, those who didn’t vote in the last election – including military voters.  When specifically asked about the military voters, Secretary Gessler declined to allow the Clerk to send absentee ballots to 64 active duty, currently serving, members of the military.

Pueblo County, like Denver, has routinely mailed ballots to all registered voters. Ortiz was committed to do the same this year and pushed back against Gessler this week. He said counsel had advised that Gessler’s interpretation of election law would force Pueblo– and all the counties of Colorado by extension– to violate the federal Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act, which requires clerks to mail ballots to all eligible voters in the military.

Secretary Gessler’s reasoning:  “He has said that, in directing majority Democratic Denver and Pueblo county not to mail ballots to inactive voters, he is seeking to guard against fraud and make the state’s election rules uniform.”  According to some reports, he is worried about undocumented immigrants voting – if they are in uniform, should that be a concern?

A lawsuit filed against the Denver Clerk’s office is due to be heard on October 7 – a fitting day since that’s the 10th anniversary of the start of the Afghanistan War.

Some commenters on other pages have said that if you don’t vote in every election, you shouldn’t expect to have a ballot mailed to you.  Let’s think of why a service member may not be able to vote, shall we?

Sgt. Jones receives orders to PCS (Permanent Change of Station) from Fort Hood, TX  to Grafenwoehr, Germany.  He packs up and moves his spouse and children to Germany and plunges into the pre-deployment cycle of training.  His spouse, who isn’t a registered voter in Colorado, has sent change of address forms to every company she can think of that they have had dealings with, but didn’t send one to Colorado.  He’s training 10 hours a day, 7 days a week.  After a few months of training, the unit goes to Afghanistan.  Sgt. Jones’ platoon heads to a COB, Contingency Operating Base.

When he is able to get to a computer, he spends his time online talking to his family or friends, not on trying to get through various firewalls to check whether he is still registered to vote.  When you move as often as our community does, forwarded mail sometimes just doesn’t arrive.

If anything terrible happens, and he is wounded, he’s shipped to Bethesda or Brooke, and the first thing on his mind will not be sending a change of address form.  In this period of time, a ballot was sent to his last address on file – Fort Hood, Texas; the company clerk at the unit will get to it when she can – sends it on to Grafenwoehr. By that time, though, most of the 45 day window is gone.  The Grafenwoehr rear detachment NCO sends it to Brooke or Bethesda.  But that week was a bad week, a lot of surgeries and a lot of painkillers.

For the men and women in the military, who swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution – shouldn’t they be allowed to do what all others can?  The men and women in uniform, who put their lives on the line and serve their country deserve the right to vote for the leaders of that country, don’t they?  The ones who have helped others get the right to vote, shouldn’t they have the right to exercise their right?  This may be only one county in one state — but it is a precedent.

 

Related Stories:

Maine GOP Chair: No Vote Unless You Pay Taxes

Colorado Rep. Wants English Only Ballots

Tell Gov. Walker To Stop Disenfranchising Voters

 

Photo from Denise Cross via flickr

63 comments

Ira L.
Ellie L7 years ago

@Paul H. Just another Fox puppet spewing more lying rhetoric. Your Greedy Oil Party is on the way out, and it will be fun to watch it and you go down. This new generation bringing life to the Middle Class will rise to the occasion and move America forward from the draconian agenda of the tbagger/republikkklans to the more progressive agenda of President Obama. In 2012, give him a filibuster-proof majority in the House and Senate and watch him make his moves! He's had it, fed up with the obstructionism and ready to pounce. Just watch and see -- He will make us proud.
Don't forget: Saturday, Oct. 15, march from Los Angeles City Hall to the Financial District. See you there.

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Paul H.
Paul H.7 years ago

Nice attempt at redirection, but the topic at hand remains, “why are the Democrats in favor of sending ballots out to voters who’re inactive and potentially don’t even exist?” Is it to circumvent the burden of proof for eligibility and ID since there is no audit trail? If a ballot shows up in a mailbox addressed to someone who died or moved out of the state 3 years ago, what’s to stop the current, ineligible occupant from filling out the ballot and sending it in? Who’s going to complain, the real voter? They’re dead and/or gone. And what districts would receive and most likely return the majority of those invalid ballots? But this story doesn’t talk about that. It’s a classic misdirection appealing to “patriotism” by attempting to hide behind the troops when, in fact, the troops aren’t affected at all.

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Renee Still Day
Renee Still Day7 years ago

Oh and by the way PAUL H. the only PROVEN voter fraud in this country at this moment is from the Ohio 2004 hacking of voting machines by Republicans for George Bush, so post your link for proven voter fraud by dems. I like to have all the facts, so I would be interested in seeing the info.

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Renee Still Day
Renee Still Day7 years ago

I guess the only way the Republicans believe they can win, now that they have publicly made their views known about attacking the Middle Class in America, is to cheat........so what's new GOTP? Keep people from voting, yep, that's sure part of how you can win, the other I guess would be to continue hacking voting machines as has now been proven from Ohio's 2004 presidential election. Cheat, lie, steal and obstruct.....aren't you proud?

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Donald B.
Donald Burnison7 years ago

How pathetic and unpatriotic for elected politicians to try to prevent anyone and especially members of our service organizations from practicing their constitutional rights to vote just to further their political agenda. These republican politicians should be incarcerated for this illegal, unconstitutional behavior. This radical behavior attacks the basis of our society for personal benefit of the monority. This is unamerican and self-serving. The GOP has no respect for our Constitution.

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Paul H.
Paul H.7 years ago

Has anyone stopped to ask why a Republican would attempt to disenfranchise the military considering that service members overwhelmingly vote conservative? Or is this really a case of the Democrats getting ticked off that someone might try to stop their voter fraud effort?

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Linda Indyke
Linda Indyke7 years ago

So, as I get this, Colorado's Secretary of State decided to break the law and did not allow the Pueblo County clerk to send out absentee ballots to members of the military?!! Doesn't that invalidate whatever election took place? Add that to the list of wrongs compiled by Occupy Wall Street. What gall!!

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Larry H.
Larry H.7 years ago

I think this is just another case of the Tea Party and the GOP attempting to keep people who oppose them from voting. he tactics they are using, changing the voter registration laws is reminiscent of tactics they used in thee south during the Jim Crow era. They are trying to take away people's constitutional right to vote and the federal government needs to step in.

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Paul H.
Paul H.7 years ago

Really Barbara? "62% of people who claim the GOP as your Party, don't have a clue what the G.O.P. really stands for?" Of course, you weren't playing with those number just a little bit, were ya? Because if you're referring to the Vanity Fair / 60 Minutes poll, its actually 51% of Republicans who DO know what GOP stands for. But be proud, its actually the Dems who came in at 38% which puts you in the top third and THAT is what I call "brain power".

http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2011/11/60-minutes-poll-201111.print#slide=1


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Mike S.
Mike S7 years ago

Since the people. via their elected representatives, are denying people in the military the right to vote, in violation of Federal Law, let the Attorney General announce that the votes of the people of Pueblo and Denver will not be counted in elections for any federal elected offices, to include their own senator and representative.
This will help focus them on the problem...either that, or arrest and incarcerate those politicians who are denying the right to vote to the defenders of the nation...keep then incarcerated until the SCOTUS makes the final decision on this...again, it will help people focus on protecting the rights of those who protect our rights...
Petty? Yup. Effective? I don't know, but let us try it for a change....

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