Recently the head of the VA blocked voter registration efforts on VA facilities, thereby hindering the right to vote of veterans hospitalized or permanently retired (see VHA Directive 2008-25) The reasons given for this are pure bluster; contrary to the lie in that publication, non-partisan voter registration drives do not violate the Hatch act. They can be conducted with dignity and in a non-partisan way, but it appears that the rights of those who defended our Constitution on the battlefield must again be defended in Congress because of the unilateral action of a political appointee afraid that his incompetence will result in veterans exercising the franchise in a way he doesn't like.
If this blogger sounds intemperate about this bill, it's because the actions of the political head of the VA are completely outrageous and the excuses given are insulting to the intelligence of every American. It is clear that someone at the VA is worried that people living in VA facilities might not be entirely happy about their treatment, and use the right to vote for which the suffered the injuries now putting them in the VA's power.
This is no time for partisanship; this is time to enforce the rights of veterans; it is time to act:
- Read the text of HR 6625
- Understand the Key Points about what the bill does:
- Require the VA to make voter registration services available at VA facilities in states that request it, in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act. These services include providing voter registration forms, answering questions on registration issues and assisting with submitting voter registration forms
- Require the VA to assist veterans at facilities to receive and use absentee ballots if they choose to vote absentee
- Allow non-partisan groups and election officials to provide voter information and registration information to veterans
- Require an annual report to Congress from the Department of Veterans Affairs on progress related to this legislation