Sunday, September 14, 2008

Concerned Voters Vs. The VA: Winning One for the Good Guys

In May, myself and many of my friends who have a deep interest in Veterans care and assistance were outraged that the VA decided to ban all non-partisan, voter registration assistance at all VA Hospitals, Nursing homes, shelters and other care facilities. Their weak and pathetic attempts at covering up voter suppression of our wounded vets was to say that the voter assistance efforts disrupted operations at their facilities and that doctors and nurses were complaining. Subsequent requests for evidence of this were of course ignored and no evidence of disruptive outcomes from voter assistance were ever produced.

The outrage over this, at home and overseas where there are VA hospitals that were offering voter assistance for absentee ballot requests, was huge. Voter groups, Congress people, and Vets joined forces and waged a pitched battle against this attempt to disenfranchise veterans.

But there is good news.

WASHINGTON; NY TIMES — The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday that it would no longer ban voter registration drives among veterans living at federally run nursing homes, shelters for the homeless and rehabilitation centers across the country.

In May, the department said such drives would violate the prohibition on political activity by federal employees and would be disruptive.

The reversal came after months of pressure from state election officials, voting rights groups and federal lawmakers who said that such drives made it easier for veterans to take part in the political process.
The reasons behind this ban are pretty clear. FEC reports a huge increase in donations to Democratic candidates esp. Barack Obama, from APO boxes and military personale. So someone was, I assume, tasked to discourage these disloyal veterans from exercising their right to vote.

Thankfully we won this one, AND in time to get these men and women registered.