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DOJ’s Military Voting Mess Continues Post-Election, but Congress Now Paying Attention

If you serve our nation and your ballot came too late or wasn’t counted, let PJM know so we can get the message to Congress. Send your stories to story@pajamasmedia.com.

by
J. Christian Adams

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November 17, 2010 - 12:00 am
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The military voting mess of 2010 isn’t over. In some states, ballots continue to roll in. Whether or not these late ballots will be counted remains to be seen.

I have learned that voters deployed across Iraq and Afghanistan received ballots far too late to be effective. The MOVE Act of 2009 was designed to fix this problem, but may have failed. One reason for the failure: open contempt inside the Department of Justice to the mandates of the new law.

It will be up to the new Congress to examine what happened in 2010 and to implement a remedy that prevents the same mess in 2012, and ending the DOJ monopoly on enforcing the law should top the list. Congress should give soldiers and sailors the right to sue when ballots don’t mail on time. DOJ bureaucrats can no longer be trusted as exclusive stewards of military voting rights.

PJ Media has extensively covered the military voting mess of 2010 and how DOJ dropped the ball over and over again. From failing to provide the states with written guidance on the new law, to failing to detect when states failed to mail ballots weeks late, disenfranchised soldiers can thank Eric Holder for late or uncounted ballots. Whatever actions DOJ took in 2010 to protect military voters only came after Senator Cornyn and the media were breathing down Holder’s neck. And even those efforts came late in the game.

My sources tell me that the responsible officials inside DOJ think the criticism from the public and from Congress is unfair. In other words, they believe their own spin. The bureaucrats actually believe that because they were making phone calls, instead of litigating in court, they were “aggressively enforcing” the law. They think waiting until October 22 to file a lawsuit in Illinois — even though the media, including PJM, broke the story on October 7 that ballots weren’t mailing — constitutes aggressive enforcement. They were working hard, talking on the phone, and debating internally, they claim.

Worst of all, bureaucrats inside DOJ expressly crafted DOJ litigation decisions with open contempt for congressional mandates. Congress declared that ballots must go out 45 days before the election. I have learned through multiple sources with direct knowledge that DOJ bureaucrats responsible for military voting explicitly argued repeatedly that the law could be satisfied by giving overseas ballots a total of 45 days, even if they were mailed weeks after the deadline. In other words, they had the power to disregard the explicit command of Congress, so they did. This is the smoking gun that Congress can reveal in hearings next year.

Why would they treat the law with such contempt?

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