New York Fails To Mail Ballots to Active Military, DOJ Yet To Act
Knowing firsthand the problems which plague enforcement of military voting rights inside Justice, former DOJ Voting Section lawyer Eric Eversole has set up the Military Voter Protection Project. Instead of relying on the DOJ, Eversole has his own operation with teams of law students around the country investigating compliance. Private citizens are picking up the ball the DOJ has dropped.
And it has paid off. The private MVP Project detected the fact that Illinois failed to mail military ballots before DOJ had a clue. (Does it surprise anyone that a private sector effort has better results than the government counterpart?)
DOJ inaction was foreshadowed in a February 2010 speech by Justice voting officials to state election officials. According to state election officials who were present, the Justice official told the assembled crowd that the federal law protecting military voters was “ambiguous.” Further, the DOJ official told the audience that they wanted to avoid litigation to protect military voters, and that it would be the very last thing DOJ would consider.
No kidding. Obviously the state officials got the message: across the nation, military voters are suffering from a nationwide lack of compliance with the law. And the DOJ has filed exactly one lawsuit seeking to enforce the law ... against Guam. All of the other lawsuits, such as against Wisconsin, have come after lousy settlement agreements have been reached.
I believe there is very little that can be done to alter this institutional sloth in the three weeks before the election. Citizens can, of course, petition the Voting Section (800-253-3931) and ask to speak to the person in charge of military voting protection. There is a chance the callers will view the problem more seriously than the government officials. Let me guess: the DOJ will say they are doing a great job.
Former Voting Section attorneys are working closely with members of Congress, leaving no doubt as to what the institutional problems are inside Justice. These problems should be eliminated after strict congressional oversight in 2011. If not next year, then in January 2013.
Meanwhile, DOJ paints a rosy picture of the great job they are doing to protect military voters. But the facts prove otherwise. Just ask a Marine from Brooklyn.