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Military Spouse Voting In Virginia

A recent letter to the editor of our local paper had a Blue Star mom supporting Obama for President. I salute her family’s service however, with a further bit of digging, I found she was Deputy Director of Policy for Blue Star Families For Obama. Part of his campaign targeting military spouses and families.

About four years ago, a startling bit of information popped up via our local Registrar. Technically military spouses and dependents could not vote in the Commonwealth. The wording of the law stated that residents must be able to swear to live in Virginia for an unlimited amount of time. That is next to impossible for a military spouse. We go where and when we are told. During the course of getting this law changed, I heard from Registrars from around the Commonwealth stating that they would never turn away a military spouse. While that was all well and good, the reality was they could.

Because of the distinct possibility of being disenfranchised, we began a battle to get the law changed in Virginia. Delegate Mark Cole sponsored HB138 and introduced legislation to correct this antiquated law. The results can be viewed here.

When HB 138 was introduced and sent to the Special Elections & Privileges (House) the vote for referral was opposed by 5 Democrats.

The House voted and opposition came in the form of 15 Democrats, many from areas of heavy military concentration such as Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Northern Virginia.

The bill was then referred to Senate Committee – Elections and Special Privleges. In all fairness, the bill referred with a vote of 15-0 after a thoughtful and comprehesive look at the bill. I attended that hearing in case I was needed to speak and I must give props to not only Delegate Cole but the representatives from the State Board of Elections. One inane question asked “how do we know that they won’t vote in two places?” The Election Commission rep made it very clear that this was not a problem indicative of the military.

The Senate then votes on the bill and you guessed, the only opposition came in the form of *two Democrats *voting no.

My question is why would you vote for a candidate of a party that, a little over two years ago, didn’t want you to vote at all?

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