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Failing our service men and women

Our warriors are just as much citizens with the right to vote as a person standing in the voting line waiting their turn. The only difference is that our soldiers do not have the luxury to stand in line to vote and are reliant on ballots being shipped to them in a timely manner. If they can not receive the ballots in time to put their choices down and ship them back to be counted, their vote is excluded from the count.

More than one week after its extended deadline, New York still hasn’t mailed out absentee ballots to all its 320,000 military servicemen and women and overseas voters, in clear violation of the MOVE Act, FoxNews.com has learned.

This is a problem, a big problem. History shows that our military tends to vote Republican at a rate of roughly 66%. While this is a national average and does not reflect the split in New York, the issue at hand is not how they vote, but that they are given the right to vote. It is a right that they are dying for and they should not be denied their opportunity.

But what should really worry everyone is how the neglect of the law and the rights of our soldiers could influence who wins or who loses.  In New York City alone, around 50,000 soldiers stand a good chance of not having their voices counted. With elections being decided many times by a difference of a few hundred to a few thousand votes, 50,000 missed votes could and will change who would have won. It matters little who wins, the point that should bother everyone from both sides is they did not win fairly. I do not care if we as a party benefit from the missing ballots, it still remains a travesty.

New York was granted a waiver to this deadline by the Department of Justice and given an additional 15 days — until October 1 — to send out all its ballots. On October 5, New York State Board of Elections co-directors informed federal officials that the state had not fully met their extended deadline, according to an e-mail posted online at FVAP.gov, the website of the Defense Department agency tasked with overseeing military voting.

In an e-mail sent October 5, New York State Board of Elections co-directors Robert A. Brehm and Todd Valentine wrote:

“County Boards of Elections have reported to our office that UOCAVA ballots have been transmitted to voters within their respective jurisdictions except in the City of New York, and the following counties: Erie, Niagara, Putnam and Westchester.”

And, as of Oct. 9, these ballots still have not been mailed to voters in these counties, who will now have less than 25 days to receive, mark and return their ballots, federal and state officials told FoxNews.com. New York City alone has about 50,000 servicemen and women and overseas voters.

“The gravity of New York’s failure cannot be overstated. With approximately 50,000 military and overseas voters in New York City alone, there is no doubt that the November elections could be altered by this failure,” said Eric Eversole, a former Justice Department voting section attorney who recently started a nonprofit organization, Military Voter Protection Project, to protect military voting rights.

I do not know how efficient this law is or if there are items in it that need to be adjusted. But what I do know is that the very one fighting and dying for our country should be respected enough to be given full opportunity to have their vote count. If the law needs to be fixed, then fix it. But no race in the state of New York should count until our men and women of the military get their right to vote respected. Excluding 320,000 of our finest from the voting process when they are the ones defending it is immoral and un-American, period.

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