Complete Charlie Foxtrot: DOJ fails to protect military voters



Barely three weeks before the election, the Department of Justice has opened "urgent" discussions with New York.  New York has failed to mail ballots to military voters.  This is the latest breakdown in DOJ enforcement of the MOVE Act.

The MOVE Act required ballots to mail out on September 18.  New York obtained a waiver allowing the ballots to mail October 1.  But that didn't happen across a sizeable portion of the Empire State - including all of New York City and Westchester County.  On October 2, the failure to comply with the deadline should have been known. 
Fox News breaks the story on October 10, that the DOJ is in "urgent" discussions with New York.  One wonders, as has been the case with the 2010 saga of military voting enforcement, why the DOJ isn't in urgent "litigation." 

The 2008 failure to protect military voters was documented

An even bigger debacle is emerging in 2010.  It has been documented
here and here and here and here.

The most amazing side story to the 2010 mess is that it occurred while Texas Senator John Cornyn has
blocked the nomination of the number two man at Justice - Deputy Attorney General nominee James Cole - specifically because of the military voting mess created by the lack of aggressive enforcement by the Voting Section.  It was no secret that Cole wasn't going to move unless DOJ changed their ways. 

Even after the hold was placed on James Cole, inaction and delay characterized DOJ enforcement.  Private groups, such as the Military Voter Protection Project, uncovered failures to mail military ballots instead of the DOJ.  Instead of fixing the problem after the hold was placed on Cole, the problem grew worse - almost as if the Department was rebuking Senator Cornyn. 

Worse, DOJ meetings with Hill staffers turned into a useless exercise in spin.  DOJ officials claimed they were busy at work enforcing the law, while the facts demonstrated otherwise.  Disbelieving Senators and Congressmen have grown exasperated and have promised that either a housecleaning is in order of those responsible for the mess, or Cole will remain in private practice for a very long time.  Upcoming elections promise to strengthen Cornyn's hand regarding the Cole hold.  And the whole mess could have been avoided.

In sum, here is the history of the 2010 military voting mess:

* In early 2010, Justice officials address state election officials.  They reveal an aversion to aggressive litigation to protect military voting rights.  State officials tell the Washington Times they simply could not believe what was being said.  States went away thinking they didn't face any real consequences for failures to comply with the MOVE Act.

* Also in early 2010, DOJ officials promote the idea that a 2010 waiver would be permanent for future elections, including the 2012 Presidential election.  Spencer Overton and the manager who addressed state election officials promoted this crazed legal view in direct conflict with the law.

* Pentagon officials sent draft waiver guidance to the DOJ.  The guidance would govern standards for granting a waiver and put states on notice what would be eligible for a waiver.  Instead of responding to the Pentagon, the draft gathers dust on DOJ desks.  No guidance was ever issued to states because DOJ failed to provide input to the Pentagon.

* Many states were obviously not going to comply with the new MOVE Act because they did not amend their state laws before the close of their legislative sessions. DOJ response?  Silence.  Instead of suing noncompliant states, the Justice Department waited, watched and did nothing.

* After waiver applications were denied to states like Wisconsin, many states were obviously in noncompliance with the MOVE Act, and there was no possibility of a waiver.  DOJ Response?  Silence.  Instead of filing lawsuits to force compliance, DOJ did next to nothing.  When it did act, it reached settlements with states such as Wisconsin that rewrote explicit statutory language mandating a 45 day ballot mailing requirement to military voters and reduced the time required for ballots to mail.

* Because of shortcomings in DOJ investigative methods, the Military Voter Protection Project deploys teams of law student investigators to root out failure to comply with the MOVE Act.  Private citizens find state violations before the DOJ does.

* When states such as Illinois and New York are discovered to be violating the law, and have totally failed to mail ballots even three weeks before the election, instead of rushing to court, the DOJ does nothing except talk.

* Meanwhile, DOJ officials genuinely think there is no problem, that the criticism is unfair.  That alone merits a house cleaning.

Even Senator Chuck Shumer has a greater sense of urgency than the DOJ.  From
"Put these ballots on the next plane to Afghanistan. These soldiers sacrifice their lives to protect our freedoms, they should never, ever be denied their right to vote. I wrote and passed this law so our brave men and women overseas would no longer be disenfranchised and there is absolutely no excuse for failing to get this done. The boards of election should immediately get these ballots to each and every one of our service members around the world. They should overnight them if they have to -- no ifs, ands or buts."





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  • October 10, 2010 Glenn Koons wrote:
    Surely some Pubs can force DOJ with Obama's pressure to make sure our military votes. If not, then DOJ officials should be put trial. This is an outrage that Dems do each election year while their felons and illegals vote and they get in high dudgeon when anyone complains.
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