NY-20: Vets stand up to defend military voting rights — Redstate

Redstate:

Today, Bud Day, Orson Swindle, and a bunch of other high-profile veterans sent a letter to New York election officials about the problems faced by active duty military in exercising their right to vote in the NY-20 special congressional election that is currently in recount. We have written about this issue before here at Redstate. The letter is pretty hard hitting:

Every effort should be made to ensure that every vote cast by members of the U.S. armed forces serving overseas is counted – in this election and in every election.  But in New York, only minimal steps were taken by state and Federal authorities to get the ballots overseas early enough to have a chance to make it back in time to be counted.  Votes cast by men and women serving in our armed forces overseas may not be counted because of this failure.  That is shameful, and an embarrassment to us as a nation.  We can and must do better.

The complete letter is after the jump.

An Open Letter on the New York Special Congressional Election

April 9, 2009

To whom it may concern:

We the undersigned have had the honor to serve our country abroad during times of conflict and danger.  We have all been overseas during elections – a time when we exercise one of the most basic rights we cherish and defended as Americans – the right to cast our votes with our fellow Americans.

We remember from our own service how difficult it was to get our own votes counted, as we were stationed in remote combat zones and other parts of the world.  Ballots didn’t reach us in time, or didn’t make it back to our homes in time to be counted, and were discarded.

Today, in New York, yet another close election may be decided by a few absentee ballots cast by those serving their country in far-flung parts of the globe.  This race is being fought out on ground that saw some of the pivotal moments of our early history as a nation.  American patriots won desperate battles for our independence at Saratoga – now part of the 20th New York Congressional District.  Those patriots fought for rights they believed to be theirs by right of birth – the same rights and freedoms that their descendants now protect on our behalf around the world.  But these modern patriots may be denied one of the most basic rights that we enjoy as Americans – to cast their vote and have it be counted – because the same problems we faced during our service have not been solved.

Every effort should be made to ensure that every vote cast by members of the U.S. armed forces serving overseas is counted – in this election and in every election.  But in New York, only minimal steps were taken by state and Federal authorities to get the ballots overseas early enough to have a chance to make it back in time to be counted.  Votes cast by men and women serving in our armed forces overseas may not be counted because of this failure.  That is shameful, and an embarrassment to us as a nation.  We can and must do better.

We urge you to ensure that every one of those votes be counted.  It is the least we can do for those who answered the call to serve, who defend rights that we take for granted, and who represent the best in all of us.

Edward H. Martin, Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret); POW, Vietnam

John G. Waggener, Major General, US Army (Ret); Combat Engineer, Vietnam

Bud Day, U.S. Air Force (Ret); Medal of Honor recipient; POW, Vietnam

Richard A. Pittman, Marine Corps; Medal of Honor recipient, Vietnam

George Lisicki, U.S. Army, Vietnam veteran; Past National Commander-in-Chief, VFW

Clifford Olson, U.S. Navy; Past National Commander-in-Chief, VFW

Paul A. Spera, Past National Commander-in-Chief, VFW; U.S. Army, Vietnam

Thomas A. Bolinder, Marine infantry sergeant, Vietnam

Paul Chevalier, Marine Sergeant Major (ret), Vietnam

Mike Cronin, U.S. Navy (Ret); POW, Vietnam

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