Before you go to the polls tomorrow, stop and give thanks to those who guarantee your franchise. We refer specifically to those men and women who wear the nation's uniform; without their service and sacrifice, tomorrow's exercise in representative democracy would be at mercy of a maurading foreign power. So, before you touch that screen or fill out your ballot, think of those military members, from generations past and present, who made it possible.
Then consider this: many of those soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coasties won't be participating in Tuesday's presidential election. And it's not due to apathy, or their distance from a polling place. Instead, their right to vote has fallen prey to bureaucratic incompetence and election year politics. From The Hill:
One day ahead of the election, Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to express their concern over delays in ballots reaching military voters overseas.
“We write to express concerns over another serious failure by the Department of Defense (DoD) to safeguard the voting rights of our overseas military service members, which we believe could result in the imminent disenfranchisement of thousands,” the letter stated.
Through Oct. 26, 846,442 military personnel, voting-age dependents and U.S. civilians living overseas had downloaded the Federal Post-Card Application from the website run by the Federal Voting Assistance Program. That's down 21 percent from 2008.
By the same date in 2008, at least 1,082,540 military and overseas voters had downloaded the post card, which they can use to register to vote and request an absentee ballot.