Veterans Speak Out Against Schoeller's Anti-Military Voting Bill
PUBLISHED: April 12, 2012
Columbia, MO - A national veterans group representing over 105,000 members, VoteVets.org, is writing to State Rep. Shane Schoeller, regarding his legislation that would restrict the right to vote for every Missouri resident in the military who is deployed, stationed overseas or even at a domestic base outside of Missouri. In the 2008 presidential election, over 11,000 members of the military voted by absentee ballot in Misssouri.
Schoeller's legislation would eliminate mail-in absentee ballots for all members of the military, who are unable to cast their vote in person. For those in combat zones, the legislation allows them to submit their ballot via fax or email, which can make it nearly impossible for many who are in the field. There is no such provision for those who are stationed at overseas bases, such as in Germany or Korea.
Brazenly, Schoeller actually brags about protecting the rights of troops to vote, on his own website [http://www.shaneschoeller.org/issues] - never mentioning he is actively trying to take that right away.
The letter from Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran, and Chairman of VoteVets.org is below.
Founded in 2006, and backed by over 100,000 members, the mission of VoteVets.org is to use public issue campaigns and direct outreach to lawmakers to ensure that troops abroad have what they need to complete their missions, and receive the care they deserve when they get home. VoteVets.org also recognizes veterans as a vital part of the fabric of our country and will work to protect veterans' interests in their day-to-day lives. VoteVets.org is committed to the destruction of terror networks around the world - with force when necessary - to protect America. While non-partisan, the group is the largest progressive organization of veterans in America.
Dear Representative Schoeller,
One of the most important rights we have as Americans is the right to go to the polls and cast our ballots in favor of the people we want to represent us in our democracy. For over two hundred years, brave American men and women have raised their right hand and placed themselves in harm's way to defend this freedom.
We wholeheartedly oppose your legislation (House Bill 2109) that would restrict the voting rights of troops who are deployed or stationed overseas, by limiting their ability to vote via absentee ballot. We feel that the idea that you would deliberately inhibit our service members from exercising the very freedoms they fight for is offensive, un-American, and wrong.
Over 11,000 members of the military voted by absentee ballot in 2008. Your legislation would end that right, and demand that members of the military find someone in Missouri to hand deliver their absentee ballot.
This legislation is patently offensive to me and the millions who have served this nation in uniform, now and in the past. It undermines the very cornerstone of our democracy and freedom. On your website, you say you are dedicated to counting military votes. If that is true, we ask that you prove it, by immediately pulling the bill from consideration.
Iraq War Veteran