Today, in the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, VoteVets.org is the first veterans organization to file an amicus brief opposing an end to early voting the weekend before election day, in Ohio.
In the appeal of the US District Court ruling on "Obama for America v. Husted," VoteVets.org filed an amicus that made clear that reversing the ruling of the District Court would hurt the ability of over 900,000 Ohio veterans to vote, including the over 90,000 who are disabled. VoteVets.org represents thousands of veterans and military families in Ohio, and over 220,000 veterans, military families, and civilian supporters, nationwide. Previously, the group had organized 25,000 petition signatures, calling for a restoration of full early voting in Ohio.
"If the District Court's judgment is reversed, all of Ohio's 900,000 plus veterans, including tens of thousands of wounded and disabled veterans, will be deprived of the ability to cast votes in person on the last three days before Election Day. If the District Court's judgment is affirmed , all of Ohio's veterans who are registered to vote will regain that ability," VoteVets.org wrote in its brief.
The full brief can be read here: http://bit.ly/Vawa8D
At issue in the appeal is whether the lower court ruling, extending full weekend early voting hours to all Ohoians, somehow impedes the voting ability of Active Duty military in the state, or sets a precedent that would end special voting considerations for Active Duty military.
Backing up its opinion, VoteVets.org made three points:
1) Ending weekend voting would impede the ability of many of Ohio's 900,000-plus veterans to vote. Disabled veterans in the state, which number more than 90,000, often have trouble waiting in long polling lines, and frequently depend on family members to get them to early polling sites. As weekday early voting hours are only from 5-7PM, many family members who work cannot take a disabled veteran to the polls any other time than the weekend. Likewise, those veterans who are not disabled, and work, may have no other time to make it to early voting sites other than a weekend.
2) While VoteVets.org agrees with interveners in the case that Active Duty military in the state dohave special considerations that sometimes do require preferential treatment in voting, extending early voting to the same days and hours as the 2010 elections does not infringe on that preferential treatment, nor does it set any precedent against extending further considerations to Active Duty military in the future.
3) The choice in this case is between the confused mess under which local boards may or may not afford Active Duty military voters the extra 3 days, and the district court's order under which all voters - including Active Duty military voters - would be guaranteed those 3 extra days; clearly a better situation for active duty military.
"The State's policy effectively deprives many of those 900,000 Ohio veterans who are otherwise eligible to vote, of the ability to do so - after those men and women wore the uniform of our country, and pledged their lives to uphold the Constitution, the same Constitution that confers the fundamental right to vote. And it is the same Constitution that... forbids the State arbitrarily and irrationally to burden that precious right," VoteVets.org wrote to the court. "There is no justification or even rational basis for the State of Ohio's decision to deprive these veterans of that ability. The District Court's judgment should be affirmed."
Founded in 2006, and backed by over 220,000 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.