In doing so, the President has endorsed a scenario where 1000’s of members of the military — actively defending their nation — would be disenfranchised by having their authorized votes thrown out.
In each election, quite a lot of votes are available late — legally — from People who’re abroad or situated outdoors their states of residence, together with vital numbers of absentee voters who’re service members and their households.
The military has been voting absentee for two centuries — because the Struggle of 1812 — and the follow was expanded through the Civil Struggle. Military votes have been included in licensed vote tallies in native, state and presidential elections. There may be nothing nefarious about them.
“We’re not asking for any particular privilege right here,” retired Military Chief of Employees Gen. George Casey informed MeSlop.
“We’re simply saying we predict it is vital for each ballot to be counted and particularly these of the service women and men who serve this nation. They achieve this a lot for us and so they should know their voices are heard.”
Casey voted absentee from Iraq within the 2004 presidential election and remembers voting absentee a number of occasions whereas stationed away from Virginia, his dwelling state of file. He’s now one in every of many retired military leaders lending their voices to Depend Each Hero, a bipartisan initiative to ensure military votes are tallied.
How the military vote works
Oftentimes, service members spend money and time clearing hurdles that their civilian counterparts are normally spared with a view to guarantee their ballot is counted.
“Military voters must work additional laborious to vote,” mentioned Sarah Streyder, the founding father of Military Vote Coalition, a nonprofit endorsed by main veteran and military organizations that works with service members and their spouses to make sure they will vote.
“It is a sophisticated registration and submission course of. I do know individuals who needed to pay upwards of $50 simply to in a single day a provisional ballot as a result of their official ballots by no means obtained to them in time.”
Streyder ticked off a number of examples: a military partner who lives in Texas, where her husband is stationed, however votes in her dwelling state of Pennsylvania; spouses who dwell in Japan however vote in Oklahoma, Texas, Florida and Georgia.
“It is demoralizing,” she mentioned of the President’s assault on authorized ballots that arrive after Election Day.
Military households usually transfer to new obligation stations each few years, together with abroad. Since 9/11, service members have been extra prone to deploy, typically repeatedly, and so they have cast ballots by the hundreds of thousands from battle zones, abroad postings and states where they quickly reside.
In Georgia, service members who’re serving away from dwelling, each contained in the US and abroad, have till shut of enterprise Friday for their ballots to be obtained, so long as they had been postmarked on or earlier than Election Day.
In Nevada, ballots postmarked by Election Day can be obtained as late as November 10.
Some states implement deadlines for receiving the ballots however do not require a postmark, because of the variations in how mail is processed domestically and abroad, particularly on military installations or in fight zones.
Pennsylvania and North Carolina are two examples.
In Pennsylvania, these absentee ballots should be signed by the night time earlier than the election and obtained by November 10. A postmark shouldn’t be required. In North Carolina, dwelling to among the most often deployed Military forces within the nation, that deadline is even later: November 12 with no postmark required.
Ballots ‘lacking’ in Georgia
Trump additionally recommended, with out proof, that military ballots are “lacking” in Georgia, insinuating the votes would tip the dimensions in his favor.
“Where are the lacking military ballots in Georgia? What occurred to them?” the President tweeted Friday.
He appeared to be referring to the 8,410 absentee ballots in Georgia that had been requested by and despatched to service members and their households and different abroad voters — however haven’t been obtained again by the state.
There may be nothing to point these votes are lacking. The state of Georgia will depend these ballots, so long as they arrive by shut of enterprise Friday, as they’ve with the 18,008 military and abroad votes already obtained and counted within the state.
“It will be greater than zero and fewer than 8,410,” mentioned Gabriel Sterling, the voting system implementation supervisor for Georgia’s Secretary of State, on Friday afternoon.
A few of these ballots are doubtless nonetheless in transit. A lot of them had been requested however by no means cast, which isn’t uncommon.
In 2016, election workplaces throughout the nation despatched 950,836 absentee ballots to military and abroad voters however solely obtained 623,577 of these votes again, based on the Federal Voting Help Program.
Three % of the ballots obtained had been rejected, primarily as a result of they didn’t arrive on time. These not returned had been presumed to have been requested however not cast.
Military help for Trump
There may be additionally a query as as to if the votes of military and their households would profit Trump, because the President recommended. That assumption could not be a actuality.
Historically, military votes have skewed conservative, however the military, more and more, shouldn’t be politically monolithic.
“In 2000, the Republicans truly fought laborious to get military ballots counted in that presidential election. That they had an instinct, and had been proper, that ballots had been reliably Republican in most cases,” mentioned Tara Copp, the nationwide military and veterans correspondent for McClatchy, on MeSlop Proper Now. “However you’ve got a complete new era of service members seeing 20 years of battle in Afghanistan and Iraq and their political opinions are everywhere in the spectrum.”
Past 2020, advocates are involved about the long run impact of Trump’s feedback on the religion that service members and their households have on the absentee voting course of a lot of them use.
“I spend every single day combating an uphill battle convincing my military pals that voting is value it as a result of there’s this pernicious fable that absentee military ballots do not depend as a result of of us are used to having outcomes introduced earlier than their ballots arrive,” Sarah Streyder informed MeSlop, regardless that military absentee ballots are finally mirrored within the licensed vote.
“Now [military families] are going to really feel much less assured that their votes are going to depend and matter as a result of they’re being so dramatically undermined,” she mentioned.
This story has been up to date with feedback from retired Military Chief of Employees Gen. George Casey.
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