The Republican Party and their conservative supporters are still raising a ruckus over the results of the 2012 Presidential election. They are convinced the President was able to win a second term due to a deliberate campaign of voter fraud and suppression of the military vote. After examining the issue, we found some evidence of voter fraud and voter suppression, but certainly not enough to change the results of the election.
We may never know exactly how many American soldiers were unable to vote in the recent election, but there are a few facts worth considering. The military is traditionally a conservative stronghold and they have voted in favor of the Republican candidate in every election since the end of the Cold War. The GI vote is far easier to track than the general publics’, due to the highly organized structure of the military, and because there are only 2.5 million soldiers out of 200 million eligible voters. Even if one million soldiers were unable to vote, and considering the military votes 65% Republican, Romney would have only lost 300,000 net votes.
While Obama denies any involvement in suppressing the military vote, it is hard to ignore the simple fact that the military was obstructed from voting in 2012. According to studies conducted by the Military Voter Protection Project and AMVETS Legal Clinic at Chapman University, the number of requests for absentee ballots from the military fell below the already low numbers seen in 2008. Large numbers of soldiers did not receive the form they needed to acquire their absentee ballot.
The statistics on the military vote in the recent election are alarming. Prior to election day, the Military Voter Protection Project released the following statistics and reached a disturbing conclusion:
“Take, for example, the low number of absentee ballots that have been requested thus far in Virginia, North Carolina, and Ohio. Of the 126,251 active duty military members and spouses in Virginia, only 1,746 have requested absentee ballots for the November election. Similarly, in North Carolina and Ohio, less than 2,000 absentee military ballots have been requested by military members and their spouses in those states. Overall, in these three states, less than 2 percent of eligible military voters (5,411 out of 288,961) have requested absentee ballots.”
“For too long, our men and women in uniform have been silenced in the electoral process. !e time to act is now. We must deliver the promise of the MOVE Act and provide them the voting assistance required by law. This is the only way to ensure that their voices will be heard on Election Day.”
Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the situation a “serious failure” by the Pentagon.
“This is an unacceptable failure by Pentagon leaders to comply with the law and ensure our service members and their families are able to exercise one of the most fundamental rights for which they sacrifice every day.”
Looking at the issue of voter fraud, one might expect an extreme Conservative like Joseph Farah to be convinced Obama stole the election. In a post election article for the Examiner, Farah claimed the President received at least five percent (2.5 million votes) of the popular vote due to outright dishonesty:
“I have plenty of anecdotal evidence to show that it was committed by one side in the election in various ways. And I am convinced that at least 5 percent of the Democratic vote can be attributed to fraud – illegal voters, illegal campaign contributions, rigged balloting, intimidation at the polls, you name it.”
“What it means, in short, is that the ends justify the means. It means violence is fine in achieving a worthwhile objective. It means lying, stealing, cheating and all those other bourgeoisie “sins” are appropriate means of furthering the cause. Is there any doubt in your mind today that this is now the reigning ethos of the Democratic Party and its various tentacles and allies?”
As is usually the case with accusations of this sort, Farah’s case is based on “anecdotal evidence,” and that will not hold up in court. It sounds like more of the same old nonsense from the losing side, and frankly, it only serves to distract from the legitimate issue of the military vote and other real problems with our elections that lie outside the realm of partisan politics.
At the same time, it is worth noting that the current United States Attorney General, Eric Holder, has an abysmal record when it comes to dealing with voter fraud. Holder is one of a long line of partisan Attorney Generals, who put their party’s policies ahead of the Constitution.
Consider Holder’s conduct in the controversial issue of voter intimidation in Philadelphia. Despite numerous complaints, the Justice Department did nothing to answer voter concerns, and the same New Black Panther Party member, who was indicted for voter intimidation in 2008, was back at the polling place on November 6, 2012. Only this time, instead of standing away from the entrance, Jerry Jackson was actually opening the door to the polling place as voters entered. That is certainly beyond the pale. No one dressed in full military attire, who belongs to an organization that has suggested killing “Crackers and Jews,” should be opening the door at a polling place on Election day.
American’s should be concerned. There is ample evidence that the nation’s voter rolls are a mess and there seems to be a general unwillingness to do anything about the problem. In the 2012 election, no state was more important than Ohio, but regular requests for assistance dealing with the out of date voting rolls were ignored by the Justice Department. In September of 2012, the Columbus Dispatch in Ohio ran an article about Ohio’s severe problems with the voter rolls. The following disturbing facts were revealed:
“More than one out of every five registered Ohio voters is probably ineligible to vote.”
“In two counties, the number of registered voters actually exceeds the voting-age population: Northwestern Ohio’s Wood County shows 109 registered voters for every 100 eligible, while in Lawrence County along the Ohio River it’s a mere 104 registered per 100 eligible.”
“Another 31 counties show registrations at more than 90 percent of those eligible, a rate regarded as unrealistic by most voting experts. The national average is a little more than 70 percent.”
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted sent a letter to Attorney General Holder requesting an urgent meeting on the problem. He never received a reply and the Justice Department replied “No Comment” when asked if Holder would address the issue. Husted expressed his frustration with the Federal government’s lack of cooperation:
“As Ohio’s chief elections official, it is my responsibility to ensure the votes of every eligible voter are counted and ensure the integrity and accuracy of the results. This is a difficult task when federal regulations limit Ohio’s ability to remove ineligible names, thereby increasing the chance for voter fraud.”
While it is doubtful that voter fraud is the reason Obama won in 2012, there is evidence of the disenfranchisement of the military and America’s voting rolls are long overdue for a through cleaning. Mitt Romney managed to lose the election all on his own, but our soldiers are entitled to vote and citizen’s are entitled to know that dead people and ineligible voters are promptly removed from the rolls.
Every American deserves a fair election. Both sides need to work together to make sure it happens. The time has come for a bi-partisan effort to ensure the 2016 election is the cleanest election in American history. Citizens must bury the hatchet of divisive party politics, look ahead, and work together to protect the most sacred of our freedoms; the right to an honest election, in which every legal citizen is able to vote, and every vote is properly counted.