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Saturday, November 10, 2012

At least we let our soldiers vote in Israel

There's a lot not to like about Israeli democracy. I would list two main items: The fact that you vote for a party and not for a person for the Knesset, and the manner in which the Supreme Court Justices are chosen.

Israel doesn't have absentee ballots. It's something that's been discussed a lot, but so far it hasn't happened. I believe that's just as well, because there are way too many Israelis who live outside of Israel who could have too much influence in life or death decisions. But at least we make sure that our soldiers (and anyone else who is outside Israel in government service) get to vote.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our big brothers in the United States. Many, many US servicemen did not get to vote in last week's election, and substantial numbers of them would have voted for Mitt Romney. Coincidence?
According to the Naval Enlisted Reserve Association, scores of military absentee ballots cast in the 2012 Election will not be counted. U.S. Military personnel and their families are outraged: “Where the hell is this country’s moral compass?!” stated the mother of a 25 year old Marine who served in Afghanistan.
The military mail service is notoriously slow, and lawmakers have said that it could be almost two months after the election before ballots even arrive to be processed.
“We write to express concerns over another serious failure by the Department of Defense to safeguard the voting rights of our overseas military service members, which we believe could result in the imminent disenfranchisement of thousands,” stated a letter sent to Defense Department Secretary Leon Panetta by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., John McCain, R-Ariz., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla..
Add to that the incident on October 19th, just two and a half weeks before the November 6th elections, when a transport plane crashed at Shindad Air Base, destroying almost 5,000 pounds of mail – including absentee ballots being sent to U.S. military serving in Afghanistan. Election officials recommended resending the ballots – just two and a half weeks before the elections (bears repeating).
How come the only Representatives and  Senators who cared enough to write a letter about this were Republicans? Coincidence?

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