Soldiers Disenfranchised by their Service?

Update 11/5: New York allows absentee ballets to be sent TODAY ONLY. http://www.elections.ny.gov/CountyBoards.html 

All absentee ballot applications must be made in person at your county board of elections by Monday, November 5th.

The State Board of Elections has approved an extension of the deadline for absentee ballots to be received and counted from 7 days after Election Day to 13 days after Election Day. Ballots must still be postmarked no later than Monday, November 5th, however they now have until November 19th to arrive at the local Board of Elections.

Get word to your soldiers in the area! Let them know! The access to news and information is limited so share the updated word via Twitter and Facebook to help get the message out there. 

Update 11/4: The focus is on NY now…Let Gov Cuomo know our the votes of soldiers called up for Sandy should count–like in Alabama and NJ. Please everyone, fill out this contact form and call on Monday morning–thank you! On Twitter, let @NYGovCuomo  know you want troops’ votes to count! Contact: http://ow.ly/1N8zEn or 518-474-8390 #TroopVote #SOT

11/3 11:25 PM: According to a 10:19 PM tweet from NJ Governor Christie, residents will be able to vote via fax or e-mail:

Governor Christie Governor ChristieVerified ‏@GovChristie

E-mail and fax voting will be available to New Jerseyans displaced by Hurricane #Sandy. For more information call 1-877-NJVOTER.

Please help so our NY servicemembers and soldiers in other affected states can vote, too!

UPDATE 11/3 8pm: Please use #troopvote and #SOT to spread the word on Twitter. You can also tweet @NYGovCuomo @GovChristie to let them know that you want our soldiers’ votes to be counted! I plan to call the governor’s office on Monday morning and hope you will, as well. Thank you Angela and Adrianna for helping to get the word out!

Most soldiers know they can vote using an absentee ballot. However, many of our National Guard and Reserve soldiers did not expect to be called up due to Hurricane Sandy.  Alabama has extended the application for an absentee ballot application to November 5 for military servicemembers deployed in response to Hurricane Sandy.

New York also extended the deadline but only to November 2 on November 1 and did not publicize this information. I haven’t found any information for New Jersey. For soldiers like my husband who were called up on November 2, or for those who have been fighting the flood waters and keeping peace in the shelters since October 29, this is not enough to prevent them from effectively being disenfranchised by their service.

There has been a lot of discussion about using National Guard and Reserve troops to ensure that civilians can vote. Isn’t it the least we can do to make sure these men and women, who sacrifice their safety and comfort for our own, are able to exercise their basic right to vote?

Please write your state board of elections and your governor and ask that they follow Alabama’s example and make sure that all soldiers have an opportunity to vote.

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6 comments

  1. Angela says:

    Such an important issue! I know this wasn’t on purpose, but it is sad to think of people being unable to vote because they are serving victims who are in such need. I hope states respond quickly to make this right!

  2. Adrianna says:

    I think it’s time to round up the social media troops and amplify this message. Unintended consequence of activation…but it needs remedying FAST!

  3. Candace says:

    Thank you for helping to bring attention to this issue! I am really concerned since they basically have one day (Monday, November 5) to remedy this. Alabama acted quickly and New York did a little–but I think it was too little and not well publicized. What they need to do is get to the bases where these soldiers are stationed and pass out registration forms and line them up so they can fax or whatever else is necessary.

  4. Amiyrah says:

    Thank you for writing about this. Unfortunately here in NJ, our governor has already said that anything having to do with the election will have to be put on the back burner, including getting people to the polls. He cares even less about getting our troops to the polls. He wants us out taking care of clean up and relief, and that’s all. Yes, I’m a New Jersey Guardsman.

    I’ve passed on the link to this post to my higher-ups, but everyone is so busy that I think this will just be bypassed.

  5. Candace says:

    Amiyrah — thank you for your service. You and our other soldiers deserve better than this. It is really sad–you and our other soldiers throughout history have fought (and some have died) for this liberty. As important as relief efforts are, so are our basic democratic right. We aren’t fighting just for security…we are fighting for democracy. I read an article quoting New York Rep. Charlie Rangel as saying, “There’s no reason except despondency and lack of enthusiasm in terms of people who want to vote not to vote.” That’s insulting. There are people underwater and soldiers trying to help them–that’s hardly “lack of enthusiasm”. They need to hear that our soldiers want to vote.

  6. [...] Candace L., blogger at Army Wives’ Lives shared a disturbing post about the possibility that the troops activated to … [...]

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