Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Republican Vote Suppression Goes On

I confidently reported a few week ago that the Veterans Administration had rescinded its policy against allowing voter registration drives in VA hospitals and care facilities.

Guess what? They were lying. The VA has a new policy: anyone trying to register voters has to be screened. Guess what? That screening won't be completed in time to get these veterans registered to vote. Because they might vote Democratic.

Alternet: VA Voter Suppression Continues
Despite a new policy, the Department of Veterans Affairs is still blocking voter registration efforts.

Just because victory is declared in Washington does not make it so.

One week ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced a new policy to allow voter registration drives on VA campuses, responding to pressure by lawmakers and the media that the VA was suppressing the vote of wounded former soldiers. That new policy was greeted with 'mission accomplished' press statements by members of Congress who have been pushing the VA to change its policy for several years.

But on Monday, as the Senate Rules and Administration Committee held a hearing in Washington on a bill to ensure veterans living at VA facilities could be helped with voter registration, a legal motion was being filed in federal court in California alleging the VA was still blocking efforts to register voters in time for the 2008 presidential election.

Following last week's announcement of VA's new voter registration policy, a VA facility in San Francisco blocked a non-profit group, Veterans for Peace, from registering voters, the legal motion said. The filing said the VA was seeking to require Veterans for Peace members to go through the process of screening VA volunteers, a process that would delay registration efforts. In contrast, the VA does not require screening for most other visitors.

"The VA has disenfranchised veterans and interfered with the freedom of political parties and nonpartisan groups to associate with their members and with other citizens who reside on VA campuses," the motion said. "This Court should prohibit further interference with voter registration at any VA campus for the imminent federal election."

Scott Rafferty, the Washington-based attorney who filed Monday's motion on behalf of a California labor organizer who in 2004 was blocked from registering voters on another VA facility in California, said there were political reasons behind the agency's refusal to register veterans.

“Veterans’ experience in war gives them a powerful voice," Rafferty said. "The VA wants to stop them from using their right to speak out and to vote. The VA knows that many veterans oppose the Administration’s conduct of the War, the overextension of the military, and its inadequate support for returning warriors.”

Despicable ratfuckers.

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