Wednesday, August 22, 2012

War Heroes Denied Right to Vote in Ohio

The Republican-controlled legislature in Ohio decreed that only ACTIVE military personnel or their families could cast in-person votes on the final Saturday-Monday before the November elections...but many African-American war heroes and retired or disabled military veterans can not.

The GOP is supporting the restriction of voting rights that include many of the 913,000 Ohio veterans. An estimated 200,000 of them served during the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan wars alone. Ohio also has one of the highest unemployment rates for our military veterans.

Frank Buckles

Frank Buckles, who was the last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, died at his home in Charles Town, Virginia last year. He was 110 years old. If he had lived another year and resided in the State of Ohio, he would not have been allowed to vote early on week-ends.

Brew Graham

Congressional Medal of Honor Brew Graham, 97, was one of the first Black pilots who fought in WWII and is the oldest living Tuskegee airman. But he wouldn't be able to vote on week-ends in Ohio because he is no longer ACTIVE military personnel.

Charlie Rangel

U.S. Congressman Charlie Rangel was awarded a Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and three battle stars for his brave service in the Korean War...he wouldn't be allowed to vote on week-ends in Ohio because he is no longer ACTIVE military personnel.

John Kerry

Senator John Kerry received three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and a Silver Star for his service in the Vietnam War...and he wouldn't be able to vote on week-ends in Ohio either.

Bradley Manning

Before being arrested after the WikiLeaks scandal, Private Bradley Manning WOULD have been able to vote on week-ends in Ohio (because he was ACTIVE military personnel).

Why do Ohio Republicans suddenly feel so strongly about limiting early voting hours in Democratic counties? GOP Chair Doug Preisse gave a surprisingly blunt answer to the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday:

“I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read
African-American—voter-turnout machine.”

Many Americans who fought in wars for this country, will not be able to exercise their most basic Constitutional right in the great State of Ohio....the right to vote.

Disabled vets who are homeless in Ohio will be denied the right to vote because they are no longer ACTIVE in the U.S. military.

Sean Gittens

Army Sergeant First Class Sean Gittens served in the army for 20 years and was deployed three times - first during Desert Storm. The last time he volunteered to go back to Iraq he was left paralyzed as a result of an IED injury.

Besides Ohio, voter suppression laws are being passed in many other states as well. Last year Republicans controlled both chambers in 26 state legislatures, and 21 of those states also have GOP governors. Unlike past reforms that sought to expand access to voting, a massive effort has been underway to restrict voting in the upcoming elections purely for partisan gain.

How many war heroes, in Ohio and across the nation, who fought and risked their lives for democracy and the right to vote, are now being denied that right?

And I suspect that many of the Republicans who wrote and voted for those voter suppression laws are draft dodgers.

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