04. August 2004 · Comments Off on Time Extension Needed for Military Absentee Ballots? · Categories: Military, Politics

In yet another amazing coincidence, CNN ran a story today about overseas military absentee ballots and how a repeat of 2000 could occur again this year. The situation is made worse by the fact that thousands more people are deployed this time around, many of them to remote and inhospitable regions.

What’s most interesting about the article is that it appears to dispute my assertation that perceptions of heavy Republican voting by military members leads to Democrats applying strict interpretations of the law when counting military votes, and Republicans allowing improper ballots to go through as a means of maximizing their respective advantages.

Thousands of votes from U.S. troops overseas could go uncounted again in November without emergency legislation extending deadlines for the ballots, a Chicago election official warned President Bush in a letter Tuesday.

Nearly 30 percent of military voters who requested ballots in 2000 didn’t get them in time to vote. Theresa M. Petrone, a Democratic member of Chicago’s three-person Board of Election Commissioners, told Bush the problem could be solved if he proposed emergency legislation giving election officials up to 14 days after Election Day to collect and count ballots.

Note that this is a Democrat pushing the deadline extension– in Chicago, of all places.

White House spokesman Ken Lisaius declined to comment, saying he hadn’t seen the letter. Congressional leaders have opposed amending the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and such emergency legislation is unlikely before November.

Now note that “Congressional leaders”, who I assume to be Republicans, as they currently hold a majority in both Houses, are opposed to amending the act that would allow for an extension.

Is this a sign that perceptions are changing? Politics is an odd game with irrational actors, but you can get a grip on how people will behave if you know what their perceptions are, since politics is basically the creation and manipulation of perception for personal advantage. This story may be a sign that a perception exists among both Parties that the overseas absentee vote may not break heavily towards the Republicans in this election, and could in fact help the Democrats. Whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter. Politics isn’t about truth, it’s about perception.

I find this story odd, because I can’t imagine a Democrat pushing for something that would be disadvantageous to the Party, and the Republicans then resisting an amendment that would benefit them, especially in an election where the military overseas absentee vote stands a chance of deciding the Presidency.

Or it could be that Theresa M. Petrone is a good person who actually gives a shit. It’s been known to happen, even in politics.

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