Steven Rosenfeld says that some wounded veterans may not be able to vote as a result of being confined to Veterans Affairs facilities during their recovery:
"VA remains opposed to becoming a voter registration agency pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act, as this designation would divert substantial resources from our primary mission," [Secretary of Veterans Affairs James B.] Peake said in an April 8 letter to Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and John Kerry, D-Mass.
Peake’s letter was the latest response to a year-old request by Kerry and Feinstein to give veterans using VA facilities the opportunity to register to vote, just as people who apply for a driver’s license are given that chance at state motor vehicle agencies. Veterans who have not previously registered, as well as registered voters who move, must reregister with new addresses in order to vote. By not helping the injured veterans to do so, it is likely that former soldiers seeking care at VA facilities will lose their right to vote in 2008.
"Substantial resources?" Believe me, if the underachievers at the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles can register people to vote it’s not too hard.
At the risk of appearing to go soft on liberals like the aforementioned Democratic Senators, their response to Peake’s insipid missive is right on the money:
"The Department of Veterans Affairs should provide voter materials to veterans," Feinstein said. "I believe the cost of providing these voter materials is minimal. It’s a small price to pay for the sacrifice these men and women have made in fighting for our nation’s freedom. I am disappointed."
"You’d think that when so many people give speeches about keeping faith with our veterans, the least the government would do is protect their right to vote, after they volunteered to go thousands of miles from home to fight and give that right to others," Kerry said. "And yet we’ve seen the government itself block veterans from registering to vote in VA facilities, without any legal basis or rational explanation."
Where’s the common sense in the VA’s position? Like so much about government, there doesn’t seem to be any.
"During a time of war, our nation has a special and sacred duty to assist our fellow citizens who have defended our Constitution with their lives — our military veterans — with registering to vote and with voting," said Paul Sullivan, Veterans for Common Sense executive director. "We encourage VA to allow nonpartisan voter registration drives at VA facilities so that as many veterans as possible can actively participate in our democracy — we owe our veterans no less for standing between a bullet and our Constitution."