In its latest tale about how President Obama is out to attack all that is good and right about America, Fox News yesterday alleged that the Justice Department is now purposely disenfranchising America’s troops, too.
The charges come originally from Sen. John Cornyn, courtesy of Fox resident ginner-upper J. Christian Adams — the same Adams who’s pushing allegations of racial favoritism against the DOJ.
Their story is that the DOJ is intentionally trying to undermine a new law meant to protect the voting rights of troops overseas. The law, called the MOVE Act, requires states to send blank absentee ballots to soldiers at least 45 days before the election, so there’s enough time for them to receive the ballots, fill them out and send them back.
But states can apply for waivers if, say, their primary falls too close to the general election or if that law conflicts with their constitution.
Here’s where the feds are supposedly trying to undermine the law. The DOJ, according to Cornyn et al, is going out of its way to help states apply for the waivers that they need to avoid breaking laws or sending out incorrect ballots.
Why do they think this? Because a DOJ official in January told a gathering of secretaries of state that she felt the law was not completely clear.
From the meeting minutes:
She added that it is important to know what questions that states have about waivers. She also acknowledged that the first round of waiver requests will be somewhat of an open question as to what type of information is needed from the states in order to evaluate them under the fairly general standards in the law. […] She invited questions and dialogue from states, and said that litigation is always the last resort.
Cornyn wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder based on those statements by the official, voting section deputy chief Rebecca Wertz.
“If these are the positions of the DOJ, then they fly in the face of the clear statutory language, undermine the provisions in question, and jeopardize the voting rights of our men and women in uniform,” Cornyn wrote.
Adams (along with former DOJ-er Eric Eversole, who had argued that military votes were ignored in the Franken v. Coleman debacle) jumped on board.
“I do know that they have adopted positions or attempted to adopt positions to waivers that prove they aren’t interested in aggressively enforcing the law,” he told Fox. “They shouldn’t be going to meeting with state election officials and telling them they don’t like to litigate cases and telling them that the waiver requirements are ambiguous.”
Cornyn, who sponsored the MOVE Act with Sen. Chuck Schumer, argued that the law is perfectly clear and there is no room for misinterpretation.
But several states have asked for clarification. In May, Bob Carey, the director of the Federal Voting Assistance Program, noted that “a number of states have asked for guidance beyond the statutory language.” Carey said detailed guidelines for the states would be forthcoming.
And the waivers are, of course, subject to the states detailing how they will still get ballots to and back from their troops in time.
In summation: By the logic of Cornyn, Fox News and Adams, the DOJ is trying to undermine the voting rights of overseas troops by helping states figure out how to legally comply with the law.