Is the Fairfax County (VA) registrar suppressing the military vote?

There seems to be a problem with military absentee votes in Fairfax, Virginia. From A Soldier's Perspective:

The Fairfax County Registrar—and possibly other Registrars in Virginia—is rejecting most Federal Write-in Absentee Ballots (FWAB) cast by our men and women in uniform.

The FWAB is a federally mandated write-in ballot that allows military servicemembers and their dependents to cast an absentee ballot when they have not received a ballot before the election. It is a safety net that allows a servicemember to vote even if the mail truck hasn't reached his or her remote base in Iraq or Afghanistan in time to cast a regular absentee ballot.

I have talked to several people involved in this process. They are not in fact, yet, rejecting the absentee ballots. They have not been counted and are picking a procedure for doing it. And the current procedure would result in rejecting military absentees.

The basic idea is that if military voters do not get their absentee ballots in time, they can fill out a "Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot" that all election officials are required by federal law to accept. Virgina's instructions are here. The ballot is here.

The position of the Fairfax Registrar is that the sealed (outside) envelope has to be witnessed. The thing is that there is no location to witness, and the instructions are unclear.

Furthermore, this is in violation of the US law, which pre-empts in this case. ASP continues:

Federal law does not allow this type of disparate treatment of servicemembers. The Uniform and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (UOCAVA), 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff-2, requires states to process FWABs "in the manner provided by law for absentee ballots in the State involved." (emphasis added). In other words, the FWAB must be treated like any other absentee ballot under state law and may not be subject to more restrictive requirements. Yet that is precisely what is being done here.

No other kind of absentee ballots are required to be witnessed in Virginia. So the county registrar is improperly implementing federal law and "suppressing" the military vote.

Two final points:

First, I look forward to the squealing from the lefty groups. Somehow, I predict silence.

Second, there was a solution to these problems proposed earlier. Rep. Kevin McCarthy introduced HR 5673 to expedite the delivery of military absentee ballots. The unions opposed. Here was the operative bit, where they complain about the private sector:

NAPUS is deeply concerned about HR 5673, particularly the provision that sanctions private contractor conveyance of overseas and military ballots.

When the unions opposed the measure, all actions stopped in the House. Nancy Pelosi and Chairman Robert Brady (also chairman of that pristine Philadelphia Democratic Party, whose Secretary has been convicted multiple times of violating election laws) didn't seem to care about preserving voting rights. Somehow, putting unions ahead of voting rights will be a pattern in the Democratic House.


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perfect example

Events like this just illustrate how outdated voting laws and standards are. When turnout was low, and people only had one address, and everybody had ID, etc, everything was so easy. The inability of the government to address this problem is frightening, even more so because it gives so much more weight to the voices of special interests.

What is needed is a practical solution for high turnout in the 21st century, rather than each party complaining about the other party, while only making small modifications to already outdated laws.

NC has the best voting practices in my opinion, of all 3 places I have lived (NJ and PA). You can vote early for 2 weeks, and register during the early voting period as long as you have a drivers license and utility bill to prove your address. No excuses needed for an absentee ballot. And the electronic machines are easy to use and you have the opportunity to check your votes at the end.

Completely agree except for one point

I don't like the idea of utilitiy bills as proof of anything. Tremendously easy to fake. And many people live in a household where all the bills are in someone else's name.

Unfortunately, I don't a constructive solution.


here's a squeal...

...from one left winger. This seems completely inappropriate.  Are the folks running the Fairfax Registrar Democrats?  Did they explain their motives for the apparent double standard to you when you spoke to them?  I'd like to hear more of the details.

Possible Motive

Could the motive be ignorance?

I suspect media coverage will solve this problem.  There is no way Tim Kaine or his GOP Lt Gov is going to let this continue.  Political suicide.

This is probably a case of ignorance or incompetence, nothing more.

I served 6 years active and voted one absentee ballot (NC, IIRC).  I'm sure mine was counted.

"They are not in fact, yet, rejecting the absentee ballots. They have not been counted and are picking a procedure for doing it. And the current procedure would result in rejecting military absentees."

That was a great line in this post.  Really made me read the whole thing with respect.  Keep up the good work.


I agree with the readers. The

I agree with the readers. The election are somehow outdated. But at the same time I think it is not disastrous. Recently I've read a book about the elections in different countries (found it at the book search engine ). In fact it tells about the possible violations during the elections. I was astonished how much schemes exist in order to win. Here we have the situation when the procedure is a little bit complex, but still a person has a chance to vote. I believe it is not very serious but very inconvenient. I hope in the nearest future it will change.