There’s an old saying in politics that elections are won or lost one vote at a time.
On Friday, DFL-endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken demonstrated how true that saying can be, when a roundtable on veterans issues at Brigitte’s Cafe his campaign scheduled drew only one participant.
Gosh, even Bush can get more people than that!
Josh John, a St. Cloud resident who said he served in the Navy from 2000-04, had Franken to himself for an hour as he described difficulties he faced returning from his tour of duty and the help he received from his Veterans Services Office and the St. Cloud VA Medical Center.
“When I first asked for help at the VA, I got kind of a bad attitude from one person, so I ended up leaving and not registering,” he said.
“A year later, the stress was getting to me. I started secluding myself from my family, not wanting to do anything,” he said.
“My mom and my aunt eventually got me to talk with my county VSO. He got me registered with the VA and since then, I haven’t had a problem. I’ve gotten a lot of help, and every question I’ve gotten answered,” John said.
Don’t let one bad apple keep you from getting the services you need and deserve. Keep fighting! As for Al Franken, go back to comedy. It’s something you were better at.
Although roughly 6 million U.S. citizens are eligible to vote oversees using absentee ballots — many of whom are serving in the military — only a fraction of their ballots are being counted.
The bipartisan Election Assistance Commission found that of the nearly 1 million absentee ballots sent out for the 2006 election, only 300,000 actually were counted. Some estimate the low return of absentee ballots meant 400,000 service members’ votes overseas weren’t counted.
The problem seems to be the mail. It takes 18 days for the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail to Iraq and 18 days for it to be returned.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has introduced legislation that would allow absentee ballots to be sent via Federal Express to those serving in the military, although there reportedly is resistance from the postal union.
“It should be a national scandal that, here, our men and women in uniform who are protecting our freedom who are exposing themselves to harm are being denied the most basic civil right, and that is the right to vote,” Cornyn said.
Cornyn has 29 co-sponsors to his Military Voting Protection Act, all of them Republican.
I don’t know if Fed-Ex is the best solution, but something needs to be done. But what I find interesting is that it appears that only Republicans are interested in having your vote count. So much for Al Gore and his party wanting ‘all the votes to be counted’.