Friday, April 3, 2009

Comment from a reader...

You are certainly on the right track and trying to do the right thing.
Our family has been concerned with this question for several years.
We are a very political family. Four years ago our, equally active and political, daughter married her high school sweetheart shortly after he enlisted in the Air Force.
Trying to do the right thing they both applied for absentee ballots for all elections.
Almost immediately problems started. The assistant to the County Clerk who handles early and absentee voting to me "I don't mail out military absentee ballots because so many of them do not come back." That is probably a confession of a Federal felony.
Thanks to our daughter, we have learned why most of those ballots, for stateside based personnel and their families, may not be returned. To mail one back requires almost $2.00 postage.
First, this may be a violation of civil rights laws that prohibit requiring a citizen to pay to vote.
Second, it is a lot of money and many people do not have extra postage lying around.
Third, it often is not possible for military personnel to get access to postage.
Example, yesterday (Oct. 4, 2008) our son-in-law (Staff Sergeant USAF) was sent for desert/combat training in some God forsaken spot in Kansas preparatory to his deployment to Afghanistan. BTW, his third deployment. First, Iraq; second, Kuwait. No postage handy there.
So, our family being good citizens, we decided to do a little something about this.
My wife passed the hat and collected funds from members of her Twin Lakes Republican Women's Club of Baxter County, Arkansas.
I wrote a letter and printed many copies. My wife got a list of stateside military and sent the letter, with postage to the entire list. We encouraged the men and women to use the postage to return their ballot.
This is but a band-aid on a large problem.
What we want to do is fix the problem. But, now, our problem is finding where to start. We do not know who to address. Is it the Department of Defense; Postal Service; Congress; President; who?
The current situation is not right or American. No one should be denied the opportunity to vote. Most especially our military personnel.
Frank G. Fusco (veteran USAF)
Mountain Home, Arkansas

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