Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rubio-sponsored amendment to protect military voting rights passes unanimously

Senator Marco Rubio's office just sent out a press release, touting an amendment he co-sponsored with Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) to the NDAA bill that is designed to streamline the process for getting absentee ballots to military personnel deployed overseas. The amendment passed the Senate unanimously. 

This is the type of issue that should be a no-brainer: the men and women who are literally putting their lives on the line to protect our country should have their rights to vote protected as well. 

While I sit here cozy inside my house, enjoying freshly ground coffee, air conditioning, internet and cable, and all other the spoiled luxuries easily accessible to middle class Americans, there's a Marine stationed in the middle of the Iraqi desert, in some place I've never heard of, who hasn't showered for a month or seen his family for almost a year. I think that guy has earned the right to have his opinion heard about who should lead our country, who should run our government, who should be making the decisions that may be life-and-death for him.

There are an unacceptably high number of stories of military absentee ballots being mailed late, not delivered, delayed, misdirected, and so on. Considering the technology and resources we have at our disposal, I refuse to believe that protecting the voting rights of deployed military personnel is an impossible task. I applaud Senator Rubio's work on this amendment and hope that it is only one step out of many that will be taken to address this important issue.

Here is the press release from Rubio's office about the amendment:
Tuesday, December 4, 2012 

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed an amendment introduced by U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) and cosponsored by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (Fla.) to help ensure the effective and efficient delivery of absentee ballots for members of the military who are stationed around the world.  
The amendment, which was included in the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as a part of the manager’s package, calls on the Department of Defense (DOD) to partner with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to modernize the delivery of mail to overseas deployed military personnel. The goal of the amendment is to help correct problems with the delivery of absentee ballots through the establishment of a centralized mail forwarding system to ensure that blank ballots are properly redirected.  
“I am pleased that Congress has taken action to ensure that the absentee ballots of our men and women in uniform are shipped efficiently and handled with respect,” said Rubio. “It is imperative that those who defend us around the world have an efficient and dependable means of casting their ballots in local, state and national elections. I am confident that the establishment of a centralized mail forwarding system will allow us to properly direct absentee ballots so that they are received with ample time to be completed before an election.”  
“Our servicemen and women sacrifice every day to protect our freedom, and they deserve the basic assurance that their votes will count no matter where they are stationed,” said Blunt. “I’m pleased the Senate included my amendment as part of this bill so we can work to ensure that our men and women in uniform receive their absentee ballots in time to vote.”

Finally, Rubio will be receiving the 2012 Jack Kemp Leadership Award tonight. He will deliver remarks on middle class opportunity, "focus[ing] on the importance of fostering economic empowerment, offering real solutions to maintain and grow America’s vibrant middle class, and the central role education plays in the 21st century knowledge economy." You can watch live on C-SPAN at 7:00 pm ET or online at http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN/.

Follow me on Twitter at @rumpfshaker

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