Allen B. West

After last night, here’s the one question NO ONE is asking…so I will

I know today most of the attention will be given towards the Matt Lauer-hosted “commander in chief” town hall event last night. I found it very interesting that Lauer pressured Donald J. Trump on his “relationship” with Vladimir Putin…yet asked nothing of Hillary Clinton about Huma Abedin.

And the only thing truly confirmed is that Hillary Clinton is indeed a liar and will say anything, well-scripted, in order to deceive her way into being president. I will confess, we have two individuals struggling to understand the complexities of the 21st century battlefield. However, one candidate can be surrounded with a solid advisory team; the other is not salvageable. You can’t teach someone integrity and character at such a late stage in life.

But, the point of this isn’t to discuss last night. Instead it’s this: we are sixty days away from the November 8th presidential election, and even sooner for early voting — with which I do not agree. I believe there should be voting on Election Day only or absentee balloting — national election days should be federal holidays in order to ensure folks have no excuse for not being able to get to a polling location. If not, they can request an absentee ballot.

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And what is this stuff in Colorado that they vote by mail? Jeepers, I can think of a billion ways that can get screwed up. And speaking about screwed up, is there anyone out there talking about military voting? I searched and found just one recent article about the process, and it’s not very reassuring. And y’all know we had some issues going back to 2012.

As reported by Public Integrity, “When Americans vote for president in November, many of the 1.4 million active-duty U.S. military personnel stationed or deployed overseas will not know whether their absentee ballots have reached their home states to be counted. And the federal Election Assistance Commission, charged with monitoring their votes, may not know either.

Under the Help America Vote Act, the ballots of military and overseas voters are supposed to be tallied by their home states and sent to the EAC, which reports them to Congress. But a News21 analysis of the EAC’s data found at least 1 in 8 jurisdictions reported receiving more ballots than they sent, counting more ballots than they received or rejecting more ballots than they received. Some jurisdictions blame the EAC for confusing forms on which they are supposed to record military and overseas participation numbers.

Paul Lux is supervisor of elections for Okaloosa County, Florida, home to Eglin Air Force Base and a large number of military voters. “It will ask me how many ballots were mailed to overseas voters and how many ballots were returned from overseas voters in various locations in the survey. That is fine, but how am I supposed to account for ballots that are sent to domestic addresses but are returned from overseas?” said Lux. “There are just too many potential anomalies in the way we have to provide service to these voters.”

Military and overseas voting can be a complicated process. Service members can file a Federal Post Card Application, which allows them to both register to vote and request an absentee ballot from their home state or county. If the service member doesn’t receive their ballot in time, they can use a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot as a backup. EAC Commissioner Thomas Hicks told News21 that some of the inconsistencies between ballots sent and ballots returned are likely the result of military voters printing out the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot and sending it back home. Since the ballots are not sent by local jurisdictions, they might be counted as ballots returned but not mailed out.”

Let me ask the obvious: why are we still having “inconsistencies” in the voting process for our deployed military service members? I recall having a hearing in the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel on the voting system. We asked these hard questions and were reassured the process would be scrutinized and improved. Yet, we had issues in 2012, and the EAC Commissioner still alludes to existing issues.

Now, having served, I kinda know how things are supposed to work on the military side. One of the additional duties for young officers is to be the unit Voting Assistance Officer — normally at the Company/Battery/Troop level, which is about 100-130 personnel. Their duty is to ensure they’re tracking the troops who must request absentee ballots, that they’ve been received, and have been mailed back. Now, my inquiry is, what is the system at the respective states, and county Supervisors of Elections (SOEs) to have a matching tracking system? When do these county SOEs obtain a printout of deployed troops who are registered to vote in their respective counties? There should be a timeline and execution matrix to ensure every deployed or overseas-stationed troop is afforded their right to vote.

So yesterday while we heard a speech about rebuilding our military and were presented a commander in chief forum, my question is simple: who is ensuring our military isn’t short-changed in the voting process? This should be an investigation that every news media outlet is conducting. Someone should be getting asked the question about military voting each week right up until November 8th.

The fact that we’re sixty days out from the presidential election and no one is pressing this issue is very disconcerting…so we are, and will continue to until the election is done. What we want to know if there are any stories in the field from our men and women in uniform about “anomalies” and “inconsistencies” they’re seeing in the voting process. We want to hear from the family members, and we beseech you to ask of your loved ones if anything isn’t going as it should.

Now, I know that y’all in the military are busy, and we thank you so very much for standing upon freedom’s rampart safeguarding our liberties. But, we want you to know that as you are committed to supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States, you follow the orders of the officers appointed over you, and the president. Here is your one way to make your voices heard. We who have gone before you and now retired will continue to be your voice, but by way of voting you can make the decision as to who becomes your commander in chief.

And this website will be dedicated to making sure that the processes and procedures are followed to the letter of the law. So we shall study and learn the timelines for military voting. We shall seek out media outlets that will do the hard business of interviewing respective secretaries of state and county SOEs. We want to know, are they tracking you, do they follow this process, is their data updated, and if not why? And let me be very clear, anyone seeking to suppress the electoral voice of our men and women in uniform is the most despicable from of human.

Sixty days, and we shall be tracking this!

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