OLSON MOVES TO PROTECT CITIZEN AND MILITARY VOTER RIGHTS
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) today announced that he will introduce legislation to protect citizen and military voting rights. Olson's bills will address two voter access issues that have come to light recently.
Recently, constituents contacted Olson when they did not receive voter registration cards on time. In March of 2012, between 18,000 and 25,000 voter registration cards (VRCs) mailed to voters in Pecan Grove and Cinco Ranch, Texas, were never delivered. The Fort Bend County Election Administration sent replacement cards, but the first batch of cards are still missing. Without proper procedures and penalties, the door is open to fraud, placing Americans' right to vote in jeopardy.
Investigations still have not determined who lost the VRCs or where they ended up. Olson's bill requires stricter policies for tracking official election material that goes through the postal system and increases penalties on those found guilty of voter fraud, including losing the right to vote in subsequent elections.
National news reports also reveal that jurisdictions in at least four other states - Vermont, Michigan, Mississippi and Wisconsin - failed to send absentee ballots to members of the military by the federally required September 22 deadline. States and/or military officials have not fully complied with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act by failing to send absentee ballots to overseas military members by the required deadline. To ensure that the ballots of those serving in the military are counted, Olson's bill would delay certification of election results at least one day for every day that absentee military ballots are mailed past the federal deadline.
"Voting is a sacred right for all Americans," Olson said. "The Postal Service and the states, which oversee federal elections, have a critical duty to ensure there is no opportunity for voter disenfranchisement. These bills tighten the rules surrounding voter registration cards and increase penalties for failure to comply with federal election laws. All Americans, and especially our military members defending our liberty, have the right to make their voices heard. Every vote must count."
Olson plans to formally introduce both bills when Congress reconvenes on November 13th.
Additional examples of voter fraud and military ballot missteps:
§ In August 2012, the Montgomery County Ohio Board of Elections opened an investigation of possible voter registration fraud, after receiving more than 100 “suspicious” registration cards from a single organization, many that appeared to have false or nonexistent addresses.
§ In April 2012, results of an ongoing Virginia State Police investigation of voter registration irregularities from the 2008 general election signaled a more significant voter fraud issue than some state lawmakers realized. A total of 194 cases statewide where police determined a violation likely occurred have been closed because the commonwealth's attorneys in those localities declined to prosecute those individuals, police said
§ On January 10, 2012, election workers in New Hampshire were caught on film giving out ballots in the names of dead voters at multiple voting precincts during the state’s primary election. Voters in the Granite State are not required to present identification to vote.