In doing so, the President upheld a scenario in which thousands of military members – actively defending their country – would be disenfranchised by their legitimate vote.
In every election, a lot of votes come late – legally – from Americans abroad or living outside of their state of residence, including a significant number of absent voters who are members. serve and their families.
The army has voted absent for two centuries – since the War of 1812 – and this activity was expanded during the Civil War. Military votes have been included in certified ballots in local, state and presidential elections. There is nothing unfair about them.
“We are not asking for any special privileges here,”; retired Army Chief of Staff General George Casey told CNN.
“We just said that we think it is important that every vote is counted and especially the men and women who serve this country. They have done a lot for us and they deserve it. to know their voices are heard. “
Casey voted absent from Iraq during the 2004 presidential election and recalls casting absentee voting many times while stationed away from Virginia, his home state. He is now one of many retired military leaders to speak out in support of Count All Heroes, a bipartisan initiative aimed at ensuring the military’s votes are verified.
How military voting works
Often service members spend time and money addressing barriers that their civilian counterparts are often overlooked to ensure their votes are counted.
Sarah Streyder, founder of the Army Election Coalition, a non-profit backed by leading veterans and military organizations, works with service members and their spouses to ensure tell them they can vote.
“It’s a complicated application and application process. I know people who pay up to $ 50 overnight on a provisional ballot because their official ballot never gets to them in time. “
Streyder gave many examples: a military spouse who lives in Texas, where her husband is stationed, but votes in her home state of Pennsylvania; spouse live in Japan but vote in Oklahoma, Texas, Florida and Georgia.
“It demoralized,” she said of the President’s attack on the legitimate ballots that came after Election Day.
Military families often move to new conscription stations every few years, even overseas. As of 9/11, service members are more likely to deploy, often repeating, and they’ve voted by millions from war zones, overseas posts, and state where they temporarily reside.
In Georgia, service members who are serving away from home, both in the US and abroad, must arrive until the end of a business Friday to receive their ballot, provided they are postmarked on or before Date Vote.
In Nevada, postmarked ballots can be received before Election Day no later than November 10.
Some states enforce ballot deadlines but do not require postmarking, due to differences in the way domestic and foreign mail is handled, especially for military facilities or in war zones. match.
Pennsylvania and North Carolina are two examples.
In Pennsylvania, these absentee ballots must be signed the night before election day and received by November 10. No postmark is required. In North Carolina, where some of the most frequently deployed Army forces are stationed in the country, that deadline is even later: November 12 without postmark.
The ‘missing’ ballots in Georgia
Trump also hinted, without evidence, that the military votes are “missing” in Georgia, implying that the votes would scale in his favor.
“Where are the missing Georgia military votes? What happened to them?” The president tweeted on Friday.
He appears to be referring to the 8,410 absentee ballots that have been requested in Georgia and sent to service members and their families and to external voters – but have not been received by the state.
There is nothing to indicate these votes are missing. The State of Georgia will count these ballots, as long as they approach Friday’s business day, just as those 18,008 military and foreign votes have been received and counted within the state.
“It will be greater than zero and less than 8,410,” said Gabriel Sterling, director of the implementation of the voting system for Georgia’s Secretary of State, on Friday afternoon.
Some ballots may still be in transit. Many of them have been requested but never chosen, which is not uncommon.
In 2016, election offices nationwide sent 950,836 absentee ballots to military and external voters but received only 623,577 of them, according to the Federal Election Assistance Program.
Three percent of the votes received were rejected, mainly because they didn’t arrive on time. Those who are not returned are presumed to have been requested but not selected.
Military support for Trump
There is also a question as to whether the military vote and their families will benefit Trump, as the President has suggested. That assumption may not come true.
Traditionally, the military’s votes have been in favor of the conservatives, but the military is increasingly not a bloc politically.
“In 2000, the Republicans really fought hard to get the military votes counted in the presidential election,” said Tara Copp, McClatchy’s national army correspondent and veteran. There., on CNN Right Now. “But you have a whole new generation of service members witnessing 20 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq and their political beliefs everywhere.”
Out of 2020, supporters are concerned about the long-term impact of Trump’s comments on the beliefs that service members and their families have for the absent voting process, many of whom use.
Sarah Streyder told CNN: “I spend every day fighting a tough battle to convince my military friends that voting is worthy because there is a dangerous myth that these Absent military votes do not count because people are accustomed to the results announcement prior to their vote arrival, “even though the military’s absentee ballot is ultimately reflected in the certified ballot.
“The current [military families] She will feel a lack of confidence that their votes will be counted and important because they are significantly vandalized, “she said.
This story has been updated with the comment of the retired Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey.
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