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GOP Voter Suppression, Veterans Edition

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"GOP Voter Suppression, Veterans Edition"

Mitt Romney is Attacking the Voting Rights of Veterans

Today is the day in 1965 — 47 years ago — that the Voting Rights Act went into effect. Instead of taking time out to celebrate today, we’re fending off more Republican attacks on voting rights.

As we speak, Mitt Romney and Republicans are attacking the voting rights of millions of Ohioans — including over 913,000 veterans.

Here’s the rundown.

Ohio’s GOP Voter Suppression Law

As in many other states taken over by Republicans after the 2010 election, Ohio Republicans almost immediately passed an onerous voter suppression law that curtailed voting and instituted a voter ID requirement. We know that both of these things disproportionately impact minorities, the poor, people who can’t get time off from work,  young people, seniors, and veterans.

Ohioans were not happy about this new law and more than 300,000 of them signed a petition to put it on hold pending a referendum this November (the same way Ohioans got rid of their state’s anti-union law last year). Republicans then preemptively repealed the law.

Unfortunately, Republicans used legislative gimmicks to keep one part of the law: a ban on in-person early voting from 6 p.m. Friday on the last Friday before the election through Election Day — a period during which 93,000 Ohioans voted in 2008. The only exception would be for active duty military, whose voting rights are protected by a special federal law.

Disenfranchising Veterans

President Obama’s campaign has sued to stop Mitt Romney and the Republicans from rolling back the voting rights of millions of Ohioans, including the state’s 913,000 veterans.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign outright lied over the weekend by claiming that the president was suing to take voting rights away from members of the military. The opposite is actually true. President Obama and progressives want everyone — including members of the military — to be able to vote early. Mitt Romney and Republicans want to take that right away from nearly everyone in Ohio, including nearly a million veterans.

Veterans Slam Mitt Romney

Veterans were not pleased that Mitt Romney chose to use them as a political prop in his attacks on the president, nor will they stand by while Mitt Romney is attacking the voting rights of those who fought for our country.

Jon Soltz, founder and chairman of VoteVets.org and an Iraq War veteran, explained why everyone should be able to vote early:

“Obviously with the narrative the Romney campaign is pushing, they probably don’t have a lot of people around them who have actually served,” Soltz said. “We also agree, like the president does, that someone who served in World World II in the Battle of the Bulge or someone who lost their legs in Vietnam has just as much of a right to vote as today’s veteran.”

And former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) , another Iraq War veteran, called out Romney for his lies:

“When it comes to Mitt Romney, I feel like he lives in bizarro world. He’s suppressing millions of votes across our country in this election, and then he lies and says that President Obama is trying to do the same thing, when it couldn’t be further from the truth.

“President Obama is trying to restore voting rights for all people in Ohio and all across the country. They just want to give them a fair shake and let their voices be heard. I was absolutely dumbfounded when I found out over the weekend what Mitt Romney is trying to pull. He’s trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes and trying to use our veterans as props to further his lies.”

IN ONE SENTENCE: Voting should be accessible to all Americans but politicians like Mitt Romney are so worried about their own self-interests that they are trying to deny citizens their fundamental right to vote – even going as far as supporting laws that take away voting rights from the veterans who fought for our freedom.

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