Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has been playing the “vet card” on the campaign trail, claiming military men and women would prefer to have one of their own as president over someone who has “never served a day in the military.” Perry went even further and criticized Obama’s “decision” not to serve in the military, saying, “The president had the opportunity to serve his country. I’m sure at some time he made the decision that isn’t what he wanted to do.”
Yet some veterans are pointing out that Perry has not always been their ally. In fact, he actually signed legislation that disenfranchises many of them. The Voter ID law Perry signed in May prohibits veterans from using their ID card from the Department of Veterans Affairs to vote, even though it is a government-issued photo ID. As a result, veterans are showing up to the polls and being turned away:
Allen Vaught, an Iraq War Veteran, who was awarded a Purple Heart [said] “Iowans, and Americans at large should know, however, that Governor Perry put partisan politics above the rights of veterans by recently signing a Voter ID Law in Texas that prohibits veterans from using their Department of Veterans Affairs ID card to vote.”
Vaught added, “Governor Perry knows full well that a Veterans ID Card is a legitimate, government-issued ID. In some cases, it’s the only government ID a veteran has. Veterans fought to protect our democracy. Yet, Governor Perry’s ill-conceived voter ID law will ensure that some veterans don’t get to participate in the democracy they fought to preserve.”
Vaught went on to say that Perry’s “record doesn’t stand up to his blustery rhetoric.” In Iowa, Perry has said he’s running for president to “make sure that every young man and woman who puts on the uniform of this country respects highly the president of the United States.” Perry served in the Air Force from 1972 to 1977.
Perry designated Texas’ Voter ID bill an “emergency item” under his power as governor. Vet Voice points out that just last week, Ann McGeehan, director of the Texas Secretary of State’s elections division, affirmed that photo ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are not acceptable forms of ID under Perry’s new law.