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Home > News > Voter Registration Drives at Veteran's Facilities

July 16, 2008
Contact: Don Cookson

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap Supports Effort to Allow Voter Registration Drives at Veteran’s Facilities

Ban on voter registration drives “a foolish policy”

Augusta- Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, joining several of his colleagues from around the country, is calling upon the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to allow non-partisan voter registration drives at veterans’ homes, hospitals, and other veteran facilities. “No one is more deserving of every conceivable opportunity to vote than our nation’s veterans,” Dunlap said, continuing, “these brave men and women, who have provided an invaluable service to our country, should not have limits imposed upon them as to how and when they may participate in our electoral process. I am hopeful the Department of Veterans Affairs will be quick to reverse their seriously flawed policy.”

On May 5, the VA adopted a ban on non-partisan voter registration drives at all VA facilities nationwide, citing efforts to “avoid disruptions” in the day-to-day operations of those facilities.  “To call a voter registration drive a ‘disruption’ is patently absurd,” Dunlap said, noting that “any effort to engage and assist America’s veterans in exercising their right to vote should be embraced, not oppressed.”

A nationwide effort to overturn the newly enacted VA policy is being spearheaded by Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, a Democrat, and Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican. In addition to Dunlap, Secretaries of State from Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont have also joined the opposition to the VA’s restrictive new policy. A number of U.S. Senators are also calling for this objectionable directive to be abolished.

“The VA says they want to assist veterans in exercising their right to vote. If that’s true, they have no excuse for instituting such a discriminatory policy, which will limit a veteran’s opportunity to cast a ballot. The VA needs to do what’s right for our veterans, and rescind this flawed and potentially illegal ban on voter registration efforts.”