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VA Dashes GOTV, Nixing Registration Drives. Right Idea?

One might assume those who'd fought for their country would be an important and respected voting population. One might also assume that the Department of Veterans Affairs would be in favor making that happen, much easier. One would be el wrongo.

Voting rights groups are ganging up on the Department of Veterans Affairs for its decision to ban voting registration drives among the veterans living at federally run nursing homes, shelters for the homeless and rehabilitation centers across the country.

Though the voting drives make it easier for veterans to have a say in the process, the VA is pulling the plug, citing the Hatch Act — which bans federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity. It's the "federally run" part of the facilities causing the VA to be ballot-shy. A spokesman for the VA says they, “wanted to ensure that our staff remains focused on caring for our veterans instead of having to determine the political agenda of each group that might try to enter our facilities.”

The president of the League of Women Voters counters, “it just seems wrong to the league that the VA is erecting barriers to voter registration for our nation’s veterans. They appear to be using technicalities to block many veterans from registering to vote.”

Both Democrats and Republicans alike have criticized the ban. More than 100,000 people live for at least a month in one of these facilities every year. That's a lot of potential votes from a population who should be heard. Is the VA right? Would voting drives disrupt care and create a partisan atmosphere?


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