The falsehood peddled by the Republicans regarding early-voting rights in Ohio is fundamentally the opposite of what’s actually happening.
It’s the Romney campaign, not the Obama campaign, that’s trying to restrict the voting rights of hundreds of thousands of military veterans in Ohio.
HERE‘s what Jon Soltz, a two-tour veteran of the war in Iraq and chairman of VoteVets.org says:
Mitt Romney, by supporting the Ohio law that would do away with three days of early voting for all but those covered under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (‘UOCAVA’), is supporting the restriction of voting rights for as many as 913,000 Ohio veterans. This includes military retirees with over 20 years of service and multiple deployments. In short, Mitt Romney supports efforts to make voting more difficult for the very people who have put their lives on the line after swearing an oath to uphold our Constitution and democracy.
Once you leave the military, you are no longer covered by UOCAVA. Your voting rights are the same as any civilian. That means the early voting law which Mitt Romney wants to undo, provided hundreds of thousands of Ohio veterans with more of an opportunity to vote. By all accounts, Ohio voters liked and used the early voting law. In 2008, nearly one-third of all ballots was cast under the early voting measures, surely many of them veterans.
Interestingly, the press reported that 15 military and veterans’ groups supported Romney’s position. That isn’t the case. Those groups actually petitioned the court to be involved in the case, because of their concerns that the end result, whatever it was, might hurt troops’ ability to vote. On Friday, the Obama Campaign actually signed a brief to the court that backed the petition of those groups – welcoming them into the case, because the Obama campaign says it wants to ensure that military voters aren’t kept from early voting.
UPDATE: Steve Benen frames the issue THUSLY:
Obama wants all eligible Ohio voters, including servicemen and women, to have the same ability to vote, which Romney says, in writing, means Obama is trying to “undermine” the troops’ ability to vote.
This is as loathsome a lie as Romney has told all year — and given his record, that’s not an easy threshold to meet.
It’s important to realize that this isn’t a matter of opinion. CNN’s headline over the weekend said, “Romney campaign jabs at Obama over voting rights suit.” The headline on the Politico homepage yesterday said, “Obama, Mitt camps spar on military voting.”
No. Wrong. No one is “jabbing” or “sparring.” One candidate lied and got caught. Full stop.
Indeed, when pressed, Romney’s spokesperson could point to “no place in Obama’s lawsuit that seeks to restrict the rights of military voters,” and Romney’s legal counsel failed to “offer evidence that Obama’s lawsuit would make it tougher for members of the military to vote.”
After the campaign’s dishonesty was exposed, Romney put a twist on his lie, saying Obama now opposes giving the troops special treatment. But even by Republican standards, this is insane — by this reasoning, Romney supports a policy that discriminates against military veterans in Ohio who would be legally prohibited from the same early-voting rights as active-duty servicemen and women.