The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Veterans But Not Voters


Kufeldt is the vice-president of Veterans for Peace. She said today:
"More than 100,000 people reside for a month or longer at Department of
Veterans Affairs facilities nationally. Instead of working hard to
enable veterans to register to vote, the VA is obstructing nonpartisan
groups who are working to register these people. Even though the VA has
claimed to have reversed its policies blocking access, we are still
being given the runaround and not being allowed access. They keep
putting bureaucratic roadblocks in our way. There are very few weeks
left to register voters and all this obstruction is costing time."

Kufeldt added: "On September 12, me and other members of the local
Veterans for Peace chapter inquired with the VA if we could register
voters at a San Francisco VA facility. We were not allowed access and
were told we could do so only after a process that could take two
weeks. We are filing an emergency motion to enforce a court mandate
that would allow groups access to the facilities for the purpose of
registering voters."
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Sullivan is the executive director of Veterans for Common Sense. He
said today: "When a veteran moves into a VA facility, the veteran's old
registration becomes invalid. The veteran must re-register before he or
she can vote again. On May 5, 2008, VA issued a ban on nonpartisan
voter registration drives at VA facilities. On September 8, VA lifted
the ban after Congress and veterans expressed their outrage at this
injustice. VA now says it will allow voting assistance for the
estimated 100,000 veterans who can no longer vote since they moved into
VA facilities. While we are pleased that VA has changed course, we are
not confident that they will follow through, because they have taken no
action to date."

Sullivan added: "The clock is running out. Veterans for Common
Sense urges all citizens to vote, and we urge VA to make a strong
effort to provide voter registration and voting assistance to as many
veterans as possible. Every VA facility should have already contacted
state and local voting officials for assistance. And if volunteers are
needed to sign up veterans in VA nursing homes, then VA should have
already contacted reputable nonpartisan charities such as the League of
Women Voters."
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Wilson is the president of League of Women Voters. The League of Women
Voters issued the following statement: "The Department of Veterans
Affairs' latest directive, which modifies its misguided policy barring
voter registration activities in VA facilities, is not enough. ...
First, the directive imposes no affirmative obligation on VA facilities
and agencies to register veterans. ... Second, the VA's directive makes
voter registration services available only to patients residing in VA
facilities, and not to veterans availing themselves of VA services on
an out-patient basis or otherwise obtaining services from the VA. ...
Third, under the VA's directive it is unclear whether and to what
extent outside groups -- which are responsible for millions of voter
registrations every election -- will actually be permitted to conduct
voter registration activities. ... Finally, the VA's directive will not
guarantee prompt services so veterans are able to register and vote
this November."
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A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.