A forwarded letter from David Foster:
From: “Foster, David”
Sent: Tue, October 20, 2009 5:09:58 PM
Subject: Judge Orders Virginia Board to Count Absentee Military Ballots
Many of you will remember that in last November’s election, Virginia
refused to count the absentee ballots of many active duty military
members because electoral boards failed to mail those ballots to them
in time for them to be returned by Election Day. I wrote to the State
Board of Elections and urged it to do the right thing by counting
those ballots, arguing that while the election might be over,
the votes of the brave men and women serving abroad should never be dismissed as “moot.”
I am happy to share with you that the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Virginia has just agreed. In an opinion issued
late last week, the Court ruled that Virginia’s failure to mail
absentee ballots to military voters in a timely fashion violated “a
fundamental political right,” which is guaranteed under federal law.
Rejecting the argument that the issue is “moot,” the Court ordered the
Board to count and certify the ballots in question and to ensure
compliance in future elections. A copy of the Court’s opinion is
Feel free to share this email with others who share our concern for
protecting the voting rights of America’s men and women in
And please remind your correspondents to do their own part to protect
our freedoms by exercising one of the most important this November
3rd. Please remind them to vote!
Last December, David Foster sent the following letter to Jean Cunningham the Chairman of the Virginia State Board of Elections.
ATTORNEY GENERAL 2009
December 17, 2008
Ms. Jean Cunningham
Chairman, Virginia State Board of Elections
200 N. 9th Street, Suite 101
Richmond, VA 23219-3497
Re: Our Military’s Voting Rights
Dear Ms. Cunningham and Members of the Board:
As a citizen, attorney, and candidate for Attorney General, I urge you to count the absentee ballots cast by our men and women in uniform in the recent election. To the vast majority of Virginians, it is inconceivable that those who defend our freedoms would be denied one of our fundamental freedoms, the right to vote.
As you know, the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 guarantees the right of active duty military members and other overseas citizens to cast absentee ballots in federal elections. In connection with the November 4th elections, hundreds of ballots from members of our military and others serving abroad were not counted because electoral boards failed to mail the ballots in time. In response to a complaint filed by the Department of Justice, the Board is refusing to count even those ballots that were filled out by election day.
This is shameful. No one does more than our brave men and women in uniform to protect our democratic process from its enemies abroad. Their right to vote should not be undermined by an enemy at home–whether that enemy be simple negligence or rank partisanship. These votes should be counted.
It is no answer to say, as the Board has in court, that the issue is “moot.” At least one important race, the election of a Congressman in the Fifth District, produced a razor-thin margin and is the subject of a recount. But beyond that, the votes of our military members serving abroad should never be deemed “moot.” Those who take the time to
obtain and fill out a ballot, often under difficult, dangerous conditions, deserve to have their votes acknowledged.
Likewise, it is no answer to say that those serving us abroad could have used a federal write-in ballot. When they make a timely request for an absentee ballot, our defenders should be able to rely upon the electoral boards to send those ballots promptly. Our military does its job exceedingly well. It is entitled to have those who protect its
voting rights do their job well.
There are far better uses of our tax dollars than waging a court battle against counting the votes cast by those who defend us. With all due respect to the Board, I urge it to terminate this litigation and simply do the right thing: count the ballots cast this November by our men and women in uniform.
David M. Foster