Shame, shame on Sam Reed. Washington’s secretary of state obviously despises the voting rights of our men and women in uniform.
Sure, he’s long championed an earlier primary election, pretending he wants to help counties get ballots to military voters stationed overseas. And yes, he did help persuade the Legislature to move the primary to August a few years back.
What a sham. Reed’s pitch for an even earlier primary – which would give counties yet more time – is probably all about wanting to take summers off.
As for when Reed sent a team of elections officials to the Yakima Training Center in the middle of July to ensure that members of the National Guard’s 81st Brigade Combat Team were properly registered before deploying to Iraq?
Clearly, some sort of twisted discipline for problem employees. C’mon: Have you visited the scrublands in July?
And what about Reed’s argument that his office goes out of its way to help overseas voters – automatically mailing them ballots and also faxing or emailing them when requested?
What? No option for carrier pigeon?
Obviously, Sam Reed is no friend of the troops. Neither apparently is the Department of Defense, which granted Reed’s unconscionable request to let counties finish counting primary votes before sending general-election ballots to the printer. Good thing the state Republican Party and Fox News are calling Reed on this farce. Someone’s got to look out for the troops. There’s a reason Congress mandated mailing military and overseas ballots 45 days before the Nov. 2 election: So far-flung voters can get their ballots back in time to be counted.
In the past two elections, a scant 99 percent of the overseas ballots returned by overseas voters were received in time for Washington elections officials to tally them. How did that pathetic performance win Pentagon’s endorsement? We can only surmise that the military was hoodwinked by Washington’s liberal mail ballot deadlines.
Unlike other states, Washington doesn’t require overseas voters to have their ballots to county offices by Election Day. They must only sign them by then. As long as the ballot is in election officials’ hands before the election is certified three weeks later, it gets counted.
That means soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen don’t have to make their picks hoping that no revelations break in the final two weeks of the race.
Outrageous. Reed must be behind that injustice, too.