Trump’s Ballot-Counting Demand Would Disenfranchise Overseas Troops
Donald Trump, the commander in chief who thinks those who serve in the U.S. military are “suckers” and “losers,” is advocating for a policy that could ensure that the votes of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of service members who are overseas do not count.
Trump is demanding that all ballots be counted by election night, even though federal law permits states to count ballots from troops stationed outside the United States, diplomats and other Americans abroad days later, as long as they were sent no later than Election Day.
In Trump’s newly adopted home state of Florida, ballots for this election can be counted as late as Nov. 13. So, for example, his attempt to skew the counting in his favor could prevent service members deployed overseas from the Naval Air Station in Pensacola or from Southern Command headquarters in Doral from having their votes matter.
The president’s military voting suppression calls are being met with pushback from an organization of former military generals who have formed the group Count Every Hero. One of its leaders, retired Navy Adm. Jon Greenert, former chief of naval operations, said, “There is no question that active-duty troops and other overseas voters could make the difference in the 2020 election. It is crucial we count the votes from our service members and resist any calls to stop the count or declare a winner before these legal ballots have a chance to arrive.”
One reason the president may be looking to suppress the military vote is that support among service members for their commander in chief was found to be slipping. A poll by the Military Times in August found that a majority of military personnel strongly disapproved of his job performance and were planning to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden.
Just yesterday the Military Times tweeted that it’s not too late to request and send in an absentee ballot or even register to vote.
In 29 states and D.C., laws and rules allow election officials to count ballots that arrive after the polls close from military, their family members, and U.S. citizens overseas, according to an analysis conducted for the Count Every Hero campaign.https://t.co/djiHbLWSog pic.twitter.com/lYI53KwEd2
— Military Times (@MilitaryTimes) October 28, 2020
Fred Wellman, a former Army helicopter pilot who now works with The Lincoln Project, blasted Trump’s call to end the vote count early. “Trump simply never thinks of the military in his decisions. They just don’t matter to him. Thousands of ballots are inbound from around the world and if Trump gets his want they won’t even be counted at all. It’s un-American and yet another failure to act as a competent and decent commander in chief because they are simply props for his ego.”