Fox News alleged that the Obama administration may be behind a decrease in absentee ballots requests among service members, and raised questions as to whether the White House was “trying to disenfranchise the military.” In fact, the Military Voter Protection Project, Fox's source for this information, has stated that the decline was not precipitated by partisan politics.
Fox: Is The Administration “Trying To Disenfranchise The Military?”
Fox's Steve Doocy: “Some Are Saying, Well, Are They Trying To Disenfranchise The Military? We Don't Know.” On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy asked if the administration was trying to “disenfranchise the military”:
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): The MOVE Act of 2009 was supposed to help the people in the military be able to request these kind of things, but apparently, you know, it's just not working out for them. And some are saying, well, are they trying to disenfranchise the military? We don't know. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/1/12]
Fox Caption: “Is Politics At Play With Troop Turnout?” During a discussion of military voting on Fox & Friends, on-screen text stated “Disenfranchised Voters: Is Politics At Play With Troop Turnout?”
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/1/12]
Other Right-Wing Media Outlets Also Highlighted Report On Decrease In Military Absentee Ballot Requests. The Drudge Report and Fox Nation both linked to a Military Voter Protection Project blog post reporting that there had been a decrease in absentee ballot requests by military voters in Virginia. [The Drudge Report, 10/1/12, Fox Nation, 10/1/12]
Military Voter Protection Project Executive Director: “I Simply Don't See Any Politics At Play”
Military Voter Protection Project Executive Director Eric Eversole: “I Simply Don't See Any Politics At Play” In Voter Assistance Programs. Military Voter Protection Project Executive Director Eric Eversole told the Marine Corps. Times in September that voter assistance for military voters is a longstanding problem that long predates the Obama administration:
[T]here is little reason to believe the Pentagon's reported problems with voter assistance reflect partisan maneuvering, said Eric Eversole, executive director of the Military Voter Protection Project.
“The military voting issue has existed long before the current administration. I simply don't see any politics at play,” Eversole said. [Marine Corps. Times, 9/5/12]
Defense Dep't Inspector General: Congress Didn't Provide Funding To Fully Implement Military Voting Law
Congress Passed The MOVE Act To Assist Military Voting. In 2009, Congress passed the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act. Among the provisions of the MOVE Act was a requirement that the Pentagon maintain a voting assistance office at every military installation. [Title 10, U.S. Code Section 1566a, accessed 10/1/12]
Department Of Defense IG: Congress Did Not Properly Fund The MOVE Act. A report from the Department of Defense's Inspector General stated that Congress did not provide funding for the voting offices required by the MOVE Act:
Voting Assistance Offices -- One of the most significant provisions of the MOVE Act is a requirement for the Military Services to establish an installation voting assistance office (IVAO) on every installation under their control (except for installations in a warzone). To assess effectiveness of DoD efforts to establish IVAOs, we attempted to contact 100 percent of the installations identified by the FVAP [Federal Voting Assistance Program] website. Results were clear. Our attempts to contact IVAOs failed about 50 percent of the time.
We concluded the Services had not established all the IVAOs as intended by the MOVE Act because, among other issues, the funding was not available. Officials pointed out the law did not authorize DoD additional funding for this initiative and estimated IVAO costs could exceed $15-20 million per year. [Inspector General, Department of Defense, 8/31/12]