FREDERICKSBURG — A military voting-rights group reported Monday that absentee ballot requests by U.S. service personnel are down 70 percent in Virginia, compared with 2008.
With less than 40 days before the election, the Military Voter Protection Project called the number of absentee ballot requests “shockingly low.”
“While we knew the number of absentee ballots requests would increase as we got closer to the election — and they have — the number being requested is still way too low and indicates that many military members will have their voices silenced on Election Day,” said Eric Eversole, director of MVP.
Early last month, the group said military absentee ballot requests were off 92 percent in the Old Dominion.
In its latest report, ending Sept. 22, MVP said a survey of Virginia and four other states continued to show significant declines versus the 2008 election.
Bob Casey, executive director of the Alexandria-based National Defense Committee, another military voting-rights group, accused MVP of fudging the numbers. He said MVP was comparing pre-election ballot counts with 2008′s final figures.
“(MVP) is grossly under-reporting the numbers,” Casey told Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau.
He also said the MVP figures only tabulated absentee requests handled through military voting offices. The Pentagon acknowledged last month that only about half its overseas bases have such offices.
Additionally, Casey noted that Congress repealed a law requiring registrars to mail out absentee ballots to those who had voted absentee in prior elections. That requirement was in effect in 2008, but not this year.