GOP tale of disenfranchised veteran is fake news

I’m for fair, accurate, and transparent elections, and protecting the right to vote; and I have nothing against losing candidates pursuing legal remedies in the courts to straighten out election frauds, irregularities, or mistakes.

But when the facts aren’t on your side, you lose.

A GOP candidate defeated in Arizona’s 2022 elections is challenging Maricopa County’s voting procedures in court. In his legal filings, he cited the example of a veteran who wasn’t allowed to vote. It’s true the veteran couldn’t vote, but election officials didn’t deny him his voting rights; the veteran canceled his voter registration and failed to re-register (see story here).

Let’s go back a little in time to when rightwingers mocked and disparaged confused voters who couldn’t fill out a ballot properly. To be consistent, which they’re not, they’d have to acknowledge this veteran was responsible for canceling his voter registration, instead of blaming the system for working the way it’s supposed to so people don’t vote twice.

Here are the details. The veteran registered to vote in Maricopa County in January 2017, and voted in the 2018 and 2020 elections. Then he moved to Navajo County and applied for a new ID in September 2021, and checked “yes” to a box asking if he wanted to change his voter registration.  He was then registered to vote in Navajo County, and his Maricopa County voter registration was canceled.

Before the May 2022 primary, the veteran was mailed a reminder notice that he was now registered to vote at his Navajo County address, as required by state law. He responded by asking Navajo County to cancel that registration as he had moved away. But he did not re-register in Maricopa County; as a result, he couldn’t vote.

No one deserves to vote more than our veterans, but this gentleman wasn’t disenfranchised. Rather, he canceled his voter registration and didn’t apply to register elsewhere. Now let’s talk about individual responsibility, which Republicans pretend is a big deal for them. They decry the so-called “nanny state,” but if they’re consistent — which they’re not — they’ll admit it’s the veteran’s fault he didn’t get to vote.

The state did plenty of hand-holding in this case, but ultimately it’s up to the individual to decide whether to register to vote. It’s their choice. American’s move around, and the election system’s responsibility is to make sure they’re registered in only one place, and vote only once.

When someone moves, it’s their responsibility to update their driver’s license, voter registration, and where they get their mail. Don’t want a nanny state? Then blame the individual, not the state or election system, for not tending to their voter registration when they move.

After all, that’s what Republicans do when old, disabled, or confused voters struggle to fill in an oval on a paper ballot. And given their massive voter suppression efforts, any complaints from them about someone being disenfranchised are laughable on their face.

Their solicitude for this veteran is touching (the case went viral), but as always is fact-free and hypocritical. The veteran did it to himself; and if someone tried to help him with his voter registration in Florida, the Republicans in that state would call it “ballot harvesting” and have the person thrown in jail. But probably only if the veteran is a Democrat (which this one apparently isn’t).

At the end of the day, everything Republicans say and do is partisan, and for their advantage. Consistency has nothing to do with it, and hypocrisy permeates all of it.

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