V.A. Ban on Voter Drives Is Criticized – NYTimes.com

V.A. Ban on Voter Drives Is Criticized – NYTimes.com
Voting rights groups are criticizing the Department of Veterans Affairs for its decision to ban registration drives among the veterans living at federally run nursing homes, shelters for the homeless and rehabilitation centers across the country.

Pat Hollarn says she must cancel a voter registration drive near an Air Force base.

The groups say such drives make it easier for veterans to register and participate in the political process, which could be particularly important this year in a presidential election in which the handling of the Iraq war and treatment of veterans will be major campaign issues.

Mary G. Wilson, president of the League of Women Voters, said: “It just seems wrong to the league that the V.A. is erecting barriers to voter registration for our nation’s veterans. They appear to be using technicalities to block many veterans from registering to vote.”

Although veterans are not federal employees, department officials based their decision in part on the Hatch Act, which bans federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity.

(registering people to vote, especially by the League of Women Voters, is a NON-PARTISAN activity)

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