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Dept. of Veterans Affairs still blocking voter registration

Steven Rosenfeld writes on AlterNet: For at least four years, since the 2004 presidential election, when a veteran, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., was the Democratic Party nominee, the Department of Veterans Affairs has blocked efforts to help U.S. soldiers register to vote at its facilities in all 50 states.

This is politically motivated voter suppression, said Scott Rafferty, an attorney based in Washington, D.C., who has fought the VA in federal courts since 2004 over the right to assist homeless people, including veterans, register to vote at a shelter on VA property in Menlo Park, Calif. Now the political motivation might be different that the veteran running for president is a Republican.

The issue has resurfaced, not merely on the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and in the midst of a heated presidential campaign, but because the VA -- whose public affairs office did not answer telephone calls nor return requests to comment Monday -- apparently has also stonewalled requests by U.S. senators for an explanation.

We write today to once again highlight our concerns about voter registration in VA facilities, began a March 6, 2008, letter from Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, and Sen. Kerry, to James B. Peake, secretary of Veterans Affairs. Nearly one year ago, your predecessor, Secretary Nicholson, was questioned about the lack of access to nonpartisan voter registration services for our nation s veterans. A response to this inquiry was never received. -- Veterans Administration Won t Help Soldiers Register to Vote | Democracy and Elections | AlterNet

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