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Vet.Admin. refuses to register voters

The St. Petersburg Times reports: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs last month said it would refuse to abide by a 14-year-old presidential directive requiring it to help register veterans to vote.

It says doing so would detract from providing medical care and benefits to veterans.

On May 1, California officials asked the VA to help register veterans, citing a 1994 executive order by President Bill Clinton requiring federal agencies to undertake the responsibility if a state s top elections official makes the request.

The VA s May 19 refusal, which received little media attention, has repercussions beyond California. It provides the latest sign that the VA is vigorously resisting organized voter registration drives on its property as a presidential election nears.

Earlier this month, the agency banned any group or individual from registering voters in any of its facilities. Critics say politics are behind the decision and accused the VA of trying to prevent low-income veterans from voting. -- VA refuses to help veteran voters

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