After being criticized for not once mentioning America's decade-plus war in Afghanistan during his Republican National Convention speech, Mitt Romney and his campaign are making a push on military voting rights.
The Romney campaign sent letters to election officials in Wisconsin, Mississippi, and Vermont demanding an extension to deadlines in accepting absentee ballots from military and overseas voters. On the behalf of the campaign, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi charged that at least 30 Wisconsin municipalities failed to send out absentee ballots to military voters by the Sept. 22 deadline.
"No Americans have done more to earn their right to vote than the men and women in uniform, who risk their lives defending the freedoms this nation holds dear," Prinicipi wrote to David Deininger, who heads the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. "I am writing to express my concern regarding your office's attention to the voting rights of men and women in uniform, and to urge you to take immediate action to correct recent violations of military voting rights."
Under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voter Act (UOCAVA), election officials are required to send out absentee ballots no later than 45 days before an election, allowing time for overseas voters and members of the military to return their ballots.
In Wisconsin, officials say 27 municipalities failed to meet that deadline by within five days, affecting a total 44 military members and overseas citizens, the Associated Press reports.
The Romney campaign had previously addressed similar absentee voter issues in Mississippi and Vermont where the number of delayed ballots were similarly small.
Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, a Democrat, responded by calling the issue political posturing from the Romney campaign that was merely "a show."
A Gallup poll from late May shows Romney leading with veterans with 58% compared to 34% for Obama.