Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

VA reverses ban on voter registration drives

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday that it would no longer ban voter registration drives among veterans living at federally run nursing homes, shelters for the homeless and rehabilitation centers across the country.

In May, the department said such drives would violate the prohibition on political activity by federal employees and would be disruptive.

The reversal came after months of pressure from state election officials, voting rights groups and federal lawmakers who said that such drives made it easier for veterans to take part in the political process.

Veterans' participation could be particularly important this year in a presidential election in which the handling of the Iraq war and treatment of veterans are major campaign issues.

"VA has always been committed to helping veterans exercise their constitutional right to vote, which they defended for all Americans while serving their nation," said James Peake, secretary of veterans affairs.

"We've now established a uniform approach to helping those of our patients who need assistance to register and to vote."

Veterans' officials said that they would welcome state and local election officials and nonpartisan groups to hospitals and outpatient clinics to help register voters but that such assistance needed to be coordinated by those facilities in order to avoid disruptions to patient care.

More than 100,000 people reside for a month or longer at VA facilities nationally, a number that has grown as soldiers return wounded from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The real question now," said Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, "is whether the VA will implement the new policy in time for the November election and whether local and state voting officials will take proactive steps to sign up the veterans at these facilities."

The new policy requires that information about the right of VA patients to register and vote be posted in every veterans' hospital and that all patients be provided a copy of these rights when they are admitted to a veterans' facility.

"Given the sacrifices that the men and women who have fought in our armed services have made, providing easy access to voter registration services is the very least we can do," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

VA reverses ban on voter registration drives 09/08/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 4:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Judge throws out $458,000 condo sale, says Clearwater attorney tricked bidders

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold on Monday threw out the $458,100 sale of a gulf-front condo because of what he called an "unscrupulous" and "conniving" scheme to trick bidders at a foreclosure auction.

    John Houde, left, whose Orlando copany was the high  bidder June 8 at the foreclosure auction of a Redington Beach condo, looks in the direction of Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, foreground,  during a hearing Monday before Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold.  [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times ]
  2. Vision Zero plan to make Hillsborough roads safer to be unveiled

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Vision Zero, the coalition trying to make Hillsborough County safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, is set to unveil its action plan on Tuesday morning.

    Members of the Vision Zero workshop cross Hillsborough Avenue and Kelly Road during a on-street audit of Town 'N Country roads in January. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |   Times]
  3. Pasco EDC names business incubator head in Dade City, will open second site

    Business

    Pasco County economic development officials are busy reigniting their business start-up resources following the departure earlier this year of Krista Covey, who ran the Pasco Economic Development Council's SMARTStart business incubator in Dade City.

    Andrew Romaner was promoted this summer to serve as program director of the Dade City SMARTStart Entrepreneur Center, a start-up incubator service of the Pasco Economic Development Council. He succeeds Krista Covey, who relocated to Texas for another startup position. [Courtesy of Pasco EDC]
  4. What you need to know for Tuesday, Aug. 22

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, center, attends a hearing on Monday Circuit Court Judge Jack St. Arnold at the Pinellas County Courthouse in Clearwater. The hearing was requested by attorneys representing John Houde, left, who filed a motion to invalidate the sale of a $458,000 Redington Beach condo, a deal orchestrated by Skelton, who stands accused of deliberately misleading bidders in a the June 8 foreclosure auction. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
  5. Sarasota GOP names Dick Cheney 'Statesman of the Year'

    Blogs

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney will be honored as "Statesman of Year" by the Sarasota GOP, a title that twice went to Donald Trump.

    Dick and Liz Cheney