Your Influence Counts ... Use It! The SPOTLIGHT by Liberty Lobby

Reprinted from, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive

Soldiers Stiffed

Democrats succeeded in the final destruction of an effort to make it easier for military personnel to vote. Traditionally, the military vote is 75 percent Republican, so the Democrats' interest in suppressing the turnout is obvious.

Aides for Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) tried to negotiate the bill's passage on Dec. 14 and 15 as Congress finished work on the 2001 budget and quit for the year.

Aides for Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said unnamed Democrats would protest "unanimous consent" to the bill's passage. Since such an objection would force the Senate to debate the bill over the weekend in stead of adjourning and fleeing Washington, Republicans chose not to force the issue.

The bill would have allowed voting booths on military bases, making it possible for soldiers to vote when getting off such unpredictable assignments as guard duty or kitchen police. It would be especially significant at remote outposts where servicemen must drive great distances to cast a ballot.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) and had cleared the House 297-114. Thomas, chairman of the House Administration Committee, said he would try to make his legislation part of a larger election bill in the new Congress.