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VA Voter Suppression Continues

Despite a new policy, the Department of Veterans Affairs is still blocking voter registration efforts.

Just because victory is declared in Washington does not make it so.

One week ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced a new policy to allow voter registration drives on VA campuses, responding to pressure by lawmakers and the media that the VA was suppressing the vote of wounded former soldiers. That new policy was greeted with 'mission accomplished' press statements by members of Congress who have been pushing the VA to change its policy for several years.

But on Monday, as the Senate Rules and Administration Committee held a hearing in Washington on a bill to ensure veterans living at VA facilities could be helped with voter registration, a legal motion was being filed in federal court in California alleging the VA was still blocking efforts to register voters in time for the 2008 presidential election.

Following last week's announcement of VA's new voter registration policy, a VA facility in San Francisco blocked a non-profit group, Veterans for Peace, from registering voters, the legal motion said. The filing said the VA was seeking to require Veterans for Peace members to go through the process of screening VA volunteers, a process that would delay registration efforts. In contrast, the VA does not require screening for most other visitors.

"The VA has disenfranchised veterans and interfered with the freedom of political parties and nonpartisan groups to associate with their members and with other citizens who reside on VA campuses," the motion said. "This Court should prohibit further interference with voter registration at any VA campus for the imminent federal election."

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