Texas Veterans Journey to Austin to
Fight for Military Voting Rights
Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan from across Texas will be joining forces in Austin on Thursday, April 20th to advocate for veteran issues in the State Legislature. While large, national organizations like Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) have fought for veteran rights at the Federal level, this will mark the first time that this generation of veterans will take part in the legislative process at the State level here in Texas. The organizations involved include the Lone Star Veterans Association (LSVA), the Texas Coalition of Veterans Organizations (TCVO), South Texas Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans Association (STAIVA), Grace After Fire, Veterans Chamber of Commerce, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
These men and women, along with an embedded reporter from the Houston Chronicle, will arrive in Austin on the 20th of April for a training workshop that includes learning the ropes of the Capitol from fellow Iraq veteran, State Representative Van Taylor. The next day, the 21st of April, the group will visit the offices of State Senators and Representatives to discuss simplifying the Military Voting Bill process for servicemembers that are serving overseas, underseas and on temporary duty assignments away from home. The current system in place for absentee voting requires servicemembers to request an absentee ballot via post mail. Because of the austere nature of many deployment locations, these ballots have not been getting to deployed servicemembers in time for them to participate in elections.
"As a member of the US Army Reserves deployed to Balad, Iraq in 2004, I distinctly recall the sense of irony and frustration I felt when my unit received our absentee ballots only a few weeks prior to the Presidential election" said Nathan Cook, OIF veteran, 2004. "We knew the mail took 30 days or more to deliver, so by the time our ballots got back to the states, the elections would be over and done with. We knew our votes would not and could not be counted in time, so it was disappointing to be called a 'defender of freedom and democracy' and yet be disenfranchised at the same time."
The group will be bringing this issue to State Senators and Representatives with the hope of improving the lives of those that have served their country and to help make Texas the best state for returning veterans.
For more information please contact
Lone Star Veterans Association
View the Texas Senate Bill 100 also known as the Military Voting Bill, click here.
Pictures of our trip to the State Capitol in Austin