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July 30th, 2008
Rep. Grijalva Supports Making Veteran Voter Registration Easier

Bill would enable activities at VA Facilities

Washington, D.C.— Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva is an original co-sponsor of the Veteran Voting Support Act, which was introduced in Congress this week. The bill would allow voter registration activities at Veterans Administration (VA) facilities. Currently, a Department of Veterans Affairs policy prohibits voter registration drives at VA based upon claims that these activities disrupt normal facility operations. 

Under the provisions of the directive, duly elected Secretaries of State and election officials have been curtailed from distributing voter registration materials and instruction on the use of newly-implemented voting machines to veterans who reside at VA faculties.

The Veteran Voting Support Act (H.R. 6625) would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to allow States to designate VA facilities as voter registration agencies under Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act..  The bill would require VA facilities to provide information and assist election officials to ensure proper delivery of voting material.  In addition, the legislation would prohibit the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from restricting non-partisan organizations and state election organizations from providing voter information at VA facilities.

Rep. Grijalva hailed the introduction of the bill.

“When we are told that our veterans are sacrificing for our democracy, it makes no sense to prohibit voter registration activities at VA facilities. The VA must recognize that their policy diminishes the voice of veterans in our democracy. We should make every effort to enable and solicit democratic participation by our servicewomen and servicemen, and all qualified voters. Without these efforts, our democratic system as a whole will be diminished,” Grijalva said.

The legislation will also encourage the VA to reexamine its reasoning for prohibiting non-partisan organizations to conduct voter registration drives and to engage in active outreach to state and local election officials.

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