To call the men and women serving in the U.S. military "heroes" is a drastic understatement. They put themselves in harm's way so Americans can sleep easy and enjoy freedoms that many around the world will never see. The right to vote for a new president every four years is one the nation's most cherished freedoms.
So you would think that the U.S. government would do everything in its power to make sure that the people fighting to preserve the country's right to vote, get to vote themselves.
Shockingly, roughly 30 local active and reserve service members in the Tampa Bay, Fla. area are complaining to the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections' office that they have been taken off the voter rolls.
WTSP-TV explains how this is possible:
Valrico resident and Navy Captain Peter Kehrig, who has been abroad for five years tells 10 News he feels cheated by a system that removed him from the rolls.
Florida State Law requires county supervisor of elections offices to perform regular "maintenance" on its voter rolls to eliminate voters who have been convicted of felonies, moved out of the county, or may have died.
Voters who miss two consecutive general elections (2010 and 2008, for instance) are mailed a letter to their residence warning them they will be removed from the rolls. But since the post office only forwards mail for six months, Kehrig never got it.
Kehrig is one of about 30 active and reserve service members who have contacted the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections' office about the discovery, but October 8 was the last day the law allows a voter to register for the general election. Other Tampa Bay-area counties reported small numbers of complaints too.
Kehrig, who is a 30-year military veteran, says lawmakers need to change the law so that service members are not disenfranchised during elections.
"It's not just a right that I've earned by being an American...but I've [been] trying to protect our country and I really believe it's a right I'm being denied," Kehrig said about voting.
Additionally, it should be noted that WTSP is currently conducting the "#ProtectYourVote" campaign to investigate allegations of "voter influence and other improprieties at the polls."