Please Register and Vote Early

Election News: Please Register and Vote Early

The Presidential elections are only a few weeks away, and in most states, the deadline to register to vote is October 4. As a core responsibility of citizenship, Veterans for Common Sense encourages our members to register to vote. If you have not registered, you can download a voter registration form from our homepage (click on "Register to Vote"). Consider personally delivering your application to your local registrar of voters to avoid problems.

The first of three Presidential debates occurs tonight, and we expect foreign policy and national security to play a very large part in tonight's debate.

We won a small victory this week, thanks in part to pressure brought to bear by members of VCS. The New York Times reported this morning that Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio's Secretary of State, issued a new memorandum to election officials reversing a previous decision that resulted in the rejection of thousands of voter registrations because they were printed on the wrong weight paper. Blackwell says the state will now accept registrations on normal paper. However, voters who show up at the wrong precinct will still not be allowed to cast provisional ballots.

Do you live in a state with early voting?

Over the last couple of years, major concerns have been raised regarding the integrity of electronic voting systems. Computer security experts have criticized the security of the machines and Executives of the companies which manufacture electronic voting machines have, in some cases, endorsed and raised money for political parties.

Please make sure your vote is counted. If you live in a state where you can vote early or via absentee ballot, we encourage you to do so, to make sure that your ballot is actually recorded on paper.

You can find out more information about the integrity of electronic voting machines at http://blackboxvoting.com

Which Candidate Does Veterans for Common Sense support?

In recent weeks, we've received a lot of questions from members and others, asking whether Veterans for Common Sense supports John Kerry or George Bush.

As a non-partisan, non-profit organization, Veterans for Common Sense does not endorse any candidate for political office, or any political party. IRS regulations forbid us from attempting to sway the results of any election.

Regardless of who wins the Presidential election, issues of national security, veterans benefits, civil liberties, and energy policy will remain as pressing issues facing our country. Too often policy decisions in Washington are made on the basis of ideology and academic theory, in the absence of any understanding of how those decisions affect real people, real lives. This is all the more serious when our country makes the most serious decision it can ever make, to commit the lives of young men and women to war.

Our work will be required no matter which party controls the White House, and we hope you will continue to work with us well beyond the November elections and into the future.

Our guiding principles (see http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/about.cfm) lay out the four key areas which VCS is concerned with. A poll addressing the candidates' positions on some of those issues, and voters' perceptions of them, was recently conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland. You can see the results at http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/NewsArticle.cfm?ID=2111

We ask you to consider these principles when you go to the polls to cast your vote:

Common Sense Principles for Positive Security

Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) was formed in 2002 by war veterans who believe that we, the people of the United States of America, are most secure when our country is strong and responsibly engaged with the world.

Based on the pragmatic ideals of the American patriot Thomas Paine, VCS advocates a series of common sense principles to accomplish this vision for America:

1) US leadership in the global community

VCS advocates for a national security policy that reflects the union of our values and national interests, using diplomatic, economic, and – as a last resort – military power to secure our homeland and respond to clear and present danger. VCS believes that we must work pro-actively with our allies to defeat terrorism, end the threat of weapons of mass destruction, promote free and open societies, reduce conflict, increase prosperity, and strengthen international law.

Although pre-empting a direct threat to our national security may at times be necessary, VCS believes making pre-emption the foundation of our national security doctrine endangers the world and betrays the founding principles of our nation.

2) Supporting U.S. service members, veterans, and their families

VCS seeks a U.S. veterans’ policy that provides immediate, comprehensive healthcare, disability benefits, and readjustment services to all service-members, veterans and their families. Our government has a duty and a responsibility to address both the traditional and non-traditional effects of war, including battlefield injuries, post-traumatic stress, and diseases resulting from vaccines and toxic exposures.

3) Liberty and Justice for All

VCS seeks to preserve American civil liberties as guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution and its Amendments. As Thomas Paine wrote in the "Rights of Man," our freedoms of expression, speech, press, assembly, religion, privacy, due process, voting, and equal protection under the law, must not be traded for any real or imagined claim of urgency or security.

4) Energy independence

VCS advocates a U.S. energy policy that relies on American innovation to ensure greater independence from foreign sources of energy. This is best accomplished through increased use of renewable, environmentally sound energy sources, and energy conservation efforts.

Upcoming Events

October 4, 2004

Deadline to register to vote in most states.

November 2, 2004

Election Day

November 11, 2004:

The Portland, Maine Veterans for Peace Chapter is seeking individuals from VCS to March with them in the annual Veterans Day parade. Interested in participating? Contact Jack Russell at jafabussell@gwi.net or 207-772-1442.

Texas Chapters of Veterans for Peace are seeking individuals from VCS to join them in a special 02 October Rally in Austin, a 16 October rally in College Station and an 11 November Veterans Day parade in Austin. Interested in participating? Contact Dick Underhill at underhill@att.net or 512-238-1491.


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Oktober 2004

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