Update: Bysiewicz, Blumenthal Violate Federal Ban

Update: July 12, 2008 Other States Join Connecticut <read>

Bysiewicz and Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican, have launched a national effort to overturn the directive. They’ve been joined by secretaries of state from Ohio, Montana, Vermont, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Kansas, New Hampshire and Maine.

Original Story and Update July 1, 2008

Update: Another article with another point of view and photos <read>

The perfect rescue story soon started to fall apart. Onieal, the veteran, revealed he had already registered to vote, and has been registered for 35 years…And the fiery rhetoric fizzled as Roger Johnson (pictured) stepped onto the scene. Johnson is director of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, which has major campuses in West Haven and Newington, as well as six small community-based clinics in the state…

Johnson told the crowd – contrary to the Democrats’ fiery rhetoric – that he had no problem at all with Bysiewicz helping his patients register to vote. Indeed, he said he’d welcome anyone who volunteers to help with voter registration, as long as they stick to nonpartisan activity. He said the facility has long allowed non-partisan voter registration drives on campus.

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz with the support of Attorney General Richard Blumenthal violated a Federal ban on voter registration in VA facilities. New Haven Register Story <read>

Bysiewicz conducted the impromptu registration session outside the VA entrance after she said her office failed to get a written response to two letters seeking permission to go to the state’s VA centers, and was denied access in a follow-up phone call Friday.

Bysiewicz and Blumenthal were protesting a ban on registration drives issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs last month, which based its decision in part on the Hatch Act, which bans federal workers from engaging in partisan political activity.

“I believe that there is a concerted effort going on to suppress voter registration,” Bysiewicz, pointing to the department’s directive, and a separate ban issued for Indian reservations, because they are on federal property.

“To ban voter registration drives is a slap in the face to veterans like Mr. Onieal, who have served and sacrificed greatly for our country and for the basic freedoms that we have here,” said Bysiewicz.

But, according to Roger Johnson, director of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, it was all a misunderstanding, and he doesn’t believe Bysiewicz will have any problems conducting her education drive.

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