Congressman Mike Turner introduced H.Res. 799 expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that it is not a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment for a state to extend particular consideration to members of the uniformed services and overseas citizens to ensure that they are able to exercise their rights to vote in elections for public office. Turner's effort to highlight this important issue comes as a number of organizations and campaigns in Ohio are working to limit the voting rights of Servicemembers deployed overseas.
"Our men and women in uniform are putting their lives on the line overseas to protect our rights to liberty and freedom to freely cast our ballots. The least we can do is assure them that their voting rights are not limited here at home," said Turner.
Specifically the resolution affirms that it is the policy of the United States to provide for the ability of members of the uniformed services to exercise their Constitutional right to vote and acknowledges that particular consideration be given them due to restrictions, uncertainties, and risks, such as deployment, that present a challenge in voting. The bill also recognizes the legislative and judicial precedent of granting particular consideration to members of the uniformed services and overseas citizens regarding absentee voting. In addition, it affirms that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment "protect(s) against arbitrary classifications, and requires that similarly situated persons be treated equally."
"The Government has an obligation to protect Servicemember voting rights. Laws affording those special protections should be celebrated as a reflection of democratic principles rather than viewed with political suspicion. There is nothing arbitrary about serving our nation. This resolution reaffirms the protections afforded under the Fourteenth Amendment and sends a strong message to Servicemembers that their sacrifices will not go unnoticed," added Turner.
Ohio Reps. Steve Chabot, Jean Schmidt, Jim Jordan, Bob Latta, Bill Johnson, Steve Austria, Pat Tiberi, Steve LaTourette, Steve Stivers, Jim Renacci, and Bob Gibbs have joined Turner in an effort to highlight this important issue by co-cosponsoring his resolution.