Laws must allow soldiers to vote

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Come Sept. 9, Alabamians will have raised taxes by some $1.3 billion and approved wide sweeping reforms or opted against the changes proposed by Gov. Bob Riley’s tax and accountability package.

Either way, the people will have decided. Each registered voter will have had an opportunity to cast their vote.

Or will they?

They’ve protected us. They’ve fought for us. They’ve died for us. They’ve been through immeasurable hardship to protect our rights as citizens, one of the most precious among those, the right to vote.

Yet, because of the way the laws are writtten, on Sept. 9, those Alabama men and women who are still overseas will not be allowed to chime in on a vote that will fundamentally change the way Alabama does business, one way or another.

Unfortunately, they could return to an Alabama they don’t recognize &045; an Alabama that changed without their knowledge or consent.

Regardless of whether they would vote for or against the tax and accountability plan, they deserve the chance to voice their opinion.

As it stands now, they’ve lost their say in the very government they are fighting to defend.

State Auditor Beth Chapman has volunteered to work with Gov. Riley to ensure that this travesty never happens again.

She has offered her input, time and effort to fight against the disenfranchisement of Alabama’s soldiers.

Regardless of the outcome of the tax package vote, we expect Gov. Riley to stand alongside Chapman in her fight for the rights of the men and women who put their lives on the line