Working to broaden his popularity among military veterans, Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign has sent letters to election officials in Wisconsin, Mississippi and Vermont demanding that the deadline for receiving ballots from military and overseas voters be extended. The letters sent in recent days on Romney’s behalf by former U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi charge that election officials in the states missed the Sept. 22 deadline for mailing some ballots to overseas and military voters. A fourth letter was to be sent Tuesday to Michigan officials, according to Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams. The campaign is actively monitoring state and local election officials across the country, he said. “We want to ensure that our fighting men and women overseas have the right to vote in the time that is given under federal law,” Williams said. “We’re doing it across the country in both red states and blue state and battleground states.”
The letter-writing effort targets election officials in presidential battleground states such as Wisconsin and Michigan, but extends into others — Mississippi and Vermont — that neither side expects to be competitive on Election Day. The move is part of a broader push by the Romney campaign to expand his popularity among military veterans, who tend to be older men who vote Republican, to help balance President Barack Obama’s advantage among Latinos and women.
Exit polls suggest that Obama lost the veterans vote by 10 points in 2008. A Gallup Poll taken in August gave Romney a 17-point edge among the voting bloc, which makes up about 13 percent of the adult population. In Wisconsin, 27 municipalities missed the deadline for various reasons to send ballots to a total of 44 military and overseas voters, said Reid Magney, spokesman for the state Government Accountability Board, which handles elections. All 44 ballots were sent to the affected voters within five days of the missed deadline, Magney said.