Election 1944: Soldier vote upset on tap in Congress (7-22-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (July 23, 1944)


Soldier vote upset on tap in Congress

Democrats planning election surprise

Washington – (July 22)
Congressional observers believed today the Democrats may be preparing a timebomb for the Republicans in the form of a soldier vote law amendment which might be brought to the Senate floor shortly before the November election.

The amendment, now dormant within the Senate Election Committee, would permit any serviceman who has not received his state absentee voter’s ballot by Oct. 1 to automatically receive the shortform federal ballot containing only the names of candidates for President, Vice President, Senator and Representative.

To embarrass GOP

This would immediately throw off all restrictions on the use of the federal ballot now contained in the Soldier Vote Act. Introduction of the amendment is regarded as certain to touch off another renewal of the better partisan battle which twice convulsed Congress early this year.

It is also regarded as a likely Democratic weapon to attempt to embarrass the GOP and particularly its presidential nominee, Governor Thomas E. Dewey, already under fire because of his refusal to certify the federal ballot for New York’s one million servicemen.

Under the present law, only servicemen overseas whose state governors certified the use of the federal ballot by July 15, and who apply for state ballots by Sept. 1 but fail to receive them by Oct. 1, may vote the short-term federal ballot.

Only 20 approve

The War Ballot Commission reported this week that only 20 state governors had approved the use of the federal ballot. Governor Dewey was one of the 28 governors refusing to accept it.

Introduced last April, the amendment has been permitted to lie dormant by Committee Chairman Theodore Francis Green (D-RI). Mr. Green and Senator Scott W. Lucas (D-IL) are its coauthors, as well as the coauthors of the original soldier vote bill.

Stassen to stay out of political campaign

San Francisco, California (UP) – (July 22)
Cdr. Harold E. Stassen, former Governor of Minnesota just returned from conquered Saipan Island, told a press conference today his only 1944 political activity will be to cast his absentee ballot in November from a Pacific war theater.

Asked if he planned to take any part in state or national campaigns, the 37-year-old former governor whose backers proposed him as a 1944 presidential candidate, replied “none whatsoever.”

Cdr. Stassen is assistant chief of staff and flag secretary to Adm. William F. Halsey, commander of the Third Fleet.