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Tarawa sailor disputes Navy ballot count

A sailor aboard the assault ship USS Tarawa has said the Navy’s claim
that only a half dozen ballots were contained in a number of mailbags
recently retrieved from the ship and flown to the U.S. from the Middle
East is incorrect.

According to Judy Krutsinger, whose brother-in-law is aboard the
Tarawa and had contacted her about the numerical discrepancy, “basically
he is stating that the Navy’s statement about the number of ballots is
wrong.”

In an e-mail, Krutsinger said her brother-in-law told her, “for them
[Navy officials] to say there were only a half dozen [absentee ballots]
on the ship is just wrong.”

After WorldNetDaily broke the

story about mail languishing aboard
the specialized amphibious operations warship,
Navy officials admitted that “bundles” of mail bags had been left behind on the Tarawa and other warships — the USS Duluth and the USS Anchorage — but that the mail only contained about six ballots.

After passing that information to Krutsinger, she in turn contacted her sailor brother-in-law, who responded late Thursday evening.

While the Navy has said only that there have been minor and periodic interruptions of mail to the Tarawa and other warships that assisted in evacuating wounded and emergency operations when the destroyer USS Cole was attacked by terrorists Oct. 12, sailors — and at least one Marine Corps officer — have told WND that the problem of mail delivery aboard the Tarawa is bad and chronic.

“It’s atrocious,” the officer said in an e-mail, noting that often the ship goes “several days without receiving mail, even in relatively ‘friendly’ areas.”

Though mail delivery seems bad enough, the Tarawa sailor also said he was aware of “several people who got their [absentee] ballot on the day they were due,” Krutsinger said. “He said the problem is widespread on [the Tarawa],” making him the second sailor — besides the Marine officer — to make that claim in a week regarding the same vessel.

Pentagon and Navy officials have repeatedly denied there is a mail delivery problem regarding the Tarawa and other warships but, instead, have said that due to operational requirements and other extenuating circumstances, mail is interrupted only infrequently and even then not for very long.

Based on conversations with other Tarawa sailors, Krutsinger said her brother-in-law told her “there were more than [just six] ballots” on the ship before Navy officials flew mail out on Wednesday, sending it to Bahrain before being flown on to the United States — hopefully in time to be counted before state absentee balloting deadlines, especially in Florida.

Other military ballot problems reported this week:


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