Open letter to senators on the principles of Operation Protect Democracy
Dear Veterans and Current Senators of the United States Congress:
Senator Tom Cotton, US Army (R-AR)
Senator Tammy Duckworth, United States Army (D-IL)
Senator Joni Ernst, US Army (R-IA)
Senator Jim Inhofe, US Army (R-OK)
Senator Roger Marshall, US Army (R-KA)
Senator Mitch McConnell, US Army (R-KY)
Senator Ed Markey, United States Army (D-MA)
Senator Jack Reed, US Army (D-RI)
Senator Richard Blumenthal, United States Marine Corps (D-CT)
Senator Dan Sullivan, United States Marine Corps (R-AK)
Senator Todd Young, United States Marine Corps (R-IN)
Senator Tom Carper, US Navy (D-DE)
Senator Mark Kelly, US Navy (D-AZ)
Senator Gary Peters, US Navy (D-MI)
Senator Rick Scott, US Navy (R-FL)
Senator Lindsey Graham, US Air Force (R-SC)
Senator Roger Wicker, US Air Force (R-MS)
We are sending this letter to all current U.S. Senators who have served in uniform because we believe the 17 of you are uniquely qualified to address the issue of electoral reform – and well positioned to do something about it.
As former national security and defense leaders who served under the Democratic and Republican administrations, we write to you to express our growing concern over the threats – both internal and external – to our democracy and urge you to to make protecting our electoral process your top priority.
We are the co-chairs of Count Every Hero, a multi-party coalition of veterans and citizens who are committed to ensuring that every military member’s right to vote is protected and that their votes are counted. For the 2020 election, we reached over 5.2 million people with the support of over 70 retired generals and admirals. We continue our mission as engaged citizens with Operation Protect Democracy, a new Count Every Hero campaign focused on reforming our electoral system.
We believe that electoral reform legislation should embody these six principles of Operation Protect Democracy:
1. Elections without foreign interference
2. Equal access to the ballot box for all eligible voters
3. Accountability of elected officials
4. All American voters run the future of our country, not just an elite
5. Transparency and effective control of the electoral system
6. Civic literacy to build an informed, engaged and extended electorate
We fully agree with Senator Manchin that this issue requires bipartite debate and resolution. Of the many worthy electoral reform issues being discussed, we know from experience that postal voting is an excellent tool to help Americans exercise their right to vote – especially military personnel deployed and stationed around the world, and those who have mobility issues like our seniors and combatants. wounded veterans. The expansion and standardization of this military-proven voting model would benefit all American citizens. As national security leaders, we are also concerned about the security of future elections.
The most recent report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from January 7, 2021 detailed the intentions of the main foreign players, namely the efforts of Russia, China and Iran to influence or interfere with the US federal elections of 2020 and to undermine confidence in our electoral process. Legislation that protects our electoral process from foreign interference must be a top priority, regardless of the party label. Our national security depends on it.
We encourage you to consider our principles when determining your position on electoral reform legislation. As veterans, we urge you to take the lead in moving the debate forward and ensuring electoral reform passes through this Congress. Do not hesitate to contact us. Our ties transcend politics. Together, we can find the higher ground and protect the voting rights of all Americans.
The Honorable Sean O’Keefe, 69th Secretary of the Navy
The Honorable Louis Caldera, 17th Secretary of the Army
The Honorable Deborah Lee James, 23rd Secretary of the Air Force
General George Casey, United States (retired), 36th Chief of Staff of the Army
General John Jumper, USAF (retired), 17th Chief of Staff of the Air Force
Admiral Steve Abbot, USN (retired), former Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the United States European Command
Admiral James Loy, USCG (retired), former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security
General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Retired), Former Commander, Chairman of US Central Command, Count Every Hero
Count every hero is a multi-party initiative that originally formed in response to disinformation campaigns during the 2020 election that threatened the freedom of the military to vote and have their votes counted.
Editor’s Note: This is an editorial and as such the opinions expressed are those of the author. If you would like to respond or would like to submit your own editorial, please contact Military Times Senior Editor Howard Altman, [email protected].