Thursday, October 28, 2004

Go to polls, soldier pleads

Vote so those who died for freedom didn't die in vain

By John Kiesewetter
Enquirer staff writer

HAMILTON - After all U.S. Army Capt. Gregory P. Henz went through to cast his absentee vote from Germany, he can't understand why so many Americans don't bother voting at all.

The Fairfield Township native received his ballot Tuesday in Wiesbaden, Germany, after Butler County Commissioner Michael A. Fox and county elections officials scrambled to respond to his e-mail complaining that his absentee ballot might not arrive on time.

Henz, 27, said he learned the value of voting after serving as a military policeman in Kosovo in 2001 and Afghanistan in 2002.

"People from these two countries never experienced or understood what (it means) to be free, and have the right and opportunity to make choices or voice their opinions," said Henz, a 1995 Badin High School graduate.

"When I returned home from both deployments, I realized how much we take our freedom for granted, because one day it could easily disappear. That is why I see the importance of voting."

He mailed his absentee application in April to the Butler County Board of Elections. But a ballot mailed by the elections board Oct. 2 never reached him, prompting him to e-mail county commissioners last weekend. Fox contacted elections officials.

Another ballot was sent to him Monday through the Pentagon's Federal Voting Assistance Program, said Betty McGary, elections board deputy director. He voted Tuesday, he told the Enquirer by e-mail.

Henz said the election "is critical to a service member" because voters will choose the commander in chief who will determine how to wage war on terrorism, and secure our borders.

"As a soldier and an American citizen, I ask the American people to take the five minutes of their time in the day (Tuesday) and vote," Henz said.

"Do not ... allow what a soldier has fought and died for go in vain. If a person fails to vote, it creates injustice for those soldiers and what our nation stands for: Freedom."


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