September 14, 2008

Massive voter caging by McCain campaign?

Posted in 2008 election, bogus absentee ballot mailings, Elections, politics, voter caging, voter registration, voter suppression, voting, Voting Rights tagged , , , , at 5:45 pm by bluebanshee

From state after state come reports of massive mailings by the McCain campaign of absentee ballot requests that contain confusing, misleading or simply wrong information.  Is the McCain campaign merely incompetent?  Or is it engaged in a massive effort to create a database of voters to challenge at the polls?  Is the McCain campaign orchestrating a voter caging campaign on a grand scale?

Given the track record of the GOP in Florida in 2000 there is no reason to give McCain and the Republicans the benefit of the doubt this time around.  Greg Palast has  provided extensive documentation of their success in denying the right to vote to thousands of legitimate voters.  Go to and read all about it if you have any doubts.  So let’s assume that the mailings of absentee ballot requests to voters in swing states who did not request them is simply a new weapon in the Republican voter suppression arsenal.

How widespread is this?  So far reports have come in from VA, OH, CO, NC, PA, FL, NM, WI, OR, CA and MN.  Here’s a sampling of the info available so far.

Virginia: The McCAIN Campaign has mailed hundreds of thousands of fraudulent ABSENTEE BALLOT request form to voters.

The intent was obviously to prevent those voters from being registered on election day….

We are getting phone calls and emails showing the same occurrences in all “toss-up” states … PA, FL, OH, CO, NM, MN …

If anyone finds these forms, please mail them to your STATE ELECTION OFFICIALS and include complaints of FRAUD against McCAIN.

North Carolina:

The Campaign of John McCain has begun sending out misleading information to North Carolina voters about absentee voting.  His target audience?  Republicans.

The flyer above went to a registered Republican in Wake County, NC.  John McCain is telling people to request a ballot on a postcard using their own handwriting with their name, residence, phone number and signature.  The address example actually contains two addresses.  One address in the example has a non-existent zip code, 127602.  The other address immediately below it is a PO Box address.

The return address given is actually that of the Wake County, NC, Board of Elections but there is no clear identification of the Board.  It simply says “Director of Elections”.  The postcard requires a first class stamp but does not tell the recipient the actual postage required.

The critically missing piece information is the date of birth and, to avoid the risk of identity theft, that should not be placed in full view on the back of a postcard.  At first blush this looked like a voter caging exercise but upon review it just seems sloppy.  The pre-sorted mailing rate does not allow for returns.  Such a request to the Board of Elections would not be valid and a response would generate more expense and delay and likely frustrate the recipient.For anyone who has received this mailing, please contact the Board of Elections in your own state (in NC your County Board of Elections) to clarify the requirements that apply to your circumstances and needs.  Lord only knows what Democrats received in their McCain Mailin’.


Good Christ Almighty, here we go again. Hot off the wire from the Cincinnati Enquirer:

About one-third of the absentee ballot applications received at the Hamilton County Board of Elections have been ruled invalid because Republican Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign printed a version of the form with an extra, unneeded box on it.

Just wait! It gets better!

It turns out the problem is that the McCain campaign added a box on these forms that required you to check it to confirm you were an eligible voter. Yep, that’s right- check here if you are eligible to vote. I guess the act of actually requesting an absentee ballot doesn’t qualify that. And if you don’t check it…

… bingo. You get the picture. And the McCain campaign has sent out over a MILLION of these forms. The State of Ohio and the local election boards, understandably, don’t want to pay to fix the mistake on this- how much d’you want to bet the McCain campaign wants to pay to fix it?

Over seven-hundred and fifty absentee applications have been rejected so far. If we’re counting on absentee and early voting to help us mobilize our GOTV effort, then this is a clear and present danger to it.

It looks like these were sent to the general public, meaning all Ohio voters would be affected. And again, remember, these were the applications for absentee ballots… but if you’re going to be gone, and there’s a process to have to do everything all over again… how many votes are we going to lose, especially with a million in the pipeline?

We need to get the word out! Make sure our boys and girls on the ground know about these sorts of shenanigans, and can take action to fix it! Jennifer Brunner, the Ohio Secretary of State is already involved, but we need to get the media’s attention on this one. We’re gonna need every single vote we can get this election cycle. We can ill afford another debacle like Florida, and we all know the shenanigans that were played in Ohio the last go-round.

These are just a few examples of the mis-information voter suppression campaign being waged by the McCain campaign.  If you receive one of these mailings report it immediately to your local or state election officials.  in state after state the pattern is clear, the McCain campaign is sending out bogus information designed to confuse, mislead and ultimately disenfranchise voters.

There are additional reports of robocalls being used to ask whether voters wish to receive an absentee ballot request.  If the voter says yes, the information that is sent turns out to be false, misleading or incomplete.

One thing is clear:  the McCain campaign knows they can’t win without cheating.  They can’t win if the will of the entire American electorate is expressed through the ballot box.  They can’t win if they don’t keep large numbers of Americans from voting.  John McCain has proved again and again that he has no honor.  This despicable voter caging/voter suppression mailing is just another demonstration that John McCain will say or do anything to win.  That by definition is dishonorable.


  1. NC Voter said,

    Great blog. I see you are recommending that people getting robo calls should contact Shaun Dakin of .

    Instead, I hope readers will report any misleading or confusing political robo calls to their state attorney general’s office, their state elections office, and their media.

    I recall that Shaun of or someone using his name was defending Women’s Voices Women Vote when that group was making misleading anonymous robo calls to African Americans in North Carolina during our primary. The NC NAACP filed a formal complaint against the very organization that Shaun was defending.

    Here are some posts by Shaun defending WVWV: (scroll down to comments)

    Here’s Shaun’s comment to my blog post at OpEdNews, where he vigorously defends WVWV and poo poos concerns about their actions. (again scroll down):

    there’s more, but Shaun’s defense goes against the hard facts presented by Facing South,

    The calls have been denounced by the N.C. State Board of Elections, as well as by voter advocacy groups including Democracy North Carolina, which called them “another in a long line of deceptive practices used in North Carolina and elsewhere that particularly target African-American voters.”

  2. We are going to put a stop to this NONSENSE I have already posted this all over Myspace, Face book, My office intranet as well as friends college intranets not to mention run through all of my E-mail contacts!!!! We cannot let this happen!!!! Thank you all who run this blog and supporters and allied responders!!!! Keep it up!!!

  3. […] Voter Caging in 2008,know your rights Posted on October 3, 2008 by butnerblogspot If you Google “voter caging” you will get some 775,000 potential results. If you don’t know what it is you could potentially lose your right to vote in the upcoming election. It has happened before and make no mistake about it, it will happen this year as it did in 2000 and in 2004. Not in NC you might be saying? You would be wrong. […]

  4. […] Voter Caging. […]

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