November 3, 2008

Obama Camp Video Warns Against GOP Voter Suppression (VIDEO)

Posted in 2008 election, Barack Obama, Democrats, Elections, Uncategorized, voter suppression, voting, Voting Rights tagged , , , at 3:46 pm by bluebanshee

This is must-see TV.

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June 18, 2008

The votes not counted

Posted in Barack Obama, Elections, paper ballots, politics, voter fraud, Voter ID, voter suppression, voting, voting machines, Voting Rights tagged , , , , , at 10:13 pm by bluebanshee

Every election cycle in the U.S. there are votes that never get counted –but not because of computer glitches on paperless voting machines, as if often assumed. The computer glitches happen and no paper trail is there to give silent evidence of the missing votes. Much energy has been devoted to replacing paperless voting machines with systems that have a voter verified paper record without also considering the other source of missing votes.

What am I talking about? What other type of missing vote is there besides the ones lost inside the electronic world of computerized voting machines? The answer, of course is that the other type of votes that never get counted are the ones that never get cast. Tragically millions of votes are never cast in jurisdictions across America each election cycle for a wide variety of reasons –partisan dirty tricks, voter suppression, voter intimidation, purged voting rolls, misinformation campaigns targeted at certain groups of voters, or simply voting machine shortages in inner city precincts. It is these uncounted votes that never show up in the winning (or losing) margin but in close races can mean the difference between victory or defeat. Read the rest of this entry »

February 18, 2008

Obama might get another delegate or two in NY

Posted in Barack Obama, Elections, Hillary Clinton, voting, voting machines tagged , , , , , , at 5:23 pm by bluebanshee

Looks like the election results in New York will be revised with Barack Obama possible gaining in his delegate count.

Black voters are heavily represented in the 94th Election District in Harlem’s 70th Assembly District. Yet according to the unofficial results from the New York Democratic primary last week, not a single vote in the district was cast for Senator Barack Obama.

That anomaly was not unique. In fact, a review by The New York Times of the unofficial results reported on primary night found about 80 election districts among the city’s 6,106 where Mr. Obama supposedly did not receive even one vote, including cases where he ran a respectable race in a nearby district. http://tinyurl.com/38a6r5

The above report in the NYT caused much alarm across the country — with many folks suggesting that there was some chicanery on the part of Clinton supporters in her home state. In fact, the explanation offered by Doug Kellner of the New York State Board of Elections is much more plausible: Read the rest of this entry »

Counting every vote

Posted in Barack Obama, Double bubble, Elections, ES&S, Hillary Clinton, paper ballots, politics, voting, voting machines, Voting Rights, Washington Republican caucus tagged , , , , , , at 3:28 pm by bluebanshee

Making ‘one person one vote’ a reality in this country

In the rush-rush hurry-hurry to announce election results there have already been some miscounts and uncounted ballots this primary season.  This should not happen.  If we are going to truly be a democracy of “one person one vote” we need to be sure that all ballots cast by eligible voters are counted.

For example, there’s the recent example in the Washington state Republican caucuses where the winner was declared in a close race before all the votes were counted.  Entire counties did not have their results included in the tally: Read the rest of this entry »

‘People just really want to get their voice heard’

Posted in Barack Obama, election day registration, Elections, Maryland voting, Voter ID, Voting Rights tagged , , , , , , at 12:06 pm by bluebanshee

Eliminating unnecessary barriers for young voters 

Word came recently from Maryland that one barrier to voting by young citizens had been removed — at least in that state. The Washington Post headline says it all: “One Teen’s Campaign to Restore Voting Rights.”

Last month, Boltuck, along with her father and a sympathetic state senator, persuaded Maryland‘s top legal minds to restore the right of suffrage to at least 50,000 teens who will turn 18 between the Feb. 12 primary and the Nov. 4 election. http://tinyurl.com/2pp3fl

Sarah Boltuck fought all the way to the state election board and then the attorney general’s office to attain the right to vote in the February Maryland primary. The problem that caused all the controversy was that the high school senior had not yet attained the age of 18 by the February primary date. But Boltuck would be 18 in time to vote in November and felt she should be able to participate in the process of selecting the candidates whose names would appear on the general election ballot come November.

“I thought that was one of my rights as a citizen of Maryland,” said Boltuck, who will be 18 in July. “I had assumed that when I registered to vote, it’d be no problem.”

She called attention to a little-noticed change in interpretation of state law. Maryland was one of nine states, including Virginia, that allowed 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they reached 18 by the general election. (The District does not.) But the Maryland State Board of Elections quietly halted the practice in December 2006 in response to a state court ruling. http://tinyurl.com/2pp3fl Read the rest of this entry »

January 11, 2008

Election Fraud in NH Primary? Or Not?

Posted in Barack Obama, Diebold, election audits, Election fraud, Elections, Hillary Clinton, Hr 811, NH Primary, paper ballots, politics, voting, voting machines tagged , , , , , , , at 11:45 pm by bluebanshee

The internet has been abuzz since Tuesday night with wild claims that Hillary Clinton “hacked” the NH Primary — or that someone else perpetrated the dirty deed to help Clinton and McCain triumph in the Granite State. Some point to differences between the margins in hand-counted precincts vs. optical scan precincts. Others claim that the pre-election polling could not be so far off from reported results.

Both of these cries of “fraud”, and “hacking” are based on flawed logic — and stunning ignorance or basic misunderstanding of statistics. They also fail to look at the demographic make-up of precincts that produced different margins for the candidates. On the other hand, there has been an almost universal failure to consider whether well-documented problems with the type of optical scan machine used in New Hampshire offers at least a partial explanation of how this happened. Read the rest of this entry »

November 11, 2007

Changing the way U.S. Senate campaigns are paid for

Posted in Barack Obama, Elections, Fair Elections Now Act, politics, Russ Feingold tagged , , , at 3:49 am by bluebanshee

In a rare candid moment a U.S. Senator told a group of constituents that he wished he could spend more time on legislative matters — he felt he had to spend way too much time doing fundraising. So instead of being able to devote his attention to the job the voters had sent him to Washington to do, he had to allocate a significant chunk of time to dialing for dollars or attending fundraising events. This Senator said he would favor public financing of campaigns — so he could spend more time on lawmaking and less on seeking cash for the next campaign.

The good news is that Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has introduced S. 1285, a bill that looks like the dream bill for senators like the one described above who want to change the way Senate campaigns are financed. The Fair Elections Now Act is supported by a consortium made up of Common Cause, the Brennan Center for Justice, Democracy Matters, the Public Campaign, Public Citizen and U.S. PIRG.

While this seems to be a novel approach for U.S. Senate candidates, publicly financing of campaigns has been successfully deployed on the state level in Arizona and Maine and in municipalities like Portland, Oregon (where the catchy phrase “voter owned elections” is used to describe it). Read the rest of this entry »

November 7, 2007

Dirty tricks target Hispanics in Fort Worth TX

Posted in Barack Obama, Elections, politics, voter suppression, voting, Voting Rights tagged , , , , at 5:17 pm by bluebanshee

The headline says: Tarrant County investigates bogus election flyers. But the ugly backstory is that the official-looking but phony flyers were found in a heavily Hispanic area and were aimed at suppressing minority votes. They had an official-looking seal and stated that election day had been changed to Saturday (instead of Tuesday). If a voter acted on this mis-direction they would find out that the election was over and they were out of luck.

Read all about it here in the Dallas Morning News: http://tinyurl.com/yrz6jz

There is an investigation underway but my prediction is that the culprit(s) will never be found, much less found guilty in a court of law.

Elections Administrator Steve Raborn said there’s no way to know how many fliers, which were in English and Spanish, were distributed.

“It’s discouraging if someone is trying to suppress the vote rather than encouraging people to vote,” Mr. Raborn said.

He said he was particularly disturbed that someone designed the flier to make them appear as if they came from his office. Mr. Raborn said the fliers were found in the heavily minority Rosemont and Worth Heights neighborhoods in Fort Worth. Read the rest of this entry »

November 6, 2007

13 Senators take a stand against voter caging

Posted in Barack Obama, Elections, Florida voting, John Kerry, politics, voter caging, voting, Voting Rights tagged , , , , , at 6:58 am by bluebanshee

Until Greg Palast wrote about voter caging in Florida during the 2000 election cycle, it was a practice that was under the radar of voting rights activists. Reporting for the BBC Palast exposed this ugly voter suppression tool in 2004 in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. That is not to suggest that voter caging did not exist elsewhere, just that the best documentation on this practice exists for those three states.

Now John Kerry, the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2004, who lost Ohio due to voter caging and other dirty voter suppression tricks, has stepped forward as lead sponsor on a bill to outlaw voter caging. Joining Kerry in co-sponsoring the Caging Prohibition Act are 12 other Democratic Senators including Presidential candidates Dodd, Obama and Clinton.

One might recall a recent incident where a college student was tasered after asking John Kerry whether he had read Greg Palast’s book “Armed Madhouse.” Lost in the discussion of whether the student should have been tasered, was Kerry’s answer to the student’s question: the junior senator from Massachusetts said that he had indeed read the book. Based on his introduction of this latest bill to ban voter caging, it would appear that Kerry decided to take action on what he learned from Palast’s book. Read the rest of this entry »

November 5, 2007

Voting rights — not a partisan issue, but an issue for all Americans

Posted in Barack Obama, DOJ, Elections, FEC, politics, Von Spakovsky, Voting Rights tagged , , , , , at 5:24 pm by bluebanshee

It is rare that another writer ties everything up in such a neat package such that I want to quote the entire thing. But today’s NYT editorial links several newsworthy items in a very cogent way so I will include the entire piece here.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/05/opinion/05mon2.html?ex=1194930000&en=4aea085a96fcccbe&ei=5070&emc=eta1

A House Judiciary subcommittee was the site of a sad spectacle the other day: John Tanner, who heads of the Justice Department’s voting section, trying to explain offensive, bigoted comments he made about minority voters. It was a shameful moment that crystallized the need for immediate steps to fight for the rights that Mr. Tanner has been working so hard to undermine.

The administration should, of course, fire Mr. Tanner. Congress should pass a bill to criminalize deceptive campaign practices. And it should reject a pending nominee to the Federal Election Commission, Hans von Spakovsky.

The Justice Department has a long history of protecting the voting rights of minorities. In the Bush administration, the department’s voting rights section has been taken over by ideologues most interested in denying the ballot to minorities, poor people and other groups likely to vote Democratic.

The Justice Department endorsed a Georgia law that would have required many voters to pay for voter IDs, a requirement that a federal judge rightly likened to a poll tax. Mr. Tanner said publicly that blacks are not hurt by ID requirements as much as whites because “they die first.” He was assuming that ID laws disadvantage elderly voters, because they are less likely to have driver’s licenses. And in Mr. Tanner’s world, blacks are likely to die before they become elderly.

As Representative Artur Davis, Democrat of Alabama, made clear in pointed questions, Mr. Tanner had no factual basis for making this claim. Mr. Davis noted that in Alabama, data from the 2004 election showed that blacks over 60 voted at a higher rate than whites over 60.

Mr. Tanner also suggested that black people are likely to have an ID because they need it when they go to check-cashing stores. Again, Mr. Davis showed that Mr. Tanner relied on stereotypes. Then a former employee of the voting section testified that Mr. Tanner regularly used “broad generalizations” and misused statistics.

There have been calls for Mr. Tanner to be removed, and he should be, but that is not enough. The Senate must refuse to confirm Mr. von Spakovsky, an anti-voting-rights advocate cut from the same cloth as Mr. Tanner, to the F.E.C. Based on his record, Mr. von Spakovsky would use the job to undermine the right to vote.

Congress should also pass the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, sponsored by Senator Barack Obama, which would criminalize misleading and intimidating actions used to prevent voters, particularly minority voters, from casting ballots.

This administration seems to believe that the right to vote is something only Democrats should care about. It is too important to be reduced to a partisan issue.

The only comment to make at the end of this is a resounding “AMEN!” Let the Hallelujah Chorus begin …

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