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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September 27, 2008

Anatomy of Voter Caging — 2008 McCain Style

Posted in 2008 election, bogus absentee ballot mailings, Elections, John McCain voter caging, voter registration, voter suppression, voting tagged , , , , at 2:39 pm by bluebanshee

Because the Republican party has a long inglorious history of voter suppression  (the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Rehnquist got his start politically as a GOP operative working to keep Democrats from voting in Arizona!) it should come as no surprise that they have gotten ever more sophisticated at it.  Admittedly their attempts in 2000 and 2004 were effective to some extent but very transparent.  Now they pretend to help you vote while ensuring that your vote will be thrown away.

Here’s how it works, step by step.  And if you should happen to be the recipient of one of these McCain mailings, call your local elections office  ASAP and verify that you are still registered to vote — and if tell the local officials about the mailing — you will be ensuring that your voter registration is current and performing a public service by letting the elections officials know what is going on. Read the rest of this entry »

September 14, 2008

Jim Crow rises from the grave as ‘Jim Crawford’

Posted in 2008 election, Crawford v Marion County Board of Elections, Elections, politics, Voter ID, voter registration, voter suppression, voting, Voting Rights tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:08 am by bluebanshee

We all thought/hoped that Jim Crow was buried once and for all with the passage of the 1965 Voting RIghts Act and subsequent court decisions affirming the right to vote without undue burdens being placed on voter.  But it looks like there is a new incarnation of the Southern voter suppression known as Jim Crow.  This time around it is being tagged ‘Jim Crawford’ after a notorious U.S. Supreme Court decision in Crawford v. Marion County (Indiana) Election Board.

In a recent Newsweek article Jonathan Alter describes the persistent effort by Republicans to keep blocs of likely Democratic voters from casting a ballot.   http://www.newsweek.com/id/158392

…white Republicans in some areas will keep eligible blacks from voting by requiring driver’s licenses. Not only is this new-fangled discrimination constitutional, it’s spreading.

GOP proponents of the move say they are merely trying to reduce voter fraud. But while occasional efforts to stuff ballot boxes through phony absentee voting still surface, the incidence of individual vote fraud—voting when you aren’t eligible—is virtually non-existent, as “The Truth About Vote Fraud,” a study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, clearly shows. In other words, the problem Republicans claim they want to combat with increased ID requirements doesn’t exist. Meanwhile, those ID hurdles facing individuals do nothing to stop the organized insiders who still try to game the system.

The motive here is political, not racial. Republicans aren’t bigots like the Jim Crow segregationists. But they know that increased turnout in poor, black neighborhoods is good for Democrats. In that sense, the effort to suppress voting still amounts to the practical equivalent of racism. Read the rest of this entry »

September 1, 2008

Operation chaos for voters — registration drive runs amok in 23 states

Posted in 2008 election, Elections, politics, voter registration, voter suppression, voting, Voting Rights tagged , , , at 11:06 am by bluebanshee

Courtesy of my colleague and friend in North Carolina, Joyce McCloy, comes this dire warning about a voter registration drive by a group called Women’s Voices Women’s Vote (WVWV) that is wreaking havoc in every state that they are targeting.  So far 23 states have borne the brunt of WVWV’s efforts.  One state  election calls their mailings “purposefully deceptive” and vows to pursue legal means to stop them in that state.

Where does WVWV get their mailing list that they send registration forms to people who have been dead for over 4 years, or to elementary school age children, or to EAC Chair Rosemary Rodriguez? Will WVWV make robo calls again in KY, NC and other states?

There’s no word yet on the NC Atty Gen’s investigation into the April robo calls in NC.  Will WVWV confuse voters during North Carolina’s early voting/same day registration period?

They’re back -Women’s Voices Women Vote registration drive sows confusion

The DC non profit “Women’s Voices Women Vote” is at it again confusing voters & burying election officials in unneccesary paperwork. WVWV has even mailed voter registration forms to 6 & 14 yr olds, dead persons, registered voters, even the Chairman of the EAC – the federal agency that overseas elections. One way to disenfranchise voters is to “gum up” the system that enfranchises them. Read the rest of this entry »

August 31, 2008

You can make elections better: Sign up for Pollworkers for Democracy

Posted in 2008 election, Election reform, Elections, voting tagged , , , , at 3:06 pm by bluebanshee

You can make a difference!  Pollworkers for Democracy is a program designed to involve ordinary citizens in the elections process this November.  Here’s the description from the Pollworkers for Democracy website:

Pollworkers for Democracy is an effort to recruit, train, and network 5,000 citizen pollworkers for the November 4, 2008 election and beyond. Official pollworkers have a vital role in running fair, accountable elections in which all eligible voters are able to cast their ballots and have them counted.

Join us as a pollworker on the front lines of democracy this November 4, or learn more about the program herehttp://act.credoaction.com/pollworkers/index.html

Take a look at the opinions about the important role played by citizens working at the polls during elections.  There is a pressing need for more and better workers  in election offices across the country.

[Poll workers are] the foundation upon which democracy rests…the cornerstone of democracy is the right to vote, but to be able to exercise that right there must be polling places and poll workers.

— Victor Salazar, Fresno County Clerk, quoted in the Fresno Bee, April 21, 2006

If the criminal justice system didn’t have access to jurors, the criminal justice system wouldn’t exist. Poll workers are just as important as jurors.

–DeForest Soaries, chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, quoted by the Associated Press

Where’s the next generation of poll workers? We need passion about this whole process and civic participation.

— Kay J. Maxwell, president of the U.S. League of Women Voters, quoted in a 2004 Associated Press article

As long as they’re breathing and they can walk in, we have to take them. The people we hire for the most part are elderly, uneducated, and frequently unemployed.

— Barbara Jackson, Baltimore’s director of elections, quoted in USA Today

POLLWORKERS FOR DEMOCRACY NEEDS YOU!

SIGN UP TODAY!

July 5, 2008

5 simple ways to increase the youth vote

Posted in election day registration, Election reform, Elections, Maryland voting, politics, Uncategorized, voter registration, voting, youth vote tagged , , , , , at 12:01 pm by bluebanshee

Much ado is made about the increased participation of the 18-25 demographic in this year’s election but their participation still lags behind that of other age groups.  Here are several ways to change election law to make their participation easier.

  • Give the office of school guidance counselor in public secondary schools legal status as a designated voter registration agency.  That way the voter registration forms can be handed out to students while they are signing up for their class schedule.  Then the forms can be sent from the school guidance counselor to the election office.  (Louisiana just passed H. 990 to make this happen in that state)
  • Allow 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register so that they are automatically registered to vote when they reach their 18th birthday.  If high school juniors and seniors get their paperwork completed well in advance they will be ready and able vote when the next election rolls around. (Rhode Island just passed the “Youth Voting Bill,”  H 7106 and S 2081and sent it to the governor for signature)
  • Allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the General Election to also vote in the Spring Primary Election.  This way their voice can be heard during a contested party primary when excitement is high and they are motivated to participate in support of their candidate.  Maryland already has made this a part of their election law, largely because of the efforts of a 17-year-old student who wanted to vote for Barack Obama.
  • Allow all voters, including high school and college students, to register to vote up until the close of polls on Election Day.  Young people are often in transition during the run-up to election day — starting college, moving to a new city, starting a new job — and often do not pay attention to an upcoming election until the deadline for voter registration has passed.  A handful of states (Wisconsin, Maine, New Hampshire and Minnesota) already allow Election Day Registration — and report the highest voter turnout numbers in the country coupled with virtually no problems with voter fraud.
  • Allow high school juniors and seniors to work at the polls.  If students can be appointed as official poll workers two problems can be solved at once — greater involvement by high schoolers in the electoral process — and trained replacements for the current crop of aging poll workers, whose median age is in the 70’s in most jurisdictions.  (in Rhode Island, H 7833, which allows high school juniors and seniors to be appointed as election officials, has been sent to the governor for signature)

Rock the Vote, Project Vote and similar voter registration outreach efforts have done outstanding work but are frequently hampered by state election laws.  If the five simple changes recommended above were to be enacted in all 50 states, their job would be much easier because they would be filling a much smaller gap and we would not have so much handwringing about the low rate of participation by the 18-25 year old demographic.

February 23, 2008

What to believe …

Posted in Elections, New Jersey primary, paper ballots, politics, voting, voting machines tagged , , , , , at 11:23 am by bluebanshee

The numbers from the cartridges that print out vote tallies and the paper-tape backup didn’t match. http://tinyurl.com/2odsco

This is the dilemma faced by election officials in several New Jersey counties including Union, Bergen, Gloucester, Middlesex and Ocean counties during the recent Presidential primary. The voting machines in question are paperless DRE’s from Sequoia. Not machines that have paper for voters to check to see that their vote was recorded correctly but machines where votes are recorded invisibly somewhere in the depths of the machine’s memory.

Now they (and we) find out that even the computer speaks with forked tongue when asked what the election results are.

The discrepancies involved the political-party turnout reporting. Sequoia Advantage machines in several counties showed different figures between the result tape from the machine and the records of a secondary memory cartridge, for the number of Democratic and Republican voters. http://tinyurl.com/269edr 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 »

November 24, 2007

Just a coincidence?

Posted in politics, Uncategorized, voter suppression, voting tagged , , , , at 5:29 am by bluebanshee

So now we find out that there has been a surge in applications for citizenship — a fairly predictable consequence of an impending fee increase. The backlog stands at about 1.4 million and the wait has jumped from 7 months to an estimated 16-18 months. Those eligible for citizenship rush to get their applications in before the deadline and the the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service is unable to cope. They say they hired 1500 new employees to deal with the deluge of applications but the backlog mushrooms out of control nonetheless.

Of course, once one remembers that Citizenship and Immigration is part of the Homeland Security department the pattern becomes clear — this is just another branch of the folks who have brought us color-coded security alerts and  the dreadful mismanagement of the Katrina disaster.   More bumbling in yet another part of Homeland  (In)Security — or so it would seem on the surface.

But wait a minute — is there a more sinister pattern here?  If these 1.4 million applicants have to wait 16-18 months to become citizens then they will probably not be able to vote in the 2008 presidential election.   This could have a significant impact on elections in several states with high concentrations of applicants such as Florida. 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 »

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