November hiatus starts tomorrow. I’m sure you’ll hear from me after the election though, and the occasional post — Good News Friday seems to be popular with people, so I might try to stay on top of that. We’ll see.
Before I head out I wanted to share a few thoughts. Via Anne Laurie at Balloon Juice comes this report from Florida’s early voting GOTV effort, “Souls To The Polls.” Some strange poll watching activity was reported:
There were a few hiccups Sunday, with strange poll watchers—some authorized, some not—showing up at the Souls’ Polls site trying to cause problems. One watcher tried to challenge a voter over her acceptance of fried fish. Stories vary on what happened, but according to Lewis, a poll watcher—a white woman in a sea of black voters—reported to poll judges that a woman headed to the voting line was bribed with a fish sandwich to vote for Obama.
Another poll watcher, described by Lewis as being a Republican Party-appointed watcher, asked poll judges if they “could stop or slow down” the number of voters entering the library because it was getting crowded. Then one poll watcher tried to interrogate an 11-year-old girl about what all the fish serving and gospel music playing was about.
Janee Murphy, the mother of the 11-year-old who one of the Republican poll watchers rolled up on, said media accounts about voter intimidation underestimated the resilience of black voters.
This is what I don’t get about all of these crazy voter-suppression tactics we’ve been hearing about: stuff like mailers which list the wrong day to vote and bogus letters and whatnot. Who thinks this works? Who thinks that African American voters, who have experienced these kinds of voter suppression tactics for generations, are that stupid? My guess: only a white Republican has the hubris required to think black voters would ever fall for their shit.
Back when I was working on the Kerry campaign, we ran into this kind of stuff a lot. Republicans: it doesn’t work! It never does. Just, stop it. It makes you look like assholes. No, scratch that. It’s another reason you are assholes.
When I was a precinct captain in 2004, we got called by the NAACP about some flyers that had been posted in a senior citizen tower in a predominantly African-American neighborhood in my district. They gave the wrong day to vote, and also said — incorrectly — that a precinct had been closed. Even worse, the flyer listed the county Democratic Party as the source — which was 100% wrong. We hadn’t posted those flyers, someone else had, and tried to make it look like they were ours. We never found out who posted those flyers, but three guesses who would try to keep African American voters from the polls in a presidential election.
That was just one of many voter suppression incidents we experienced in Nashville in 2004; boy, could I tell you guys some stories! Poll workers who claimed to not know the alphabet so they’d have to go through those massive poll books page by agonizing page, slowing precinct lines to a standstill. People asked their party affiliation by poll workers, as if the general were a primary. We had to have that poll worker removed, she wouldn’t stop asking people their party affiliation, even though we told her to stop. Oh, I could go on and on.
My point is, if you think a group of people who have had the most outrageous forms of discrimination inflicted on them since forever will be so easily discouraged from voting, you are dead wrong. People who have fought so hard to be able to exercise a right which white people seem to take for granted will not be deterred. And trust me, they are not stupid. When a flyer gets posted in the housing tower lobby, they know there’s a 90% chance that it’s bullshit.
So no, your little flyer telling people to vote on November 8 or your scary little billboard telling minority voters they can go to jail for voter fraud is nothing these folks haven’t seen before. You’re just wasting your money, Mr. & Mrs. Einhorn. Why not do something productive with that extra money, like donating it to a hospital or something. Cripes.