Category Archives: voter turnout

AFP’s Bag Of Dirty Tricks

Americans For Prosperity, the Koch Bros.-group supported by Nashville moneybags Lee Beaman which is bankrolling the anti-AMP movement, has been caught perpetrating a voter suppression campaign in North Carolina.

Showing it’s nothing more than a Lee Atwater-style band of dirty tricksters, AFP was busted sending confusing, error-riddled “official” voter application forms to hundreds of North Carolina voters … and a cat. They were busted when complaints started flooding into the State Board of Elections:

The form includes incorrect or conflicting information, as outlined below, according to the State Board of Elections.

• At the top, the form states voter registrations are due 30 days before an election to the State Board of Elections’ office. Below, in smaller type, it states the deadline is 25 days before the election.

The deadline to register to vote is actually 25 days before the general election, but people should send information to their county elections board, not the state board, Lawson said. If voters do send their information to the state board, it will be forwarded to the appropriate county board, Lawson said.

• The first page also states people should return the registration to the N.C. Secretary of State’s office, though the envelope is addressed to the State Board of Elections.

• It states the Secretary of State’s office has an elections division and can answer questions about registration.

The Secretary of State’s office does not handle elections, Lawson said, though other states do house their elections division within their secretary of state’s office. The form also gives the wrong phone number for the Secretary of State’s office – the number is actually for the State Board of Elections.

• The form states that after voters mail in their information, they will be notified of their precinct by their local county clerk.

“There’s no county clerk that would do these things,” said Lawson. “It would come from the county board of elections or the elections director, under their signature.”

• The registration form also includes the wrong ZIP code for the State Board of Elections. The ZIP code associated with the board’s post office box is 27611, and the board’s office ZIP code is 27603.

Alison Beal of Wake Forest received one of the forms at her home, but it was addressed to her brother-in-law, who lives in Caldwell County. Beal is not a member of Americans for Prosperity and says her brother-in-law would not be a member either.

Beal said she quickly noticed the inaccuracies because she has been involved in past voter registration drives. She knew there was no elections division within the Secretary of State’s office, Beal said.

“I went to the Board of Elections website so I could make sure about what my suspicions were,” she said. “I’ve always been a big proponent of voting. I was like, ‘You know, this is really irritating.’ ”

Honest mistakes? Doubtful. Seems like this was sent to likely Democrats, for one thing. The idea being to spread confusion and misinformation, so people are given the idea that it’s just easier not to bother to vote.

It’s a neat trick. It’s a felony to deliberately misinform voters. AFP has plausible deniability here, “oh our woopsies, sorry!” Meanwhile, they’ve confused hundreds of people in left-leaning Raleigh. Nice try, assholes. Does anyone think this works?

Here’s where groups like Americans For Prosperity always stumble. They assume voters are stupid. They assume people don’t know better. They assume people aren’t interested and don’t care. In other words, they believe their own bullshit. What they miss is that the more you try to prevent people from voting, the more those same people are going to go the extra mile to vote, just to prove you wrong.

And these are the dishonest players who Lee Beaman has brought to Nashville to fight against mass transit and take over our school board. Watch your mailboxes, Nashville. If they’re playing dirty in North Carolina you can be damn sure they’re going to play dirty here.

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Filed under Americans For Prosperity, conservatives, Lee Beaman, voter fraud, voter turnout, voting

Before I Go-Go

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.

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Filed under 2012 presidential election, voter fraud, voter turnout

First Draft Tuesdays

I talk about voter fraud over at First Draft today …

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Filed under voter fraud, voter turnout

3rd Tennessee Voter ID FAIL

Hey Tennessee Republicans: you really want to charge World War II veterans a poll tax to vote? Seriously?

World War II veteran Darwin Spinks went to a testing center last month to get a photo ID for voting purposes. Under the law, any resident without a photo ID is supposed to get one free of charge. But when Spinks asked for an ID, he was told he had to pay an $8 fee.

First Tennessee Republicans denied 96-year-old Dorothy Cooper the specific ID she needed to vote, because she didn’t have her marriage certificate. Then 91-year-old Virginia Lasater was physically unable to stand and wait in the crowded Murfreesboro driver testing center. And now this.

Let’s remember: these folks all have ID. They have government-issued ID. What they don’t have is the specific form of ID that Tennessee’s state law has arbitrarily decided one needs to vote. Dorothy Cooper has a police-issued ID for the public housing where she lives. Not good enough! Darwin Spinks and Virginia Laseter even have driver’s licenses — but there’s no picture on them, because they’re senior citizens.

Maybe everyone should just go get a gun carry permit. That seems to be the one form of ID Tennessee Republicans think is suitable for voting. I wonder why?

Even worse, the recent MTSU poll found that most Tennesseans don’t really understand the new voter ID law or what arbitrary forms of ID are acceptable:

Just under three in four Tennesseans say they have heard that state residents who go to vote will be asked to show a photo ID starting in 2012.

— But a little over half of respondents knew that a valid employee ID issued by a major automaker to a worker at one of its Tennessee plants would be unacceptable.

— Only 32 percent knew that “a valid University of Tennessee student identification card would be unacceptable.”

— Only 14 percent knew that an expired drivers license would be acceptable

That Tennesseans are embarrassingly uninformed on something this important is about par for the course. I suspect we’ll hear a lot more horror stories on election day, when people actually show up to vote and are turned away. Some of them might — gasp! — even be Republicans.

I wonder if Bill Ketron and Debra Maggart have thought of that?

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Filed under Tennessee, voter turnout

Some Photo IDs Are More Equal Than Others

[UPDATE]:

Tennessee apparently has the second-lowest voter turnout in the nation, right behind Texas. Thanks, Tennessee Republicans, for doing your part to make us Number One!

Well, it makes perfect sense. As Bill Clinton has often said, when people vote, Democrats win. And of course, we can’t have that.

—————————————

Tennessee has one of those heinous voter suppression ID laws that Republicans love these days, even though it apparently “solves” an entirely fictitious, manufactured “problem.” In fact, the one case of vote fraud which Republican bill sponsor State Senator Bill Ketron can point to would in no way have been prevented by showing the approved forms of ID which the new law requires. Funny, that.

Democratic State Senator Roy Herron wrote an excellent op-ed in Memphis’ Commercial Appeal pointing out some obvious issues with this law, chief among them being:

Only 43 of Tennessee’s 95 counties have driver’s license centers. Half the counties in West Tennessee, and two-thirds of the counties in my state Senate district, don’t have them.

Oh well, that’s what they get for living in a district represented by a Democrat. /snark

There’s just no rhyme or reason to this law’s ID requirements, which are:

Acceptable
» Driver’s license, including expired and out-of-state
» State ID card
» U.S. passport
» Government employee ID, state or federal
» Military ID
» Handgun carry permit
Unacceptable
» Student ID, even from a state college
» Credit card with picture
» Discount club card
» Medicare card

So an out of state or expired driver’s license is okay, but a student ID is not? A credit card with a picture on it is not, but a government employee ID is? What’s up with that? If the purpose is just to authenticate identification, not residency, then any photo ID should work: work IDs, credit cards, you name it. It’s just so obviously arbitrary.

Tennessee has a special problem on its hands because it doesn’t require senior citizens over age 60 to get a photo on their drivers’ licenses, thereby making it easier for them to renew online. So now we have a whole bunch of pissed off senior citizens suddenly faced with getting picture ID’s, courtesy of the Republican state legislature.

I just don’t get why the Republicans would disenfranchise so many of their core voters this way, unless they’re so drunk on ALEC Kool-Aid they didn’t really stop to think about what they’re doing.

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Filed under Tennessee, voter fraud, voter turnout

Suppressing The Latino Vote

I guess the Republican Party has conceded the Hispanic vote, judging by this ad telling Latinos not to vote. The ad is running in Spanish and English.

Seems the guy behind this “don’t vote” campaign is linked to the Republican Party and his organization was once connected to a prominent Swift Boater.

I know, y’all are shocked. Well, not everyone is taking this lying down. Here’s a counter-ad explaining why Latinos should vote on November 2:

Back in 2004 when I was registering voters I’d occasionally run across African-American women who said they didn’t vote on religious grounds. The first time I heard that I was stunned. What religion preaches that people shouldn’t vote? They always said it was a “church” thing, as in, “my church doesn’t believe in that.” So these were Christians. Anyone know what church does not believe in voting? Is this a Jehova’s Witness thing? I honestly have no clue.

All I could think was: what better way to make sure people remain disempowered and oppressed than to tell them voting is against their religion?

[UPDATE]:

Yet another reason to vote:

PHOENIX – Lawmakers in at least 14 states are collaborating on proposed legislation to deny U.S. citizenship to children of illegal immigrants, according to lawmakers, including the sponsor of Arizona’s 2010 law targeting illegal immigration.

Gotta love those family values! Because there’s nothing more compassionate than breaking up families.

[UPDATE] 2:

DOJ investigating voter intimidation by Texas Tea Party group:

Harris County, the biggest county in the state, is where a Tea Party group called the King Street Patriots launched an anti-voter fraud initiative called “True the Vote,” which recruited poll watchers and amped up fears over groups like the community organizing group ACORN.

Chad Dunn, a lawyer who is representing the Texas Democratic Party, told TPMMuckraker a number of witnesses have been interviewed by Civil Rights Division lawyers already. “We’ve gotten a number of reports — quite a few out of the Houston area — that poll watchers, King Street Patriot training poll watchers, are following a voter after they’ve checked them out and stand right behind them,” Dunn said. There’s at least a dozen reports that they could confirm with witnesses, he said. “Interestingly, it’s all in the polling places in Hispanic and African-American areas,” he added.

Terry O’Rourke, the first assistant in the Harris County Attorney’s office, told TPMMuckraker that there have been allegations of poll watchers talking to voters, which they are not allowed to do, as well as hovering over voters as they are waiting to vote. He said the complaints came from Kashmere Gardens, Moody Park, Sunnyside and other predominantly minority neighborhoods of the county.

Of course. Because when brown people vote, Republicans lose.

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Filed under midterm elections, voter turnout

>Mr. Pot, Meet Mrs. Kettle

>ThinkProgress has an interesting item up about Bill O’Reilly, who opined on his radio show that Middle Easterners “don’t want democracy”:

In my opinion, they just don’t. They want their meals. They want to smoke. They want to go to the mosques. They want to sit around, and that’s what they want to do. Do they want to vote? Do they want to get involved? Not really.

I’m going to pass that along without comment except to point out that the citizens of Nashville/Davidson County just elected a new Mayor and a new City Council, and turnout was about 28%–nearly 13% for early voting, 15% on election day.

I guess folks were just lazy, sitting around eating, smoking and going to church.

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Filed under Bill O'Reilly, Nashville elections, voter turnout