An Observer investigation in the United States has uncovered widespread allegations of electoral abuse, many of them going uninvestigated despite complaints of what would appear to be criminal attempts to manipulate voter lists.What an unbelievable mess this already is! In the article, Palast goes on to refer to more problems, including Colorado Republicans trying to illegally purge 6,000 convicted felons from the electoral roll and that:
The allegations, which come just two days before Americans go to the polls in one of the most tightly contested elections in a generation, threaten to plunge Tuesday's count into a legal minefield and overshadow even the elections of 2000.
The claims come as both Republicans and Democrats put in place up to 2,000 lawyers across the country to challenge attempts to manipulate the vote in swing states.
Although allegations of misconduct have been levelled at both parties recently, the majority of complaints that have been identified in The Observer' s investigation involved claims against local Republicans.
The claims, made by the BBC's Newsnight, follow alleged attempts by Republicans to illegally suppress the votes in key states. Republican spokesmen deny these allegations.
One of the more serious claims is that no action has been taken in a complex fraud, where more than 4,000 Florida students were allegedly conned into signing a form which could lead them to be doubly registered and void their votes. The Florida Law Enforcement Department has told the complainants that it is too busy to investigate.
The attempt to purge the list of alleged felons would appear to be a re-run of the attempt by Florida Governor Jeb Bush's secretary of state to remove 93,000 citizens from voter rolls as felon convicts are not allowed to vote.GOD BLESS... America?
Investigations appear to have established that only 3 per cent of the largely African-American list were illegal voters.
OH YEAH! There's also what's going on in West Virginia. Here is clip from a press release included in a blog entry by Atrios over at Eschaton:
PRESS RELEASEI'll say it again: God Bless America?
For Immediate Release
Contact: Stephen Skinner
REPUBLICAN PARTY DECEIVING VOTERS IN WEST VIRGINIA
Charles Town, W.V., Oct . 31, 2004 – Democratic leaders in one of the nation’s most hotly-contested battleground states are receiving reports of voter suppression activities that can be traced back to the Republican Party. The suppression activities have continued despite warnings from officials in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties.
“These phone calls are outrageous and illegal,” says Michael Cassell, Chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party. “They are designed to suppress the vote for John Kerry and all democrats. The republicans were warned before, but they continue to break the law”
In mid-October, John Smalls, County Clerk in Berkeley County, W.V., sent a letter to the Eastern Panhandle Republican Party about phone calls that were traced back to its headquarters. The calls made to Democrats in this tri-county area 60 miles northwest of Washington, D.C., informed Democratic voters they were either not registered at all, or would not be able to vote on election day.
The land of the free to harrass others into not voting? Every Republican and every Democrat should be required to make it as easy as possible for EVERY CITIZEN to vote. No challenging allowed. Certainly not this close to an election. If you want to six months before an election, fine--otherwise, there's just not enough time for a legal case. Otherwise, it's too tempting for people to be petty and try to win by stopping their opponent's supporters from voting.
This is by no means the American Way.
Yikes and here's another story from Atrios, apparently some Republicans are challenging an African American Ohioan's right to vote. Here's the quick skinny on how this story came out--the Ohioan in question is a former member of the SuicideGirls.com forums. Someone else has posted a thread in the forums documenting his problems and Atrios picked up from there. In Atrios' blog entry he posted the email address of the Republican who challenged the Ohioan's right to vote encouraging all to email her and "challenge her status as a decent human being."
Then, Atrios posts about how he's gotten a nasty email threatening that he doesn't remove said Republican's email from his site, "the proper authorities will be contacted to remove your website." Atrios then points out that the Republican's email is easily found elsewhere on the web.
Seeing this blatant attempt to silence someone for something that is not at all illegal, I decided to blog on it. Here's the original post from the thread at the SuicideGirls.com forum (SG is a site for ADULTS--be warned):
Former SG member Doctashock, a resident of Toledo, Ohio, in Lucas County, has received notice that the validity of his voter registration is being challenged, and that he will have to appear in court this Saturday to answer the challenge or be denied the right to vote.
Who challenged him? One Megan Harrington, President of the College Republicans at the University of Toledo.
Miss Harrington is heavily involved with the GOP, as demonstrated by this PBS article quoting her reaction to the Presidential debates:Megan Harrington, president of the College Republicans and a sophomore majoring in political science, watched the debate at the Republican Victory Center in Maumee.On what grounds is his registration being challenged?
"Bush was consistent with his statements," Harrington said.
"Everybody knows where he stands, especially on national security and the Iraq War."
They say he doesn't live where he lives. How the fuck, then, did he receive these letters?
Here they are:
The original post continues:
Doctashock registered as an Independent, and, for the record, he says that he does not live in a predominantly black neighborhood. However, he is an African American, with a name (Jermaine) that is common among African Americans. Makes you wonder why his registration was among those selected to be challenged, considering that 90% of blacks (Republicans, Democrats, and Independents) voted for Al Gore in 2000.No, I'm not blogging this story just because I want them to post a link to my site. The point is to get this story out. Please, blog on this yourself if you have a blog.
Doctashock will show up in court to defend his right to vote. How many won't?
Miss Harrington can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com
Update: Doctashock is not a college student, and his driver's license does match his home address, and is the same address he registered at.
Update II: Say hello to the fine folks visiting us from Atrios, who has now linked to this story.
Update III: And I know this is upsetting, but please don't break any laws. Don't be a criminal like our dear friend Megan.
[Edited on Oct 30, 2004 by Keith]
Like I said above, ALL Americans should be seeking to secure the right to vote for EVERYONE. If you're challenging someone's right to vote, even if it's legal, you're being un-American. Sure, it's different if there's clear evidence of a crime or fraud, but that's obviously not what's going on here.