Guest Blogger: Voter Rights

by Endless Screed

 

HBO Documentary: Hacking Democracy

A few weeks ago Virginia college students received warnings that their votes would not count if they registered at their University instead of their hometown. The warnings set off a scare amongst college age voters in the area about where and how to vote that many assume largely impacted Democratic Party voters. (read more NYT)

 

Today it was announced that Macomb Michigan voters are being targeted for “voter fraud.” A local paper claimed that Republicans intended to challenge votes made by voters with home evictions; since their homes were foreclosed on their home addresses would be invalid. The Republican Party in Michigan claims that they were planning no such thing. However McCain refused to meet with community organizers who wanted to discuss the issue and the GOP Headquarters in Macomb is right next door to the foreclosure office, neither of whom would meet with community members or organizers either. The number of evictions in Michigan is just slightly less than the margin that Kerry won by in 2004 in the state. Evictions also have disproportionately impacted African American voters in Macomb a county that is likely to go completely, or nearly completely Democrat. Poor whites are actively protesting their potential disenfranchisement as well as you can see from the video below. (read more Michigan Messenger)

Also today, new Oregon residents were targeted for voter fraud by the Republican Party. Transplants from key battleground states like Florida, Michigan, and Ohio received absentee ballot request forms for their former state along with fliers about John McCain’s platform and official John McCain materials. If they were to vote absentee in other states they would not only be casting votes in battleground states but, presuming they did not vote twice, taking votes from Oregon which is also expected to vote Democrat. If the votes were challenged in any of these states, these transplant votes could then be used to claim voter fraud, even if they did not vote twice, and invalidate multiple contested states’ votes leading to a showdown like the one in Florida between Al Gore and George W. Bush.

In the mean time, Libertarian Bob Barr has challenged the right for Obama or McCain to run in Texas since neither candidate met the requirement to place their names on the ballot 70 days prior to the election. Both the DNC and the RNC took place after the 70 day deadline. (read more NYT)

Prof BW has already written about the number of immigrants whose citizenship applications have been stalled for up to 1 year while their right to vote in primaries and now potentially in the general election has been lost. Immigrants, elderly voters, and poor voters are also impacted by states who require ID cards to vote since many of them do not have Driver’s licenses or the money to pay for a state ID card in those states that offer it.

Vote tampering takes on many forms in this country and has become a regular part of certain party’s local, state, and national political bids. Two Republicans have written books about it from the inside. One, Allen Raymond, even served time for his involvement in voter tampering. (read an excerpt of his book at HuffPo)

For a non-partisan look at the problems with electronic voting, complete with an index of documented cases of miscounted or uncounted votes, see Bev Harris Black Box Voting (read it here). Or Check out the non-partisan, non-profit, voter right’s watch website of the same name Black Box Voting. (The site allows you to look up tampering issues in your own state with a search engine at the top of the page.) You can also read the most up-to-date examples of voter tampering, fraud, and counting problems in Mary Flaherty’s piece for the Washington Post and MSNBC “Election Day Could be a Mess.”

Worse Obama’s plan to support voters by having paper records of the electronic votes has already proven to be useless in Ohio where half the time the printouts were blank or illegible (read here). Spencer Overton, a legal scholar and voter right’s activist, has written a book of suggestions on how to return the vote to the people (regardless of their party affiliations) and ensure that non-partisan districting and oversite keep our votes in our hands. (read an excerpt here)

What you can do:

  • Make sure your voter registration is matched to your current address
  • volunteer for which ever campaign you support to help ensure voters are properly registered
  • Educate yourself and your communities about voter fraud in your area and be vigilant about the vote
  • Know what is required for your vote to count. Vote411, a non-partisan voter information site, has all the info you need
  • Report any solicitation to vote improperly to your local news and you attorney general or Secretary of State depending on your state. (california has a website to download report forms as well as a hotline)
  • ACORN has also launched a national voter registration and awareness campaign that you can participate in (read more here)
  • Other Great Ideas can be found at the Stealing Democracy Action page here
  • Order the 2008 Black Box Election Tool Kit (it’s free) – here

Obama has filed suit in Michigan but Al Gore filed suit in Florida and we all saw how that went.

 

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