Another personal tale:
To Julia A. Stautberg
Director, Hamilton County (Ohio) Board of Elections
Dear Ms. Stautberg:
I am a registered voter residing in Precinct 17H. I was very surprised to find this morning that my polling station had been moved from Hayes Elementary School without warning. The only indication was an unofficial, hand-written sign posted on the school doors (apparently made by a school
employee) stating that I was to vote at Jerriel Baptist Church. Luckily, I ran into a fellow citizen on his way to Hayes to vote, and he was able to walk me to the new polling station. Like me, he had received no notification of the change in polling stations.
Is it normal to move the polling stations without notifying the residents of a precinct? What obligation does the Board of Elections have to notify voters of such a change? Not only were the residents of the precinct not notified by mail, but I do not recall seeing any prominant notification of polling places being moved in the Enquirer.
Precinct 17H is predominantly African-American, and overwhelmingly Democratic. Given that Hamilton County is a predominantly Republican county, any unannounced change in the polling station locations in a precinct like mine could be interpreted as a partisan maneuver. It deserves at least an explanation, and at most, an investigation.
A personal tale from Master Ben in Illinois:
I have had more legal hassle trying to hand out sample ballots here than you could possibly imagine, or then again, maybe you could!
Well, my day started at 6 AM when I presented my pollwatcher's credentials to the the precinct, and then I went out to the parking lot of the building (School District U-46 offices) to hand out sample flyers. (More than 100' from the door, of course.)
First I had the COP election judges come out and tell me that I couldn't do any such thing near the polling place. I told them that I certainly could, as I was more than 100' from the door. They said, NOPE, you cannot be on the property at all, and said they were going to call the cops. I retired to a pay phone and called the campaign offices and told them what was going on.
Later, a school district administrator came out and told me I couldn't distribute literature, and I told him, yes, this is public property, and I am 100' from the polls.
Then the cops arrived. They told me that they would like me to be out of the parking lot and on the sidewalk "for safety". I asked the officer if that was a police order, or only a safety advisory? And she replied "just an advisory." I continued to give out literature.
Then the school district official came out and ordered me off the lot, and off "his" sidewalk. and I said, "Is that an order, sir?" And he said, yes, I have the right to keep this school property safe. He then proceeded to go up the street and yank up all of the campaign signs from the street near the school building. I photographed him doing so for later evidence. I went back to the campaign office.
We returned a while later with one of the candidates, and a tape measure, and we measured off 100' from the door to verify we were OK, and started giving out literature. Return Mr. School official. He ordered us off the parking lot, and the candidate asserted his right to be there. And he (the candidate) proceeded to call the State's Attorney's office for clarification. We were told to be off the lot or be arrested for trespass. We retired to the sidewalk at the entrance to the lot, and give out our literature to the people driving in. This actually worked better than trying to work the lot as it was a choke point.
Next, GOP election judges came out, and told me that I was within 100' of the door, and that they were gonna call the cops. I replied that I was now 180' from the door, and that they should feel free to call the cops. I called out office again and they sent out a lawyer. Meanwhile, one of them measured the distance from the street to the door with one of those wheelie gizmos, and seemed to be QUITE disappointed when it clicked past 100 at least 80 feet from the door. Then they asked me for one of my sample ballots. They told me that it was illegal to give out a sample ballot like I was because there were NO REPUBLICAN NAMES on it!!! They filed a challenge. Out comes our lawyer again, and he went in to the polling place and read them the law, and showed them our letter from the State's Attorney saying what we may do near the polls.
Later the State's Attorney himself showed up, flashed his badge, introduced himself, and told me that what I was doing was OK so long as I do not block traffic or force literature on anybody who does not want it (which of course would be battery) and kept at least 100' from the door. I told him that they kept threatening me with arrest, and he replied that he has taken care of that, and that what I was doing was 'the name of the game'. And to stay warm. (First nice words from a Republican all day!)
Other than words not fit for the radio from Republicans when they realized that I was a Democrat, most people are very nice, and I would point out the scarce parking to the people who were coming in to vote.
The local Democratic chairwoman (who has been doing that here for 50 years) spelled me for lunch, and I am home drying my coat in the dryer. (Oh yes, I forgot to mention that all of this activity has been in a nearly freezing rain.)
I head back in 30 minutes.
Voter turnout has been VERY good. We may get 300 in this precinct when 350 is good for a presidential election year here.
Another update after the polls close.
Problems in Indiana.
The Democratic incumbent candidate for the 7th District Congressional seat attempted to vote at the Jubilee Center when the voting machine malfunctioned, RTV6's Rafael Sanchez reported.
With cameras and reporters watching, Carson entered the voting booth, and came out shortly afterward complaining that the lever didn't go down.
"Now I want you all to see this for yourself, I'm not going to pull this ... open this machine, it does not vote for Julia Carson, come look," Carson said.
As poll workers and reporters laughed -- thinking Carson was joking -- she insisted she was serious, and asked for the inspector.
Counterspin Central brings this prime example of gay-baiting to our attention.
"Democrat Bill McBride's gubernatorial campaign accused Republican Gov. Jeb Bush's campaign Monday of producing a misleading telephone message that implies McBride supports gay marriage.
But the Bush campaign denied that the calls were approved by the campaign and said they were the work of the former head of the Christian Coalition of Florida, who had been hired as a private contractor by the Republican Party of Florida.
The recorded phone message by Republican strategist, Ralph Reed, former head of the national Christian Coalition, urges potential Florida voters to choose Bush because "he is the only candidate who is pro-life, and the only candidate who supports traditional marriage."
The message ends with "This call is paid for on behalf of Jeb Bush Campaign, Republican."
Via the Drudge Report (yeah, I know):
Voters Claim Machines Broken in Florida, Vote for McBride is a Vote for Bush.
From Hesiod, a bunch of stuff.
College students often don't participate in the electoral process because it's so damn difficult. I know many students here have requested absentee ballots and not received them, having requested and re-requested them at least two or three times. Bad laws (like this one appears to be) don't seem to help any.
Voter intimidation in TN:
BOB CORNEY IS THE STATE DIRECTOR OF VICTORY 2002, AN ARM OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
HE SAYS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS ATTEMPTING TO STOP SOME TENNESSEANS FROM VOTING.
HE SAYS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY SENT A MEMO INSTRUCTING G.O.P. POLLWORKERS TO OBJECT WHEN VOTERS WHO REGISTERED UNDER THE MOTOR VOTER ACT SHOW UP TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS.
"It's illegal. I mean it's the kind of thing that we thought went out in the 50's and 60's. Something we really haven't seen in many many years," says Corney.
TENNESSEE'S STATE COORDINATOR OF ELECTIONS, BROOK THOMPSON, SAYS THE U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ALERTED HIM TO THE MEMO AND HE SENT OUT A REPLY SAYING "TENNESSEE ELECTION OFFICIALS WILL NOT ENGAGE IN SUCH ACTIVITY."
WE SHOWED THE MEMO TO A SPOKESPERSON FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND THEY SAID THERE WAS NO SUCH MEMO FROM THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.
BUT BROOK THOMPSON SAYS THAT'S NOT THE CASE.
Thompson says, "The U.S. Department of Justice contacted us and they received a memo they said the Republican party had sent and they wanted to know if we were going to address it or not."
THOMPSON THEN SHOWED FOX 17 NEWS THE MEMO WITH LINDA KNIGHT'S NAME IDENTIFIED AS THE ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.
Craig Boswell says, "You didn't send any type of info about motor voter to any poll workers?"
Elizabeth Phillips of the TN Republican Party says, "No, we did not. We are encouraging all people to get out and vote."
Boswell asks, "SO BROOK THOMPSON IS WRONG?"
Phillips responds, "No, I'm not saying that."
Boswell asks, "THEN WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?"
Phillips responds, "That there is a misunderstanding."
Boswell asks, "WHAT IS THE MIDUNDERSTANDING?"
Phillips responds, "That there is a need for clarification of information."
Via Lean Left.
NATIONAL STONEWALL DEMOCRATS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 04, 2002
CONTACT: John Marble (202) 625-1382
DEMOCRAT TARGETED WITH GAY-BAITING PHONE CALLS
WASHINGTON, DC - Below is the text of an autocall that was recently sent to independent voters in New Hampshire. The call targets Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Fernald. Fernald's Republican opponent, Craig Benson, supports repealing state non-discrimination laws which include sexual orientation, and has stated his intent to reinstate the state ban on gay adoptions. It is unclear at this point who paid for the phone calls.
TEXT OF AUTOCALL
An important message in the race for Governor.
Mark Fernald is a strong Democrat who will continue to fight for a 4% income tax, and an increase in state government spending.
Mark Fernald is the only candidate who supports legalizing homosexual marriage, like the state of Vermont.
And led the fight against efforts to make our children say the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom.
So, if you want a true Democrat who will keep fighting against the Republican agenda, on Tuesday, vote for Mark Fernald.
To show that we run elections on par with a Third World country: Swiss set to monitor Florida elections.
More election shenanigans.
Cummings also held up a flier that Democratic campaign volunteers said they found posted in some Northwest Baltimore neighborhoods, including on the doors of Pimlico Middle School.
The unsigned flier read: "URGENT NOTICE. Come out to vote on November 6th. Before you come to vote make sure you pay your parking tickets, motor vehicle tickets, overdue rent and most important any warrants."
Poll watchers in Florida are being challenged by Democrats. The poll watchers come from a group calling themselves "The Emergency Committee to Stop Bill McBride", which makes me nervous even if they are legally allowed to poll watch (which, thanks to the fact that it's much easier to exploit esoteric rules than it is to challenge the exploitation of them, they might not be), given that their express purpose is to "stop Bill McBride". They may have every right in the world to be there, but it's still more than a bit troublesome that their express goal is not the sanctity of elections, but rather to maintain a position at polling places to stop a candidate from getting elected.
John Judis in the New Republic writes an article on decreasing black voter turnout. Yeah, that's right - instead of Get Out the Vote, the idea is to Depress the Vote. The idea, which has been put around in varied forms, generally rests as such - blacks are too dependent on Democrats, so they must change their voting patterns to punish Democrats for not listening to them. It used to be that voting Republican would be a "principled stance" of some sort against Democrats ignoring the black community (although nothing is ever promised by Republicans, but hey...), now basically what they're asking is for American citizens to abridge a constitutional right and instead "try to sow doubt among blacks about the sincerity and goodwill of white Democrats."
In an update to the story posted below about Bexar county, this report makes it sound as if the votes already cast will be counted. Although, given that the judge didn't specifically rule on this, one imagines that would be open to a later challenge...
Unless turnout is ridiculously low, there is no way that voters in Broward county will have enough time to vote using the new touch screen machines. It is estimated that it should take on average 15 minutes per voter. There are 987,000 registered voters in the county. There are 5765 machines. With, say, 500,000 voters turning out that means 86 voters per machine. With polls scheduled to be open for 12 hours, that means that just over half of voters would have time to vote - assuming an even distribution of voters across machines. Election officials in Florida have declined to allow paper ballots to supplement the machines in case of long lines, and two congressmen are taking it to Ashcroft and possibly to federal court.
Full details are here.
UPDATE: Mark Kleiman and Alex Frantz have more on this.
UPDATE: Alex Frantz also notes my little slip - it's 5265 machines, not 5765.
The early-voting ballots in Bexar County (San Antonio) have been ruled illegal. Apparently, the ballot in question was not cleared by the Justice Department of Texas, and was illegally crafted.
I just had to point this out, from noted crazy Neal Boortz's "Nealz Nuz" (which smacks of a 13 year old on his first Angelfire page).
From the site:
I don’t mind people not voting … just as long as it’s the right people who are not voting. Welfare recipients, for instance, should not be permitted to vote … and this includes anyone on food stamps, anyone using Section 8 housing supplements, anyone on WIC or AFDC, and anyone who has their net income increased through the fraudulent Earned Income Tax Credit scheme.
Does the dumb bastard realize that first, the majority of welfare recipients are red staters; second, allocating the franchise based on wealth is something they do in corrupt front democracies from thinly-velied dictatorships.
Why does Neal Boortz hate America?
Note to everyone:
This is the number to call should you encounter any voting problems.
Incidentally, the South Dakota ballot forgery thing I mentioned? Josh Marshall has punctured so many holes in it that it looks like a rationale for war with Iraq.
Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AK) admonishes NRA members that "If you find someone who is not going to vote for us, put a nail in his tire. Don't let him out of the driveway." Conason makes the good point that rhetoric and activities purportedly designed to "reduce voter fraud" in actuality have a lot more to with voter suppression ahemCHOICEPOINTahem.
For those of you happening upon the site, this is a collection of reports of voting problems, errors, disenfranchisement, and other aberrations in our electoral system. I figured a compendium of the potential debacle would be great to keep for the record, especially as election reform become a more and more vital lynchpin to the functioning of our democratic society.
Plus, we need to remind ourselves that Florida is still a cesspool.
Early Florida voters encounter significant delays, and Jeb does that annoying overbearing handshake thing during a debate.
Poll worker accused of ballot forgery arrested in South Dakota.