Columnist and Sanders supporter Harold Meyerson offers some historic warnings for other Sanders supporters; Also: More bad polls for Clinton; More bad 'track conditions' for Dems; Planet's climate crisis worsens...
Last Friday, we told you about the bogus challenges --- 6,000 of them --- made by the Montana GOP against voters in six Democratic-leaning counties in the state, based solely on the fact that the voters had filed change of address forms with the U.S. Postal Service within the last 18 months. The GOP claimed, with a straight face, they were fighting "voter fraud", even though there was indications of no such fraud, and the result was little more than chaos at the election offices, just 30 days out from a major election.
One of the GOP's challenged voters turned out to be an Army Reservist who would be unable to verify his authenticity --- and thus would lose his right to vote under the challenge --- since he was in New Jersey, about to ship out for his second tour of duty in Iraq.
Well, we've got some good news on this story, for a welcome change...
I had been intending to post an answer to the ongoing --- and quickly escalating --- ACORN smears being issued of late by the GOP enemies of democracy out there, who have decided to intensify their unsubstantiated assaults on the community organization, given its effectiveness at registering millions of low-income voters across the country.
Today's incredible raid of an ACORN office in Las Vegas --- in hotly contested Nevada, as coincidence would have it --- has forced me to push this to the top of the heap right now. I've also posted ACORN's statement on today's nonsense in Vegas at the end of this article. Note to corporate media: Be sure not to read or report on that part of the story!
With prospects looking bleak for the Republicans this November, pulling out the old ACORN lie --- in hopes of scaring people away from the polls, causing chaos in November by challenging voters when they show up to vote, and putting in place baseless grounds to contest close results later on (when the GOP become "sore losers") --- is just about all they have left at this point.
Doubtless you've heard the smears by now: that ACORN is committing "voter fraud," on behalf of Obama, in hotly contested swing states. The media have been all too happy to pass that garbage on, without bothering to note that, in fact, the organization attempts to authenticate every registration form its workers submit and by law they must turn in every form to election officials --- even if they find a registration to be fraudulent when they call the phone number submitted on the form, or if the forms are otherwise suspect or incomplete.
They do so, and they flag all questionable registration forms as being suspect before turning them in to officials.
The thanks they receive for registering millions of new voters that nobody else has bothered with, and for notifying officials about questionable registration forms when they turn them in, is that the GOP's democracy-hating propagandists and election officials run to the media shouting, "ACORN is committing voter fraud! They've turned in hundreds and thousands of fraudulent registration forms!"
Of course they have. They have to. By law. But what those GOP despots of democracy always forget to mention is that it was ACORN themselves who notified officials about the potentially fraudulent and/or incomplete forms in the first place!...
The base of the Republican Party — a dwindling but still significant group — clings to a handful of pseudo-facts that don’t hold up to serious scrutiny but that still occupy a central place in GOP ideology. Those include the assertion that Saddam Hussein represented a threat to the United States, that affirmative action in lending led to the mortgage crisis and that voter fraud is a serious problem in modern elections.
In campaign seasons such as this, when victory may turn on a handful of votes, none of those claims is more important to Republican activists than overhyped allegations of voter fraud.
She goes on to note the insidious and shameless GOP New Mexico operative, Patrick Rogers (yes, of the voter-suppresion front group "American Center for Voting Rights" and, yes, at the heart of the U.S. Attorney Purge in the state and, yes, a man willing to lie to fend off charges of vote-buying by his comrade, the disgraced, outgoing Rep. Heather Wilson), who was discovered in "a recently unearthed e-mail" to have spoken quite directly to the cynical and despicable issue of using phony claims of "voter fraud" to help keep bad voters (Dems) away from the polls, and encourage good voters (Repubs) to turn out if only to counter all those dirty, filthy, illegal aliens who are showing up (after giving their names and addresses to the federales, in order to register, presumably) to vote...
No time to go into detail on this story, before what --- I promise --- will be a very lively appearance during my weekly 5pm PT (8pm ET) appearance on The Peter B. Collins Show today, where we'll have a very special guest joining us, and before Guest Hosting the Malloy Show from 6p-9p PT (9p-Midnight ET), so lemme just get this out here breifly and let you click for more details.
[T]he Republican Party of Montana is challenging the eligibility to vote of at least 6,000 residents of that state—mostly in key Democratic strongholds—based solely on the fact that the residents have filed change-of-address cards with the U.S. Postal Service. While state GOP executive director Jacob Eaton claims the challenges are an attempt to protect “the integrity of the voting process,” such massive challenges at this late date threaten to overwhelm election officials, suppress turnout of eligible voters, and create chaos at the polls.
As noted in the Missoulan's lede graf, the 6,000 challenged were voters are "in seven counties historically considered Democratic strongholds." They also report that, "Only twice in the past 15 years has [the] Missoula County election administrator [where 3,422 of the challenges are] had anyone try to challenge another voter's eligibility."
UPDATE 10/4/08:James Sample at HuffPo reports that one of those 6,000 challenged voters who may lose their right to vote is a former MT State Rep, and an Army Reservist, currently in New Jersey because he's about to leave for Iraq. Again. He won't be able to go to Montana to confirm his authenticity, unfortunately. First Lieutenant Kevin Furey (seen at right) has released this statement:
It is ironic that at the same time I am about to return to Iraq to help build a democracy that my own right to vote is being challenged at home for partisan purposes. These challenges are a blatant and offensive attempt to suppress the rights of voters.
Once again, Republicans continue to show that they hate both democracy and the troops!
Tonight's CBS Evening News finally covered what may well be the November Surprise that we've been trying to warn about for months here at The BRAD BLOG: Massive voter roll purges being done in secret, with little or no oversight, and often under federal Justice Department cover, in states and counties around the country.
And the Democrats, who likely have the most to lose via such secret purges, are doing little or nothing about it.
The CBS story, posted below (appx 2 mins) starts with an elderly New Jersey voter who was suddenly removed from the voting rolls after thirty years, for apparently no reason whatsoever, before launching into findings from a new non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice study on "Voter Purges".
We've yet to read this Brennan report, but the brief coverage from tonight's Evening News notes 10,000 voters purged in Mississippi, 21,000 in Louisiana and "to top it off, another new study discovered 19 states are ignoring federal law (the National Voter Registration Act), banning systematic purges within 90 days of a federal election."
Among those 19, are a number of battleground states. The report lists: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Masachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington, as places where massive purges have recently taken place.
CBS ends by noting that their New Jersey voter has now been restored to the rolls, but they warn, "come Election Day, don't count on thousands of others being as fortunate"...
CBS' coverage doesn't even note that many states have now contracted the same private companies who did such a crappy job on their voting machines (companies like Diebold, ES&S and Sequoia) to manage, with the same lack of oversight, entire newly computerized state voting rolls. Names will be dropping from rolls this year by error or by evil...
As you'll note by the increase in items in John Gideon's Daily Voting News, coverage of election concerns is again reaching a fevered pitch. When it comes to election machines, most of those reports come far too late to effect any real change (other than perhaps to help encourage election officials to ensure there will be plenty of paper ballots on hand, to make sure they tell voters and poll workers about them, and then to finally count those damned ballots!)
It's clear, however, that while most election officials likely do their job honestly, there are a great number of them around the country who have little interest in voters --- certain voters --- being allowed to excercise their franchise at all.
While there is little time to do much about the machines, as they prepare to melt down, there is still time do something on the front-end voter suppression issues. Yet sadly, despite a few spotty efforts around the country, it seems those parties that do have an interest in voters actually voting (such as Obama and the DNC) have little clue about what they are facing. At least from what I've been able to learn about coordinated plans --- or lack thereof --- to combat the Republican assault on voting.
And, all the while, as Democrats dither, the well-coordinated Republican War on Democracy continues apace around the country, with new and disturbing reports coming out almost by the hour, revealing the national extent of the GOP's anti-democracy campaign.
The effort, by a number of election officials in so-called "swing states" around the country, meant to keep Democratic-leaning voters, such as students and minorities, from casting votes this year, is remarkable and growing. It is, of course, also appalling...
Why is it that some election officials in swing states have decided to discourage voting by college students? The answer seems obvious: they know how a majority of them will vote and they don’t want that.
According to our “Featured” article today one Colorado county election official sent information to one Colorado College and asked that it be promulgated to all students. The information falsely claimed that students from outside the state could not register to vote if their parents claimed them as dependents on their tax returns. When faced with the truth the official tried to claim that his office had misinterpreted state law and “mistakenly published information that was incorrect.” This same misinformation drive has also taken place in Virginia and South Carolina, amongst others...
Working on a number of deadlines today, so pardon the light posting for the moment. In the meantime, the blizzard of anti-democracy GOP voter-caging/suppression reports continue to come in from around the country.
While we will, no doubt, have more on all of the latest soon, I wanted to quickly point out the brand new Voter Suppression Wiki that was set up late last week, by Baratunde Thurston, to track some of the stuff now rolling in at an alarming pace (with vastly inadequate Obama/Dem response, as far as I can tell.)
Thurston introduced the new participatory Wiki in a HuffPo article late last week. He included, along with it, a quick introductory video that pulls just together just some of the reports piling in from just the day or two before he finally decided such a site was very much needed. That short video alone is worth a quick view, as it offers a pretty astounding collection of just a few of the most appalling incidents rolling in the news late last week, courtesy of the well-organized GOP troops marshaling the latest full-frontal assualt (surge!) in the coordinated Republican War on Democracy. Here the short video...
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We’ve been telling you that voter registration issues are going to be important this year. Even voters who have been registered for years and who have voted in recent elections may find out, when they go to the polls in Nov., that they are not eligible to cast ballots. In our “Featured” article Kim Zetter of Wired News has done a great job in gathering information on voter registration data bases and presenting that information. It’s a scary story. Everyone needs to check to ensure they are still registered to vote and that the registration is correct. Do it now while there is still time to make corrections...
Despite last week's agreement by the Dept. of Veteran Affairs to follow federal law --- after months of pressure from vet groups, members of Congress, and the public --- and relent to allow voter registration drives on the department's federal facilities, The BRAD BLOG has learned that the department is continuing to block non-partisan groups access to our wounded warriors in order to sign up voters. With most voter registration deadlines for the general election just one month away, the continuing stonewall, in this case by the San Francisco VA, continues to outrage.
The non-partisan Veterans for Peace organization has now been forced to file an emergency motion with the court in order to gain access. They contacted us this morning with the following statement...
Preminger Seeks Enforcement of Court Mandate Against VA Interference with Voter Registration Drives
By Scott Rafferty, attorney | Press Release
PUBLISHED: September 15, 2008
WASHINGTON – On September 12, 2008, the San Francisco VA prohibited Veterans for Peace (“VFP”) from registering voters, even though a recent “directive” instructs local officials to “facilitate” nonpartisan groups who wish to register voters. VFP is 501(c)(3) humanitarian and educational organization. VA officials told VFP that their visit would be delayed for at least 12 days by an investigation into each visitors “political activities” and a tuberculosis test, which requires two medical appointments. This violates a February 2008 court mandate.
In February 2008, the Federal Circuit in Washington held that VA cannot impose special requirements on visitors because of the content of their message. The Federal Circuit ruled that the VA cannot use its rule against “unauthorized demonstrations” to interfere with voter registration unless there is physical “disturbance” that also offends “decorum and decency.”
Today’s emergency motion seeks to enforce that order.
"Having registered only 414 veterans nationwide, the VA needs all the help it can get," notes the press release from VFP, which continues in full below...
In today’s featured article the Brennan Center for Justice and the Advancement Project have reported that thousands of Florida voters may be disenfranchised by a last minute decision by the Secretary of State, Kurt Browning, to enforce a “no match, no vote” law. “No match, no vote” essentially says that if a voters name or information on their registration does not exactly match their name or information on their ID they cannot vote or they can vote a provisional ballot and take the same ID to the county election office after the election to prove they are who they say they are.
"This 11th-hour decision is an ill-advised move to apply a policy the state has never enforced in its current form, at a time when registration activity is at its highest," stated Beverlye Neal, director of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP, a plaintiff in a lawsuit that challenges Florida's matching law. "The Secretary's decision will put thousands of real Florida citizens at risk due to bureaucratic typos that under the 'no-match, no-vote' law will prevent them from voting this November," said Alvaro Fernandez of the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, another plaintiff in the case.
"Voters who do everything right, who submit forms that are complete, timely, and accurate, will suddenly find themselves unregistered when they go to vote, just because someone somewhere punched the wrong letter on a keyboard," said Myrna Pérez, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice. "The no match, no vote policy is unjust and unnecessary, and Florida voters will pay the price this fall," stated Jean-Robert Lafortune, president of the Haitian-American Grassroots Coalition, another plaintiff in the lawsuit...
Several weeks ago at the UK's Guardian, I wrote about rightwing democracy-hater Paul Weyrich and his 1980 speech to 15,000 preachers in Dallas (with Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell also on the bill), in which he called for massive vote suppression. The comments, from one of the "Conservative" Movement's "founding fathers" and a Godfather of the Republicans' now-peaking, long-waged voter suppression scheme, are worth getting out there again and again --- particularly right now. The video of Weyrich's 1980 comments (:40 seconds) is at right and the text is below...
"Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome - good government. They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."
As mentioned previously, Weyrich continues as a regular consultant to the top-tier GOP power-brokers to this day, and last night the man who so eloquently elaborated the Republican Rosetta Stone of voter disenfranchisement was honored "for Life, Work and Service" at a D.C. shindig that raised "over $330,000...for the Free Congress Foundation."
"The highlight of the evening included an historic 21 gun salute video," a press release issued this afternoon (posted in full below) crows. That salute "included 30 of the country's top leaders such as author and columnist, George Will; national talk show host and author Hugh Hewitt, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R - KY), Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich; Ken Blackwell, 2008 Vice-Chairman of the Republican Convention Platform Committee and Former Ohio Secretary of State; Marion Edwyn Harrison, Esq., Free Congress Foundation; Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum; Jerry Falwell, Jr., Liberty University; Rep. Edwin Meese, III,. Heritage Foundation and Former U.S. Attorney General; Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family; Don Wildmon, American Family Association, among many others."...
Though comments as seen in the video above ought to make this man a pariah to any democracy-loving American citizen, he continues to be anything but to the GOP movement which has mainstreamed this guy, and his loathing for American values, and turned him into a movement demigod...
Three recent stories have come to light about the Republican Party's latest and sometimes illegal efforts at voter disenfranchisement. Unfortunately, these three stories are only the very tip of an enormous iceberg.
Before we go into details, please, if you're registered to vote, check on the status of your registration NOW, before you get turned away from the polls this November. You can check your registration status here with our friends at VotersUnite.org. This is even more important if you are African-American, Hispanic/Latino, elderly, a college student, or low income; statistically and historically, Americans in those four categories are disenfranchised in greater numbers than any other segment of the American populace. PLEASE check on the status of your registration. This bears repeating: Check your registration status here.
And of course, if you're not registered to vote, what in the hell are you waiting for??
First, Michigan... We've learned from the Michigan Messenger that James Carabelli, the Republican Party commissioner for Macomb County, is "planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP's effort to challenge some voters on Election Day."
Carabelli, as quoted in the Messenger, says, "We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren't voting from those addresses."
But J. Gerald Hebert, a former voting rights litigator for the U.S. Justice Department and currently the Executive Director and Director of Litigation for Campaign Legal Center, says the practice is simply illegal...
After months of pressure from state election officials, voting rights groups, veteran’s organizations, members of the US Senate, and citizens, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs has decided that it will be alright for veterans who live in VA facilities or are patients in VA facilities to be visited by non-partisan folks who want to help them register to vote. Unfortunately this decision comes just a month from the voter registration deadlines in most states. Now those groups who have fought hard to get permission to register veterans need to go do the job.
Ohio is becoming a battle ground for voter registrations. Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is going to battle against the state legislature over a law that was passed in 2006 that allows counties to remove voters from the rolls if election notices sent by the counties to the voters are returned for any reason. This is a violation of state law and federal law and the US Constitution according to her lawyers. Any voter removed from the rolls must be given due process. ...
As the youth and minority vote alone this year could make the difference in this year's Presidential election, the following chilling edict issued recently by the Registrar of Montgomery County, Virginia (home to Virginia Tech University), unfortunately comes as little surprise...and likely an omen as to what we'll be seeing much more of between her and November 4th...
The Code of Virginia states that a student must declare a legal residence in order to register. A legal residence can be either a student's permanent address from home or their current college residence. By making Montgomery County your permanent residence, you have declared your independence from your parents and can no longer be claimed as a dependent on their income tax filings --- check with your tax professional. If you have a scholarship attached to your former residence, you could lose this funding. And, if you change your registration to Montgomery County, Virginia Code requires you to change your driver's license and car registration to your present address within 30 days.
UPDATE 9/8/08:New York Times jumps into the furor on "the local registrar of elections [who] issued two releases incorrectly suggesting a range of dire possibilities for students who registered to vote at their college" and many other similar instances around the country.