After all these years, believe it or not, it was my first appearance on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! this morning. I was happy to appear along with my friend Harvey Wasserman of the great Columbus Free Press to discuss our many concerns about Election Day 2008, touch-screen vote-flipping, voter roll purging, and the woeful effort by the DNC and Obama Campaign to take steps to correct these enormous problems. So happy, in fact, that I almost didn't mind waking up at 4am to do the show. Almost. I hope you'll not mind the fuzzy webcam I had to use from my dark, pre-dawn cave this morning during my appearance.
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The lede: "Thousands of voters across the country must reestablish their eligibility in the next three weeks in order for their votes to count on Nov. 4, a result of new state registration systems that are incorrectly rejecting them."...
Rightwinger Laura Ingraham ably filled in for Bill O'Reilly in the "No Spin Zone" this week, by seeing her argument dismantled by constitutional attorney, prosecutor, and former (Republican-appointed) special counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, John Flannery on Fox "News."
Ingraham just couldn't believe there would be "all these reports" on the news about "massive voter fraud going on" all over the country, led by ACORN, if they weren't all true! (As we showed both here and at UK's Guardian, it's not true. It's a GOP hoax. More at our special coverage page here.)
Despite being in way over her head, having fallen for the hoax, Ingraham, naturally, played the loyal dead-ender and stuck to her empty guns. (Gosh, we hope there are no typos on Ingraham's own driver's license or voter registration, or she might find herself purged from the voting rolls entirely this November, as they're doing in Florida and so many other state, not mentioned on Fox "News," or even by the Democrats.)
The video follows below, along with further evisceration of Ingraham's "If this were happening to the benefit of the Republicans, the Democrats would be screaming fraud" argument...
See below for a rather breathtaking "Round-up of Problems Facing Voters Nationwide", such as registration backlogs, illegal voting roll purges, deceptive practices and dirty tricks, etc., now plaguing American voters across the country with just 17 days left before our country's biggest election ever.
All of that, while Fox "News" (whose asked me to come on live tomorrow, Sunday, at 2:40pm PT, btw, along with my old friend John Fund "for balance") continues to misreport, alarm and deceive their viewers in regard to the GOP's phony ACORN "voter fraud" fraud. Unfortunately, it's not just Fox who is irresponsibly and dangerously misreporting that scam --- though they seem to have made a small cottage industry out of it of late --- CNN and MSNBC have been filed loads of equally inaccurate and misleading reports on it as well.
We've been reporting on the GOP's October "Surprise" over the last few days (challenges to Democratic voter registrations in a number of states, and, perhaps more notably, their bogus PR campaign to charge that ACORN, a community organization that heroically registers millions of low-income voters who nobody else bothers to, is committing "voter fraud." See here, here and here, for example.)
But the November Surprise, as we've been trying to warn for many months (if not years), will undoubtedly be the thousands who show up to the polls to vote on November 4th, only to find out that they have somehow "fallen off" the voter rolls.
We've urged folks to check their registrations, even if they recently voted in a primary election, to make sure they haven't been purged (info on how to do that quickly in all 50 states, right here).
Today, the New York Times has published a scathing report, based on a detailed investigation revealing that "Tens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law."
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy spanked the Montana GOP's Executive Director Jake Eaton for his unsubstantiated (and since-withdrawn) challenge to 6,000 voters in Democratic-leaning counties yesterday, solely on the basis that they'd filed change of address forms within the last 18 months.
"In his zeal to protect what he sees as Montana's fragile democracy from these transient hordes," the Judge wrote in his order, in response to state Dems and even the Obama campaign who stepped up to challenge the out-and-out attempt at voter suppression, "Eaton ignored the very law that answers his challenges."
“One can imagine the mischief an immature political operative could inject into an election cycle were he to use the statutes, not for their intended purpose of protecting the integrity of the people's democracy, but rather to execute a tawdry political ploy," Malloy wrote.
"The timing of these challenges is so transparent that it defies common sense to believe the purpose is anything but political chicanery," he added before noting that the challenges clearly violate federal law, since they come so close before an election, and focused only on counties where Democratic-leaning voters live.
When we covered the Montana GOP's waving the white flag of surrender yesterday, in light of actually being challenged (for a change) by Democrats, we also noted that we hoped they would not drop their lawsuit, even as the bully-boy Republicans had decided to cut and run...
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...
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...
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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The chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, is calling on the John McCain campaign to "immediately halt Republican vote suppression efforts," as seen recently in Michigan --- where a county GOP chair announced his intention to use home foreclosure lists to challenge voter eligibility at the polls on Election Day --- and elsewhere.
Conyers has announced hearings on these issues, and is calling on Attorney General Michael Mukasey to launch an immediate "full scale investigation" into these matters. He has sent letters both to McCain [PDF] and to Mukasey [PDF] (the latter signed by 23 members of Congress) to that effect, as well as issuing the following statement today...
TALLAHASSEE — A new pitch for John McCain's presidential campaign aimed at older Democratic voters is causing complaints by Democrats and concern by elections officials.
The piece, paid for by the Republican National Committee and authorized by McCain, tells voters it is seeking to double-check their "unconfirmed" party affiliations while asking for money. A letter signed by McCain tells the Democrats: "We have you registered as a Republican."
"I was a little bit shocked and a little bit surprised," said recipient Bill Smith, 81, of Tampa, who calls himself a lifelong Democrat and has been registered at his current address since 2000.
The RNC declined to discuss the mailer, which Democrats said has landed in five counties: Duval, Hillsborough, Collier, Miami-Dade and Escambia.
The article goes on to note that FL's Republican SoS Kurt Browning believes the mailing is "confusing" and "unfortunate", but does not note whether or not he plans to do anything about it. We're not holding our breath. Neither are we holding it for Democrats down there to do much about it either.
The mailings sent to registered Democrats appear to be classic "caging" letters, marked as "Do Not Forward", so that they will then be returned to the GOP if there is any problem with delivery. Those returned letters will likely then be used as a basis to challenge the legitimacy of those particular voters on Election Day....