Vote Caging Schemes, Plans to Challenge Voters Part of High-Level Bush/Cheney 'Voter Fraud Strategy'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2007, 2:16pm PT  

Blogged by Brad...breaking as I must head over to the studio to the Peter B. Collins Show today...

Bad news for the RNC. New emails reveal their "Voter Fraud Strategy Conference Call" just prior to the 2004 Presidential elections, with plans to use Vote Caging lists to challenge voters in swings states from OH to PA to FL to NM. The effort seems to have been spearheaded by Tim Griffin.

Truthout gets the scoop and the collections of emails, as based on a report from PBS's NOW to air tomorrow night. Here's the skinny...

Previously undisclosed documents detail how Republican operatives, with the knowledge of several White House officials, engaged in an illegal, racially-motivated effort to suppress tens of thousands of votes during the 2004 presidential campaign in a state where George W. Bush was trailing his Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry.

The documents also contain details describing how Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign officials, and at least one individual who worked for White House political adviser Karl Rove, planned to stop minorities residing in Cuyahoga County from voting on election day.

The efforts to purge voters from registration rolls was spearheaded by Tim Griffin, a former Republican National Committee opposition researcher. Griffin recently resigned from his post as interim US attorney for Little Rock Arkansas. His predecessor, Bud Cummins, was forced out to make way for Griffin.

Another set of documents, 43 pages of emails, provided to Truthout by the PBS news program "NOW," contains blueprints for a massive effort undertaken by RNC operatives in 2004, to challenge the eligibility of voters expected to support Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in states such as Nevada, New Mexico, Florida and Pennsylvania.

One email, dated September 30, 2004, and sent to a dozen or so staffers on the Bush-Cheney campaign and the RNC, under the subject line "voter fraud strategy conference call," describes how campaign staffers planned to challenge the veracity of votes in a handful of battleground states in the event of a Democratic victory.

Furthermore, the emails show the Bush-Cheney campaign and RNC staffers compiled voter-challenge lists that targeted probable Democratic voters in at least five states: New Mexico, Ohio, Florida, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Voting rights lawyers have made allegations of so called "vote caging," against Republicans previously. These emails provide more evidence. One Republican operative involved in the planning wrote "we can do this in NV, FL, PA and NM because we have a list to run against the Absentee Ballot requests, and should."

Truthout has a bevy of emails that I haven't been able to review, but we'll have the producer of tomorrow's NOW story on the Peter B. Collins Show tomorrow (which I'm still Guest Hosting through the end of the week) to discuss this story.

And yes, Bush/Cheney '04 Inc's national general counsel, who would later go on to create the phony "grassroots" GOP front-group, American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), was right there in the thick of it all...

Another person who was asked to participate in the so-called "voter fraud strategy" conference call was Jennifer Millerwise, a former deputy communications director for the Bush-Cheney 2004 re-election campaign and *a former spokesperson for Vice President Cheney*. Millerwise was interviewed by Patrick Fitzgerald during the federal investigation into the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson.

Other participants for the conference call included Mark "Thor" Hearne. Hearne is closely aligned with Karl Rove and the RNC and has been accused of pushing for the firings of some US attorneys by at least one of the fired attorneys. Some of the attorneys believe they were fired based on their refusal to prosecute alleged cases of voter fraud.

Emails among Ohio Republican Party official Michael Magan, Coddy Johnson, then national field director of the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign, and Timothy Griffin, reveal the men were given documents that could be used as evidence to justify widespread voter challenges if the Bush campaign needed to contest the election results. Johnson referred to the documents as a "goldmine."

The valuable documents were lists of registered voters who did not return address confirmation forms to the Ohio Board of Elections. The Republican operatives compared this list with lists of voters who requested absentee ballots. In the opinion of one of the strategists, the fact that many names appeared on both lists was evidence of voter fraud. "A bad registration card can be an accident or fraud. A bad card AND an Absentee Ballot request is a clear case of fraud," according to former Bush-Cheney campaign staffer Robert Paduchik.
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The list of questionable voters that was compiled by the Ohio Board of Elections was quite similar to the vote caging lists used by the Republican campaigners. The Board of Elections sent out voter confirmation letters to targeted registered voters. The letters required the voter to return a confirmation request or have their name removed from the voter rolls. Because the confirmation letter gave the voter 60 days to respond, a voter who failed to respond to the confirmation request would still be on the voter rolls for the primary election, but would be purged prior to the general election.

Check out Truthout for the complete report and all of the emails...