Blog Supporters Upgrade Concerns of Appropriate Clinton Caucus Oversight into Full Blown Charges of 'Vote Suppression,' Attempts to 'Steal' Tomorrow's Race in Texas...
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2008, 6:19pm PT  

Perhaps we're missing something here?

Our friends at BuzzFlash have their top screaming headline set currently as...

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Clinton campaign training materials regarding Tuesday night's caucuses ominously advise supporters to take control of caucus sign-in sheets and vote tallies especially "if our supporters are outnumbered."

...which links over to a quick report over at the Texas blog Burnt Orange Report (also good folks, as much as we know about them.)


The quick BOR article by Glenn Smith is headlined "Clinton Caucus Disruption/Vote Suppression" and appears to be at the end of a chain of increasingly panicked blog items which began with a report from Dallas Morning News, quoted as follows by Smith...

[Clinton caucus training material] goes on to say, "If our supporters are outnumbered, ask the Temporary Chair if one of our supporters can serves as the Secretary, in the interest of fairness.

"The control of the sign-in sheets and the announcement of the delegates allotted to each candidate are the critical functions of the Chair and Secretary. This is why it is so important that Hillary supporters hold these positions."

The DMN item, headlined "Tough Caucus Strategy," was apparently first noticed by Ben Smith at Politico on Saturday, who responsibly headlined his coverage as "Texas caucus hardball."

By Saturday night a blogger at dKos --- where they routinely and outrageously ban users and purge diaries for discussing issues of Election Integrity, btw --- had upmoded the fear factor by covering the DMN article with a headline: "Hillary's Campaign Planning Dirty Tricks in TX."

The dKos post was not purged, but rather ended up on the "recommended" list over there.

By late Saturday evening then, Glenn Smith at BOR was breathlessly writing in response to the original news snippet:

Now there can be only one purpose in trying to control the tally of votes under circumstances in which a campaign knows it's outnumbered, that it will lose an honest counting of the votes: to alter the true vote. To cheat. To steal. To suppress the votes of Texas caucus attendees and subvert the caucus process.

The phrase, "if our supporters are outnumbered," means, in simpler language, "If we lose the vote, take control of the vote tally and change the numbers."

Place this alongside the Clinton campaign threats to challenge the Texas caucuses and you get a full picture of what Clinton is up to: disrupt the caucuses at all costs. Steal votes, delay the reporting of honest vote totals, throw the process into chaos, do whatever it takes.

The item has also now been emailed to us now by several folks.

People, unless we're missing something here (and we're sure someone will let us know if we are), the Clinton instructions quoted seem quite reasonable and responsible and, for that matter, not even particularly "hardball" as Ben Smith's original piece characterized them. Though at least he and DMN seem to be within the realm of reason in their coverage.

While we realize Obama supporters are an enthusiastic bunch out there, oversight and transparency in elections is a good thing. All interested parties in elections should have, and participate in, oversight of the tabulation of votes.

You'll note the original instructions from the Clinton camp noted that "delegates allotted to each candidate are the critical functions of the Chair and Secretary."

So if Clinton's supporters are outnumbered by Obama folks at any particular Caucus precinct, it likely means that an Obama supporter would become chair of the caucus. It's then perfectly reasonable for a Clinton supporter to try and at least get her/himself into the Secretary slot in order to offer a check and balance to the Chair.

Really, folks. There is much to be concerned about with tomorrow's Texas Primaucus. We suspect there will be shortages of paper ballots, long lines, folks finding themselves no longer on the registration rolls, unverifiable voting machines that don't start up so folks can't vote at all, votes flipping from one candidate to the other, along with a certainty that a great majority of the results from the Primary section of tomorrow's Primary/Caucus combo in TX will be 100% faith-based, with absolutely no way to know if any of those votes were tabulated as voters had intended.

So there's much to be justifiable concerned about. But the points being panicked about above, concerning Clinton's reasonable position that her supporters should try to avoid having entire caucuses controlled only by supporters of Obama, hardly seems to be one of them.

Unless, as we say, we're missing something here. In which case, we hope someone will let us know what that is.

Please support The BRAD BLOG's Fund Drive and our continuing coverage of your election system, as found nowhere else. Click here for a number of cool new collector's edition Premium products now available for new contributors!