By Brad Friedman on 8/7/2008, 9:29am PT  

This story is unfrickin'-believable. Or maybe it isn't. It took place in Thor Hearne country, after all. And though she didn't get arrested and thrown in jail, a similar incident happened to the Missouri Secretary of State during the 2006 election.

A voter in Kansas City on Tuesday --- one I happen to know, because he's an Election Integrity advocate in the Show Me State --- was arrested and sent to jail after he refused to show a driver's license at the polling place before attempting to vote during the state's Primary Election.

The voter is Phil Lindsey of ShowMeTheVote.org and he posted the details of his harrowing tale over at DemocraticUnderground.com, where he posts as "galloglas," after being released on Tuesday night.

He told me, via email late last night, that he's been in close touch with MO Secretary of State Robin Carnahan following the incident, and that both local media and folks such as nationally syndicated radio host Thom Hartmann have been in touch with him since the story broke last night. He was surprised, but pleased, that the incident has received so much coverage already. [UPDATE: Local Fox affiliate now covering here, for example.]

Never mind that requiring a voter to show a driver's license in MO before he or she can vote was found unconstitutional in 2006. Never mind that he showed the pollworkers a perfectly legal and proper precinct-issued voter ID card when he went to vote. Never mind that he had even called to check with the local Board of Elections before going to vote, to make sure that the ID would be acceptable. Never mind that he even brought a copy of the MO law to show the pollworkers who had demanded a driver's license (much as they had done, illegally, in a previous election he'd voted in).

The cops were called, and he ended up going to jail anyway. The charge on the citation: "Did knowingly cause a disturbance/disorderly conduct to wit: acts in a violent or tumultuous manner toward another, placing such person(s) in fear of safety by refusing to show proper I. D. when voting"...

BRAD BLOG readers may remember that Carnahan herself was told, three times, by a pollworker in 2006, that she had to show a driver's license in order to vote. Never mind that she's the Sec. of State and had some familiarity with the law in this case.

My father, as I'm originally from St. Louis, also had a similar incident, (sans the being arrested part) at the polls in 2006, which he documented for us here at the time.

Moreover, a report from the MO SoS after the 2006 election listed a number of incident reports [PDF] where voters were illegally asked for Photo IDs, and even reports of polling places illegally posting signs claiming that Photo ID was required to vote. Clearly, it wasn't an accident that so many poll workers were instructed to do exactly that. Looks like not much has changed in the two years since.

Here's how Lindsey recounts the moments after the cops arrived at the polling place, where Lindsey held his ground in refusing to proffer a different ID to the pollworkers:

One officer then turned to me and said, "This is your last chance. Leave and never come back here." I said, "You're kidding, surely. Never? And where do I vote in November?"

"Are you going?" he asked again. I asked, "You mean leave without even having an answer as to why I am not allowed to cast my ballot?"

His answer was nonverbal; but he leaned in close, and I knew he was waiting for an answer. "Uhhh... with all due respect, officer... I feel that if I did so, I would be betraying my own conscience, and setting a bad precedent for all those citizens who share my right to vote."

About two nano-seconds after finishing my sentence, an officer behind me grabbed my wrists, handcuffed me, pulled me by the arm and pushed me into the back seat of a caged police car.

Once he was finally released from jail, he went to the Eastern Jackson County Election Board upon the suggestion of both the Republican and Democratic Election Directors who had called his son (he had gone to vote with his father, and was similarly denied his right to vote) after he'd notified them of the incident.

Lindsey writes that Republican Director Charlene Davis was particularly hostile when she greeted him, but she and her Democratic counterpart eventually offered him another chance. Sort of...

The final attempt by the Board to mollify my son and I was to offer us the chance to actually vote (it was about 3:30PM then). I asked, "At our precinct?"

"No," I was told, "I'll give you a ballot right here to cast."

"Why can't we vote at our precinct?" I asked. "You have acknowledged that we were correct, and should have been allowed to vote. Why can't we."

"Well," she said, "if you go back out there, you may be arrested again."

"For what?"

"Well those judges filed a complaint the first time. I'm can't guarantee it won't happen again."

Thinking for a second, I suggested, "Why don't you go out with us? Or send someone."

Well, that was as far as she would go. The offer to cast a ballot at the Board Office. And I told her I would not be willing to vote a provisional ballot but she replied that it would not be provisional. I suggested she give me a moment to consult, by phone, with the SoS's Office. I was told that I would have to leave the building to do so.

I did so, checked on the status of the complaint I had already filed with the SoS by phone, then decided (since I doubt any race would be decided by my vote) that I did not want to chance setting any precedent by voting at the Board after having misdeneanor [sic] charges filed against me by the Election Judges.

Lindsey's story is remarkable and a chilling sign of what is likely to come --- in spades --- this November.

Missouri has historically been a fierce battleground. McClatchy's Greg Gordon called it "Ground Zero" for the GOP's voter fraud/suppression campaign in 2006, in no small part because it's home to master GOP "voter fraud" scamster, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, of the now-defunct (though they've just slithered back underground) "non-partisan" front group "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR). The BRAD BLOG first outed Hearne and his sick scheme in early 2005 and, we've been following the democracy terrorist closely ever since. It remains a mystery where Hearne, the national general counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc., close friend of Rove, received the $1 million dollars to start up his tax-exempt vote suppression outfit, even though they are legally required to disclose that information. ACVR operatives were also found to be at the center of the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal where Bush-appointed USAs were fired by the Bush-DoJ after refusing to prosecute phony voter fraud charges.

Lindsey noted in his email tonight, in regard to his fellow Missourian Hearne, "from his looks the last time I saw him, the years are wearing on him." Well, gosh, we're so sorry to hear that. Perhaps the guilt from helping to keep 90 year-old nuns, U.S. Army veterans, and untold numbers of students and minority voters who don't even try anymore, is beginning to wear on him. But I doubt it.

Lindsey's full story, as he posted it (typos and all) at Democratic Underground Tuesday night after he finally got home, has got lots of detail, but it's well worth the read. Don't say you haven't been warned.

UPDATE 8/13/08: Listen to my interview with Phil Lindsey on KPFK (L.A.'s Pacific station), now posted online right here.