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Hullabaloo


Sunday, October 31, 2004

 
Ground Game The Day After

At a prayer meeting here Wednesday night, Mr. Kulp led a dozen parishioners in thinly veiled prayers for President Bush's re-election. He prayed that God might do "whatever it takes on Election Day," including keeping some voters away while "bringing certain people to the polls."


The Lord helps those who help themselves, doesn't he?


An Observer investigation in the United States has uncovered widespread allegations of electoral abuse, many of them going uninvestigated despite complaints of what would appear to be criminal attempts to manipulate voter lists.

[...]

Although allegations of misconduct have been levelled at both parties recently, the majority of complaints that have been identified in The Observer' s investigation involved claims against local Republicans.

The claims, made by the BBC's Newsnight, follow alleged attempts by Republicans to illegally suppress the votes in key states. Republican spokesmen deny these allegations.



Check out eripost's Vote Watch 2004 for dozens and dozens of stories that show the pattern all over the battleground states. There has been a campaign to send election literature to people's homes and if it is returned it is used as a reason to remove the person from the rolls. In at least one case, the literature was consciously returned by Democrats in protest and in others it appears that merely failing to retrive an RNC registered letter from the post-office lands a Democrat in the fraudulent voter column.

It is now crystal clear that we are seeing a nationally coordinated vote suppression effort by the GOP. In many cases they have waited until the last possible moment to mount challenges such as trying to get voters removed from the lists for spurious reasons like not having an apartment number listed on their address. Much of this is designed to throw the electoral process into chaos in the days just before the election. Mostly, they are trying to set the stage to make voting so difficult that busy working people will not be able to stand in long tedious lines to vote.

The stories are all very similar. This is obviously coordinated at the national level.

So, ok, what do we do about it? The press is covering it in the local papers. And, if we win decisively, this whole thing may be moot.

However, if this election is as close as 2000 and legal challenges become necessary, we are going to have to be prepared with a coordinated media response. You can bet they've already got theirs planned out. And they have a problem, just like they had in 2000:

Baker spoke to the press loudly and often, and his message was Bush had won on November 7. Any further inspection would result only in "mischief." Privately, however, he knew that at the start he was on shaky political ground. "We're getting killed on "count all the votes," he told his team. "Who the hell could be against that?"


They got around that when Gore was forced to follow Florida law and show cause in specific counties to request a recount. Then they were able to reframe that argument to "he wants to count only some of the votes."

I think that the key for the Democrats is to find legitimate voters ready to go on camera on Wednesday and tell their stories of denial, intimidation, and waiting. I sincerely hope that they have a list of those who've had to defend their voting rights already and that they are prepared to line up all the voters who will be forced to stand in lines for hours because some RNC operative is holding up the line with challenges. And then there are the voters who have been challenged because of ridiculous technicalities. (This college professor is a good start.)

I hope they are prepared to write the same narrative in all the swing states where this coordinated attack occurs and will stick with their charges no matter how many times the other side dredges up Mary Poppins and Mickey Mouse. Indeed, we should point out that neither "Mary" or "Mickey" showed up to vote, since anybody can see that it was a joke, not an attempt at voter fraud.

Hopefully, none of this will be necessary. But, if we find ourselves in legal limbo, the key will be to show over and over again that legitimate voters were illegally denied the right to vote and many, many others had ridiculous roadblocks put in their way as part of a coordinated plan to slow down the voting process in highly populated areas.

Our response must be aggressive and coordinated and ready to go on Wednesday morning. You know the Republicans will be.





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