Nov. 21st, 2008 11:14 pm
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WHo profits from private prisons?

The Wall Street Journal tells us that private prisons are expanding in very specific places Prison companies are preparing for a wave of new business as the economic downturn makes it increasingly difficult for federal and state government officials to build and operate their own jails.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons and several state governments have sent thousands of inmates in recent months to prisons and detention centers run by Corrections Corp. of America, Geo Group Inc. and other private operators, as a crackdown on illegal immigration, a lengthening of mandatory sentences for certain crimes and other factors have overcrowded many government facilities.
Prison-policy experts expect inmate populations in 10 states to have increased by 25% or more between 2006 and 2011, according to a report by the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts.

Private prisons housed 7.4% of the country's 1.59 million incarcerated adults in federal and state prisons as of the middle of 2007, up from 1.57 million in 2006, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a crime-data-gathering arm of the U.S. Department of Justice.


So, not to put too fine a point on it, so what? Well, the problem is that the census takes place in two years, and since 1990 prisoners have been counted in the census as residents of the place they're incarcerated in. The census, which apportions, among other things, representation for states in the House of Representatives based on how they come out of the census. An awful lot of people who don't get to vote are going to be swelling the numbers in whatever states those private prisons get to settle in.
So if your neighbor gets arrested and he's shipped off to, say, South Carolina, he's not eligible to vote, but he (all five-fifths of him) is counted as a resident of South Carolina for the purposes of the Census.
Which means, bluntly, that if enough people are incarcerated in a district, they can get their very own representative based on very few people who are eligible to vote.
But no, you say. That's hypothetical and silly and does not happen. Well, no.Danny R. Young, a 53-year-old backhoe operator for Jones County in eastern Iowa, was elected to the Anamosa City Council with a total of two votes — both write-ins, from his wife and a neighbor.
While the
Census Bureau says Mr. Young’s ward has roughly the same population as the city’s three others, or about 1,400 people, his constituents wield about 25 times more political clout.
That is because his ward includes 1,300 inmates housed in Iowa’s largest penitentiary — none of whom can vote. Only 58 of the people who live in Ward 2 are nonprisoners. That discrepancy has made Anamosa a symbol for a national campaign to change the way the Census Bureau counts prison inmates.

“Do I consider them my constituents?” Mr. Young said of the inmates who constitute an overwhelming majority of the ward’s population. “They don’t vote, so, I guess, not really.”


So where has this been happening? You'll be amazed.
Twenty one counties in the United States have at least 21% of their population in prison. In Crowley County, Colorado and West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, one-third of the population consists of prisoners imported from somewhere else. And I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count, re: precisely where most of these prisoners end up
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The Sacrament of Democracy

Election Reform: Universal Registration and Early Voting Take Lead in Voting Rights Discussions

McClatchy Newspapers: Project Vote Exit Poll Analysis Shows Surge in Minority Voting

North Carolina lawmakers are proud of the record number of voters who cast ballots at one-stop sites in the weeks leading up to the election, but they were more excited about the early registration numbers

Counting Minnesota & Watching the Watchers:Franken Gains in First Day of Counting, Media Play Fast and Loose with Numbers, GOP Prepares for the Worst..

Machine Problems Worsened 2008 Voting Woes:Voting Machine Issues, Confusion Compounded Delays Faced by Untold Thousands of Voters This Fall

Voting Machine Issues, Confusion Compounded Delays Faced by Untold Thousands of Voters This Fall

During early voting and on Election Day, the Election Protection Coalition, which had a volunteer staff of 10,000 lawyers, received calls via a national hotline, 1-866-OURVOTE. The calls were notated, categorized and posted on Of 86,000 calls received this fall, about 1,900 --- or 2.2 percent --- were about the machines. Two-thirds were registration and polling place inquiries.

There were 1,700 incidents after eliminating duplicates, Hall said. These calls generally did not involve problems encountered later Tuesday night during the vote count, he said in an e-mail. In contrast, the Democratic National Committee's election protection team monitoring machine issues, including the count, recorded "thousands" of incidents, a volunteer on that team said.

The most common voter hotline complaints were "about broken machinery, long lines, long waits to vote and reports of emergency ballots being used instead of the normal mode of voting," Hall said. "However, there are some interesting features from these reports."
Machine breakdowns and electronic poll book bottlenecks --- where voters check in before voting --- lead to many delays, Hall said. He cited a report from Atlanta where all 15 voting machines in a polling place had stopped working, and a New York City report of one poll book for hundreds of voters. A shortage of e-poll book laptops was reported in Georgia, while in Maryland poll workers could not get their electronic voting systems up and running, he said, citing typical complaints.

more analysis after the break )
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[Indiana Secretary of State Todd] Rokita, of course, is an outspoken defender of one of the strictest photo ID laws in the nation. In the weeks leading up to the election, he also recommended filing charges related to bad voter registrations delivered by ACORN, the community activist group.

Then, a funny thing happened to Rokita on the way to voting:

His own absentee ballot was challenged by precinct poll workers.

According to Marion County election officials, his messily inscribed signature upon checking in to vote -- he signed it "Todd Rokita" -- did not match his neat poll book signature of "Theodore Rokita."

So what did poll workers do?

Well, they placed his ballot in a pile of provisional ballots that do not get counted until the Election Board can review the challenges one at a time after Election Day. (The board decided Friday that Rokita's ballot will indeed count in the official final tally.)

Ed Treacy, the Marion County Democratic chairman, said he thought it was "hysterical" that Rokita's vote was challenged.

"This is a person who does everything he can to repress every vote he can," Treacy said. "Now maybe he'll be able to really appreciate the sanctity of the vote."

Excuse me while I LOL.
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The F Word: The Possibility Of Change

It's not the change it's the possibility of change. That's how Barack Obama described his election on the night of November 4. " This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. " He said and he continued. "And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were."

Too right. The way things were, have led us to this point: as the data filters in... unemployment at 6.5% and rising... US consumer confidence is at the lowest point since its measurement began ... The entire industrial world is showing Negative growth for the first time since WW2...

We're in need of real change. There's no quick fix. And that's why it is less than reassuring to read over the list of economic advisers on the Obama transition team. Among them: Lawrence "women are genetically predisposed to limited science and math achievement" Summers, Robert "$200 million" Rubin, Paul "I played ball with the Reagan administration" Volker.


Did ‘08 End An Era Or Revive One?

Americans heard more about socialism and the Weather Underground during the last part of the Presidential Election campaign than most of us had heard in years.

Today's show asks -- did '08 end an era - or revive one, politically speaking-- with former Weather Underground leader Bernadine Dohrn, Jamal Joseph, former Black Panther and Photographer turned PR guru David Fenton. We look at the power of the image to affect public opinion and the power of social movements to endure. Fenton has a photo show “Eye of the Revolution” opening in NYC this weekend at the Steven Kasher Gallery.MORE

Video The Vote: Repair The Electoral System

There's plenty that needs to be fixed about our electoral system. The landslide for Obama is thrilling, but we continue to hear stories of messed-up ballots. Here's some voices from Video the Vote, produced by Sanford Lewis and Jonathan Mena. A retired judge in Ohio narrowly avoids disenfranchisement, as do citizens in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
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Early voting has just GOT TO STOP. They need to hear ALL that's going on in an election! They have no excuse, dammit. They need to vote on election day, at their OWN polling stations! And stop mucking up my parking! How interesting that the one time Republicans get out-voted in early voting procedures, this is when this numbskulls starts complaining.

I am putting it under defrauding voters to be able to easily find it.
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Making it Count: How to Protect Your Vote & Spot Dirty Tricks

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Via: Steve Benen

I'm sorry but there is NO . EX. CUSE. Not in this country, the shining city on the hill in terms of democracy. or so we tell everyone else when we barge down into their countries with election observers. WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS? Why is it that more sites weren't open for early voting? Who in the HELL didn't anticipate that this election was gonna be huge? Seriously? 3 hours, maybe 4 I can understand. But TEN???? Ppl going to the polls at 4:30am to cast a vote at 8:00am???? Really? This is fucking ridiculous.

A Voting Disaster?

Suppose in your neighborhood there are 600 registered voters per machine, while across town there are only 120 per machine. (That's a 5 to 1 disparity, which is what exists in some places in Virginia today.) On Election Day, your line wraps around the block and looks to be a four-hour wait, while in other areas lines are nonexistent.

This ought to be a crime. It amounts to a "time-tax" on your right to vote, and some of your neighbors will undoubtedly give up and go home. This scenario raises three questions: Nationwide, will it discourage tens of thousands, or untold millions? Which presidential candidate and down-ballot candidates might benefit from this "tax"? And what can be done in the next few days?

Voting rights advocates, watching this slow-motion train wreck that could disenfranchise so many minority voters, have filed emergency litigation in Virginia and Pennsylvania demanding that, at the very least, officials be prepared with plenty of paper ballots and reserves of competent poll workers. More litigation may follow elsewhere.

Judges can hold official feet to the fire, but they shouldn't have to. Assigning blame -- whether the fingers are being pointed at Congress or the Justice Department, county registrars or state legislators -- isn't crucial this week. Neither is this the time to focus on the reasons for failure -- whether indifference, incompetence, indolence or animus. What's crucial is that state and local officials nationwide salvage the situation by implementing second-best strategies: For starters, redistribute machines on the basis of voter registration, instead of assuming that minorities won't show up. Stockpile paper ballots, under lock and key, and offer a paper ballot voting option if wait times reach 45 minutes. Train platoons of reserve poll workers and stand by to shuttle them where they are needed. Commit right now to holding the polls open late if necessary. Advertise what you're prepared to do. For heaven's sake, a lot of people bled for this opportunity.MORE

Also? Sunday voting so that more people can participate. Tuesday voting was set up to allow farmers in the 1800's to get the polls as it was the day most convenient to them. Times have changed. Get with the program. Also, standard voting laws across the country, make it a federal law, change the constitution if you have to, JAIL TIME for ANYONE convicted to fucking with the right to vote, and spend the tax dollars wisely and well to get properly trained election staff. This shit is a goddamn disgrace and its past time that the richest country in the world is able to run clean and fair elections.
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Georgia gives green light to racial targeting at polls

In a bold move this week, Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) announced she was sending letters to 4,770 registered voters that they may have to cast "challenge" ballots that won't be counted on election day.

In a striking announcement, she also declared that regular citizens could address the "problem" of non-citizen voting by contesting the citizenship of fellow voters at the polls -- forcing them to also cast challenged ballots that won't be included in election day tallies.

Even more worrisome is that Handel explicitly stated that any voter's citizenship can be contested by any other voter on election day, a policy which could be used to target the state's rapidly-growing Latino population and other racial groups. As the AJC reports:
Any voter can challenge another’s qualifications to cast a ballot by notifying a precinct poll manager, Handel said. That voter then would be given a challenge ballot and would have to go before the election board.


We really, really need:
Universal Registration

The solution is to take the job of voter registration for federal elections out of the hands of third parties (and out of the hands of the counties and states) and give it to the federal government. The Constitution grants Congress wide authority over congressional elections. The next president should propose legislation to have the Census Bureau, when it conducts the 2010 census, also register all eligible voters who wish to be registered for future federal elections. High-school seniors could be signed up as well so that they would be registered to vote on their 18th birthday. When people submit change-of-address cards to the post office, election officials would also change their registration information.

This change would eliminate most voter registration fraud. Government employees would not have an incentive to pad registration lists with additional people in order to keep their jobs. The system would also eliminate the need for matches between state databases, a problem that has proved so troublesome because of the bad quality of the data. The federal government could assign each person a unique voter-identification number, which would remain the same regardless of where the voter moves. The unique ID would prevent people from voting in two jurisdictions, such as snowbirds who might be tempted to vote in Florida and New York. States would not have to use the system for their state and local elections, but most would choose to do so because of the cost savings.

How it would work )
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Why Would Anyone Want to Stop You From Voting?

5 Ways to Protect Your Vote

If there's one thing we see every election, it's that Republicans will try to manipulate the rules any way they can to prevent some people from voting. Don't be discouraged--be prepared. If we're armed with the right information, we can beat most of these dirty tricks.
  1. Be Prepared, and Conquer the Lines. We can't let long lines stop anyone from voting. There are several ways you can reduce lines and make sure they don't prevent you or anyone else from voting:
    • Vote early if you can. You can find early voting times and locations at
    • Double-check your polling location before you go to vote. You can look it up at
    • Have a Plan & Have Fun. Have a plan in case there are lines. Bring some food, drinks, friends, books, games, a chair -- anything that will prevent you and other voters from walking away. Have fun while you wait and encourage your friends and neighbors to stay in line so their vote is counted.
    • Don't give up--don't walk away without voting.
  2. Two numbers you should have in your phone. Put these numbers in your phone so you're prepared to report problems and help other voters find their polling place:
    • 866-OUR-VOTE is a hotline that's been set up to collect information about problems on election day--lawyers and election protection advocates are ready to respond. It's the best way to make sure someone addresses any problems you see.
    • The number for your local election board--in case you need to tell someone where they can vote. Enter you zip code at, then look for "Contact [your county] election officials" on the right.
  3. Beware of lies, misinformation and dirty tricks; spread the truth.
    Republican operatives are spreading plain lies to frighten new voters. In Philadelphia, anonymous flyers in Black neighborhoods have falsely claimed that voters with unpaid traffic tickets or outstanding warrants will be arrested at the polls. If you hear a scary rumor, it's probably a lie. Call your local election officials to check it out--and make sure your friends and neighbors know the truth.
  4. Leave the Obama gear at home.
    In some places, you won't be allowed into the polling place if you're wearing clothes and pins that support a given candidate. This isn't true everywhere, but it's best to play it safe. You can contact your local board of elections to find out if it's a problem in your area. If it is, bring some extra plain T-shirts or sweaters to loan neighbors who show up unaware of the rule.
  5. Read the ballot carefully, and ask questions!
    Some ballots can be confusing even for smart and informed voters. Read instructions on the ballot carefully, and if you're not sure you understand something, ask a poll worker to explain. Remember what happened in 2000 in Florida--a confusing ballot caused thousands of people to mistakenly vote for the wrong Presidential candidate. Don't let that happen to you!
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Riz Khan - Manipulating US elections - 27 Oct 08 - Part 1

The Riz Khan show looks at how electronic voting could be manipulated to flip the outcome of the 2008 US presidential election.

Riz Khan - Manipulating US elections - 27 Oct 08 - Part 2

Riz Khan - US election corruption - Oct 22 - Part 1

Is it possible that the race for the White House is already over and has in fact been stolen?

Given the issues with the 2000, 2004 and even 2006 US elections, many analysts and observers are saying the 2008 election is headed for disaster some are even saying that the fix is already in.

Allegations of voter fraud, voter intimidation and purged lists are rampant.

In this episode of Riz Khan we speak with investigative journalist and author of the New York Times Best Seller Armed Madhouse Greg Palast.

In his most recent endeavour Palast has teamed with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to produce a non-partisan guide which advises Americans on how to protect their voting rights.

Also joining the programme is David Freddoso a political reporter with the conservative magazine National Review and author of The Case Against Barack Obama.

He argues that ACORN, a liberal community-based organisation, is trying to steal the election through voter fraud.

Riz Khan - US election corruption - Oct 22 - Part 2
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Via: The Brad Blog

So about three years ago in Florida...

GOP's law created long voting lines
Three years ago, legislators passed a huge elections bill (HB 1567). Some changes were voter-friendly, such as allowing anyone to request an absentee ballot without having to give a reason why. The bill also limited early voting to eight hours a day, and to no more than eight hours on a weekend. That did away with 12-hour early voting sessions for people who work long hours.
The law also limited early voting sites to elections offices, libraries and city halls even though elections officials wanted to use other sites.
...Rep. Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton, said Friday. "The whole purpose behind it was to have uniformity."


Pinellas' early voting setup favors the GOP

By encouraging absentee ballots and limiting access to early voting, Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deb Clark has chosen a path that favors Republicans in November's election.
Clark said there's nothing partisan about her support for absentees. They're far more convenient for voters, she said, allowing them to fill out ballots at their leisure and not worry about taking time from work or standing in line.
Clark began to experiment with early voting in 2004, after it was made an option by the state Legislature. By the 2006 primary, Pinellas offered 11 locations.

Arguing that early voting's impact on overall turnout can't justify the costs involved - roughly $250,000 for a countywide election - Clark's office largely abandoned the practice and has pushed absentee ballots.
Since the general election in 2006, early voting has been offered only at the supervisor's offices in Clearwater, Largo and St. Petersburg.
Darryl Paulson, a professor of government at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, said this probably has put Republicans over the top in some elections.
Having seen big gains in new Democratic registrations, Sen. Barack Obama is encouraging supporters to vote early.
The Obama campaign, the national president of the League of Women Voters and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor have all called on Clark to open more early voting sites, but she has stood firm.

Naturally. And their excuse now that early voting is a fucking nightmare? )


Oct. 24th, 2008 10:12 pm
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Did New Mexico GOP Lawyer Hire P.I. To Intimidate Minority Voters?

Minority voters in New Mexico report to TPMmuckraker that a private investigator working with Republican party lawyer Pat Rogers has appeared in person at the homes of their family members, intimidating and confusing them about their right to vote in the general election.
Earlier this week, we reported that Rogers -- a lawyer and state committeeman for the GOP, who in previous elections worked closely with the party in pressuring New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to pursue bogus voter fraud cases -- is involved with a new effort to gin up concerns about the issue. Last week the state party falsely claimed that 28 people had voted fraudulently in a local Democratic primary race in June. Rogers, described in an Associated Press report on the allegations as "an attorney who advises the state GOP," told the news wire that the party planned to turn the suspect forms over to law enforcement authorities.
The visits to minority voters by the P.I. appear to be connected to last week's effort.
The story starts last week, when several representatives of the New Mexico Republican party, including Rogers, held a press conference to announce that 28 people had voted fraudulently in a Democratic primary in June in Bernalillo county, which contains Albuquerque. The party released the names of ten of these people -- almost all of whom are Hispanic.
The allegations quickly fell apart. ACORN announced that it had contacted the county clerk's office, who had verified that all of the voters were in fact legitimate. The group now says it has independently contacted 8 of these 10 voters to separately verify their validity.
At that point, the national GOP, which had at first jumped on the story as rare evidence of genuine voter fraud, seemed to quietly back off.
But that wasn't the end of the story.MORE

Another take on the story below:
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McCain campaign paid Republican operative accused of voter fraud

John McCain paid $175,000 of campaign money to a Republican operative accused of massive voter registration fraud in several states, it has emerged.

As the McCain camp attempts to tie Barack Obama to claims of registration irregularities by the activist group ACORN, campaign finance records detailing the payment to the firm of Nathan Sproul, investigated several times for fraud, threatens to derail that argument.

The documents show that a joint committee of the McCain-Palin campaign, the Republican National Committee and the California Republican Party, made the payment to Lincoln Strategy, of which Mr Sproul is the managing partner, for the purposes of “voter registration”.

Mr Sproul has been investigated on numerous occasions for preventing Democrats from voting, destroying registration forms and leading efforts to get Ralph Nader on ballots to leach the Democratic vote.

In October last year, the House Judiciary Committee wrote to the Attorney General requesting answers regarding a number of allegations against Mr Sproul’s firm, then known as Sproul and Associates. It referred to evidence that ahead of the 2004 national elections, the firm trained staff only to register Republican voters and destroyed any other registration cards, citing affidavits from former staff members and investigations by television news programmes.

One former worker testified that “fooling people was key to the job” and that “canvassers were told to act as if they were non-partisan, to hide that they were working for the RNC, especially if approached by the media,” according to the committee’s letter. It also cited reports from public libraries across the country that the firm had asked to set up voter registration tables claiming it was working on behalf of the non-partisan group America Votes, though in fact no such link existed.

Such activities "clearly suppress votes and violate the law”, wrote John Conyers, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. The letter suggested that the Judiciary Department had failed to take sufficient action on the allegations because of the politicisation of the department under the then-attorney general, John Ashcroft.

The career of Mr Sproul, a former leader of the Arizona Republican Party, is littered with accusations of foul play. In Minnesota in 2004, his firm was accused of sacking workers who submitted Democratic registration forms, while other canvassers were allegedly paid bonuses for registering Bush voters. There were similar charges in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Oregon and Nevada.

That year, Mr Sproul’s firm was paid $8,359,161 by the Republican Party, according to a 2005 article in the Baltimore Chronicle, which claimed that this was far more than what had been reported to the Federal Elections Commission.

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With every incident so far reported of touch-screen vote-flipping during early voting in this year's general election --- from county to county in WV and in Nashville TN) , it's been the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen machine that's failed, flipping votes from one candidate to another not chosen by the voter. In most instances, it's been an attempted Democratic vote, flipped to a Republican, or another party.
These are the same machines that lost 18,000 votes in Democratic-leaning Sarasota County in the 2006 U.S. House Race for Katherine Harris' old seat. The Democrat, Christine Jennings, was declared the loser to Republican Vern Buchanan (whose own wife had trouble voting for him that day), by just 369 votes. Several academic studies, and even the GAO, has been unable to rule out either tampering or hardware/software error for the disappeared 18,000 votes.
As we wrote earlier this week, after there was finally one report of a vote flipping from Democratic to Republican in TN (a very rare instance, btw!), these machines need to be taken out of service now, impounded and quarantined immediately, and every voter needs to be given a paper ballot where these machines are currently being used! Voters who have such problems need to let every other vote in line know which machine should not be used (and we offer other tips below, as well.)
The latest reports today of ES&S vote-flipping come from Palo Pinto County, TX, where two voters --- one of them an alternate election judge and office manager of the Palo Pinto County Democratic Headquarters --- saw straight-ticket Democratic votes flipped to straight ticket Republican votes. Two times for the first person, and three times for the alternate election judge!
The report is a doozy...
At least two Palo Pinto County residents say they experienced early voting problems when the touch-screen voting machines they used kept switching their straight-party vote from Democratic to Republican. "When I cast an early vote [Wednesday] at Palo Pinto County Courthouse, my vote was switched from Democrat to Republican right in front of my face - twice!" reported Lona Jones, a Precinct 1 county resident.
Intending to vote straight party on the Democratic ticket, Jones said she was surprised Wednesday when the electronic voting machine "on the left as you face the machines" in the courthouse basement asked her if she wanted to cast her vote for a straight Republican ticket.
Thinking she had pushed the wrong button the first time the machine "came up Republican," Jones said she repeated her intended straight-party vote.
"The second time I was sure to just touch the Democratic button," she said, further reporting that the machine responded to her selection, "'Do you want to change your Republican straight ticket vote to a Democratic vote?' I pressed, 'Yes,' then it came back up and it was a total Republican ticket again.
what to do about it as a voter, and a bit of good news )
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One in nine Democrats have been kicked off the voting rolls in New Mexico )

Since 2003, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, at least 2.7 million new voters have had their applications to register rejected. In addition, at least 1.6 million votes were never counted in the 2004 election — and the commission's own data suggests that the real number could be twice as high. To purge registration rolls and discard ballots, partisan election officials used a wide range of pretexts, from "unreadability" to changes in a voter's signature. And this year, thanks to new provisions of the Help America Vote Act, the number of discounted votes could surge even higher.

Read more... )
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Election Watchdog Group Compiles Stunning List of Recent Problems Facing Voters Nationwide

A Round-up of Problems Facing Voters Nationwide

Voter registration application backlogs.
The unprecedented registration and get-out-the-vote efforts by both parties, along with the historic nature of this election, promise to elicit a record number of voters on Election Day. Mountains of new voter registrations are causing backlogs in voter data entry - which partisans are using as reasons to keep these applicants from making it onto the rolls, as we've just seen in Ohio. Backlogs often force local election offices to send out verification and polling place information late or not at all.

In Colorado: election officials are struggling to verify thousands of voter registration forms before October 20 when early voting opens. In Georgia: a week ago, in DeKalb County about 30,000 registrations were sitting in boxes waiting to be entered. In New York, in Dutchess County, officials are telling voters that if their backlogged registrations aren't processed in time, they should request a court order to vote. In Alabama, a controversy is raging over who can be registered, contributing to the backlog of requests.MORE

More voting news )
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Pam's House Blend

While the right bleats about ACORN over voter registrations that ultimately don't matter, we have the Republicans in Michigan admitting that they wanted to prevent voters from casting ballots in an illegal scheme to purge rolls of names of people caught up in the mortgage meltdown. Marcy at FDL: Democrats and Republicans have settled the suit seeking to prevent Michigan Republicans from using foreclosure lists to challenge voters. The MDP statement on the settlement says:
An agreement announced today by Obama for America, the Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee, the Michigan Republican Party, the Michigan Democratic Party, the Macomb County Republican Party, the Macomb County Democratic Party, and plaintiffs Duane Maletski, Sharon Lopez, and Frances M. Zick protects the voting rights of foreclosure victims. The settlement acknowledges the existence of an illegal scheme by the Republicans to use mortgage foreclosure lists to deny foreclosure victims their right to vote. This settlement has the force of law behind it and ensures that Republicans cannot disenfranchise families facing foreclosure. [my emphasis]
Here's Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer on the settlement: Today's settlement protects the voting rights of all Michigan citizens and guarantees that Republicans cannot use foreclosure lists to deny or challenge anyone's right to vote. It is no surprise the Republicans back pedaled when their illegal scheme was revealed, and their surrender today ensures that Republicans cannot take advantage of the economic crisis to deny anyone's voting rights. The agreement is a win for Michigan families ready to vote for change, and we will continue to aggressively protect everyone's right to vote. [my emphasis}

Then again, Democratic ineptitude in getting to the bottom of the US Attorney firings and punishing the perpetrators got us into this mess in the first place:
Of course, as Kagro X has pointed out, Mukasey can blow off Conyers (as he has Conyers' request for more urgency on voter protection) precisely because we didn't get the evidence from Miers and Turdblossom to make this case legally before we got back into election fever.
So here we are, with the subpoenas still unenforced in the case that was supposed to crack the "administration's" engineering of bogus "voter fraud" allegations against Democrats immediately preceding critical elections wide open, and now witnessing... the "administration" engineering bogus "voter fraud" allegations against Democrats immediately preceding a critical election.
Like Alberto Gonzales, Mukasey seems to have lost all shame about allowing the GOP to play these games.

Is it too much to hope for Dems to regain their frigging spines after this election if all goes well? In teh meantime, can we have a federal law enshrining the method of voting across America applying to each and every state please? Cause this is ridiculous:

Voting a straight ticket is anything but straight in this country.

In North Carolina, if you're voting a straight-party ticket, you must vote separately for the president. If you don't, you risk your vote for president not being counted.

In Texas, Alabama and South Carolina, voting a straight-party ticket includes the president. Email rumors, of course, say otherwise.

Like Paul Rosenberg says in this EXCELLENT diary

We need to have some serious mythos mojo on the sujbect of voter suppression ourselves. This should be a major centerpiece of the next Congress, with hearings out the wazoo, not just in Washington DC where the Versailles media will try its best to ignore it, but in field hearings around the country as well.

And after the hearings, there should be legislation. Legislation to put the right to vote into the Constitution. Legislation to mandate the highest level of state responisibility to register people to vote. Legislation to ensure that voter ID laws come with strict provisions to ensure that the IDs are readily available at no charge. Legislation to mandate the highest possible level of transparency in the administration of voter registration and elections.

In short, there should be a major voting rights and election reform bill passed to address the full range of shenanigans and shortcomings that have come to light since the 2000 election. And it should be carried out in a manner that does everything possible to revive and reinforce the mythos of the civil rights movement.


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