Wanda Ballentine wsb70 at comcast.net
Tue Nov 2 12:07:22 PDT 2010

Challenged voters are encouraged to call the 
Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. 
Many who find their vote challenged also have the 
right to cast a “provisional ballot

Published on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 by 

The Right Wing Gears Up to Suppress the Vote

by Laura Stampler
On November 2, GOP and Tea Party election 
observers will be coming to a polling center near 
you. Although Republicans cry “voter fraud” 
almost every year, this election is unique in 
that the GOP now has an army of Tea Party foot soldiers to man the polls.

Numerous reports have documented how state GOP 
chapters, local Tea Party groups and 
organizations like Americans for Prosperity are 
mobilizing across the country—holding training 
sessions and posting instructional videos on 
their websites about how to challenge suspicious 
voters. But the right’s concern about widespread 
voter fraud has virtually no basis in empirical 
2007 study by the Brennan Center for Justice 
found that “an American is more likely to get 
struck by lightning than impersonate another voter at the polls.”

Yet many conservatives believe that voter fraud 
is all the rage among progressives. Fox News 
commentator Michelle Malkin announced recently 
that “We are all voter fraud police now.” The 600 
people who attended 
Central Valley Tea Party coalition meeting on 
August 5th were urged to join an “Army of 
Republican Poll Watchers” because (according to 
<http://bit.ly/bYhYhq>their website) “it’s not 
just Bosnia that needs election observers to keep voter fraud in check.”

The act of voter challenging, however, is 
problematic for many reasons. It not only creates 
long lines at polling centers but also 
disenfranchises and intimidates legitimate 
voters. Below is a list of the most egregious 
attempts of so-called “voter integrity” campaigns:
·The Minnesota-based group Election Integrity 
Watch--a coalition of conservative organizations 
that includes the Northstar Tea Party Patriots 
and the Minnesota 
<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83bl7Z3xuZE>an ad 
that essentially puts a $500 bounty on the head 
of a fraudulent voter. The ad features a Mafioso 
named “Vinnie” who tells listeners to 
“fuggedabout” cheating at the polls because 
Election Integrity Watch has trained thousands of 
poll watchers and surveillance teams. An 
announcer then concludes the air-spot stating 
that rewards of up to $500 are being offered.

·In a Brennan Center briefing that served as a 
preview of voting problems to come, Wendy Weiser, 
deputy director of their Democracy Program, 
discussed <http://bit.ly/9koL9D>documents found 
on the Michigan State GOP website that details 
the GOP’s plan of operations on election day. 
(The Brennan Center saved copies of the slideshow 
in case it was taken off of the website.) The 
power point details plans to send 3,666 
challengers to the 17 counties that poll less than 35 percent Republican.

·“We know illegals are voting and that the 
Democrats are not above doing whatever it takes 
to win...legal or otherwise,” says the 
Phoenix Tea Party’s website. This level of 
absolute certainty might lead to some racially 
fueled intimidation at the polls.
·Milwaukee community groups 
large billboards that had been placed around the 
city that displayed pictures of people behind 
bars under the caption “We Voted Illegally” on 
the merits of voter intimidation. There is no 
evidence that one particular group sponsored the signs.

·An instructional video on the Houston-based King 
Street Patriots website shows a picture of an 
African American woman at a 2000 Gore-Lieberman 
recount rally carrying a sign that reads: “I only 
got to vote once.” It has since been discovered 
photo was doctored from a sign that read: “Don’t Mess with Our Vote.”

·A recent 
Jones article discusses how the Illinois state 
GOP has banded with the Illinois Republican 
Renaissance to create an “election fraud 
prevention task force.” But that’s not all. An 
audio recording of Republican candidate Mark 
Kirk--who is vying for Obama’s old seat in the US 
Senate--was leaked online. 
tape, Kirk says that he has funded the largest 
voter integrity program that will make use of 
“lawyers and other people that will be deployed 
in key, vulnerable precincts, for example, South 
and West sides of Chicago, Rockford, Metro East, 
where the other side might be tempted to jigger 
the numbers somewhat.” These are all areas with a 
large African American populations.

·The organization One Wisconsin Now (see Sarah 
the Wisconsin Right’s Voter Suppression Scheme”) 
has accused the Republican Party in Wisconsin 
along with Americans for Prosperity and local Tea 
Party groups of plotting to carry out the illegal 
practice of “voter caging.” They have provided 
and audio files on their website. Voter caging is 
when non-forwardable, official-looking mail is 
sent to registered voters. If it is returned to 
the sender, the letter can be used to challenge a 
voter on Election Day with claims that the 
address in not valid. This usually targets 
students and members of the military.
·Conservative polling security has even gone 
mobile. American Majority Action created the 
nation’s first mobile application to help 
“identify, report and track suspected incidents 
of voter fraud and intimidation.” The application 
automatically opens up the smartphone’s camera so 
that “concerned citizens” can document an event 
of fraud and fill out a report immediately. The 
app is free and compatible with iPhone, Blackberry and Droid.

Challenged voters are encouraged to call the 
Election Protection hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. 
Many who find their vote challenged also have the 
right to cast a “provisional ballot.”
© 2010 The Nation

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