Tag Archives: Florida

Commentary: Republicans Making Sure Every American Vote Isn’t Counted

US Politics Today has published an excellent op-ed by national political strategist and editor Joe Rothstein in which he examines the widespread suppression of American voters’ right to participate in the presidential election this November 4th.

Despite all of the public interest in and enthusiasm for the 2008 campaign, despite all the new voter registrations, on November 4 the number of votes cast may be considerably fewer than 120 million votes counted for Bush and Kerry in 2004. Maybe as much as 10% fewer.

Why?

Start with the fact that 39 states already have purged 13 million voters off the voters’ rolls since 2004.

Yes, you heard that right. At least 13 million voters have been purged from the rolls since 2004. That’s 10% of the 120 million votes cast in 2004 and twice as many voters than have just been added through massive registration drives.

In many states, the number of names dropped from the voters’ lists has been breathtaking: 17% in Colorado, 15% in Washington State, 14% in New York, 13% in Nevada, 10% in Missouri.

These purges are the cynical byproduct of 2000’s voting debacle. After 2000 the public demanded election reform. What the Republican Congress enacted in response was legalized vote suppression. Their idea of election reform was to set up a system that required states to match voter registrations against other computerized files such as drivers’ license and to disenfranchise those whose files don’t match—even if the mismatch is the result of a simple clerical recording error, or because of a missing middle initial or the absence of a Jr. or Sr.

Wisconsin refused to play along with this game when a test run showed one in four voters would have been eliminated because of typos and other minor problems.

In Ohio, 200,000 newly registered voters fell into the mismatch trap, and the Republicans are waging a ferocious legal battle to get their hands on those names so they can challenge them when they vote. Even a unanimous rejection by the U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t stopped the Republicans from continuing this fight. They know that the state’s electoral votes may hang in the balance.

In the first few days of early voting in Florida this week, 5,000 voters already had been rejected, mostly because of typos and variations in the spelling of peoples’ names.

The “matching” requirement is a highly effective legacy of Republican voter “reform.” Voter ID is another.

In 7 states, voters won’t be permitted to vote without valid picture ID cards. This requirement alone may change the outcome of elections in Indiana, Florida and Michigan by essentially disenfranchising those without driver’s licenses or employment ID cards.

In 17 other states some form of ID will be required to get a ballot. Just having your name on the official voter roll will not be enough.

The Republicans are also mounting their most ambitious effort ever to challenge ballots in predominantly Democratic voting precincts over any pretext. More than 1.5 million votes were thrown out in 2004 after they were classified as “spoiled” because of such minor errors as blank spaces, stray marks or tears. The losses hit hardest among minorities in low-income precincts, who are often forced to vote on antiquated machines. In 2004, the number of spoiled ballots in New Mexico—19,000—was three times George Bush’s margin of victory there.

Reporter Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. have an article in the current Rolling Stone magazine that outlines many of ways Republicans are trying to suppress the 2008 vote. Ever heard of “vote caging?” Here’s how Palast and Kennedy say it works:

“Many voters are given provisional ballots under an insidious tactic known as “vote caging,” which uses targeted mailings to disenfranchise black voters whose addresses have changed. In 2004, despite a federal consent order forbidding Republicans from engaging in the practice, the GOP sent out tens of thousands of letters to “confirm” the addresses of voters in minority precincts. If a letter was returned (unopened) for any reason–because the voter was away at school or serving in the military–the GOP challenged the voter for giving a false address.”

Bill Moyers interviewed professor Mark Crispin Miller about all this on last week’s Bill Moyers Journal and got an earful about vote suppression tactics. Crispin details them in his new book, Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy 2000-2008. For anyone who wants more detail, check out Moyers’ web site http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/ or read Miller’s book.

….Or, just pay attention to all of the mischief occurring in these last days before November 4. It’s hard to find, since the mainstream media seems to have an aversion to touching vote suppression as a real and important factor in this election.

But many bloggers are paying attention to the mysterious absentee ballots that are showing up in Democrats’ mailboxes in Nevada, trying to lure Democratic voters into sending their absentee votes to an erroneous address. Others have pointed toward the anonymous pamphlets in Philadelphia’s black precincts, warning people that police will be watching the polls to catch those delinquent in paying parking tickets. And so on.

According to the public opinion surveys, if the usual 55-60% of registered voters turn out November 4, Barack Obama will be elected President and Democrats will claim a sweeping victory in both houses of Congress. But given how close some contests are, a change of just a few percentage points can make a world a difference.

Below the surface of the daily photo ops, the TV spots and the regular news coverage, there’s a subterranean campaign in progress to discourage voting in Democratic areas, to challenge Democratic voters and ballots, and to reduce the Democratic vote count. If it works, even by a little, its impact could be literally world changing.

Making Sure Every Vote Isn’t Counted

Advertisements

Op-Ed: How Much has Palin Damaged McCain?

The Political Cortex published a insightful op-ed today on how shortsighted the selection of Alaska Governor Saray Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate has been for the GOP and the possible long term damage Gov. Palin has inflicted on Senator John McCain.

The Republican right proceeds at blinding speed to commit political suicide.

During an era when things so frequently went their way within the national political power structure, aided in no small part by a mainstream media that so often looked the other way or approved of atrocious electioneering and policymaking, right wing Republicans began to believe that power should be theirs, particularly the presidency, for the eternal taking.

Continue reading

Ooooooh, Barracuda! Sarah Palin Set To Throw John McCain Under The Bus

GOP vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin

GOP vice presidential candidate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

As previously discussed here on the Sarah Palin Truth Squad in Mean Girl: Sarah Palin Has a Way of Using “Old Boys” – Then Dumping Them When They Become Inconvenient as well as Barracuda Sarah: Palin’s Resentments of the Educated Started in Wasilla, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has a clearly documented history of manipulating people to gain their friendship and support for her personal and political agendas.  Then when Gov. Palin no longer needs those benefactors to advance her purposes she tosses them under the nearest bus and climbs over their bloodied careers while marching off in search of fresh prey. 

Continue reading

International Perspective: Pennsylvania a Key Battleground in US Election (Video)

International Perspective: America Votes – Florida Early Voting (Video)

The eyes of the world are focused on America in these last days before the 2008 presidential election on November 4th.  So how is this monumental event being covered in news reports to other countries?  NTV Kenya, the leading TV broadcast station in Kenya, Africa reports on early voting in Florida, with the journalist carefully explaining the process to his viewers back home.

BREAKING NEWS: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist Extends Florida Early Voting Hours; Some Republicans Upset (Videos)

Some Republicans think Crist has now cost McCain Florida…

In a somewhat big story, Florida Governor Charlie Crist has extended the early voting hours in Florida by an extra four hours a day, a move that Democrats were pushing for and Republicans were against. This decision will likely cause Obama to further expand his lead in Florida early voting, since the Republicans don’t seem to have have any large scale early voting GOTV program in place (they focused more on mail ballots).

At a hastily arranged news conference, Crist said the right to vote is sacred and that “many have fought and died for this right.” He said he consulted a leading Democratic legislator, Rep. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, before issuing his order, and that Gelber knew of a similar order issued by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2002 that dealt with helping voters deal with new equipment.

As to the perception that more early voting helps Democrats, Crist said: “This is not a political decision. This is a people decision.”

One well connected Florida Republican had this to say about the decision, probably overreaching a bit.

“He just blew Florida for John McCain.”

So why does this help Obama and hurt McCain? Here’s a simple explanation of it. Obama’s base tends to be in big cities and urban areas. Voting locations in big cities tend to have very long lines on election day because a single voting location serves thousands of people. This is why Obama has made such a push for early voting — he doesn’t want people to show up on election day, see long lines, and go home. McCain’s base is mostly in rural areas and suburbs. Voting locations in rural areas and suburbs tend to have no lines, because they only serve a few hundred people at most. Extending early voting hours allows the Obama camp to get more of these people in urban centers to the polls and thus reduce traffic on election day which in turn will cause shorter lines and further increase turnout.

Crist Extends Florida Early Voting Hours; Republicans Upset

Last week, all nine Democrats in the Florida congressional delegation wrote a letter urging him to expand early voting and to order all early voting sites to be open on Sunday.

Early balloting in Florida so far favors Democrats, while Republicans hold an advantage in absentee voting. Waits of up to four hours have been reported in precincts in heavily-Democratic Broward County.

And finally, this video from an earlier voter in Broward County, South Florida, who from start to finish, was able to vote today in just under 3 hours.

McCain Aides state it was “Hardest” to get Palin “Up to Speed than ANY Candidate in History” (Video)

CNNPolitics.com reports that aides for John McCain are frustrated by their ‘maverick’ vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin going all “rogue” on the Republican campaign and ignoring strategy recommendations.  Past interviews with Governor Sarah Palin’s colleagues in Alaska have confirmed this is her style … that Gov. Palin is only out for ‘team’ Sarah while steamrolling over anyone who stands in her way.  One McCain adviser said “she is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone … She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.”

Although John McCain advisers Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt are reportedly targets of Gov. Palin’s frustration at the decision to prevent media access to her early in the campaign, sources indicate Palin just was not ready and if reporters had interviewed her sooner the results would have been much worse.  Really??  Worse than the interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric??

A close McCain adviser admitted that Palin’s “lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic” and that is was probably the “hardest” to get her “up to speed than any candidate in history.”  These revalations from the Republicans should be very alarming to the American voters.

Continue reading