Cheat to Win-- part 2
I forgot to write about this a couple weeks back, but with everyone going to the polls tomorrow, I figured it was important to get it out there. According to my counterparts at BvW, the Republicans are mounting a "poll-watching" operation tomorrow. Ostensibly, they will be there "to ensure that election laws are followed at the polls on Election Day" and "to back up the election judges on enforcing election laws." But remember Ohio, 2004? We all know what the real purpose of the Republican challengers was there: to decrease Democratic turnout by intimidating and disenfranchising voters in "strategically targeted precincts" (read: black urban neighborhoods.) From a great investigative report by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. that appeared in Rolling Stone:
In another move certain to add to the traffic jam at the polls, the GOP deployed 3,600 operatives on Election Day to challenge voters in thirty-one counties — most of them in predominantly black and urban areas.(157) Although it was billed as a means to ‘’ensure that voters are not disenfranchised by fraud,'’(158) Republicans knew that the challengers would inevitably create delays for eligible voters. Even Mark Weaver, the GOP’s attorney in Ohio, predicted in late October that the move would ‘’create chaos, longer lines and frustration.'’(159)
The day before the election, Judge Dlott attempted to halt the challengers, ruling that ‘’there exists an enormous risk of chaos, delay, intimidation and pandemonium inside the polls and in the lines out the doors.'’ Dlott was also troubled by the placement of Republican challengers: In Hamilton County, fourteen percent of new voters in white areas would be confronted at the polls, compared to ninety-seven percent of new voters in black areas.(160) But when the case was appealed to the Supreme Court on Election Day, Justice John Paul Stevens allowed the challenges to go forward. ‘’I have faith,'’ he ruled, ‘’that the elected officials and numerous election volunteers on the ground will carry out their responsibilities in a way that will enable qualified voters to cast their ballots.'’(161)
In fact, Blackwell gave Republican challengers unprecedented access to polling stations, where they intimidated voters, worsening delays in Democratic precincts. By the end of the day, thanks to a whirlwind of legal wrangling, the GOP had even gotten permission to use the discredited list of 35,000 names from its illegal caging effort to challenge would-be voters.(162) According to the survey by the DNC, nearly 5,000 voters across the state were turned away at the polls because of registration challenges — even though federal law required that they be provided with provisional ballots.(163)
I don't know the extent of the planned Republican vote-challenging operation in the Sixth District, but you should go to the polls knowing that you may be challenged. Don't let yourself be stopped from exercising your Constitutional right to vote. Do not leave the polling place until you have voted. If they do not let you vote, do not go quietly. If you are not allowed to vote, call the national Democratic voter assistance line at 1-888-DEM-VOTE for assistance and advice.