McCain-Palin Try to Disenfranchise New Voters

October 18, 2008 · Leave a Comment

What’s all this about ACORN, Ohio database mismatches and the like?  It’s simply the McCain-Palin campaign and the Republican party trying to intimidate new voters into either not voting, or making sure that their votes don’t count when they’re cast.

The campaign follows in a long line of disenfranchisement efforts that stretch back to Jim Crow laws, and includes the well-documented shenanigans that made the 2000 and 2004 US elections on par with third world rigged elections, and about which America should be ashamed.

The ultimate debacle of course happened in Florida – led by the embarrassing Katherine Harris (see my post on the parallels between Palin and Harris here).  There the Republican Secretary of State Harris, working in conjunction with George W. Bush lawyers and George’s brother Jeb, the Republican Governor of Florida, decided the outcome of the Presidential election by refusing to count votes made in support of the Democrat Al Gore, in addition to other procedural decisions that effectively disenfranchised the votes of those who did not support Bush.

McCain-Palin know that there has been a huge surge of new voter registrations, mostly by young and minority voters.  This surge helped Obama defeat the political machine of Hillary Clinton in the primaries.  These new voters remain energized and likely to vote in the upcoming election.  The problem is that Obama-Biden leads McCain-Palin by enormous margins.  So what’s a campaign to do?

The answer is simple:

  1. Keep voter turnout low.
  2. Don’t count votes for the opponent.

The Republicans have a long tradition of trying to scare voters they think will vote against them.  They’ve used “push polling” to give out bad advice to likely Democratic voters:  the wrong voting location, the wrong election day.  (They’ve also used “push polling” to spread lies like phantom illegitimate mixed race babies, like Bush did against McCain in the primaries, but I digress).  They’ve spread false information about the voting process or voting requirements intended to scare voters away from participation.  Yes, they’ve even starved areas of necessary resources in order to ensure long lines and more inconvenience in order to discourage voting.  Shameful, really.

Ohio matters:  perhaps you’ve read recently about the Supreme Court ruling against the Republicans.  The Supreme Court just ruled on Friday, October 17th, 2008, overturning a decision of a Federal Appeals Court.  The Republicans were trying to compel the Secretary of State of Ohio (a Democrat) to turn over to the Republicans a list of new voters for whom there were some database mismatches against other governmental lists, like the DMV record.  The Republicans were going to use this list to give to partisan poll workers who would then challenge voters individually when they came in to vote.  They would seek to either not allow the people to vote, or to have their ballots made “provisional” – meaning they’d be kept separate, not counted with the general votes, and only counted after long protracted legal wrangling if that might help the Republicans.  Think about it – the Republicans have a strategy of keeping voter turnout low and trying to prevent having people’s votes from counting.  Even if the information is faulty, or the mismatches something as simple as a change of address, or a misspelled name as the result of an error by a government worker (Sara instead of Sarah?  Palin instead of Palen?).  Most experts estimate that in excess of 80% of the mismatches are just these kinds of simple errors.  For a detailed report on the Ohio decision, read this New York Times article:  Justices Block Effort to Challenge Ohio Voters.

Who amongst you has never had a simple government data entry error with their name or address?

In addition to Ohio, McCain-Palin have made ACORN central rallying cry for their campaign recently (we can only hope this central message lasts as long as the previous 20).  ACORN is an organization that seeks to bring low income people into the political process, and to advocate for low income housing and the preservation of jobs for the low and unskilled.  As part of an effort to increase the appallingly low voter registration rates in this group, they paid canvassers to go out into these low income neighborhoods and get people to register.  Some of these 1,600 paid canvassers apparently made up names on their list.  But ACORN had a solution for this:  they themselves would segregate the names into three categories:  those that seemed to be OK, those that were probably not OK, and those that might not be OK – and they identified the names with these categories when they submitted them.  In fact, it would be illegal for the organization to “throw out” names they thought were bad.  Imagine, should an organization be able to decide what they submit and what they don’t when someone thinks they’ve signed up to vote?  I think not.  Should they be able to ask how the person will vote and then only register Democrats, or only register Republicans?  Of course not.  But the Republicans know that the efforts of ACORN are probably bringing more Democrats than Republicans to registration, so they are attempting to discredit the entire effort.  By the way, does “ACORN” sound scary to you?  If it does, it’s just an indication of how effective the right-wing scare machine is.  It stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).  Liberal?  Yes.  A threat to the very existence of democracy?  Hardly.  And we saw at the Republican convention how icky and scary this batch of Republicans like Giuliani and Palin think “community organizing” is.  More cynical politics and more class warfare, courtesy of McCain-Palin.  It would be laughable if it didn’t have such serious consequences.

The Republicans want to win at all costs.

It galls me that Republicans would seek less participation in the electoral process.  But that’s exactly what’s happening.

That’s disenfranchisement.  And that’s just palin wrong.

Categories: Bush · McCain · Palin · Palintology · Politics
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