Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stealing the Election New Jersey Style

And if we get a little lazy here thinking we can win the election because Obama is up in the polls, well think again. Along comes the Michigan GOP, the Ohio GOP, the Wisconsin GOP and voila - we have vote caging. Voter caging began just after blacks in the south finally solidified the right to vote. Before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 it was unheard of for black Americans to vote in the deep south. It is a shocking fact when you read this history. Martin Luther King, SCLC, SNCC and a little help from the greatest domestic policy President ever, Lyndon Johnson. Once the vote was solidified and African-Americans began, not only voting, but getting elected to office a new strategy needed to take place. It is called Voter Caging.

That new strategy began in none other than the Garden State. It began in the election of 1981 Governor Tom Kean v Jim Florio. In 1981, the Republican National Committee sent letters to predominantly black neighborhoods in New Jersey, and when 45,000 letters were returned as undeliverable, the committee compiled a challenge list to remove those voters from the rolls. The RNC sent off-duty law enforcement officials to the polls (who were heavily armed) and hung posters in heavily black neighborhoods warning that violating election laws is a crime." This brilliant strategy was used to perfection in Florida in 2000 and has become an art form by these Rethuglicans. Here is what they are doing this year.


In Ohio, in this election in seven weeks 600,000 voters have the potential to be removed from the list if they do not pay attention to their mail. Ohio election officials are sending out a mass mailer stamped "do not forward" to all registered voters today (Sept. 5) with an absentee ballot application and other important notices for Nov. 4. If this mailer is not responded to then the GOP will challenge these voters at the polls. A similar mailer went out in March and netted 600,000 undeliverable in five counties who can now have their vote thrown out voting under the wrong address. The National Voter Registration Act prohibits any state from purging names from the voting rolls within 90 days of an election.


James Carabelli, the Macomb County GOP leader said on the Michigan Messenger, an on-line publication that they will use foreclosure lists (those who have been so unfortunate to have their home foreclosed this year) to challenge voters at the polls. "We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren't voting from those addresses," Mr. Carabelli was quoted as saying, according to a Sept. 10 article in the Michigan Messenger. The Obama campaign immediately filed a lawsuit, an injunction to stop these tactics.


The Wisconsin GOP official (the state attorney general) filed a lawsuit in federal court has the potential to slow down poll lines in what will most undoubtedly be the highest turnout in memory. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican, filed the lawsuit Monday in Dane County Circuit Court to get ineligible voters off the rolls. It calls for a court order mandating the Government Accountability Board to cross-check voters who have registered since Jan. 1, 2006, when federal Help America Vote Act legislation required that states implement a voter database to cross-check voter registrations with Department of Transportation, criminal and death records. Criticism of the law suit say it is unnecessary and is deliberately trying to slow down the polls so people who have to work will leave and not vote.

These are the tactics we know about and that are in the public discourse. Who knows what is happening behind the closed doors of the GOP in other swing states? Similar stories have been reported in Kansas and this says nothing of the many new laws that will already disenfranchise voters which are called Voter I.D. laws that voters must show an I.D. at the polls (this is against federal law, but states are free to interpret it for themselves). I.D. laws that are supposed to stop voter fraud, but the case at the Supreme Court could not site one example of voter fraud.

The GOP and the conservative philosophy has always stood for the idea that not everyone should vote; whether you are poor, a minority, disabled, homeless, etc., they will try and stop you at the polls. That is their philosophy, make no mistake about it. If you do not agree with them they do not want you to vote. It is as simple as that. It harkens back to the deep south 1960's when black Americans were murdered and lynched over the right to vote, yet still kept on. Our vote is sacred and should never be tinkered with - ever.

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