I’m back. The line was longer than I’ve ever seen it at my precinct – longer even than the Presidential election of 2004. One woman, who stood about half a foot taller than me, had a stack of Republican literature she was pretending to read. What she was, in fact, doing was holding it up for others to read. I nicely mentioned to her that she wasn’t allowed to have it in the voting precinct. She glared down at me over her bifocals for a moment and continued displaying her (ahem!) “wares.”
“Fine,” I thought. “I’ll take it up with the poll manager.”
And I did. The poll manager, however, was a bit intimidated when the woman shrieked at him and stared like a Deer in headlights when she asked loudly, “Do you want me leave?”
Now I’ve never been one to be intimidated by 6’5″ women in bifocals, especially those of the Republican variety, so I answered for the poll manager. “You can stay or you can go but you’re not going to keep that literature in here.”
The poll manager looked relieved and told her he’d keep if for her behind the election materials table. She practically threw it at him and then, again, gave me that patented old woman glare above the bifocals.
Here is the deal, people. Republicans have gotten used to doing pretty much whatever they please. Usually, people just don’t want to confront them. But this type of activity, even as mild as this case was, begs to be confronted and the only way we win is to call them on it.
And their has already been voting “irregularities” reported in various place. For example…
Threats of Incarceration, Changed Polling Locations, and Fliers to “Skip the Election.”
Over the past several days, voters throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia have filed complaints of incidents aimed at suppressing voter turn out in heavily Democratic and African American neighborhoods. Today, the Secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections Jean Jensen concluded that the incidents appear widespread and deliberate.
“There are now credible reports from multiple jurisdictions around the Commonwealth that establish a pattern of dirty tricks being employed to confuse and frustrate Virginia’s voters from exercising their right to vote tomorrow. In addition to reports that have been received by the Democratic Party of Virginia, these local election officials have been receiving reports from concerned voters,” said Jack Young, co-chair of Promote the Vote.
Jay Myerson, General Counsel of the Democratic Party of Virginia noted the irony that our troops are fighting to create democracy in Iraq at a time when those very rights are being tested here at home. Myerson and Young urged voters to recognize that voting precincts are not changed by telephone calls and called upon the U.S. Department of Justice to vigorously investigate these matters.
Documented incidents of suppression incidents include:
1) Calls that Voting will Lead to Arrest.
2) Widespread Calls, Allegedly from “Webb Volunteers,” Telling Voters that their Polling Location has Changed.
3) Fliers in Buckingham County Say “SKIP THIS ELECTION” (paid for by the RNC) have caused many in the African American community to call the Board of Elections to see if the election is still on. The full tag line says: “SKIP THIS ELECTION… (and then in smaller print): Don’t Let the Tax and Spend Liberals Win.”
“Intimidation of voters has no place in this or any election. The blatant attempts by Republicans to suppress the African American vote by saying: ‘SKIP THIS ELECTION’ is contrary to the democratic principles that govern our Commonwealth and we hope the world,” said Jack Young, the co-chair of Virginia Promote the Vote and a national voting rights expert.
4) Voter Machine Problems.