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Dirty Tricks

October 29, 2008

If a clerk in the voting registar’s office mistypes one of your social security numbers or drivers’ license numbers, you could lose your right to vote!
In Colorado, the Republican Secretary of State is throwing people off the voting rolls for this without warning.
In Florida, the Republican Secretary of State is doing the same. The Florida Legislature has declared “no match, no vote” so even if you did everything right and THEY made the mistake, you STILL will lose your right to vote unless you vote provisionally and then, within 48 hours, come back to verify your identity.
In Ohio, Republicans are demanding that 200,000 Ohioans have their vote challenged if, for example, their social security card says “William” but their voting card says “Bill.” Or if your driver’s license says you live on “1st Street” while your voting card says you live on “First Street.”
In Virginia, areas with large minority populations and college towns have fewer voting machines per registered voter than white, rural areas and the Republican Secretary of State has declared it illegal for county voting officials in these areas to purchase or lease voting machines to take care of the discrepancy.
In Florida, the Republican Legislature has sharply restricted the availability and hours of early polling locations.
The list goes on and on. Republicans will do anything to keep you from voting, even though they can never point to a case of actual, in-person voter fraud. (What American would risk five years in jail to add one vote to his/her candidate?)
But there is good news too. People are fighting back.
Ohio Secretary of State Brunner has fought off the Ohio challenge, even winning in the United States Supreme Court which overturned the extremely conservative Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal which sought to make her release 200,000 names so that they could be challenged by the Republican Party. In Florida, outrage at the long voting lines — the five hours it often takes people to vote early — caused so many people that waited in those lines to pull the lever against the Republican Legislators that are doing their best to stifle democracy in Florida that even the Republican Governor was forced to keep polls open past the original closing deadline of 3 pm. And in Florida and Nevada, many county officials are saying that if a voter can prove their identity at the polling place as a registered voter, they will be allowed to vote a normal ballot, even if Republicans try to disqualify a voter named William who dares to go by the name Bill.
You can do your part. If they won’t let you vote, stay calm. Get the specific reason why. Insist on your right to cast a regular ballot. Tell them where you lived and when you registered. Show ID. Get them to call the county registrar on your behalf, if necessary. If they don’t, you should. If they tell you you are registered somewhere else and you can get there on time, go there. As a last resort, cast a provisional ballot. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU NOT VOTE. YOU MUST VOTE SOMEWHERE, BY ELECTION DAY, HOPEFULLY BY REGULAR BALLOT, AND AS A LAST RESORT BY PROVISIONAL BALLOT. Defend your right to vote. If they still give you trouble, call your local Democratic Party or any of the myriad of voting defense organizations.
And if you see another fellow American being denied the right to vote, offer to intercede on their behalf. If the person accepts, help them work with the local election officials to present whatever ID is required. If they’re at the wrong precinct, drive them to the right one. If they can’t get to the other precinct, insist on their right to vote provisionally.
Do your part. And it doesn’t matter who the voter is voting for. Even if they’re voting for McCain, we as Americans have a duty to help EVERY American who is legally allowed to vote cast a ballot.

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