Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Damaging Democracy


Do you think Iraq has some purple ink they could spare?

Almost from the moment U.S. polls opened today, reports of Republican Party efforts to intimidate, harass, and out-right deny the right to vote began rolling in from across the nation. Josh Marshall at TPM is keeping tabs.

The Washington Post reports those deceptive "robo-calls" that many are getting also have been traced back directly to the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C.
Some voters, sick of interrupted dinners and evenings, say they will punish the offending parties by opposing them in today's elections. But critics say Republicans crafted the messages to delude voters -- especially those who hang up quickly -- into thinking that Democrats placed the calls.

* * *
[T]he NRCC recently spent about $600,000 in at least 45 contested House districts for robo-calls, which are among the least expensive campaign tools. The brief calls typically begin with a speaker offering "some information" about the Democratic nominee and then immediately accusing the nominee of seeking to raise taxes, among other perceived wrongs.

Many voters hang up as soon as a robo-call begins -- without waiting for the criticisms or the NRCC sign-off at the end -- so they think it was placed by the Democratic candidate named at the start,
Early this morning the Election Incident Reporting System of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law was providing up to date information on poll problems around the country. By 9:30 am CST, however, it seemed to be on the brink of crashing, possibly from too many users.

Try to directly access the "Nov. 7 Matrix report", anyway. Once you get through, click on a state to get details for any locale. The last time we succeeded in getting through, Florida was running second only to Ohio in voter complaints of broken machines, wrongful denial of a ballot, and voter intimidation by partisan poll watchers.


The EIRS has had to restrict access to their own field reporters "due to massive traffic volume." They're promising to "summarize findings during the day for the public and make a full report... after the election."

Sounds like there are a lot complaints rolling in. Problems with electronic voting machines are being reported in Houston... Cleveland ... Missouri ... Iowa ... Pennsylvania ... Indiana... Florida, Colorado... New Jersey ... etc. etc.

Voter intimidation complaints are being investigated in Virginia ... Kentucky ... Suppression calls giving voters the wrong polling place have been reported in New Mexico ... And so it will go all day long, we expect.

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