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Friday, November 03, 2006

Steele's Republicans plan to deny the vote

I like working polls, and ears

Md. Democrats Say GOP Plans to Block Voters

By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 2, 2006; Page B06

A recently distributed guide for Republican poll watchers in Maryland spells out how to aggressively challenge the credentials of voters and urges these volunteers to tell election judges they could face jail time if a challenge is ignored.

Democrats said yesterday they consider the handbook, obtained by The Washington Post, evidence of a Republican effort to block people from voting Tuesday.

This handbook, obtained by The Washington Post, is being distributed for Republican poll watchers in Maryland.

* GOP Poll Watcher Program (PDF)

"The tenor of the material is that they are asking folks, if not directing them, to challenge voters," said Bruce L. Marcus, an attorney for the state Democratic Party. "It's really tantamount to a suppression effort."

Advocacy groups including the National Campaign for Fair Elections, Common Cause and the NAACP, as well as a George Washington University professor who is an expert on voter suppression, agreed with that assessment.

Barbara Burt of Common Cause said the technique, last seen in Ohio in the 2004 presidential election, is an "insidious voter intimidation tactic."

Republicans rebutted that charge, saying they merely are guarding against fraud. "I don't think that's borderline suppression," said state Republican Party Chairman John Kane. "It's making sure that people who have earned the right to vote are voting. We've had people die in wars to protect those rights."

No one disputes the legality of having poll watchers set up folding chairs and monitor the election on behalf of their party. Typically, though, poll watchers are present to help ensure that their party's supporters get to vote, not the other way around.

Democrats, for instance, have distributed advice to their poll watchers to "make sure that voters are not being turned away."

"The key is the perspective each party brings to the process," Marcus said. "Our philosophy is, if we have a qualified voter, we're going to turn things inside out and upside down to get them to be able to vote."

The GOP poll-watcher program, outlined in a 13-page document, states: "Your most important duty as a poll worker is to challenge people who present themselves to vote but who are not authorized to vote."

It cautions, "Undoubtedly, the challenge process will be awkward and may cause consternation on the part of the challenged voter as well as the judges." It advises, "If there is cause to make a challenge, you should not hesitate to do so merely because it upsets the challenged voter or the election judges."

It adds, "If the election judge should try to ignore your challenge, point out that they would be committing a criminal offense punishable by not less than 30 days in jail."

Jonah H. Goldman, director of the National Campaign for Fair Elections, said the program "raises serious concerns."

Boy, I bet Wayne Curry and all those spite endorsers feel pretty fucking stupid now.

Michael Steele is going to remain mute on this because that is what he does, remain silent when the rights of blacks are challenged. He might mumble some grovelling excuse about how the white folks is right, but he might not even say that.

I would love, love to be proven wrong.

posted by Steve @ 12:11:00 AM

12:11:00 AM

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