By now it’s well known that certain elements of our political system have used the last four years to figure out and pull just about every trick in the book in order to suppress Tuesday’s vote.
Most of them are arrayed against President Obama. They desperately want him to lose the election.
Some of the tricks are legal, such as voter ID requirements. A bunch of states controlled by Republican legislatures passed onerous requirements, such as the necessity of having a state-issued photo ID to vote. In many, courts have struck those down. Virginia toughened its voter ID requirements, too, though ours are less onerous.
In other states such as Ohio and Florida, the Secretary of State and governor have issued confusing and in some cases illegal orders to limit early voting. Those have also been challenged in court by Democrats (who also challenged Pennsylvania’s ID law) and in many cases judges have overturned that stuff.
In still more states, outfits like the Republican-linked Strategic Allied Consulting have been conducting “voter registration” drives. Suspicions are high that the registration workers, if they had a hint you would vote Democrat, would toss your application in the trash. A former SAC worker in Virginia was caught doing this and has been criminally charged with an array of felonies and misdemeanors. SAC, incidentally, shared a mailing address in Warrenton with Karl Rove’s advocacy group for Romney, Crossroads GPS. I doubt that’s a coincidence.
After Virginia’s top officials (who are Republicans) were embarrassed into investigating, they announced they would. And they say they’ve expanded their investigation to see if Colin Small’s alleged misdeeds were also performed by as many as 40 of his colleagues in the commonwealth. If they were, there are going to be a lot of people who believe they’re registered, who will show up at the polls tomorrow and find out they’re not.
There are other tricks happening, too.
In one case in Arizona, a Republican Senate campaign apparently robo-called Democrats, requesting their vote, then told them the wrong polling place, which was as much as 11 miles away from the right one.
Finally, we have an army of Tea Party-inspired poll watchers, and they will be active in Virginia and other swing states this year under the banner of “True the Vote,” an ostensibly non-partisan voters group. Its actual purpose is to challenge voters who might look like they’re going to vote for Obama. Read: blacks, students, people who wear union T-shirts to the polls, and the elderly.
They’ve already been out in force during early voting in North Carolina. They’ve distributed inaccurate poll-watching manuals here in Virginia. In some places, they may challenge voters directly. In others, they may “report” anomalies to some poll-watching authority via cell phone.
All of which is to say:
- If you show up at the polls and find out you’re NOT registered, put up a fuss (this goes for anyone who believes they’re registered, intends to vote, but finds out they cannot). Don’t allow them to dismiss you without, at the least, making it known how unhappy you are. Call a TV station or your local newspaper, or email me at dan(dot)casey(at)roanoke(dot)com and put your displeasure on the record.
- Don’t let any watcher intimidate you at the polls. Make sure the officials there know that you’ve felt such intimidation from the watchers when that occurs. They can be tossed out for such practices.
Happy voting, everyone.