What the…

by Ted on October 29, 2004

Zizka has a great tagline on his blog: “Uncool when uncoolness is necessary.” We’ve reached that point. This is a goddamn outrage. GOP apparatchiks in Ohio may face prosecution for making false claims in their challenges to hundreds of new voter registratrations. Their challenges were thrown out at the initiative of the Republican members of the Board of Elections, proving that not every single thing on Earth is about politics. Completely unacceptable.

And this… I really hope that it’s revealed to be a parody, or a forgery, or something. Even the Kossacks are suspicious. It’s so over the top, it’s like seeing a recruiting poster for COBRA.



George 10.29.04 at 7:58 pm

Agreed about the second one. Reminds me strongly of that forged Special Olympics flyer planted in the Tennessee Democratic office.

About the first, is there no case law regarding the use of returned mail to challenge voter registration? I think it’s not an uncommon tactic. Dirty yes, but before calling it a “goddamn outrage” I’d want to see some statistics. The “voter intimidation” label I would save for shooting bullets into a campaign office or gunning down political opponents in your car, or actual violence like that.

PS: priceless (mis)quote in the article though: “I felt that my voracity was being challenged….” No chance of that.


Sven 10.29.04 at 8:47 pm

I dunno about case law, but there is this:

The Republican challenges in Ohio, Wisconsin and other battleground states prompted civil rights and labor unions to sue in U.S. District Court in Newark, saying the GOP is violating a consent decree, issued in the 1980s by Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise and still in effect, that prevents the Republicans from starting “ballot security” programs to prevent voter fraud that target minorities.


nolo 10.29.04 at 9:00 pm

From a lawyer’s point of view, the biggest problem with the Summit County voter registration “challenge” drive is not the use of returned mail. It was that the persons making the challenge did not have personal knowledge of the facts upon which they were basing their challenges. They were simply following the list given to them by local party officials. Now, this may not seem like a huge deal, but by signing off on them, the persons making the challenges were attesting that they did, in fact, have personal knowledge. Which apparently wasn’t true.

This little detail might escape laypersons, but it seems there were some attorneys involved in directing the challengers to file these challenges. I’m not a huge expert in Ohio law regarding attorney discipline (though I know a few things, for sure), but seems to me there were some disciplinary violations here.


Rivka 10.29.04 at 9:08 pm

It’s important to note that the Ohio Republicans are basing their challenges on returned registered letters. If you’re not home when a registered letter is delivered, you have to go to the post office to pick it up. Usually the delivery notification tells you who the package is from. It’s hard to blame people for not wanting to trek all the way down to the post office and wait in line for registered mail labeled as being from the Republican Party.


Matt Weiner 10.29.04 at 9:10 pm

is there no case law regarding the use of returned mail to challenge voter registration? I think it’s not an uncommon tactic.

Surely not returned registered mail, which you have to be at home during the day to receive. As Atrios says, “I sure as hell wouldn’t accept a registered letter from the Republican party, and I definitely wouldn’t bother to stand in line for an hour at my post office to pick it up if I wasn’t home to get it.”


Ted Barlow 10.29.04 at 9:36 pm

I wouldn’t either, especially if I worked far from home. Most people don’t take time off of work lightly.


George 10.29.04 at 9:47 pm

Thanks. The distinction between regular mail and registered mail seems significant, though I’m still not sure how much.

I’m not trying to defend these people; they are most likely toads, though it is plausible that they really thought they were doing something perfectly legal, or even admirable. But in any case, it just does not (yet) seem to reach the threshold of “goddamn outrage.”

In general, I try to filter out most of these stories of shady goings-on (unless they involve actual violence) because it’s so difficult to get the full context — and there seem to be plenty on both sides anyway.


bza 10.29.04 at 11:14 pm

and there seem to be plenty on both sides anyway

Your evenhandedness is admirable, if you can cite some evidence, beyond the say-so of a Republic offical, of similar activity going on on the Democratic side.


Jeremiah J. 11.01.04 at 5:28 am

“and there seem to be plenty on both sides anyway”

Seems like safe ground, I suppose: just assume that any wrongdoing by one party is matched by monkey business on the other side. Problem is that it’s intellectually lazy, morally irresponsible, and in this situation, contradicted by the evidence.

The Republicans like to talk about widespread voter fraud. But even in their press packet on voter fraud, there are only two cases of voter fraud with any amount of evidence behind them–the crack addict who faked (obviously and ham-fistedly) a bunch of voter registrations, and the guy in CO who boasted being registered 35 times. Both are bad and confirmed, but neither is evidence of an organized attempt to change the actual election outcome. In Ohio, you have at least a half dozen clear, documented cases of attempts to disqualify voters on technicalities or discourage them from voting.

Decent Republicans need to get their heads out of the sand and step up and condemn these tactics.

Comments on this entry are closed.