News :: Elections & Legislation
Republican vote suppression
31 Oct 2004
Republican operatives behind President George W. Bush have launched a massive, coordinated vote suppression effort in key battleground states across America.
I am a Union Steward with UFCW Local 271 .
The following are excerpts from email I received 10-28-Thu & 10-30-Sat.

Republican operatives behind President George W. Bush have launched a massive, coordinated vote suppression effort in key battleground states across America.

The Bush team is recycling tactics from the 1980s that courts found then to be deliberate attempts to intimidate and suppress the votes of people of color: sending mail to predominantly black communities and challenging voter registrations based on returned undeliverable mail. The Republicans remain under a consent decree covering the practice--but that's not stopping them.

Bush's Justice Department has been arguing in court that individual voters should not be allowed to sue to protect their voting rights under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Only Bush's Justice Department should be able to sue, they claim. (Los Angeles Times; )

Bush's camp is facing legal challenges and public outcries from Wisconsin to Florida, including a lawsuit by unions and civil rights groups--but even that's not stopping their drive to disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters, especially voters of color.
  1. In Oregon, a leaked Republican "observation manual" calls for volunteers with video cameras to show up at ballot drop-off centers Election Night. "If they start videotaping when some people are still voting, some voters might consider that intimidating," state Elections Director John Lindback said. (The Oregonian, 10/19/04)
  2. In Pennsylvania, Republican House Speaker and Bush-Cheney '04 State Regional Campaign Chair John Perzel acknowledged his job is to suppress the largely minority Philadelphia vote. "The Kerry campaign needs to come out with humongous numbers here in Philadelphia," Perzel told U.S. News & World Report . "It's important for me to keep that number down."
  3. In Florida, documents prepared for top RNC and Bush campaign operatives list voters in predominantly black areas of Jacksonville whose votes Bush supporters likely will challenge, according to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, citing the BBC .
  4. In Florida, Republicans are keeping lists of thousands of voters-- and planning to challenge 14,000 voters they claim are felons.
  5. In Ohio, Bush supporters filed 35,000 voter eligibility challenges and were preparing to send challengers to 8,000 polling places on Election Day to suppress more votes, according to The Washington Post . A judge had to step in to block their efforts.
  6. In Akron, 62-year-old Catherine Herold, a voter for 40 years, was among the angry citizens at a Summit County elections board hearing whose right to vote had been challenged--because she had refused mass mailings sent to her by the Republican Party. The board dismissed all 976 Republican registration challenges. In fact, criminal charges could be brought against challengers who, contrary to law, filed challenges under direction of the Republican Party with no first-hand knowledge that the voter registrations were not legitimate. ( Dayton Daily News ; Knight Ridder Newspapers)
  7. Ohio's Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell was fighting a judge's dismissal of Bush team challenges of voters in heavily minority areas--but under pressure he now wants to ban all challenges until after the election. Ohio's Republican attorney general is refusing. At the time of this e-mail, the issue remained unresolved. (The Washington Post ; press statement from J. Kenneth Blackwell)
  8. In two Ohio counties--Greene and Champaign--voters who were challenged but didn't attend elections board hearings, including students at historically black colleges, will have to vote using provisional ballots, even if they can prove on Election Day where they live.
  9. Massive attempts at vote suppression are not limited to Ohio. The Bush team in Wisconsin also attempted to challenge 5,600 Milwaukee voters. "The move in Milwaukee, a heavily minority and Democratic stronghold, is part of a national effort by Republicans in many battleground states," according to The Washington Post .
  10. They're planning to put vote challengers right in the polling places in predominantly minority areas of Colorado and Florida and possibly other states.
You don't have to read very far in any day's newspaper to find more examples of Bush's team pulling out all the stops to win this election by disenfranchising voters--especially people of color, people with disabilities, seniors and new voters.

It shouldn't be a surprise that Bush's folks think they can win this election by disenfranchising voters. It worked for them in 2000. But we're going to make our voices heard--loud and clear!
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