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November 06, 2006

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Really eager to see what anodyne coverage this gets from the NYT et al.


I don't quite get the tactic, though - in one of the races the call starts off saying, "Here's some information about [Democrat X]", at which point the callee is supposed to think that someone is calling on behalf of X?

Rilke: in one of the races the call starts off saying, "Here's some information about [Democrat X]", at which point the callee is supposed to think that someone is calling on behalf of X?

Yes, and evidently it works.

It likely would for me, too, if I'd just been woken up. The one thing I'd remember, as I fell back into sleep, was the name the caller had used - [Democrat X]. Even if I were wide awake, my usual reaction to robocalls is to put the phone down as soon as I can tell it's a robocall - and again, the thing that would stay with me was the name of the candidate. It certainly wouldn't spontaneously occur to me that the robocaller was funded by the opposing party.

Hilzoy: They care about power, and they will undermine our democracy before they let the voters pry the reins of power out of their claws.

Yes. And by Thursday, we will have heard again that the Republicans have held both houses* - and there will be reports coming in of electoral chicanery, and there will be plenty of people, Democrats and Republicans, to argue that such reports should be ignored (since they certainly won't be investigated by the Republican Party, who are the only party that count) and everyone should concentrate on "the next election". And so it goes again.


*If I'm wrong about this, I'll cheerfully eat crow.

This is why the answering machine was invented, isn't it?

I've gotten a large number of robocalls about Ric Keller, but not so much all piled in on the eve of the election; rather more spread out over the last few months. None of them claim to be from the local DNC branch, but none of them are, ultimately, complimentary to Keller.

It'd be nice if I could charge for incoming calls. I could always reimburse friends and relatives, while sticking it to telemarketers and political organizations.

How else can a party truly get a mandate for deceptive governance?

It'd be nice if I could charge for incoming calls. I could always reimburse friends and relatives, while sticking it to telemarketers and political organizations.

Neat idea. Now if only you were still a member of the kittenmob, I'd suggest this would make a great open thread topic... ;-)

you can't blame the NRCC, after all Family Values are under attack.

i've only received one robocall, from a retired admiral telling me not to vote for ... some Democrat. i guess that confirms that this part of NC doesn't really have any close races.

Speaking of deception:

THE PRESIDENT: So when you get home this evening and you're sitting around the table -- anybody here got four kids? (Applause.)

I'll use you as an example. There you are at the table -- you got five, okay. Five, okay. She's got five kids. So when you get home: one, two, three, four, five, times $500. That's $2,500. That's your tax increase if you vote Democrat. That's your tax increase if the Democrats take over the House of Representatives. That $2,500 may not seem like a lot to people in Washington, but it seems like a lot to me and Jim Ryun, and that's why we're going to keep your taxes low.

They care about power, and they will undermine our democracy before they let the voters pry the reins of power out of their claws.

I think this is right, and I think it's the fundamental difference between modern-day conservatives and pretty much everyone else.

They are not interested in governance per se. They are not interested in a give and take of points of view. They are not interested in small or weak government.

They are interested in a powerful and unaccountable government which will enforce what they believe is the Right Thing, whether the rest of us want it or not.

They are extraordinarily undemocratic, and unapologetically so.

The only way these folks can be made accountable, at all, is by taking power away from them.

Yes. And by Thursday, we will have heard again that the Republicans have held both houses

I think it's likely that Democrats will see gains in both houses. It's possible, but far from a given, that they will achieve a majority in the House. A majority in the Senate is, I think, unlikely. If they gain a majority in either house, it may not be a commanding one.

Whatever happens, we can be assured that, on November 8, conservatives will be hard at work preparing for 2008.

This is going to go on for a long time.

Thanks -

They are extraordinarily undemocratic, and unapologetically so.

they are soulless. they should really be deported, banished, sent to Devil's Island.

"since they certainly won't be investigated by the Republican Party, who are the only party that count"

Actually, they might well "investigate", and come up with "solutions" that actually are tuned to depress turnout of Democratic constituencies.

“They are interested in a powerful and unaccountable government which will enforce what they believe is the Right Thing, whether the rest of us want it or not.”
This is, IMHO, pretty accurate. The Republican Party, as presently constituted, has been the enemy of democracy and representative government for the past several years. And this goes beyond dishonest and manipulative attempts such as described in this post, or other voter suppression techniques.
On one level it became evident in the 2000 election in Florida where they went against every principle that the Republican Party has stood for in taking their case to the Supreme Court. And if you think about it, the only reason they would do so is if they felt they would lose a recount. (I am sure that other arguments can be made, but they make little sense to me.)
But it is also apparent in how they have run Congress, refusing proper deliberation of legislation, keeping votes open well past the normal allowed time to bribe members to change their votes, closing down or not allowing the minority to hold hearings, destroying the integrity of the ethics committee, etc.
Cheney even admitted to this in his interview with ABC. It doesn’t matter what the American public thinks, we will continue in Iraq because it is the RIGHT THING to do.
Because they are doing the RIGHT THING the end justifies the means, manipulation, distortion, lies, voter suppression, deceit are all allowed. Otherwise the American public might actually think about what they are voting for or against and kick them out of power. And if that happens, who could lead them to the Promised Land?
Before anybody brings up examples of things that some Democrats have done, let me admit that I do not think all Democrats are pristine and pure. But what we are seeing is a national program, spread across all layers, down to the local level. This is not a series of disconnected, isolated incidents. It is driven from the top.

Another argument for ditching the landline and going cell-phone only: No phony robo-calls.

Apparently if the Democrats take Congress, rampaging Negroes will be going after our women.

Model 62, that's true for now, but how long do you think that'll continue? We'll be getting plenty of phone spam on our cell phones in a few years, and it'll probably be coming by voice-over-IP from Indonesia or somewhere.

They care about power, and they will undermine our democracy before they let the voters pry the reins of power out of their claws.

First, I’ll agree that this is despicable. But there are plenty of shenanigans going on from both sides. Republicans are desperate to retain power, Democrats to regain it.

ACORN anyone? Again and again we hear about Republicans stealing elections, but when the dust settles and indictments are handed out, most often those indictments are going to people with a D beside their name. Union thugs storming a Republican’s office (and breaking a campaign worker’s arm), GOTV van tires slashed, ordering more ballots than you have registered voters, paying homeless people to register, registering dead people, etc.

I am not excusing the abuse posted about, but I do get tired of hearing about dirty tricks and voter fraud as if it is strictly a Republican problem.

I won’t excuse either party for it, but let’s not pretend it only happens on one side.

As usual, it's all about the Precious.

OCSteve, of course individual volunteers of all political stripes sometimes do despicable or illegal things (and yes, some people ripped off ACORN by registering fake voters to get money), but don't you think it makes a difference when the activity is that of a committee of the national party? This is the NRCC doing this stuff, not some random wingnut or local candidate.

I expect it to last a good long time, KCinDC, as telemarketers are prohibited from using auto-dialers to reach cella numbers.

Steve, there are not plenty of shenanigans on both sides. The robocalls are going out in 17 camapaigns across the US. It is obviously a coordinated campign. Also the NRCC actually published a memo weeks ago admitting that they would go negative and indeed thhey hhave with dishonest, negative cross-the-line ads in races all over the US. In three states fake "fact sheets" have been distributed using immitation sexoffender notification forms or immitation tax forms. In Ohio Blackwell decided to hold back the ballots used when a person's vote is challenged so that people who are challenged won't get to vote at all. Thsi stuff comes from the top of the party, from people like Rove and Melhman. There is no Democratic equivalent.

OT: Great. Cindy Sheehan has come to Virginia to "help" Webb. Are we sure she's not being paid by Rove? Or maybe her visit was suggested by her friend Hugo Chavez, who like Osama bin Laden has a symbiotic relationship with Bush.

Steve, do some research on Terry Nelson and you will see what we mean.

Cindy Sheehan has come to Virginia to "help" Webb.

is she, like, delusional?

but don't you think it makes a difference when the activity is that of a committee of the national party

The robocalls are going out in 17 camapaigns across the US. It is obviously a coordinated campign.

Point taken. It is worse when it comes from the top. So I guess I’ll just leave it at volunteers and affiliated organizations tend to get, uh, a little overenthusiastic on both side.

OCSteve: was it true that last time most of the indictments went to Democrats? At least in 2002 the main one I remember was the NH phone banking scandal, described here. The RNC had spent $2.5 million, as of last Feb., for legal fees for one of their people who had admitted his role in it and was convicted. And of course the stuff that got Tom DeLay indicted.

It does, to me, make a difference that it's official policy. I have volunteered in any number of campaigns, and have on occasion talked people out of doing stuff that was wrong. That happens: you get people who care about a campaign and start thinking that it would be a good idea to Get Clever in some completely non-clever way; and while you hope that training and good sense will prevent it, it can't always. I take it for granted that that will happen in any decent-sized campaign, though people should always be trying to minimize it; and I wouldn't post on it if if it was just people being dumb.

But official policy is a different story. That's not just human nature being itself, and large numbers of people being hard to keep 100% on the strait and narrow. That's deliberate. And it's wrong.

If you know of cases in which this has been the Democrats' policy, I will post on them. It's awful whichever side does it. In this campaign, however, I really think it has been much more on the GOP side.

Cross-posted with OCSteve ;)

My preferred solution is to compile a national list of Republican political operatives, Republican donors and businesses, and Republican congressional offices, and begin a massive robocall campaign during all hours of the day and night directed at them beginning November 8 and continuing all year or until they commit suicide, whichever comes first.

A special computer program could tailor the phone voice to sound like each of their mothers' hectoring voices nagging them to go to Tammy Duckworth's house and clean out her septic tank with their tongues. Cell phones, too.

If the calls don't get through, go door to door.

In fact, the voices in my head are going to send singing telegrams to the voices in their heads.

I would also have video billboards on all major arteries leading into American cities showing footage of major Republican politicians committing sodomy on Uncle Sam and the Founding Fathers and the Founding Mothers and the Founding Nephews with a video crawl that says:

"Republicans steal every election to rob us of OUR right to sodomy, and then they go ahead and enjoy sodomy anyway."

In fact, it is high time the Daisy Girl from the 1964 campaign made her reappearance. Instead of a mushroom cloud rising behind her as she cavorts in the meadow, the viewer would see the shadowy image of Ken Mehlman, the dirty racist perv, in a Willie Horton mask, carrying a bottle of chloroform, and wearing a strap-on sneaking up behind her.

I also propose a tax on sodomy, and since Republicans will be against it ... well, we'll know why, won't we? Because Ronald Reagan taught us that that taxing an activity causes less of it, and we can't have that, can we? Isn't there a napkin somewhere that shows that when Republicans are taxed beyond a certain level on their private activities, government revenues plunge?

I agree with OCSteve. If Democrats are to win elections, we can't just equal the Republicans. We must surpass them. Surely, we can do better. I thought we were the party with the dirty minds!

;) Just trying to do my part in the never-ending effort to be just as bad as the modern Republican Party!

OCSteve: "Point taken."

Now, look, there must be some ground rules in these political debates on the Internet. And conceding points before I can chime in with my nonsense just isn't fair play.

I demand that you change your mind back to its original cast so this thread can go to 200 comments of completely misunderstood and exaggerated enmity.

I'm leaving in a huff and hope to be back in a huff.

Hilzoy – I agree it is worse when it is a matter of official policy. No, I don’t know of a similar instance where I could claim it was policy coming from the DNC.

Mostly it is groups like ACORN or stuff at the local level. I agree that stuff at the county level (St. Louis precinct committeeman) or local level (councilwomen helping non-citizens vote) does not rise to the same level as that NH phone banking scandal.

I just hate it where ever and whoever.

I'm leaving in a huff and hope to be back in a huff.

Why am I reminded of the Monty Python skit “I’d like to buy an argument”?
:)

Why am I reminded of the Monty Python skit “I’d like to buy an argument”?

You're not.

now the GOP in NM is apparently calling Dems to give them incorrect information about polling places.

anyone here still think Florida 00 was handled legally ?

Sure, cleek. Is there a specific bit of illegality you'd like to point to?

"I'm leaving in a huff and hope to be back in a huff."

I'm going to lunch. I'll be back in an hour and a huff. (h/t Groucho Marx).

I mean, there was plenty of illegality. Which bits of it belong in the "was handled" bin?

Oh! Oh! I'm sorry! This is abuse! Oh no, you want room 12A, next door.

As the Republicans say, 'Who Cares What You Think'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9wp1e-ezOI

Mostly it is groups like ACORN or stuff at the local level.

No it's not. Mostly it's the GOP and affiliates.

ACORN sucks. ACORN's registration drives particularly double suck and are arguably predatory themselves. But no part of ACORN is by any stretch of the imagination comparable to the RNC. ACORN has no affiliation with the Democratic party, there is no evidence that their registration fraud has ever had any noticeable impact on actual voting, and they have no hold on the levers of power.

Matt Henderson is a reprobate, but he's a reprobate you've never heard of, with a total annual budget that's probably less than a third of what Ken Mehlman and Wayne Semprini paid towards James Tobin's legal fees.

More to the point, unlike some organizations I could name, ACORN cooperates with the FBI. I'm sure they frame it as "enthusiastic" cooperation, though I'm equally sure that they aren't as happy about it as they claim.

The GOP OTOH... Not only did the GOP not voluntarily turn over their own paper trail associated with the investigation of the NH phone jamming, and not only is Jim Tobin in a leadership position (as opposed to being a low-income streetwalking peon like Stenson, Franklin, Davis, Gardner or Dooley), but Jim Tobin's defense was paid for by the Republican party itself, to the tune of $6 million.

$6 million worth of legal fees. Think about that.

$6 million towards the defense of a man who was illegally preventing Democrats from making phone calls. Not only is he not disciplined, not only is he not shunned from polite company, but he's kept around and defended at great expense. In addition to the $6 million spent on the unsuccessful effort to shield him from justice, James Tobin was worth retaining even after he was convicted, and the whole issue became something of an embarassment.

That's how valuable, productive, and effective the RNC considers James Tobin.

What do you suppose it is that's so valuable about him?

Semprini!?

(Sorry, but we can't expect Jes to do it all.)

OCSteve,

Do you know what a couple individual ACORN canvassers did in Ohio? In a voter registration drive, they turned in cards for non-existent voters. Those cards were rejected. Not one false vote was cast. There was no impact on the election. No one was defrauded except ACORN, which paid those canvassers for work they hadn't done.

That's all. To compare this to Republican tactics this year is a sign of ignorance or hackery or both.

ACORN does great work -- our democracy needs a lot more of it.

ACORN sucks. ACORN's registration drives particularly double suck and are arguably predatory themselves.

And this is based on what, exactly?

ACORN registers an enormous number of low-income voters. Is that predatory? It pays low-income people and colelge kids to carry out the registration work (which is expensive.) Is that predatory?

It really, really pisses me off how many liberals complain about the state of politics and then want to wash their hands in disgust of anyone actually trying to do something about it.

(Ditto for all the snark directed at Cindy Sheehan here. You should be ashamed.)

lemuel, I understand from your post that you have an affinity for ACORN and their work, but you really shouldn't blast so much wrath at OSCSteve. He is a person who can be reached by reason. So just present your facts and don't yell.

OK Lily, here's a question for OCSTeve and radish:

What, besides the fraduelent registrations I described above (of which ACORN was the victim, not the perpetrator) justifies your accusations of fraud and predatory behavior?

What do you suppose it is that's so valuable about him?

I assume he threatened to roll over and implicate others possibly right up to Frist. I assume that as long as Frist still has any presidential aspirations Tobin will continue to get whatever support he needs from the party.

Stuff like this is why I only donate money to individual candidates and not the RNC. And I didn’t give a dime to anyone this cycle because I’m furious with the lot of them.

Lemuel, Cindy Sheehan of course has every right to show up and protest and speak as she chooses. That does not mean that her actions in Virginia are not counterproductive, assuming she's interested in having Jim Webb win the Senate race. Those Guardian readers in the UK who wrote to Americans in swing states in 2004 actually were trying to help Kerry.

I would like to see the Democrats retake the Senate, and if Sheehan feels the same way, my suggestion is that she go somewhere else, since she's unlikely to bring out as many Webb voters as she alienates. Unfortunately she's not going to take my advice.

lemuel, Cindy Sheehan certainly deserves are sympathy for her loss, and, within limits, our admiration for her courage in standing up to President Bush, but she's picked up way too much political baggage along the way to be anything but poison to Webb. I don't think she's a bad person, but she's proven to be a truly awful political figure.

Also:

Matt Henderson is a reprobate

A reprobate is an "unprincipled person." This accusation is based on what? In New Mexico, as in Ohio, individual ACORN canvassers submitted false registration cards. There is no evidence that ACORN condoned this -- in fact it fired the canvassers involved -- and it would make no sense if they had. It's impossible to commit fraud this way, since in New Mexico voters have to show ID at the polls.

Point taken on Cindy Sheehan, but I don't agree. the Sheehan-haters are voting for Allen anyway. But her supporters may well be consdiering third-party votes or disaffected from the whole process. In terms of strategy (not ethics) her presence is the equivalent of the GOP mailers mentioned above, intended to turn out the base.

I think you underestimate the extend to which a figure like Webb can appeal to folks who break out in a rash at the mention of Cindy Sheehan.

"extent" not "extend"

lemuel, I think a lot of ACORN's initiative stuff is important, thankless, noble work. And I'm willing to cut people a lot of slack about a lot of things. When I was in a union industry I worked at a non union shop and loved it anyway because it was, for all practical purposes, a family business.

But when a nominally union-oriented organization like ACORN is so short sighted as to diss the possibility of unionizing its employees... With all due respect, ACORN pretty much typifies the post-70s, self-absorbed, community-hostile Naderite organizing strategy that makes me crazy. Okay, "sucks" is too strong a word, but I'm a little worked-up nowadays. Sorry. And as far as providing employment for low income people I'll grant that ACORN is a lot less predatory than McDonalds, even though it has about the same advancement opportunities.

ACORN does a lot of good work, but ACORN's management seems to have this siege mentality with respect to the communities they work in. AFAICT they think politics is some sort of bidness and not primarily a matter of outreach. Just my $.02 and maybe I'm wrong.

Also please note that I did not in fact accuse ACORN of fraud. I'm picking on Matt Henderson primarily because he refused to deny under oath that ACORN's management was copying registration info for their own purposes. That's a little too fast and loose for me.

Gromit, you may be right. Here in the Northeast, there are enough Greens and other voters to the left of the Dems that it's easy to imagine a polarizing figure like Sheehan being a net positive, provided her appeal was targeted correctly. Maybe Virginia is different.

(Although I will note that Ralph Nader is still being attacked -- fairly or not -- for his role in 2000. Support the Dems, oppose the Dems, yu lose either way. Guess American politics would be better off with even less of a Left than it has now, huh?)

But since I don't have any real basis to know what Sheehan's impact would be in Virgina, I guess I'l defer to those closer to the ground. I would, however, still appreciate some support from OCSteve and/or radish for the comments on ACORN.

Lemuel:

Do you know what a couple individual ACORN canvassers did in Ohio? In a voter registration drive, they turned in cards for non-existent voters. Those cards were rejected. Not one false vote was cast. There was no impact on the election

link:
So far this election cycle, state elections boards have uncovered the following:
Missouri – The St. Louis elections director estimated that after investigating 5,000 registrations turned in by ACORN, only 10 to 15 percent were legitimate and it had appeared that names had been copied from the phone book. More egregious violations include registrations for three dead people and one 16 year old.
Kansas City's director of elections said about 3,000 registrations turned in by ACORN included suspicious signatures, underage registrants, and birth dates and Social Security numbers conflicting with state databases.
Ohio – Franklin County elections director turned over 500 potentially fraudulent cards turned in by ACORN including registrations with signatures in the same handwriting, addresses for vacant lots, and even a registration for a dead person. Similarly suspicious registrations turned up in Summit and Cuyahoga Counties including a fraudulent card submitted by ACORN that led to a 16 year old being registered to vote.
Pennsylvania – In Philadelphia, the city's voter registration office rejected about 3,000 cards submitted by ACORN because of missing information or invalid addresses. Nearly 100 fraudulent voter registrations submitted by ACORN in Delaware County prompted the District Attorney’s Office to issue an identity theft alert.

That is far more than a couple of individual canvassers. And that is just this election cycle.

2004:

Former ACORN Miami-Dade field director Mac Stuart has declared an intent to sue ACORN and has made charges of rampant voter fraud operations. Stuart was employed and specifically tasked by ACORN to generate 103,000 new voter registrations from Dade County. He reports that ACORN threw out Republican registrations while paying for Democratic ones. Stuart also charges that ACORN targeted ex-cons and that he personally set up registration tables outside the Miami police department and Dade County jail. He went on to state, “The voter registration project has been operating illegally since it started.”


Admittedly they have no ties to the DNC. So to be clear – let me repeat, I am not attempting to blame their actions on the DNC. The RNC has behaved worse than the DNC this cycle.

But this is (alleged) voter fraud, on a massive scale, across a dozen states and multiple election cycles.

I am sure they do good work in other areas, but Project Vote would seem to have some serious problems.

Thanks for the reply, Radish.

On the unionization question, reasonable folks can disagree. I'm fevently pro-union, but can definitely see reasons why it might not work at ACORN.

as far as providing employment for low income people I'll grant that ACORN is a lot less predatory than McDonalds, even though it has about the same advancement opportunities.

I've never worked for ACORN, but I've worked closely with them in various contexts and have a pretty good sense of how they operate. And I can tell you, this could not be farther from the truth. Anyone who gets hired to knock on doors and is still around a year later has a very good shot at running their own office. ow many burger-flippers end up as franchise owners? If anything, ACORN's problem is the opposite, constant turnover at the mid-level positions.

ACORN does a lot of good work, but ACORN's management seems to have this siege mentality with respect to the communities they work in. AFAICT they think politics is some sort of bidness and not primarily a matter of outreach.

This criticsm, on the other hand, has more than a grain of truth. ACORN is partly to blame for its own bad press -- they are much less willing to work with other community and advocacy groups than they ought to be, IMHO.

But my opinion is humble -- I know they're doing good work, for a lot less money than I make, and they've lasted and grown where hundreds of other community groups have failed. And they've accomplished more -- as I think you'll agree -- than many other groups that operate on a normal professional model.

Criticism among friends is fine, absolutely necessary. But don't you think that blanket statements like "ACORN sucks" from blog-liberals might contribute to the siege mentality of the folks on the receiving end?


OCSTEVE,

Note that your link is to the Employment Policies Institute, a restaurant industry-funded "think tank" taht exists solely to oppose living wage laws. Since ACORN is one of the leading proponents of such laws, this is not exactly a neutral source.

I recognize that doesn't in itself establish taht the claims are false. I can't respond more fully now but will try to later today.

OCSteve, one of the reasons that I have a lot of respect for you, and more than I have for many people that I agree with politically, is that you are actually willing to listen and examine other points of view. I am not sure I would be as open as you are.

Anyway, as has been pointed out, and as you have agreed, there is a significant difference between a national party adopting a policy of this type of behavior which extends even beyond these calls. I served on a phone bank in 2004 encouraging people to get out to vote for Kerry. First we had to determine who the individual was likely to vote for. One person was overheard telling a Bush supporter the wrong day to vote. Although it would be hard to believe that that person wouldn’t realize this was wrong information, the volunteer was out of the building within 30 seconds. I would like to think the same thing happened in Bush phone banks, but to be honest, I really doubt it.

There were two points you brought up I have questions about and I really would like your opinion. The first has to deal with ordering more ballots than there were registered voters. I would really like to know what is wrong with this, except for a possible waste of money. If you can prove that those extra ballots were misused that would be something else, but assuming you are referring to Milwaukee, no such thing has been shown, nor was there any evidence of fraud with those ballots.

The second issue is more touchy, and deals with homeless people. Again, paying for them to register is shady, but is different than paying for them to vote or paying for them to vote a specific way. The issue of homeless people voting is of course a difficult one, since AFAIK an address is required for registration. As a result, some would give address that turned out to be empty lots or under an overpass. Yet, how do we encourage homeless people to vote and allow them to? I don’t think this has really been discussed very much, and perhaps someone here has a better idea than I do (I don’t have a lot of googling time available, as I am preparing for a job interview tomorrow.)

Anyway, although you and I may frequently disagree, I am sincere in saying I would like your opinion.

Wasn't the 'ordering too many ballots' story about a state in which they have same-day registration, and thus really truly don't know how many people might in theory show up to vote?

OCSteve, one of the reasons that I have a lot of respect for you, and more than I have for many people that I agree with politically, is that you are actually willing to listen and examine other points of view.

Just chiming in to say "Here, here". Well done.

Thanks -

Wasn't the 'ordering too many ballots' story about a state in which they have same-day registration, and thus really truly don't know how many people might in theory show up to vote?

And one would think that you would ask for a second ballot if you screwed up your first one, and therefore "extra" ballots would be necessary.

now the GOP in NM is apparently calling Dems to give them incorrect information about polling places.

Nothing new about that; the GOP tried it three or so times here in Wisconsin in 2002 and 2004. It's a fairly standard tactic, usually aimed at minority voters for some reason.

"ACORN has no affiliation with the Democratic party, there is no evidence that their registration fraud has ever had any noticeable impact on actual voting, and they have no hold on the levers of power."

I have a lot of trouble with this in the context of elections. This kind of argument tends to come up on both sides. I suspect it would be almost impossible to PROVE or offer serious evidence that things like the robocalls, registration fraud, no-voter ID, immigrants voting, etc actually have a noticeable impact on any elections. All of these things are resistant to proof because we have a system which makes it very difficult to prove (or even strongly suggest) that cheating has in fact taken place and/or many things will tend to have the practical effect of people not showing up--which 50% of the voting population already does. By definition you won't have evidence of successful fraud. That doesn't mean you should avoid taking easy and common sense precautions against fraud.

I would certainly not say that I believe the robo-calling has no effect. But it almost certainly has no provable effect, and it would be very difficult to show non-anecdotal evidence of an effect.

But that doesn't make it right.

It is certainly difficult to prove that people cheat when not forced to show an ID. In fact it is almost impossible to prove--how can I show that someone else votes under another name when proof of identity is discouraged? But that doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

Our system isn't set up to 'prove' certain types of claims. That doesn't mean we should avoid setting up situations where things work better.

In fact it is almost impossible to prove--how can I show that someone else votes under another name when proof of identity is discouraged?

Well, because it's not a terribly practical mode of fraud. Unless you have control over the actual voter (at least to the extent of certainty that they won't show up to vote) fraudulently voting under the name of another voter runs the risk of having them show up and complain when records show they already voted. The fact that there aren't reports of that happening suggests that there is very little of the sort of fraud you worry about.

But don't you think that blanket statements like "ACORN sucks" from blog-liberals might contribute to the siege mentality of the folks on the receiving end?

Ouch.

Okay, point taken. Whether I actually qualify as a liberal in some other circumstances is debatable, but for these purposes I guess I do. And the thing that really rubs me the wrong way about ACORN is the opacity and authoritarianism. New boss, old boss, etc.

Also (with all due respect) "anyone who gets hired to knock on doors and is still around a year later has a very good shot at running their own office" isn't saying very much. Again, running an ACORN office would be a better gig (IMO) than managing a Mickey-D, but it's not exactly "owning a franchise." Or if it is then I would not construe that as A Good Thing ;-)

p.s. All, please note that EPI should not be confused with EPI (which is actually pretty much on the other side of the fence).

...fraudulently voting under the name of another voter runs the risk of having them show up and complain when records show they already voted.

Unless you happen to know that they won't, because you happen to know that their registration was itself fraudulent.

This would of course be more labor intensive, and far far riskier than some of the alternative approaches.

Also, if fake registrations are found, they can be compared to the list of people who voted to see if any fraudulent voting actually occurred. It doesn't matter that much if Mickey Mouse turns in a registration form as long as Mickey doesn't vote.

Right -- for no-ID voting to have any substantial risk of fraud, it needs to be combined with undetected fraudulent registration. (And of course, you need 'voters' who can match signatures with the signature on the registration to the satisfaction of the election judges they're signing in front of.)

Note that your link is to the Employment Policies Institute, a restaurant industry-funded "think tank" taht exists solely to oppose living wage laws. Since ACORN is one of the leading proponents of such laws, this is not exactly a neutral source.

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/metroeast/story/2FFCFD5F3B39A33786257204000CD95B?OpenDocument”>St. Louis

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/local/15736252.htm”>Kansas City

http://www.columbusdispatch.com/?story=dispatch/2006/08/11/20060811-E1-00.html
”>Ohio

http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/states/new_jersey/15645714.htm
”>Philly and Delaware County

lemuel – let me clarify myself a little. I can readily believe that there are not instructions to do this coming down from high up in the organization. But it sure looks suspicious when thousands of bad registrations in multiple cities come back to one single organization. It is good that they disavow it and work with the authorities. But we have multiple cases of employees speaking out now. I recognize that the fact that these are unpaid disgruntled employees has to factor in there.

Maybe it’s just individuals at the local level getting overzealous. Maybe people working to register voters should not be paid, it should be strictly volunteers.

Obviously this organization means something to you personally, so I apologize if I’ve tarred the entire organization unfairly.

I have no idea what happened to my links… I was trying to give you a link to a newspaper in each city.

I've lived in Georgia since 1999 and have always been asked for ID when I voted. The current controversy here is over reducing the number of acceptable forms of ID, not over whether ID should be required at all.

I get Robo calls, but they're kind of strange, a sultry female voice who insists on calling me Gaius. Heck, sometimes the phone doesn't even ring.

I would really like to know what is wrong with this, except for a possible waste of money. If you can prove that those extra ballots were misused that would be something else, but assuming you are referring to Milwaukee, no such thing has been shown, nor was there any evidence of fraud with those ballots.

I agree that an action that could lead to abuse is not the same thing as fraud. Didn’t they want like 3 times the number of ballots as the number of people who voted in the prior election? And wasn’t there some fraud?

Cast ballots outnumber voters by 4,609

Remember, there was only an 11,000 vote margin for the entire state.


Yet, how do we encourage homeless people to vote and allow them to?

That is a tough one. Maybe something like the indelible ink the Iraq’s used? If you are not registered and you can’t provide an address you dip your finger in the ink? Then at least all other poll workers would know you already voted that day…

And one would think that you would ask for a second ballot if you screwed up your first one, and therefore "extra" ballots would be necessary.

Oh sure – definitely. There is always going to be some spoilage, and running out of ballots would be even worse. The problem IMO is when you combine that with same day registration. That is what they wanted the extras for, but that is also the exact situation ripe for abuse. Now if the vote can be tied to the registration, and the registration later turns out to be invalid then the vote should be discounted.

there is no evidence that their registration fraud has ever had any noticeable impact on actual voting

I have to disagree with this, because even if a fraudulent registration is not automatically equal to a bad vote, it can be used to shape perceptions in the run up to election day. It can shape news stories and influence whether people actually go to the polls.

If party X can trumpet “Whoopee, we have registered 100,000 new voters” that can drive the news cycle for a time. It can give candidates of party X renewed confidence. It can cause voters of party Y to say “why bother going out to the polls, it’s going to be a blowout”. (Of course that can backfire and voter X can say the same thing.)

Hmmm OCSteve... I remember that the ink used in Iraq was not that indelible... and the indelible ink didn't win from vaselined vingers....

"I get Robo calls, but they're kind of strange, a sultry female voice who insists on calling me Gaius. Heck, sometimes the phone doesn't even ring."

Close as we're going to come to BSG blogging with Andrew gone. Sigh.

Hmmm OCSteve... I remember that the ink used in Iraq was not that indelible... and the indelible ink didn't win from vaselined vingers

Plus it wouldn’t prevent someone from rounding up a busload of homeless and taking them to a different precinct where they needed the votes more. Doh!

OK scratch that idea.

If you are living in a shelter, then you can register like anyone else.

If you are truly homeless and transient – what is your precinct? Based on that, I don’t see how there can be a solution…

The Dutch send voter cards (ballot, one per person) to every eligible voter. I got mine yesterday, to vote on the 22th of November.

But the homeless have no post adress, so they don't receive a voter card. Unless they get dole, you need a post address for that, and than they are automatically send a ballot.

Our system is based upon having as many people vote as is possible, the more the merrier. One vote per person means there is some bureaucracy, but if everybody can vote there is less pressure to try to stop people from voting.

I have also decided that our coalition governments have disadvantages, they move rather slowly and there is a lot of talk, but it is much nicer than having a two party system where lots of people don't really feel represented by a party, but are afraind the other party is even less likely to represent their viewpoints.

Divide and rule, but the voter is on the dividing side - and everybody loses equally... :/

"fraudulently voting under the name of another voter runs the risk of having them show up and complain when records show they already voted."

What exactly do you mean by 'complain'? Six years ago I went to vote and someone had already signed (illegibly) on my line. The poll worker said "Oops, they must have signed the wrong line". I signed next to it and moved along. I didn't suspect fraud. Do you think I should have reported it to someone? Yikes, I naively assumed that the poll worker knew what he was doing.

"Unless you happen to know that they won't, because you happen to know that their registration was itself fraudulent."

Do you include dead people who had legitimately registered before they died (however many years that may be)? Not difficult to do at all.

In Virginia people are getting robocalls that tell them the wrong polling place or tells that that they will be arrested if they vote. Some of the calls are from California so it is clearly not a local rogue Republican.
The NRC is doing their best to steal the close elections. The fucking "journalists" of the mainstream media aren't covering it. I was really optimistic just two days ago. Now I wonder if we really aren't watching the end of democracy, rotting from the inside.

Yikes, I naively assumed that the poll worker knew what he was doing.

Well, I'm assuming that the poll worker isn't in on the fraud. Presumably, they attempted to figure out whose signature it was, so that they knew who voted. And presumably, if they had a number of signatures that couldn't be accounted for, they would call someone -- that's their job. A poll worker wouldn't necessarily catch every such fraudulent vote, but you need thousands of fradulent votes to affect an election, and at some point the poll workers would notice, if we were talking about thousands of voters.

OCSteve: If you are truly homeless and transient – what is your precinct? Based on that, I don’t see how there can be a solution…

In theory at least, in the UK (since 1997), homeless people are allowed to register to vote giving their "patch" (most homeless people aren't particularly transient) as their address. (for example) I honestly have no idea how well this works out in practice, though. It seems like a good principle, though. A person's right to vote shouldn't depend on their income.

Now I wonder if we really aren't watching the end of democracy, rotting from the inside.

Like a bunch of bad apples, no less.

BTW can't people see how the ACORN and dead people voting things are mostly just a red herring? After the election the Republican party is going to use that sort of thing to push for changes in the laws that will make it harder for real voters to vote--voter surpression by legislation. They will also use that sort of exaggerated minor problem to obscure the real problem of their systematic cheating in every close election in the US. Getting involved inn a discussion of stuff that is atributable to human error or small scale misbehavior while ignoring the massive cheating that is going onn right this minute is playing Rove's game exactly the way he wants it to be played. It's like discussinng Kerry's gaffe instead of Bush's screwed up war.
Just to beclear I don't think anyone on this thread is deliberately conspiring to change the subject to obscure Republican fraud but that's what's happening and that is what the Republicans, through the Noise Machinne will be encouraging starting tomorrow.

To be less harsh than lily, but basically to agree with her -- the difference between possible voter fraud that scares me and possible voter fraud that doesn't is the difference between wholesale and retail fraud.

A no-ID voter voting under somebody else's registration? Possible, but as I said, if it happens twice in the same precinct, some poll worker is going to notice. Every fraudulent vote is something that might get caught, and you need thousands of them to make a difference. Voting under a dead person's registration? Better hope you don't run into someone who knew the dead guy -- precincts are pretty small. It's not impossible, vote by vote, but if a lot of this were happening, we'd be catching people at it.

Voter suppression and electronic voting machine fraud, on the other hand, have the potential for affecting large numbers of votes in one action. If you get away with it once, you can swing an election. That sort of thing makes me much more worried.

I'm sorry if I came off as harsh. I'm furious about this. Enraged. Mostly I'm enraged at the media for the nonreprtinng.
If Webb "loses" he'll be in a good position to challenge. The head of the Virginia political entity that oversees elections (I forget is exact name) has already publically stated that Virginias have been subjected to "widespread and deliberate" efforts to surpress the vote throuugh robocalls. Shouldn't cheating happening natinwide right now be a story onn the nnews?

Mostly I'm enraged at the media for the nonreprtinng.

abcnews.com has a "Breaking News" headline about Dems sending a cease and desist letter to Republicans, but it's been up for quite a while and still no story (though it would be a meta-story, at best).

An important point about "voter fraud" associated with improper voter registrations by ACORN or others -- it rarely amounts to voter fraud that makes any difference.

To take advantage of an improper registration, an imposter must actually show up knowing that a certain improper registration can be exploited with a false vote. Even if the same imposter is kept busy going to various polling places to exploit mulitiple improper registrations, think about the manpower and operation necessary to effectuate 10,000 fraudulent votes. You are talking literally hundreds of people, and then only to make a very small difference in the overall vote count.

An operation even of this limited size would be impossible to keep secret. It just doesn't happen, and concerns about significant voter fraud arising from improper registration are not founded in reality.

In past eras when improper registrations were used to stuff ballot bozes, it was coordinated by the election officials themselves. The improper voter registrations simply served as a cover for all those phony votes, but casting votes based on those phony registrations required election officials to be running the rigged game. If the election officials are not cooperating, you can't get the operation off the ground.

"To take advantage of an improper registration, an imposter must actually show up knowing that a certain improper registration can be exploited with a false vote. Even if the same imposter is kept busy going to various polling places to exploit mulitiple improper registrations, think about the manpower and operation necessary to effectuate 10,000 fraudulent votes. You are talking literally hundreds of people, and then only to make a very small difference in the overall vote count."

That isn't true in places like Wisconsin. There you have same day registration so long as someone else is willing to vouch for your identity (no ID). You could have a team of 10 or 20 people vouch for each other and vote in every single precinct without it being remotely detectable. All you would need is a list of precinct locations.

And a couple of hundred unsuspicious poll workers.

"And a couple of hundred unsuspicious poll workers."

Why? They aren't permitted to ask for ID. Inasmuch as the same-day registration with ID is legitimate it would appear wholly legitimate.

Maybe I'm causing confusion with "vouch for each other" I'm not saying A vouches for B and then B vouches for A at the same precinct. A can actually vouch for multiple people so A can vouch for B and C at 50 precincts. D can vouch for E and F at the same 50 precincts.

Remember that the number of same day registrants in Wisconsin exceeded the margin of the Kerry win in 2004.

It doesn't 'prove' that a significant number of votes were stolen. But you can't prove that the anti-Republican contentions of day are going to effect a significant number of votes either.

Well if you really think that would be an efffective technique maybe you should suggest it to the NRC. They've got the monney to hire the people to do it and the will to carry the plan out onn a large enough scale to matter. They'll need a newscam for 08.

So my point is not that you are wrong to worry that easily exploitable loopholes might get exploited. You are right to. But you are dismissive of the easily exploitable loopholes that bother me--suggesting that one, the other or both of us is more worried about the loophole that we think might hurt our side than the obviousness and exploitableness of the loophole. That is a bad position to be in for election law.

(Not that I have a side other than despair in this election).

"Well if you really think that would be an efffective technique maybe you should suggest it to the NRC."

Ok, I guess that's all for me for today.

I was really optimistic just two days ago. Now I wonder if we really aren't watching the end of democracy, rotting from the inside.

Chin up. I just saw some talking head on FNC discussing a poll that says:
-Democratic likely voters are solidly behind their candidates.
-1 in 5 (20%!) Republican voters say they may switch their vote by the time they get to their polling place tomorrow.

I think we may have had it with our party. At least I won’t be alone :(


A person's right to vote shouldn't depend on their income.

Absolutely agree. Plus, I find you like (at least know) Monty Python today. I take back what I said about not being able to find common ground with you. FWIW – if you missed it, the idea of spoiling my ballot (for Senator) originated with you.


but it is much nicer than having a two party system where lots of people don't really feel represented by a party, but are afraind the other party is even less likely to represent their viewpoints.

Absolutely. My biggest disappointment with politics here is that (apparently) a third party is simply not feasible. I’m not sure what we can do about that. LOVE your country BTW. I’d kill (OK just maim) for some authentic smoked Gouda. Hmmm. Gonna hit Amazon, I bet they have it.


Even if the same imposter is kept busy going to various polling places to exploit mulitiple improper registrations, think about the manpower and operation necessary to effectuate 10,000 fraudulent votes. You are talking literally hundreds of people, and then only to make a very small difference in the overall vote count.

As I linked above, Milwaukee had almost 5,000 suspect votes last time around, and Kerry’s margin was only 11,000. When you approach the region where suspect votes are 42% of the margin of victory – that seems pretty bad.

And now to wrap up a few things and prepare for my guilty pleasure of this TV season – Heros. (Save the cheerleader…)

Yeah, that is sorry...

I’d kill (OK just maim) for some authentic smoked Gouda

Heh. Well, instead of preparing a meal of tofu crow, if the Democrats take control of both Houses, I'll send you some authentic smoked Gouda. (Hm. Well, I will if you're prepared to risk what state it might arrive in.)

Plus, I find you like (at least know) Monty Python today. I take back what I said about not being able to find common ground with you.

Hee! You missed the period when I was sillybustering Charles's threads by posting Monty Python quotes, then. ;-) I

A can actually vouch for multiple people so A can vouch for B and C at 50 precincts. D can vouch for E and F at the same 50 precincts.

Two people, maybe. Do you think that if at a hundred precincts, poll workers see someone come in with ten other people and vouch for them all, that wouldn't get noticed and reported as unusual? And that's only a thousand votes. If you want ten thousand votes, you need a thousand precincts with ten voters vouching for each other.

If you keep the numbers small enough to be inconspicuous at each event (two or three people at a time) you need a ridiculous number of phony voters to get anywhere.

OCSteve, I've actually started watching that. It's got some very creepy, some very cool, some very funny bits. Some of the plot is extremely annoying to my sensibilities but whatever.

Another way to put it is that any time I've voted, it's taken at least ten minutes, often up to half an hour. If you say twenty minutes, with no travel time from precinct to precinct, then in a fifteen hour day, one fraudulent voter can vote forty-five times, call it fifty. So you need twenty people for a thousand votes; two hundred for ten thousand. That's a hell of a big conspiracy to keep under wraps. If this sort of thing were happening, it would come out.

I just don't buy that this sort of retail fraud is practicable.

Another way to put it is that any time I've voted, it's taken at least ten minutes, often up to half an hour. If you say twenty minutes, with no travel time from precinct to precinct, then in a fifteen hour day, one fraudulent voter can vote forty-five times, call it fifty.

Or you can send fraudulent voters to vote and have them all take a really long time. Put four people together in line who each intend to take an hour to vote, they could tie up all the booths. Heck, I'm surprised this hasn't been tried in heavily leaning districts by the minority party.

The case against strict voter ID requirements, I think, is based on two points that have little to do with the abstract arguments in their favor.

First is the plain fact that a fair part of the efforts to strengthen ID requirements have been patent attempts to suppress voting. This includes things like charging for ID's, making getting them inconvenient, etc. This sort of thing has put a bad odor on the whole business. Perhaps that's unfair, but that history was created by ID proponents, and won't go away quickly.

Second, it's not really unfair. Practical aspects mean that stronger ID requirements will, almost inevitably, reduce voting among identifiable groups. Say you make ID's available, for free, at various places. How many places will there be, and where? Remember, we are talking about people who don't have driver's licenses. Are state governments really going to staff this operation adequately? I doubt it. Even an honest and well-run system is going to suppress votes, and not all will be honest and well-run. Putting this sort of scheme under the control of someone like, say, Kenneth Blackwell, is a recipe for unfairness.

Sebastian, I apologize. I shouuldn't have said "You should..." I should have written that somebody should tell the scheme to the NRC. I know that you do not want either party to cheat and wouldn't give a plan for cheating to any party.
That said, get ready folks, because the minimizinng, ignoring subject-changing,false equivalents etc. have already started. The rightwing party line will be that google-bombing and ACORN's legal problem are the equivalent of the NRC's illegal and unethical nationwide robocall scam.
I hope that the Democratic "leaders" are prepared to go to war over this. Legal war, I mean.

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