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April 30, 2008

Comments

yeah, it's a "mistake" the same way Hillary kept "misspeaking" about the sniper fire.

to amplify on cleek's point...

Hillary clarified the "misspeaking;" really it was that she "said some things [she] knew not to be the case."

As in, yeah, I knew it was a LIE when I said it. grr.

Normally I hate "who benefits" speculation, but in this case it's pretty hard to come up with a second name to put on that list...

I know. In general, caution has served me well. (My first reaction on reading about the Duke Lacrosse case was: holy sh*t! The bastards! My second reaction (wait a minute: evidence???), luckily, came pretty quickly.) That's why I really, truly am holding off.

That said, there's a whole lot wrong with this, and it makes very little sense.

That said, sometimes things just don't make much sense, for non-nefarious reasons.

But that's why I both posted about the possible connections and hedged it.

I for one look forward to reading dutchmarbel's no doubt intriguing explanation for how this proves that I'm a sexist who hates women.

I don't get it. If this is a felony, shouldn't someone be going to jail?

In addition, Maggie Williams, Clinton's campaign manager, seems to have been on their board until quite recently (h/t el bandito at dKos.)
This is a bit misleading. The dkos link indicates she left the group before becoming Clinton's campaign manager.

Jay S: yeah, but that was, what, two months ago?

cleek--
don't you know? Her previous statements are inoperative.

They made the same "mistake" in 11 different states, all misleading robo-calls aimed at the AA community?
What will the Clintons sink to next?

I for one look forward to reading dutchmarbel's no doubt intriguing explanation for how this proves that I'm a sexist who hates women.

Me, I'm looking forward to Sebastian's explanation of how a photo ID requirement will solve this obvious case of voter fraud.

Hilzoy,

Your statement implies that she was the campaign manager at the same time she was on the board for WVWV. Even el bandito doesn't claim that. I'm sorry, but that gun isn't smoking. It's a tie, but a loose one.

If the allegations in the original post are correct then at best this outfit is dangerously inept, at worst it's a gang that can't shoot straight.

They made the same "mistake" in 11 different states, all misleading robo-calls aimed at the AA community?

Is anyone prepared to argue that this is a fair summation of the evidence before us?

I cannot believe that the Obama-supporting segments of the blogosphere are up for yet another episode of "Those Racist Clintons," but comments like this suggest we're well on our way.

JayS: Oh, sorry, I didn't mean it that way. Will update. What I meant was: Maggie Williams, whose political connection to the Clintons is that she is HRC's campaign manager, was until recently... -- But I see how I could read the way you took it. Sorry not to have been clearer.

"I for one look forward to reading dutchmarbel's no doubt intriguing explanation for how this proves that I'm a sexist who hates women."

"Me, I'm looking forward to Sebastian's explanation of how a photo ID requirement will solve this obvious case of voter fraud."

-- I'd rather wait for people to actually say something before criticizing what we assume they are going to say...

Yet another example of the way in which political elites in both major parties have only a very conditional and limited attachment to democracy and voting rights.

Turbulence: I for one look forward to reading dutchmarbel's no doubt intriguing explanation for how this proves that I'm a sexist who hates women.

Your previous comment directed to me was that "Americans like me now look at people like you with moral revulsion. You've done a good job convincing me that you are not at ethical person". You did so in a comment that completely twisted my words and proved that you never actually read my comments and my links.

Now you assume that I feel a need to accuse you of things I have never said about you.

I suggest you carefully avoid saying things about me since being civil and truthfull seems to be rather hard.

@Hilzoy: I think 11 States with complaints are rather weird indeed. At that same time it seems a very complicated way to stop people from voting - I'm more of an Occams razor fan ;)

On talkleft someone pointed to this article from March 9th:

"We had been receiving, for the last couple of weeks or so, about 1,500 to 2,200 voter registration applications daily," said Johnnie Mclean, deputy director of the State Board of Elections.

In 2004, her office received only a few hundred a day, she said.

"This is, by far, the largest we've seen," Mclean said.

One reason for the state's uptick are prefilled voter registration applications from a Washington-based voting advocacy group that were mailed to thousands of private mailboxes in North Carolina. Recipients can verify their information and mail the cards to the state elections office.

Page Gardner, president of Women's Voices. Women Vote, said the response to her group's cards in this election cycle is far greater than in previous years. For this election cycle, which began in 2007, the group sent mass registrations to 22 states.


I cannot believe that the Obama-supporting segments of the blogosphere are up for yet another episode of "Those Racist Clintons," but comments like this suggest we're well on our way.

FWIW, I don't think this was intentionally racist. I certainly don't think Clinton or any of her major supporters think that blacks shouldn't vote in general. I just think she wants to win and that targeted voter suppression will help accomplish that goal. I'm sure that if there was a comparable demographic that could easily be targeted and was breaking for Obama as much as the black community is, her supporters would do the same thing to that group. This is business; its not personal.

Now, even though an act may not have been committed with racist intentions, I think it can still have racist effects. I don't really care about that issue in this case though because voter suppression is completely unacceptable no matter which voters you're suppressing.

At that same time it seems a very complicated way to stop people from voting

I don't think the goal was to stop people from voting. The goal more likely would have been to stop people from voting while maintaining plausible deniability. That's because making a concerted effort to keep people from voting looks really bad and is illegal. One has to be careful using Occam's razor lest one cut themselves.

Also, there's no contradiction between an organization participating in voter suppression while at the same time doing voter registration. If the organization is committed to electing a woman president (which seems like a perfectly reasonable goal IMHO), then it makes perfect sense to target serious registration efforts at communities that are demographically favorable to the female candidate while targeting suppression efforts at communities favorable to her male opponent.

Mistake my rear end. Even if they're legit in general they're engaging in suppression efforts as a hobby. If the calls target voters who are likely Obama voters rather than who WVWV say they want to target then what they're doing is blatantly transparent. We wouldn't accept "oops" from the GOP and it shouldn't be accepted now.

FWIW, I don't think this was intentionally racist. I certainly don't think Clinton or any of her major supporters think that blacks shouldn't vote in general. I just think she wants to win and that targeted voter suppression will help accomplish that goal.

Well, how about a little more evidence in support of the original comment, which is that this "voter suppression campaign" has targeted black voters in 11 states?

Right now, the only evidence to suggest that black voters were targeted in NC - setting aside all the other states, where there is NO evidence - is the statement by one local watchdog group that "black neighborhoods were called." No information on whether black neighborhoods were exclusively called, no evidence on whether they were disproportionately called. All we know is that some number of black households received this call.

And from this, we're supposed to infer that a group of Clinton supporters are trying to suppress the African-American vote. That's not reality-based analysis, that's narrative-based analysis.

Right now, the only evidence to suggest that black voters were targeted in NC - setting aside all the other states, where there is NO evidence - is the statement by one local watchdog group that "black neighborhoods were called." No information on whether black neighborhoods were exclusively called, no evidence on whether they were disproportionately called. All we know is that some number of black households received this call.

I think this is backwards. No one knows who this group called better than the group itself and its subcontractors. This is true because the group has taken affirmative steps to cover up their role and conceal their identity. Perhaps if they hadn't made such a great effort to ensure that it would be difficult to track their operations, we could demand more from their critics. Because of the covert nature of these operations, evidence about them will by necessity be fragmentary and incomplete.

Look, normal organizations that are operating above ground in the clear light of day don't place calls that fail to identify themselves. They don't place calls with blocked caller ID.

I don't have any more information than the rest of you (so I should probably stay quiet.) Still, it's worth making the point that if there's an intent to sow confusion about who's registered and how to get that way, the greatest effect would be on new voters, who skew towards Obama. There's no need to assume specific targeting of black voters to see that this could help Hillary.

This is a scummy tactic. No ifs, ands or buts.

Doesn't matter if this is tied to Clinton or not. Suppression or deception is bad, evil and nefarious. Full stop.

SHUT THAT GROUP DOWN.

I think this is backwards. No one knows who this group called better than the group itself and its subcontractors.

Well, once you place the burden of proof on the accused organization to demonstrate that it was not attempting to disenfranchise black voters, you've pretty much rendered the argument moot. There's no way there's going to be a rational discussion once that grenade is launched.

The accusation is incendiary and should not be made with as little evidence as we have here.

It would be weird if they didn't call black neighbourhoods, if they are looking for single women.

I googled for some more info about single women in the US (trying to figure out wether they were more white or more black or evenly spread - single high educated well earning women are more Obama's target group aren't they? As are young single women?) and came across this article from 2004:

But single women have received more attention from strategists because there are more of them — nearly 47 million eligible to vote, compared with 38.4 million men — and because women often settle on a candidate later and are less firmly set on their choice.

Page Gardner, a Democratic consultant in Washington, was intrigued by the "marriage gap" after 2000. Last year, with a friend in San Francisco, she formed a non-partisan group called Women's Voices Women Vote that has financed research into why many unmarried women don't vote. While 68% of married women voted in 2000, just 52% of unmarried women did. The conclusion: Single women often felt their voices weren't heard and didn't count.

The group has combined Census, voting rolls and consumer data to generate lists of nearly 20 million single women in 12 battleground states. Non-partisan groups can borrow the lists to register voters; partisan groups can rent it to target them.

It's possible that single women could be to Democrats what evangelical Christians have become to Republicans: a huge group of people who often haven't been engaged in politics before but hold many views in sync with the party. Efforts to organize evangelicals by the Christian Coalition and other organizations over the past quarter-century have made them a key part of the Republican base.

One difference: Evangelical Christians are organized through their churches into networks that make it easier to identify and reach them. Single women aren't.

One registration at a time

In Bethesda, Md., just outside Washington, D.C., retired labor lobbyist Ann Hoffman greets five volunteers who show up in a borrowed office for an after-hours phone bank co-sponsored by Women's Voices Women Vote and the USAction Education Fund.

Amy Berger, 48, a lawyer by training who is now a stay-at-home mom, logs on to a Web site that automatically dials phone numbers from a list of unmarried, unregistered women in Pennsylvania as it displays their names, addresses and ages on the screen.

She gets off to a slow start.

The first nine calls reach answering machines and wrong numbers. A 92-year-old woman who answers the 10th call declares, "I'm no longer going to vote," then hangs up. On the 11th call, Berger coaxes a 58-year-old woman in Lebanon, Pa., who had let her registration lapse to sign up again; she registers as a Republican.

Another small victory on the 20th call: Ann Kuhns, 52, a divorced woman from Lititz, Pa., jumps at the chance to register for the first time; she files as a Democrat. "I didn't pay much attention to politics before," Kuhns says in a phone interview later, but this year she "can't wait" to vote for Kerry. She's lost several jobs in the past few years as companies have moved operations abroad, and she sees her mother struggling to afford prescription drugs. "It really matters this year," she says.

At the end of the night, the group's total: 13 new voters registered. One at a time.


Steve: Well, once you place the burden of proof on the accused organization to demonstrate that it was not attempting to disenfranchise black voters, you've pretty much rendered the argument moot.

The burden of proof shifts when the organization takes steps to cloak its identity and conceal its role. That's the kind of behavior I expect from a crooked boiler room penny-stock scam, not a serious organization staffed by people that have sterling resumes. I would be greatly reassured if you could list some respectable political organizations that make calls which 1. do not identify the organization, 2. block caller ID, and 3. identify a speaker who does not actually exist. That looks really fishy to me, but perhaps this sort of thing is common. If you can show me that, say, the DNC does the same thing, I think everyone here will feel a lot better.

There's no way there's going to be a rational discussion once that grenade is launched.

I'm afraid I don't understand. Why can't the group simply publish on its website invoices from the subcontractor that handled its mailings showing how many mailings were sent to particular zipcodes (and what dates they were sent on)? Once that data is made available, it should be pretty simple for a blogger or a journalist or a campaign to correlate that data with census data and determine to what extent the mailings targeted areas that had unusually high numbers of African American families versus single women. I mean, sure, this would probably take an hour or two of time for the administrative staff to put together. But since the organization has said that they made a mistake and that they didn't intend to do anything wrong, I'd think they would welcome the opportunity to share such basic information in order to clear their name. Heck, if they publish that data, I'll do the analysis myself and publish it on the internet.

I don't understand how making this data available ensures that we can't have a rational discussion. Can you explain that for me? It seems to me that the sooner we get hard data, the sooner we can stop speculating and start making definitive statements based on the evidence.

Ah, I could have just surfed to their website. According to their stats (pdf) white and AA single woman had 30% unregistered voters, hispanic had 44%. 26% of older women were unregistred against 35% of the younger ones.

They have stats (ppt) about the increase in single women voters in the states where they actively ran programs.

Here is a list of the people on the board. I have no idea whom they endorse/are aligned with.

So far they don't really strike me as a shady voter supression organisation.

Sorry, I forgot to include that the stats are from 2004.

Why can't the group simply publish on its website invoices from the subcontractor that handled its mailings showing how many mailings were sent to particular zipcodes (and what dates they were sent on)?

You don't understand. This group has been tarred as a shadowy, racist voter-suppression outfit already, well in advance of any proof of same.

You suggest that if they're not racist, they should have no problem producing mountains of data to prove that fact. Well, maybe they will provide such data. But that doesn't change the fact that labelling someone as a racist and putting the burden of proof on them to establish otherwise is not a good way to run a railroad.

The tone in the blogosphere, the always reasonable hilzoy excepted, has not been "there are questions here that ought to be answered." The tone has been "this is a voter-suppression outfit that needs to be shut down RIGHT NOW." And it's disappointing to watch you argue that the burden of proof ought to be on them to prove that they're not trying to suppress the black vote; once you're in the position of being accused, there's very little you can do to clear your name.

Heck, you could have an Obama-supporting board member defend the organization and people would still believe that it was a shadowy voter-suppression outfit. That's the way it works; once the smear is launched there are people who will believe it regardless of the actual evidence.

It would be weird if they didn't call black neighbourhoods, if they are looking for single women.

The stats are interesting. As an aside, it seems very strange that they compare turnout in 2000 and 2004 for their select demographics. It would make a lot more sense to compare the change in turnout for your demographic against the change in turnout for the population at large. Otherwise, you run the risk of claiming credit for changes that you had nothing to do with. Their efforts seem to be focused on battleground states (which makes sense), but those are the states where campaigns put the most money and effort into, and the 2004 elections showed a large jump in electoral participation for all demographics. The upshot is that I don't think the data in that presentation supports the claims they're making about their own effectiveness. But YMMV.

On the other hand, if we put aside my paranoia and take the numbers at face value, this seems like a very impressive organization. It launched a concerted campaign across many states with vastly different rules for registration and voting and made a big difference in turnout. But that makes the current situation less understandable: how did a competent organization suddenly lose all of its skills? That doesn't make a lot of sense. Now, if the numbers were garbage and they really didn't have much of an effect, that would be consistent with the kind of massive incompetence needed to screw up on this level.


You don't understand. This group has been tarred as a shadowy, racist voter-suppression outfit already, well in advance of any proof of same.

Well, they are a voter suppression outfit. They have definitely done things that are likely to suppress voting. The question is whether they did so accidentally or intentionally. But it is silly to claim that they haven't taken actions that are likely to reduce turnout in some areas.

You suggest that if they're not racist, they should have no problem producing mountains of data to prove that fact. Well, maybe they will provide such data. But that doesn't change the fact that labelling someone as a racist and putting the burden of proof on them to establish otherwise is not a good way to run a railroad.

Your use of the passive voice here strikes me as problematic. Who is this mythical "they"? Some random guy on the internet? Many people? A consensus of democratic voters on the internet? The burden of proof is on them because they took actions likely to suppress voting. Just like if I shoot my neighbor, even if it was an accident, the burden of proof is still going to be on me to show that it was an accident. You can avoid having to bear the burden of proof by not doing things that are likely to infringe on a fundamental civil right.

The tone in the blogosphere, the always reasonable hilzoy excepted, has not been "there are questions here that ought to be answered." The tone has been "this is a voter-suppression outfit that needs to be shut down RIGHT NOW." And it's disappointing to watch you argue that the burden of proof ought to be on them to prove that they're not trying to suppress the black vote; once you're in the position of being accused, there's very little you can do to clear your name.

I'm afraid I can't speak for the entire blogosphere, and I don't think you can either.

Yes, some commenters think the group should be shut down...in light of its voter suppression efforts, that hardly seems like an unreasonable idea. I mean, if a voter turnout organization is too stupid to avoid suppressing votes, then disbanding seems like a good idea to me.

Now, some people have claimed that this suppression effort was intentional and some other people have gone further by saying that this intentional effort was targeted at blacks and some people have gone still further and claimed that this targeting was done because this organization is racist. So what? People say mean things online, but the existence of mean comments does not constitute a consensus. Nutpicking may be fun, but its also silly.

"Me, I'm looking forward to Sebastian's explanation of how a photo ID requirement will solve this obvious case of voter fraud."

In similar news I don't believe that breathing oxygen cures cancer, yet somehow I support breathing oxygen. How can I hold both thoughts in my mind at the same time!

I've been aware of Women's Voices, Women Vote for a long time -- pretty much since their launch. As unmarried women are one of the most Democratic and progressive-leaning demographics around, I'm in principle all for WVWV's efforts to register women and get them to the polls, and I've supported the ads and visibility efforts I've seen (all of which clearly identify WVWV as the sponsor).

But I'm seriously disturbed by the degree of incompetence in their actual registration drives -- so great that it looks like something worse than that. That is, the organiation's main objective is registering women to vote -- and yet they've missed -- almost ignoring the existence of -- the actual registration deadlines in one state after another.

This is bizarre. And, assuming that WVWV is a long-term effort, as any real effort to mobilize unmarried women as voters has to be, it's not just a question of missed opportunities -- it's poisoning the well for their own future registration activities (and possibly that of similar drives).

It may be different in other states, but Virginia registrars are given substantial latitude for discretion in how they do their jobs by the state legislature. They can and do hold grudges against organizations that make their lives hard, particularly if they also seem to be ignoring the rules.

You suggest that if they're not racist, they should have no problem producing mountains of data to prove that fact.

Mountains? I'd be satisfied with a spreadsheet containing three columns (date, zipcode, number of mailings) and at most a few hundred rows. This data would be information that they already have. That doesn't sound like a mountain of data to me at all. Are you really blown away at the thought of spreadsheets so massive they have as many as 3 columns and almost 1000 rows?

I think it would be in their best interests to convince people that they're not involved in voter suppression and that they're not incompetent. I for one think that improving turnout amongst single women is a good idea and I might have donated to them before, but I can't do that now in good conscience without some evidence that shows that the organization is competent and does not favor one candidate over the other.

If Obama complains, the Clinton campaign will both deny all knowledge and say that Obama is "whining." And the whole thing will underscore the racial angle of the primary.

So if Obama pushes back, the Clintons just win, win and win with this tactic. Nice, huh?

I was just wondering today if HRC would engage in voter surpression tactics against the Republicans if she got the nom. it is alraedy obvious that she has been a avid student of Rove's other tactics.

So I guess the answer is "Yes."

It seems that WVWV is intentionally doing registration efforts after primary deadlines. This is from an email from a WVWV staffer published at OpenLeft [emphasis mine, and I recommend reading the whole linked post]:

there is always a spike in voter registration around primaries AFTER the registration deadline has passed. this is the best time to register voters. research confirms this. around primaries people are reminded that they need to register in time for the general. WVWV has done a lot of research in this area. they know when people are most likely to register. unfortunately, what makes sense in registering the largest aggregate number of voters for the general election at the lowest cost is having a confusing effect in the N.C. primary which is hotly contested and very charged.

As the Facing South story shows, the effort had the same unfortunate effect in Virginia. It seems like common sense that it would have a similar effect in any state with a significant lag between registration deadline and a primary date.

I believe her that the organization has a general-election focus, not a sneaky primary-related agenda. That doesn't make it okay with me. It's yet another bigfoot national organization that doesn't care how much they mess things up on the ground -- the national numbers, which is what they fundraise on and measure themselves by -- are all that counts. Feh.

So far they don't really strike me as a shady voter supression organisation.

Let's recap: This is a political organiztion that "1. does not identify the organization, 2. blocks caller ID, and 3. identifies a speaker who does not actually exist". Also, it is also a Class I felony in North Carolina "to misrepresent the law to the public through mass mailing or any other means of communication where the intent and the effect is to intimidate or discourage potential voters from exercising their lawful right to vote.'.

Not shady? Whaaaaaaa??????

I've just got back from elsewhere, but am trying to get more of a handle on this. My sense is that it is plainly an above-board organization (meaning: a real live voter registration group), but that it also has a bunch of Clinton ties. And I continue to think that its tactics are very suspicious. (Not to mention illegal, according to the MC Attorney General.) So: very murky.

Yeah, I'm still waiting for them to explain who "Lamont Williams" is and why they don't indentify themselves on the calls.

Later we can ask why their mailers and robocalls are so clumsy as to confuse primary voters.

But first, why they're acting anonymously and hiding behind a fake name.

I retract my crack about HRC.

I was just about to post a long excerpt from Open Left but Nell beat me to it.

It appears that the robocalls are clumsy and have bad side effects but are not intended to do harm.

Correction to my 8:21 comment above: the email is from a staffer at Credo (formerly Working Assets), a funder of WVWV, not the organization itself.

Electoral robocalls that don't state the sponsoring organization are illegal in many places, and wrong everywhere. I'd have to know a lot more about the "industry" to be confident about it, but it's my impression that almost all telemarketing operations block caller ID.

I'm sure that if there was a comparable demographic that could easily be targeted and was breaking for Obama as much as the black community is, her supporters would do the same thing to that group. This is business; its not personal.

I know that this is, strictly speaking, tangential, but: can we please bury this idea that racial discrimination is somehow better when its cause is cynical rather than visceral? For one thing, the fantasy/myth of white superiority was invented in the first place to rationalize and facilitate a business decision - to use slave labor. In the second place, this cynical kind is actually worse from an ethical POV: there are no disgusting-but-honest roiling emotions to contend with; the cynical race discriminator feels nothing at all, *knows better*, and does it anyway. We're talking about Bush Ethics here (ie postmodern obliviousness to ethics). There is no mitigating the evil of, particularly African-American, voter suppresion - none.

I know things get shady and hot in campaigns, but with a history like ours in the US, this sort of stuff (whether that's what this particular story is about or not) is inexcusable.

Excuse me if I'm repeating myself, but this imaginary 'business not personal' distinction just makes me vomit.

Jay S wrote: "Your statement implies that she was the campaign manager at the same time she was on the board for WVWV. Even el bandito doesn't claim that. I'm sorry, but that gun isn't smoking. It's a tie, but a loose one."

Williams didn't enter the Clinton orbit for the first time when she became campaign manager. She's been a core Hillary Clinton partisan and staff member for years and years.

Wasn't she Hillary's chief of staff-equivalent when Hillary was First Lady?

Trying to excuse Williams' involvement based on the timing of when Hillary canned her prior campaign manager is weak.

If anything, Williams' presence on the board suggests that she probably worked to structure the organization as a pro-Clinton dirty tricks operation, then got pulled into the active campaign by necessity.

Nell: if Karl Rove wrote that email, explaining away his voter-suppression tactics, would you believe it so easily?

Pardon me if I don't take this *interested party* at his word, when everything his organization is doing stinks like heck.

My 2 cents is, never presume malice when the problem can be adequately explained by incompetence. If they wanted to suppress votes, they would have called people BEFORE the deadline and "lost" their registration packets. Calling them after they're already registered to suggest that maybe they're not properly registered is not going to dissuade many voters at all. So this is not malicious, and is also pretty harmless. Some people got upset, understandably, but probably nobody got hurt.

Do-gooder organizations, like anyone else, make dumb mistakes from time to time.

This Looks Ugly

it does indeed, hilzoy. but you did a great pulling it together with the appropriate degree of concern. and my compliments on the gas tax post, too. edifying.

"Do-gooder organizations, like anyone else, make dumb mistakes from time to time."

Odd, isn't it, that the mistake is more likely to hurt Obama's base, rather than Clinton's granny base.

My 2 cents is, never presume malice when the problem can be adequately explained by incompetence.

That's a cute phrase, but it seems like terrible advice in general. Sometimes people and organizations do bad things, and oftentimes when they do, they also attempt to muddy the waters in case they get caught. So yes, we should be wary of seeing intentionality where there is none, but to always assume that bad acts are accidental is nothing but willful blindness.

If they wanted to suppress votes, they would have called people BEFORE the deadline and "lost" their registration packets.

I don't think this is true. Doing what you describe is a crime, and it is taken quite seriously. I believe people have gone to prison for that sort of thing.

Calling them after they're already registered to suggest that maybe they're not properly registered is not going to dissuade many voters at all.

Why should we believe that? Wouldn't it depend on how many calls/mailings they made and how likely the average voter was to get confused and figure its not worth the hassle voting? They claim to have registered 400K voters, so this needn't be a tiny small time operation...

So this is not malicious, and is also pretty harmless. Some people got upset, understandably, but probably nobody got hurt.

I guess you can assume its not malicious if you want. I'm not entirely convinced. I also don't see any reason to believe that nobody got hurt: if people ended up not voting, then, even though its true this group didn't physically injure anyone, that's still a big problem.

Do-gooder organizations, like anyone else, make dumb mistakes from time to time.

Sure, I certainly agree with that. But do-gooder organizations rarely go to great lengths to conceal their identity ahead of time so they can't be held accountable for their "mistakes"; that pattern of behavior is usually associated with organizations that know they're doing something unacceptable. I mean, if you think you're doing important work and you don't think you're committing a crime, wouldn't you want people to know who you are so that people in the community will think highly of you and maybe toss over a donation?

To be honest, I get enraged beyond words when I get calls from organizations that block caller ID. So maybe I've lost all objectivity.

Who would have ever thought that Democrats could sink to such lows?

Who would have ever thought that Democrats could sink to such lows?

Is this snark?

As a resident of a state in which Democratic legislatures wrote the nation's most restrictive ballot access laws, I can assure you that Democratic devotion to voting rights, like Republican devotion to voting rights, fades pretty quickly when it no longer benefits the party's narrow electoral interests.

I was fortunate enough to be too busy at work to post on this thread until more information became available.

TPM, which has an excellent reputation at distinguishing what is known from what is not known, reported that the mailings in NC and many other states is "suspicious" and has some technical violations. So far, no proof of intentional vote suppression has been reported there.

Based on the information I see on ObWi, TPM, and the WVWV web site this seems to be a well-intentioned effort. It seems that the publicity of a primary creates an opportunity to register the politially disinterested, when their attention temporarily is on the coming election.

For now, I see WVWV as a sincere group that is having some difficulty dealing with the complexity of 50 state deadlines and 50 sets of state laws. Still they seem to be managing this better than the Clinton campaign did in Texas. This suggests there is less of a link between the two than some here have feared.

There is _one_ thing I found on the WVWV web site that is really disturbing, though...
Page 2 of their presentation why unmarried voters are needed had these statistics:

_______________UNMARRIED________UNMARRIED
_______________WOMEN____________MEN
VOTED__________27,857,000_______18,895,000
REGISTERED,
DID NOT VOTE____4,746,000________3,935,000
NOT
REGISTERED_____14,971,000_______14,848,000

I am startled that there are 47,574,000 unmarried women and only 37,678,000 unmarried men, a difference of over 80%. If the overall number of women is within a few percent of the number of men, what gives?

(Hillary supporters, I'm among the many here who finds Obama supports my long-held values, so I return the favor by supporting him. But I know that I need to stay emotionally prepared to vote for either possible Democratic nominee in the fall. Please take my joshing at WVWV and Hillary as good-natured.)

"I am startled that there are 47,574,000 unmarried women and only 37,678,000 unmarried men, a difference of over 80%. If the overall number of women is within a few percent of the number of men, what gives?"

Men die younger. That's why the difference is primarily outside the not registered categories - they're older. Down in not registered the numbers are about even - they're younger.

I was wondering if this suggested epidemics of gay marriage and/or polyandry.

(More likely -- and more boring -- the WVWV statistics are estimated, and my comparison is accentuating the errors.)

Lamont! Fred Sanford's son!

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