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It is deeply ironic that Republican operatives are working so hard to tarnish the most dynamic voter participation in our country in decades—apparently to justify and camouflage their most organized attempt yet to deny Americans the right to vote. The right wing in our country is responding to the massive registration of new voters with a despicable, massive assault on voter participation.

The AFL-CIO strongly condemns the coordinated national effort by the Republican Party and allied political operatives to suppress voter turnout and deny ballots to newly registered voters, particularly young people, the poor and people of color.

The assault is taking many forms. By smearing voter registration groups such as ACORN with false charges of voter fraud, the Republican Party hopes to discourage new voters and divert attention from the issues that are motivating so many—the disastrous economic policies of the past eight years.

In state after state, Republican tactics are designed to create confusion and long lines at the polls to discourage and unnecessarily alarm voters.

In Ohio, where 800,000 new voters have registered this year, the Republican Party is filing lawsuit after lawsuit to purge from the rolls people whose information doesn’t match other public records—records that are widely acknowledged to be flawed.

In September, Florida’s Republican Secretary of State told election officials to reject registrations that do not pass a computer match process that is foiled by typos and other minor errors. In just three weeks, 75 percent of matching problems were found to be the result of administrative errors; others are still being checked.

Also in September, Wisconsin’s Attorney General, who co-chairs the state McCain campaign, filed suit against the state election board, seeking to challenge the registration, by his count, of tens of thousands of voters.

Just last week, the Pennsylvania Republican Party filed a lawsuit to force newly registered voters in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas to vote under challenge and cast provisional ballots that would not be counted Election Day.

Registrars in several states have been denying registration to students who give dorm room addresses. In Maryland, a registrar circulated a memo saying students registering to vote could lose financial aid and tax dependent status.

And in at least one state, the GOP stated it would challenge mortgage foreclosure victims’ right to vote when they appeared at the polls on Election Day.

What we are seeing now is just the first wave of voter suppression. We expect it will grow to include false information distributed in communities where Republican support is weak, intimidation and challenges of voters at the polls, lawsuits seeking to throw out voting results and a longer term escalation of the campaign for more voter suppression laws.

It is up to all of us to speak out and soundly reject this travesty. The AFL-CIO and other groups, including the NAACP, ACLU, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and the League of Women Voters, are responding with our biggest voter protection program ever. Some 1,400 lawyers have joined the AFL-CIO network of labor lawyers to travel into battleground states at their own expense to staff legal command centers and support the thousands of poll monitors who will assist people who have problems voting. In nine states, the AFL-CIO is educating voters about their rights, working with election officials about election administration and recruiting and training volunteer poll monitors and workers. We are referring voters to the toll-free voting rights hotline operated by the Election Protection coalition, 1-866-OUR-VOTE, to check their registration and report problems. The AFL-CIO also is airing radio ads in targeted communities giving voters tips on how to protect their vote.

With vigilance and a major effort by a broad array of organizations, we are determined to make it easy, not hard, for every citizen to vote. We call on the McCain-Palin campaign to do more to stop the suppression of votes by any means, as well as stopping hateful smears and disinformation. And we urge the media to join the effort to make this a free and fair election by increasing careful reporting and editorial comment on voter suppression before, during and after the elections—and to help give voters confidence that their rights will be protected.

Source: The Hill

By AFL-CIO President John Sweeney

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Could we see people going to prison for voter fraud in this election?

If the question is – will this election be stolen – by you know who ?? Then I predict not this time – there would be too much voter fraud to undertake – and secondly there will be a team of lawyers around the polling places – to make sure people have any questions answered, but more to make sure that their right to vote is upheld.

That still doesn’t protect against the dirty tricks that are now coming to light – like the purging of voter registrations, one can only hope that they don’t mistakenly purge the wrong list – say full of Republican voters!

Trust the Republicans to cook up something – but with all the dirty tricks they have played in this election and nothing has worked – shouldn’t there be alarm bells telling them – to stay away from this one – the negative and dishonest tactics are not going to work – this time – better to play it straight!

See much more about voting machine problems here

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) — Barack Obama and John McCain have a litigation game plan to accompany their election strategy.

Both candidates have armies of volunteers to ring doorbells and get voters to the polls. They are also forming squadrons of lawyers who are filing challenges and preparing in case Election Day doesn’t settle the contest for the White House.

Legal battles unfolding in Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin provide fresh evidence of the potential fights to come over ballot access in an election marked by unprecedented spending to increase the number of voters in strategically important states.

The millions of dollars that have been poured into registration drives have yielded millions of new voters across the country. Those same efforts have now generated heated battles in both parties with cries of voter fraud and intimidation that may threaten the integrity of the election.

Election officials, meanwhile, are braced for huge turnout and the problems that could create with long lines, malfunctioning machines and challenges to voters.

Already, the U.S. Supreme Court has handed Ohio Democrats a victory, dissolving a court order obtained by Republicans to force state officials to release the list of 200,000 new voters whose names or addresses don’t match government databases.

Democrats’ Accusations

Democrats accused Republicans of trying to improperly disqualify voters.

In Florida, Democratic lawyer Charles H. Lichtman has assembled almost 5,000 lawyers to monitor precincts, assist voters turned away at the polls and litigate any disputes that can’t be resolved out of court.

“On Election Day, I will be managing the largest law firm in the country, albeit for one day,” said Lichtman, 53, a Fort Lauderdale corporate lawyer and veteran of the five-week recount after the 2000 election when Florida eventually delivered the presidency to George W. Bush.

Obama’s lawyers also have pressed allegations that Michigan Republicans planned to use mortgage-foreclosure lists to challenge voters. Indiana labor unions allied with Democratic presidential nominee Obama, an Illinois senator, are battling a Republican chairman over early voting in the state’s second- largest county.

2002 Law

Much of the partisan disagreement is over enforcing a 2002 law enacted by Congress to help states prevent a Florida-type recount by requiring election officials to set up database checks to purge voters.

Ohio’s Republican Party obtained a court order directing Jennifer Brunner, Ohio’s secretary of state, to give county election officials the lists of new voters whose names didn’t match drivers’ licenses or Social Security records.

In her successful Supreme Court petition, Brunner called the order a recipe for “disruption” and “chaos” as the state prepares for a presidential vote that polls of Ohio voters predict will produce another razor-thin margin. Database checks are not “a litmus test” for the right to vote, she said in a statement announcing the appeal.

Republicans contend the federal law requires record checks to counter fraudulent voter registration, which they say has been perpetrated by a nationwide network of community activists known as ACORN. The party’s presidential nominee, Arizona Senator McCain, has cried foul over the drive by ACORN — an acronym for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — to register 1.3 million voters this year.

Source: Bloomberg


WINFIELD, W.Va. — Three Putnam County voters say electronic voting machines changed their votes from Democrats to Republicans when they cast early ballots last week.

This is the second West Virginia county where voters have reported this problem. Last week, three voters in Jackson County told The Charleston Gazette their electronic vote for “Barack Obama” kept flipping to “John McCain”.

In both counties, Republicans are responsible for overseeing elections. Both county clerks said the problem is isolated.

They also blamed voters for not being more careful.

“People make mistakes more than machines,” said Jackson County Clerk Jeff Waybright.

Shelba Ketchum, a 69-year-old nurse retired from Thomas Memorial Hospital, described what happened Friday at the Putnam County Courthouse in Winfield.

“I pushed buttons and they all came up Republican,” she said. “I hit Obama and it switched to McCain. I am really concerned about that. If McCain wins, there was something wrong with the machines.

“I asked them for a printout of my votes,” Ketchum said. “But they said it was in the machine and I could not get it. I did not feel right when I left the courthouse. My son felt the same way.

“I heard from some other people they also had trouble. But no one in there knew how to fix it,” said Ketchum, who is not related to Menis Ketchum, a Democratic Supreme Court candidate.

Ketchum’s son, Chris, said he had the same problem. And Bobbi Oates of Scott Depot said her vote for incumbent Democratic Sen. John D. Rockefeller was switched to GOP opponent Jay Wolfe.

“I touched the one I wanted, Rockefeller, and the machine put a checkmark on the Republican instead,” Oates said of her experience Thursday.

Homer Simpson goes to vote for Obama

Retired factory worker Calvin Thomas of Ripley said he experienced the same problem.

“When I pushed Obama, it jumped to McCain. When I went down to governor’s office and punched [Gov. Joe] Manchin, it went to the other dude.

“After I finished, my daughter voted. When she pushed Obama, it went to McCain. It happened to her the same way it happened to me,” Thomas said.

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GOP Congressman Jokes About Pro-Obama Vote Suppression