They’re under observation

Enter the lawyers:

President Barack Obama’s campaign has recruited a legion of lawyers to be on standby for this year’s election as legal disputes surrounding the voting process escalate.
Thousands of attorneys and support staffers have agreed to aid in the effort, providing a mass of legal support that appears to be unrivaled by Republicans or precedent.

ACORN, The New Black Panther Party, Dead Zombie Voters, did I miss anything? Let the paranoia and misinformation begin.

I do election protection in Ohio and I’ve been doing that in this county since 2006, so I thought we could discuss this in a calm and rational manner. I also know a lot of commenters and readers do this work too, so please speak up about your experience in your state.

First, the difference between voter access people (Democrats and liberals) and voter fraud people (Republicans and conservatives) on the ground is this: access people concentrate on the state role in voter suppression (whether intentional or not) and fraud people concentrate on the voter role in defrauding the state. The two sides are always portrayed as doing the same thing, but that’s not true. We’re watching the state and they’re watching individual voters. We start with the assumption that voters are acting in good faith. They don’t. Big difference, if you’re a voter.

In Ohio, there is a state code process to volunteer and enter as a poll watcher. I won’t go into a whole lot of detail, but I file an entry with the county Board of Elections and then each polling place that I visit, and am sworn in with a slightly different oath than that of a poll worker. I hit those precincts where I have noticed problems in the past, submit the copy of the entry, get sworn in, and observe. I was a poll worker so I know a lot of the poll workers and I live and work here. They can always find me later. This makes the whole thing easier and less hostile because I’m accountable for my actions.

What I am looking for and listening for is a voter being given information that is incorrect or incomplete, particularly on provisional balloting. I am watching the process used to determine whether a voter is given a provisional ballot and then looking for poll worker error on instructions for how to complete the ballot properly so it will be counted. I want to stress something here. Any errors that I have observed are not malicious on the part of poll workers. The provisional balloting rules are complicated and they either don’t know them or apply them in ways that are arbitrary and, well, personal. In my observation, there is a “belt and suspenders” attitude that crops up frequently in GOP poll workers. If demanding one piece of paper is GOOD, demanding two is BETTER, hand out a provisional ballot just to be on the safe side, like that. Whoa there, drunk-with-power Republican. This isn’t an interrogation or an obstacle course. Back off or we’ll have to demote you to handing out the “I Voted” stickers.

None of what I do is directed at the voter. I am speaking, always, with the head poll worker. If there were a legal issue that required a court, I would know enough to be able to respond to that quickly because of the training we take, but I’m not an election lawyer. If it became necessary to pursue a legal challenge I would be quickly replaced with someone who knows what they’re doing.

Finally, I get asked in emails where to donate for voter registration, education and protection. Donate to the Obama campaign, or your state Democratic Party. The Obama campaign are doing all the voter contact on the ground in Ohio and it makes a lot of sense to do voter registration, education and protection while they’re talking with voters anyway. In my experience (which is based on the 2004 Kerry campaign in Ohio) outsourcing nuts and bolts voter stuff to an alphabet soup of outside orgs is a chaotic and error-ridden disaster.

I can confidently predict that the Tea Party group True the Vote will be a mess, judging by their performance in 2010:

True the Vote said they weren’t responsible for the actions of individuals, who they said were properly trained.
“Any alleged actions that may have occurred of that nature were purely individual actions, and not in any way representative of, or connected to, True the Vote,” the group said in the statement. “True the Vote conducts extensive citizen training of poll watchers and makes it explicitly clear in the training that poll watchers are never to impede, interact, challenge or interfere with any voter.”
Hiram Sasser, a lawyer representing True the Vote, referred TPMMuckraker to the statement, and said he couldn’t know for sure if those accused of voter fraud had been trained by the organization. “We don’t know the answer to that question,” Sasser said. “We would like to know but we don’t know that answer to that.”

They’re not responsible for their actions and they know nothing, but they would LIKE to know. Great.






54 replies
  1. 1
    Mark S. says:

    True the Vote?

    True dat, Double True!

  2. 2
    JGabriel, Statist Minded Ideologue of the Left says:

    Kay @ Top:

    The two sides are always portrayed as doing the same thing, but that’s not true. We’re watching the state and they’re watching individual voters. We start with the assumption that voters are acting in good faith. They don’t. Big difference, if you’re a voter.

    Republicans are trying to intimidate and harass people into not voting; Democrats are trying to protect the peoples basic right to vote.

    .

  3. 3
    aimai says:

    Kay, I love your posts and I honor you for your work. I have something to add from the “other side” –I’ve worked as both Clerk and Inspector on several National elections in my blue blue city in my blue blue state. The unbelievable incompetence and complexity of the election laws simply can’t be believed. The training you are given (which you are paid some derisory sum for) is absolutely moronic and focused largely on the mechanics of the voting process: How to help voters fill in the blank, use the special computer for visually disabled, sign in, check out.

    The real complexities of the “provisional ballot” or, indeed, any difficulty in locating the voter are generally scanted. In addition instead of there being one form to fill out for all irregular situations there are several, color coded, each with a different set of instructions and a different place to be stored. During a hot election when a lot of people wander in and are not on the rolls, for whatever reason, the number of steps to help them check registration and fill out the provisional ballot can be absolutely mind numbing and jam up the entire ward causing frustration and missed votes as people leave.

    I had the horror of being stuck with an incorrect/not updated list during the Obama election. Central headquarters screw up. Not only did we get a hostile visit from Fox News but the election commission itself didn’t give a good answer to how to handle the resulting “provisional ballots” which should have been automatically fed into the system and treated as regular ballots as soon as we got the updated list. They hung me out to dry as the Clerk, created incredible stress for everyone especially the voters–and this was in an election which judging by the party affiliations of everyone involved and the voters in my ward was a slam dunk for Obama. Democrats were fucked out of their regular ballots with as much enthusiasm by the system as aliens from the planet Zorg. Because the rules about ballots and updated lists are incredibly clunky and user unfriendly and illogical.

    aimai

  4. 4

    ACORN, The New Black Panther Party, Dead Zombie Voters, did I miss anything?

    TRIAL LAWYERS oogga booga….

  5. 5
    floridafrog says:

    Thanks, Kay as always,
    My experience as a poll watcher in N. Florida was very similar to yours, except that we had poll watchers assigned to each polling place all day from before the polls opened to check the machines and at closing to follow the ballots to the supervisor of elections office. We were also trained to phone for attorneys if police appeared to be intimidating voters waiting in line. We had 5 election attorneys stationed throughout the rural county so that each precinct could have an attorney on site within a few minutes. In my precinct, every time a non-white appeared at the sign in table, my republican counterpart approached the head poll worker to “double check on their status”. As he approached the table, so did I. He eventually gave up but it took awhile.

    We will do it again this time.

  6. 6
    Kay says:

    @aimai:

    God. Nightmare scenario. I felt sorry for the election officials in Minnesota with Franken, watching on television.

    I think it would be good if they would explain to them the importance of consistent rules for each voter, that it’s not going to be a fair process unless it’s rigorously consistent. I see the impatience with what people may perceive as “formalities” but really the whole protection is contained within process. I sometimes think they don’t get that basic idea.

  7. 7
    quannlace says:

    Wonder if this will get any traction in the MSM?

    “Romney lied about role in Bain’s investment in medical-waste firm that disposed of aborted fetuses”

  8. 8
    japa21 says:

    The basic difference is that we are willing to accept the chance (as miniscule as it is) that one person may cast a fraudulent ballot in order to allow as many as possible legitimate voters vote. They believe it is better to allow a thousand or more legitimate voters be disenfranchised than to allow one possible voter cast a fraudulent ballot,

  9. 9
    Kay says:

    @japa21:

    That’s really it for me, and it’s the reason there isn’t going to be some meeting of the minds. They say one fraudulent vote is one too many and I say one wrongfully disenfranchised voter is one too many, and I feel just as strongly about my position as they do theirs. I love how I’m supposed to “compromise”, but they aren’t. “Oh, sure, knock out as many as you like”. That’s not a compromise.

  10. 10
    AliceBlue says:

    I’m a poll worker in a very small precinct (less than 500 voters) in a rural county in Georgia. We’re lucky in that our county Elections Supervisor is a whip-smart young woman with a ready smile and the patience of Job. She and her staff bend over backward to help everyone–voters and poll workers–get things right. Before we can issue a provisional ballot, the precinct captain has to call the county elections office, explain the situation, and get permission from the Supervisor to issue the ballot. It’s fairly complicated, but we have a sheet of step-by-step instructions, which make things easier.

    It’s always such a pleasure to read your posts Kay. I’m glad the Obama campaign is on the job.

  11. 11
    Violet says:

    When are we going to get international poll watchers? You know, like from the UN? I’d love to see a UN poll watcher show up at some red state/red precinct polling place.

  12. 12
    NonyNony says:

    @japa21:

    The basic difference is that we are willing to accept the chance (as miniscule as it is) that one person may cast a fraudulent ballot in order to allow as many as possible legitimate voters vote

    For me it’s even milder than that. I want to see actual evidence of vote fraud before I want the state to start denying people their right to vote.

    All of this “vote fraud” screaming from the right has proceeded with no evidence of actual fraud when it comes to voting. Notice that all of the “evidence” comes in the form of fraudulent names on voter registration cards – that’s the evidence that they give because that’s the evidence that they have. If people were committing actual vote fraud there would be follow-up and people would be arrested or we’d be getting news stories about the loopholes in the law that are allowing people to actually cast fraudulent ballots without getting arrested for it.

    Notice that even Breitbart’s flying monkey squad when they went out to do their “investigative journamalism” schtick with this stopped short of actually casting the ballots. No actual vote fraud was committed because voting with a fake id on a fraudulent voter registration will send you to jail when you get caught doing it. If they could find people who are actually DOING this and casting fraudulent ballots I might start to get more sympathetic to the idea that the state needs to do more to stop it.

    But they can’t because it isn’t happening. So they have to make hay about voter registration fraud instead and then propose solutions that have no bearing on stopping voter registration fraud from happening but do work to disenfranchise legitimate voters.

  13. 13
    JPL says:

    @quannlace: hahaha

    Kay, Thanks for the article

  14. 14
    Ben Cisco says:

    I fear some places are going to turn into battlegrounds (and not in the figurative sense), but if I have to choose between safety and getting my vote cast, “I choose the danger.”

  15. 15

    @japa21:

    They believe it is better to allow a thousand or more legitimate voters be disenfranchised than to allow one possible voter cast a fraudulent ballot,

    Especially if they’re the ones who get to pick which kind of voter is being disenfranchised in the process.

  16. 16
    Steve in DC says:

    @japa21:

    I don’t think they are stupid enough to believe that people are voting illegally, they just view voter fraud as voting for a Democrat. Fiscal conservatives view voting as a chance to legally rob the winners and productive members in society. That a mob of the poor is going to use the governments threat of force to confiscate money from the rich. Social conservatives and economic populists see the government spending money to promote alternate lifestyles or give payouts to identity groups in return for them voting Democratic.

  17. 17
    Scratch says:

    @Kay:

    They like to throw out the idea that a fraudulent vote is the equivalent of disenfranchising a voter, but that’s just horrible propaganda and stupid math.

    The fact is that if a fraudulent vote is cast for the loser of the election, then that fraudulent vote had no effect. If that fraudulent vote was cast for the winner, that vote is only meaningful if it alters the outcome of the election.

    Those facts, combined with how there is no real documented evidence of any sort of widespread and intentional voting fraud, show that this whole controversy is nothing more than ginned up assholishness to bring into effect voter ID laws, laws which can actually disenfranchise a real voter’s vote.

  18. 18
    gluon1 says:

    Is it unproductive to just repeat what others have said and note that I, too, thank @Kay: for doing such good work and for posting about it here? If so, let’s pretend I don’t think so highly of my opinion that I did so anyhow.

  19. 19
    Kelly says:

    I’m an Oregonian. Vote by mail is excellent. I think we should make it nationwide.

  20. 20
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Violet: We had some in my precinct in 2004 (in Northern Va). We also had problems with voters who had registered at the DMV not being on the roles…

  21. 21

    @Scratch:

    The fact is that if a fraudulent vote is cast for the loser of the election, then that fraudulent vote had no effect. If that fraudulent vote was cast for the winner, that vote is only meaningful if it alters the outcome of the election.

    That’s a really stupid bad* argument, because it can be turned around to justify disenfranchisement; it’s also true that the missing vote of a disenfranchised voter would only be significant if it would have changed the outcome of an election. You’re left exactly where you started, with fraud and disenfranchisement seen as morally equivalent. If you want to win the argument, you need to justify why disenfranchisement is worse than fraud: either because disenfranchisement is happening wholesale while fraud is completely imaginary or because disenfranchising voters strikes against a fundamental right and pillar of Democracy.

    *Edited to be less inflammatory.

  22. 22
    Violet says:

    @Woodrowfan: Really? I didn’t know that had happened here.

    Kay, as always, thanks for your excellent work and your informative posts. Always educational and enlightening.

  23. 23
    Scratch says:

    @Roger Moore:

    That’s why I also said:

    Those facts, combined with how there is no real documented evidence of any sort of widespread and intentional voting fraud, show that this whole controversy is nothing more than ginned up assholishness to bring into effect voter ID laws, laws which can actually disenfranchise a real voter’s vote.

  24. 24
    bemused senior says:

    In my experience (which is based on the 2004 Kerry campaign in Ohio) outsourcing nuts and bolts voter stuff to an alphabet soup of outside orgs is a chaotic and error-ridden disaster.

    This. My husband and I worked the Reno, NV area the day before and the day of the 2004 pres election and it was a circus, with multiple colliding calls and door knocks from Move On, the Democratic Party (us) and union election workers. It really seemed like it would have been better if resources given to, especially, Move On had been redirected to the party.

  25. 25
    Redshift says:

    The army of lawyers to protect the vote may be “unprecedented” in some parts of the country, but we had it in VA in 2008. I wonder if it’s really bigger than ’08, or if they’re just being dramatic.

  26. 26
    feebog says:

    I’m a Clerk at a polling site in SoCal. The precinct has about 1800 registered voters. They include students from UC Northridge, owners of some fairly affluent neighborhoods around the college, and apartment dwellers along one of the main corridors in the San Fernando Valley.

    In 2008 we had a huge turnout, and were busy all day. I worked with voters on provisional ballots almost all day. The main reasons for provisional ballots were that the voter showed up at the wrong polling place, or they registered too late to appear in the roll book.

    If the voter showed up at the wrong polling site (a common problem, because polling sites are often combined in off year elections) they were directed to the correct polling site, but were given the option of voting by provisional ballot. If the voter did not appear on the rolls, but their address was within the precinct area, then a provisional ballot was the only option.

    Filling out a provisional ballot in LA county is not that complicated. With a little help from a trained clerk, the paper work can be filled out in less than two minutes. Photo ID is not necessary to vote, but it is necessary to fill out a provisional ballot in California. I have never run into a voter that I thought was trying to commit fraud. Most of them are simply confused (I voted here last time!) or registered late.

  27. 27
    Someguy says:

    I watched a bunch of fraudulent votes go down last time around. A couple white vans pulled up just around the block from the polling place where I vote, and maybe 18 college-aged kids got out of the vans. They went into the polling place ahead of me and a couple of them gave the names of a couple neighbor kids who I actually know – I wanted to say “you aren’t the kid who cuts my lawn” but kept my mouth shut. Then they voted. On the way out, I noticed them trickling back to the vans, and a middle aged dude talking to one of the van drivers. I hung out in the park across the street, and the vans pulled out, followed by the middle aged dude in a big Caddy or Lincoln with NY plates. I live several states away from NY.

    I was impressed. I just hope they voted the right way.

  28. 28
    gnomedad says:

    Sounds like a small-scale version of the death penalty issue. We’re afraid of innocent people being executed; they’re afraid some low-life will escape it.

  29. 29

    @feebog:
    The problem with multiple precincts voting in the same place is very annoying. My current polling place serves 4 precincts, or at least it did for the primary. Their solution was to color code the precincts. There was a big map out front that showed each precinct shaded in the color used for that precinct’s polling station. You just had to find your home on the map, note the color, and find the corresponding colored polling station. It seemed to work very well, but that was for a primary with fairly light turnout. I don’t know how well it would work for a full election.

    For the non-Californians, they actually have to have separate precinct stations. The order of the candidates on the ballots is randomized, with each precinct potentially having a different order. This is A) the law and B) a good idea because it prevents any candidate from getting a substantial “top of the ballot” boost.

  30. 30
    kay says:

    @Someguy:

    What you’re saying here is not a single ‘real voter”, of that 18, came in either after or before the “fraudulent” voters, or you would have seen that on the news.
    Because that of course is the risk of voter impersonation fraud. That the fraudulent voter will get caught when the real voter shows up. It’s a felony, and “18” votes hardly seem worth the real possibility of discovery.

  31. 31
    Someguy says:

    @Kay – I don’t think the dude drove from NY just to see 18 kids vote once. 18 votes isn’t worth the risk, but if you have a list of votable names and hit 10 polling places in a day, it’s probably a worthwhile risk in a close race. Multiply this by a 5-6 crews, and now you’re really talking about moving the needle.

  32. 32
    rikyrah says:

    As always Kay, you bring the truth.

    I will say this again: tell everyone you know to check on their voting status

    if you can volunteer at a Senior Citizens home, do so, and either get them to vote absentee, or volunteer to help them get to the polls.

    if in a VOTER ID STATE, ask those elderly about their ID.

    DON’T EVER LET SOMEONE GIVE YOU A PROVISIONAL VOTE.

    NEVER EVER EVER.

    FIGHT WITH THEM, and force them to call down to authorities to tell you where you need to go in order that you don’t have to fill out a provisional ballot.

  33. 33
    kay says:

    @Someguy:

    And with each and every vote you’re risking that the voter has voted, has voted absentee, or is standing behind you?
    Not to mention that most poll workers are assigned to their own precincts, so you’re also risking that the poll worker knows the voter?
    Approximate age has to be right, too, because we have your DOB, and sex of course.
    There have been something like 11 voter fraud prosecutions in Ohio in the years prior to voter ID. Not a one was for voter impersonation fraud.
    Church groups use vans in Ohio to take voters to the polls.

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Someguy:

    They went into the polling place ahead of me and a couple of them gave the names of a couple neighbor kids who I actually know – I wanted to say “you aren’t the kid who cuts my lawn” but kept my mouth shut.

    So you watched someone commit a felony in front of you even though you knew they were impersonating someone else and you kept your mouth shut … why, again?

  35. 35
    kay says:

    @Someguy:

    Mexico totally revamped their election system after allegations of fraud. They have a national voter ID card, paper ballots, randomly selected poll workers (like our juror system). It’s an international model of security and transparency.

    There are allegations of fraud after yesterday’s election.

  36. 36
    Liberty60 says:

    providing a mass of legal support that appears to be unrivaled by Republicans or precedent.

    Well, unless you include the legal support that ALEC can bring to bear.

    Those voter-suppression laws didn’t write themselves, y’know.

  37. 37
    Jackie says:

    Where are these people? I am a senior lawyer who volunteered in 2008 and 2004–each time I had to find out on the blogs that they needed me. They are so not keeping up with the Plouffe’s in this part of the campaign.

  38. 38
    Someguy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    why, again?

    What, you think I want to lend credence to the Republican vote suppression efforts? I don’t think so. It’s better to put up with a few, or few thousand crooked votes, than to lend support to their anti-minority campaign.

  39. 39
    kay says:

    @Jackie:

    I was contacted by a lawyer in the city closest to where I live back in March. He’s our regional coordinator, or some title like that. I know him, but only slightly. I imagine he got my name off the 2010 list.

  40. 40
    kay says:

    @Someguy:

    I don’t even think you know anyone “drove from NY”
    My daughter’s a PA resident. In 2010, she drove to a polling station in PA and voted, driving a car w/OH plates. The car is her dad’s old car, and she used it that whole year.
    I have trouble with these allegations, because they never pan out. I’d have to know more.

  41. 41
    Someguy says:

    @kay:

    Yeah, of course you would have trouble Kay. The two kids who voted using names of my neighbors’ kids – who were off in school out of state – just isn’t a credible accusation. It could be that I don’t recognize the kid who cut my grass every couple weeks for five years, or the other kid who went to school with my kid and hung out at my house playing video games.

    And I didn’t say that somebody drove from NY. I said that a guy – who didn’t vote – was talking to one of the van drivers, then got into a nice car with NY plates and drove off following the vans. Nice misquote. Like everything around here, if it doesn’t fit the narrative we can’t accept it.

  42. 42
    JustMe says:

    @Someguy: Except that the more you do that, the easier it becomes to detect: you’re betting that none of the actual voters show up to vote. Because once they start doing that, the discrepancy is found, and the pattern is detected.

  43. 43
    Valdivia says:

    Kay I have been meaning to comment on this thread all day adn to say, once again how grateful I am both that you do what you do and that you report it here.

    Last night, waiting for the results of the Mexican election, I clikced on the site for the Mexican Electoral Institute. After the outright stolen election in 1988 and the suspicions that the election was not clean in 2006 the IFE (an independent organization not controlled by any party) took pains to make the process wholly transparent. SO long story short–they were having a televised and streamed meeting of the IFE Board and the representatives for citizens groups and every political party giving a report of all the problems experienced that very day and what each party liked and disliked about the process. It was all boring, civilized and very very normal. It made me think of what you always say about those who actually work on the ground have a very different approach.

    *I will add that unlike this meeting from the people who were tasked to run the election and the volunteers and poll workers (selected at random like jury duty) the twitter machine was alive with conspiracy theories even if the results of the elections tracked with all the polls leading up to it. There were problems, but they were all reported and all observers agreed it was very well run. It made me happy to see an institution work as it should.

  44. 44
    kay says:

    @Someguy:

    You did though. You wrote “I don’t think the Guy drove from NY” for 18 votes. Then you told me he might have gone from polling place to polling place.
    Your assumption was he drove from NY, so needed to make that worthwhile, which is how you got to the second allegation.
    A lot of times these stories are inference piled on inference. I’ve read a lot of them. It doesn’t mean yours is wrong. It just means that you started one place, 18 votes, and quickly got to another, wholly conjecture, because the second part of the story is neccesary to prop up the first part, to make the first part make sense.

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Someguy: If you saw something like that, wouldn’t make more sense to report it so the system can operate?

  46. 46
    kay says:

    @Valdivia:

    Lately I’m fascinated with Mexico. I’ve never been there but…fast and furious! Just kidding. I was interested prior to that horseshit. Thanks for the insight. Your comments have been great to read.

    I took Spanish in school and I feel as if I could read it if I worked at it. I slaved over it, and probably suck at languages but I’d like to pick it up again.

  47. 47
    Valdivia says:

    @kay:

    Thank you Kay. Mexico’s political history is truly fascinating. Their revolution produced one of the most progressive constitutions in 1917, pretty far advanced even if it didn’t live up to its promise given the monopoly the PRI had in power. Also–Benito Juarez first indian origin President of Mexico in the 19th century and hard core secularizer of the Mexican state. They fought a war that lasted over 10 years to limit the power of the Church!

    Yesterday when I was watching that I kept thinking–I wish Kay would see this because it reminded me of what you said and it also impressed me. I wish we could do things like that. There will be lots of rumors that the election wasn’t perfectly clean etc etc but I think this is the first time I can pretty surely say, it wasn’t stolen (2000 being the only other very clear case when it didn’t happen)

    I think if you just watched Univision at newscast hour everyday you would be back in speaking form in no time! :)

  48. 48
    Betsy says:

    This effort is not new — it sounds the same as the voter protection effort that the Obama campaign ran in 2008. I was one of the volunteer lawyers.

    The IT infrastructure that the Obama poll protection watchers had was incredible. There were four of us there, relaying real-time info to off-site voter-turnout workers. As voters came in and gave their names, the campaign was able to do a lot of knocking doors, phoning voters to turn them out.

    I saw a lot of provisional ballots cast by minority voters that day, as well as young people. Provisional ballots are where votes go to die.

    The Republican poll watcher mostly filed her nails and looked at text messages on her cell phone. She sighed and yawned and checked her makeup. She said after a while, “Mm, I’m leaving, I don’t know why they sent me here.”

    We were there all day. The Obama campaign even delivered us a gourmet homemade vegetarian lunch in a paper sack … with homemade cookies.

    The Republicans delivered a Burger King bag to their volunteer. It seemed appropriate.

  49. 49
    kideni says:

    Great work, Kay. I’m really concerned about how much the Republicans are ginning up the voter fraud bs, and how much people are buying it, particularly here in Wisconsin. Last week an OFA rep wanted to talk to me about my experiences canvassing and such, since they’re trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t (I told her they need to spend less time in my Madison neighborhood, since we always have high turnout and 90-95% for Democrats, so really, my friend two blocks over doesn’t need to be reminded 14 times [she counted] to go vote, and maybe try to figure out how to get more people in Eau Clare or Appleton to vote Democratic because, really, they can’t just depend on Madison and Milwaukee to carry the state — she agreed with that, but they still want to keep my peeps engaged somehow, since there’s a risk that too many people around here may be in the Obama-isn’t-perfect-so-I’ll-stay-home/vote-for-Jill-Stein camp), and I just kept coming back to how much they need to counteract the Republican narrative. She said they’ll have signs up at polling places telling people their rights, and I did my best to impress upon her that that’s not enough when the person in charge of the polling place doesn’t know that the voter ID requirement was struck down (there were a number of polling places around the state where the chief insisted that people had to show ID — if the person in charge of voting at a polling place doesn’t know the law, what good is a sign going to do?).

    I begged her to make sure the OFA crew are paying close attention to how things are going down in Racine and figure out how to fight that kind of crap — the state senator there lost his recall election, but he paid for a recount (he wasn’t in the range for a fully state-paid recount), which changed nothing, but the whole time the Republicans have been alleging fraud of various kinds; in addition, on election day there were Republican operatives in Democratic polling places, especially those that are heavily minority, harassing voters and causing all manner of trouble (one was the clerk of Lake County, Illinois, who’s now facing possible legal action for her conduct in interfering with several voters). They do this every year, and they’ll be trying to do voter caging this year, and they’ll be trying to confuse and misinform voters about voting dates and locations, just as they do every election, so I pleaded her to try to make sure there are plans to get ahead of this crap, to defend people, and to call foul. I’m just so sick of this crap, and signs at polling places aren’t going to do anything in the face of coordinated voter suppression.

  50. 50
    Laertes says:

    @Someguy:

    I was impressed. I just hope they voted the right way.

    You need to get that moral defect looked at, son.

  51. 51
    kay says:

    @kideni:

    Wisconsin scares me, because Milwaukee is sort of Patient Zero for voter fraud allegations by Republicans. That’s where the stories started.

    If I go back to the beginning of what I consider the current hysteria, it began in Milwaukee.

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    kideni says:

    @kay: It sure did, and the Republicans keep the “voter fraud” Wurlitzer well oiled and purring. They don’t even need to explain themselves much, because so many people now take it as a given. And because Wisconsin is such a swing state, we’re the target of out-of-state groups like True The Vote and local Republican parties in states that are less swingy, so they all come here and wreak havoc. I’d like to think that OFA is on top of things, because Wisconsin is apparently crucial for every single model that gets the Dems to 270, but it just seems like they’re always caught flat-footed by all the various voter suppression techniques.

  53. 53
    kay says:

    @kideni:

    We’ve gotten much better in Ohio because we’ve had voter ID since 2006.
    We were a mess in 2006. I think you’ll have to build a team, in-state, that isn’t neccesarily part of any campaign rolling thru.
    That’s the lawyer part though. It sounds as if you have organizer problems too, and all the lawyers in the world won’t matter if voters don’t know what to bring.
    I am so sick of them changing these laws every 3 months. It’s infuriating.

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    PNW_WarriorWoman says:

    Thank you, Kay, for this very informative article. I always wondered how poll watchers were trained and how they did their work. We have vote by mail now in WA State so it’s nice to hear how things are going in states that still have polls. Do you have a sense that caging will be an issue in Ohio in 2012 as it was in 2008? BTW, I truly enjoy your posts. Always learning something.

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