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Republicans and Democrats Rigging Elections

Guest Kevin B. Zeese

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Guest Kevin B. Zeese

In Wisconsin, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen a Republican and co-chair of the McCain-Palin Campaign in Wisconsin, filed a lawsuit demanding Wisconsin election officials verify voters' identity before the November election. This could lead to frustration at the polls and exhausted clerks in a hotly contested state in the presidential race. One million people have registered since January 1 and if successful the lawsuit would require every new registrant be checked.


The chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County, Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP’s effort to challenge voters on Election Day. Ohio Republicans are considering the same tactic. This mean-spirited approach to denying people their vote will not only intimidate voters but will create long lines in Democratic-leaning precincts. A coalition of faith-based, community and labor organizations protested outside of McCain-Palin’s Michigan office against this tactic.


The Florida Secretary of State decided on September 8th to enforce the state's "no-match, no-vote" law, a voter registration law that blocked more than 16,000 eligible Florida citizens from registering to vote in 2006, through no fault of their own, and could disenfranchise tens of thousands more voters in November. Republican Secretary of State Kurt Browning's last-minute decision to implement the law in the final month before the registration deadline will post a significant hurdle to eligible Florida citizens hoping to vote in November. It will disenfranchise voters who do not send or bring a photocopy of their driver's license to county election officials' offices after voting, even though these voters will have shown their driver's licenses when they went to vote at the polls. The decision will put thousands of Florida citizens at risk due to bureaucratic typos that under the 'no-match, no-vote' law will prevent them from voting this November.


On September 11, 2008 Air America the Tom Hartmann Show received calls from people in swing states who had received “absentee ballot request forms” from the McCain campaign. These were being sent to people registered as Democrats or Independents, but there seemed to be errors in the forms, instructions and/or the return addresses on the envelope for mailing back the forms.


In Ohio, a Republican passed election law could disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters. The Democratic Secretary of State describes it as an unconstitutional law that allows Ohio county election boards to cancel a voter's registration solely because some election notices mailed to a home address come back undeliverable.


In Colorado, Holly Lowder resigned from her post as elections director two months before one of the biggest elections in Colorado history. She held that job since 2006.


Colorado Ethics Watch had been pursuing documents from the state regarding Lowder's ties to John Paulsen whose company installed voter databases in more than 30 counties and recently got two contracts worth almost $184,000 with the secretary of state's office for data work related to the current election season. It turns out Lowder and Paulsen were living together.


In Virginia, students who are registering to vote for the first time are facing ambiguous new state rules about whether a campus address is sufficient for voter registration purposes. Two weeks ago, in Montgomery County, where Virginia Tech is located, the county election director said students who register to vote in Virginia could no longer be claimed as dependents on their parents' tax returns -- which the Internal Revenue Service later said was incorrect -- and could lose scholarships or coverage under their parents' car and health insurance. Student voting advocates said those remarks were intended to suppress student voting.


This summer the Electronic voting machine manufacturer Premier Elections Solutions (formerly Diebold) warned government officials of a critical programming error that can drop votes before they are tallied. Premier’s disclosure of an election computer glitch that could drop ballot totals for entire precincts is stirring new worries that an unofficial laboratory testing system failed for years to detect an array of flaws in $1.5 billion worth of voting equipment sold nationwide since 2003. Premier Election Solutions also confirmed that a software glitch in its proprietary systems caused 1,000 votes not to be counted in an Ohio election this March. These problems could have affected election results in 34 states in recent years.



It is not only the Diebold electronic voting system that has problems – they all do. A security review of the Sequoia voting system this summer found serious security and other flaws. Sequoia, along with ES&S voting systems, are the subject of a new paper, and video issued by the Computer Security Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The paper clarifies that security is lacking in both Sequoia and ES&S voting systems: “the electronic voting systems that we have reviewed are neither secure nor well-designed.”


The Computer Security Group paper also discusses the failure of the certification process which does not and cannot adequately secure a software driven voting system. The failure of certification is also examined by a report this month issued by the GAO which describes numerous instances of problems with voting machines.


In addition to these problems being acknowledged or discovered there have also been a series of voting failures within the last two years demonstrating that the dysfunction of voting machines is not theoretical, but real. Below are some examples:


- Most recently on September 9th the nation’s capitol saw a meltdown, D.C. election officials blamed a defective computer memory cartridge for producing what appeared to be thousands of write-in votes that officials say did not exist. In the Republican at-large race, 1,560 write-ins at 9:50 p.m. dwindled to 18 by 12:16 a.m. Thousands of votes were added to individual candidates, inflating vote totals. At 9:50 p.m. 8,246 ballots were recorded in the at-large Republican primary, but that shrank to 3,735 by 12:16 a.m.



The numbers were so bizarre that the malfunction was caught and corrected. But how it happened remains something of a mystery. Sequoia Voting Systems, says that its database and software functioned just fine, and pointed to static electricity or other possibilities.


- In Palm Beach a recount this September 1 found 3,400 fewer votes than the original count. Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson is unable to explain the new totals, the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board is showing veteran jurist Richard Wennet leading by just 60 votes. Three weeks after the election the race is still unresolved and last week after looking for missing ballots, the Canvassing Board now has more ballots than were originally counted.


- In Arkansas during an election this spring 45 votes cast in one race were added to the totals of an entirely different race that wasn’t even on the same ballot.


- Last year, Volusia County Florida was forced to replace over 300 memory cards on their voting machines due to manufacturing defects.


- Last year, Lawrence County Ohio had one race where the voting machines flipped the results between two candidates due to a programming error.


- In a hotly contested Florida congressional race in 2006, decided by less than 400 votes, 18,000 votes went missing.


Of course, the most serious problem – election fraud – would not be possible to report because it is untraceable and unfindable without a voter verified paper ballot and mandatory audits.


Throughout the country people vote on different kinds of voting systems, usually decided by the county election board. The key battleground states vote on a variety of equipment:


Colorado: Most of Colorado will be voting on a paper ballot-based system with or without touchscreen machines. Next most common will be touchscreens with a paper record.


Florida: Most of Florida will be voting on a mixed system of paperless touchscreen machines and paper ballots. A few counties will be voting on touchscreen machines without a paper record.


Michigan: All of the state will be voting on a paper ballot-based voting system.


Nevada: All of the state will be voting on touchscreens with a voter verified paper record.


New Hampshire: All of the state will be voting on a paper ballot-based voting system.


New Mexico: All of the state will be voting on a paper ballot-based voting system.


Ohio: Most of the state will be voting on a touchscreen system that includes a voter verified paper record. Second most common is a paper-based system counted on an optical scan machine. A handful of counties provide a mix of voting systems.


Pennsylvania: Most of the state will be voting on touchscreen systems without any paper record. The next most common system will be a paper ballot-based voting system. And a handful of counties will be voting on a mixed system of paperless and paper-based voting.


Virginia: Most of the state will be voting on paperless touchscreen voting machines. Some of the state will be voting on touchscreen systems with a voter verified paper record.


Wisconsin: Most of the state will be voting on a paper-based system either with or without touchscreens. The next most common will be a paper ballot-based system. One county mixed systems with and without a paper record.


The challenge with paperless electronic voting is that the machines make mistakes or can be programmed to corrupt the election result, but without a paper record there will be no way to see the corruption. The smoothest election can actually be the most corrupt.


The Good News and What We Can Do


There is an active voting integrity movement in the Untied States. Most of the organizations with a grass roots base are state-based organizations. As a result there are now places where people can get involved in working to make sure their elections have as much integrity as possible. (See links at end of article.)


One thing you can do is tell Congress you want a voter verified paper ballot. You can write Congress by clicking here. This will also get you in the TrueVote.US data base so you can be kept informed of major developments in voting integrity and activism to secure our elections.


Litigation in Ohio is being pursued challenging electronic voting in the most important battleground state in the nation. The RICO suit is based on the testimomy of Karl Rove's IT guru from 2000 until sometime last year, Stephen Spoonamore. The attorneys, Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis, intend to depose Karl Rove, Bob Ney and other alleged perpetrators of Republican election fraud.


The Election Assistance Commission has urged all voters to check to make sure they are registered to vote. This is something you should do and urge everyone you know to do. You can register on-line by clicking here. The Obama campaign has set up a web page that allows you to check your registration online. If you are having problems with registration contact Election Protection at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (687-8683).


Bev Harris of Black Box Voting has put out a tool kit that can provide you everything you need to know to be an effective voter integrity activist. We cannot count on other people to protect our democracy, we need to do it ourselves. You can get the tool kit by clicking here. The kit will tell you how we can take back our elections, educate our communities, work with the media, pressure public officials, get public record documents, monitor the testing of voting machines, monitor the voting and the vote count, watch the chain of custody of ballots and audit the election and even file a lawsuit. Thousands of eyes watching makes election theft more difficult.


There are many problems in American democracy – influence of big business money, ballot laws that make independent and third party runs difficult, debates limited to two parties, voting systems that push voters to vote for the lesser evil rather than the greater good, manipulated voting districts to protect incumbents, elections being administered by partisan election officials, to name a few among problems U.S. elections face. But, if we are unable to get these two basic things right – registering voters and counting the vote accurately – then not much else matters because the democracy is a farce and a fraud on the most basic fundamentals.


This year the proportion of voters using touchscreen voting systems – the least reliable system available – is expected to fall to 36 percent in November, down from a high of 44 percent in 2006. In addition, more voters are expected to use paper ballots in 2008 than did back in 2000. Now a majority of voters in the country will vote on paper ballots. Thus, there will be a voting record that will allow for a meaningful audit or recount in many states and counties.


But more work needs to be done. You need to play a role. Democracy is not a spectator sport, but one in which voters must participate – and not by merely voting – but by working to move the United States toward the ideal of the greatest representative democracy on Earth – an ideal that we have nowhere near achieved.




The incidents described in this article are available at www.TrueVote.US.

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Guest blood sport

To really get a grip on how dirty politics is you need to read "How to Rig an Election - Confessions of a Republican Operative." Allen Raymond served time in federal prison for jamming phone lines of the New Hampshire Democratic Party in 2002 to block a Democratic get-out-the-vote campaign. Raymond has come out with a tell-all book called ?How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative.? In addition to the phone-jamming scheme, Raymond details other Republican tactics such as the use of scripted, phony automated phone messages to try to play on white voters? racial prejudices in a 2000 New Jersey congressional race.


New Hampshire is not just known as a key primary state; its also gained attention for hosting one of the biggest election scandals of the last decade. On election day in November 2002, the telephone lines at the New Hampshire Democrats’ voting headquarters received scores of hang-up calls in a phone-jamming scheme intended to block a Democratic get-out-the-vote campaign. The Republicans won the Senate race, with John Sununu beating out Democratic Goveror Jeanne Shaheen.


Two top Republican campaign officials were later convicted—Charles McGee, then the executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party; and James Tobin, then the northeast regional director of the Republican National Committee. Tobin”s conviction was later overturned pending a retrial. Democrats say the scheme may have gone higher than New Hampshire Republicans. According to phone records, Tobin made two dozen calls to the White House in the twenty-four hour period before and after the election.


Also convicted was the head of the telemarketing firm that made the calls on behalf of his Republican clients. Allen Raymond and his company GOP Marketplace received more than fifteen thousand dollars for the phone-jamming scheme. Raymond served three months in prison in 2006.


Now Allen Raymond has come out with a tell-all book. It”s called “How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative.” In addition to the phone-jamming scheme, Raymond details other Republican tactics. In a New Jersey congressional race in 2000, Raymond”s firm used scripted, phony automated phone messages to try to play on white voters’ racial prejudices. Carefully-selected white households were called with a pre-recorded message featuring an African-American speaker urging listeners to vote Democratic. Union households were called with a similar message, but this time with an actor speaking in a heavy Spanish accent. Republicans thought this would take advantage of worker fears of losing their jobs to Latin American immigrants.


Get the Book.




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In an overwhelming victory for voting rights, two different Ohio courts today ruled that counties cannot deny absentee ballots to newly registered voters in violation of directives issued by Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit and two friend-of-the-court briefs challenging efforts to prevent new voters from casting absentee ballots.


"This is a resounding victory for Ohio voters and the Constitution," said Meredith Bell-Platts, staff counsel with the ACLU Voting Rights Project. "Two different courts came to the same conclusion – that every eligible voter who registered close to the 30 day deadline will be certain of their right to vote absentee. As a result of today's decisions, we are confident that disenfranchisement will be minimized. These decisions enhance civic participation by removing unnecessary and discriminatory barriers to people's access to the ballot."


The situation began as a result of Secretary Brunner's August 13, 2008 directive requesting that local Boards of Elections prepare for people who wish to register and vote during a five day overlap in voter registration deadlines and the beginning of absentee balloting. According to state law, a voter must be registered to vote 30 days before the date of the election, and absentee balloting begins 35 days before the election. The Board of Elections in Madison County stated it will only provide absentee ballots to voters who have been registered more than 30 days before the date they requested an absentee ballot, rather than 30 days before Election Day.


"Today, judges in the Ohio Supreme Court and federal court overwhelmingly agreed that all voters should have equal access to the ballot box, regardless of when they registered to vote," said Carrie Davis, ACLU of Ohio staff attorney. "These decisions send a strong message that all Ohioans' voting rights must be protected equally and that attempts to throw obstacles in the path of voters are not acceptable."


The ACLU lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio on behalf of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH), 1Matters, Project Vote and two individual voters. The other case was decided by the Ohio Supreme Court.

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You forgot to mention in Ohio, people were told if they even had a PARKING TICKET they were not allowed to vote or they would be subject to arrest. Personally, I would laugh in someone's face if they told me that but to less knowledgeable voters that would be a damn good reason not to vote.

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Guest human_*

The verdict is already in on that one. It is your side "The Democrats" that play that game.

So just give it a rest.



You forgot to mention in Ohio, people were told if they even had a PARKING TICKET they were not allowed to vote or they would be subject to arrest. Personally, I would laugh in someone's face if they told me that but to less knowledgeable voters that would be a damn good reason not to vote.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Insecurities and Inaccuracies of the Sequoia AVC Advantage 9.00H DRE Voting Machine


by Andrew W. Appel, Maia Ginsburg, Harri Hursti, Brian W. Kernighan, Christopher D. Richards, and Gang Tan. Princeton University Lehigh University


The AVC Advantage voting machine is made by Sequoia Voting Systems and has been used in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and other states. Pursuant to a Court Order in New Jersey Superior Court, we examined this voting machine as well as its computer program code. On October 17, 2008 the Court permitted us to release to the public a redacted version of our report. See http://citp.princeton.edu/voting/advantage/video.html for a video summary.


The report was originally submitted to the Court on September 2 in the form of an expert-witness report by Andrew W. Appel. The Court has released this redacted version to the public. The version we release here, linked in boldface above, is the same as the Court's redacted version, but with a few introductory paragraphs about the court case, Gusciora v. Corzine.


The AVC Advantage contains a computer. If someone installs a different computer program for that computer to run, it can deliberately add up the votes wrong. It's easy to make a computer program that steals votes from one party's candidates, and gives them to another, while taking care to make the total number of votes come out right. It's easy to make this program take care to cheat only on election day when hundreds of ballots are cast, and not cheat when the machine is being tested for accuracy. This kind of fraudulent computer program can modify every electronic "audit trail" in the computer. Without voter-verified paper ballots, it's extremely hard to know whether a voting machine (such as the AVC Advantage) is running the right program.


It takes about 7 minutes, using simple tools, to replace the computer program in the AVC Advantage with a fraudulent program that cheats. We demonstrate this on the video.


Even when it's not hacked to deliberately steal votes, the AVC Advantage has a few user-interface flaws. Therefore, sometimes the AVC Advantage does not properly record the intent of the voter. All known voting technologies have imperfect user interfaces, although some are worse than others. The public should beware of the argument that some people make, that "we should not replace the AVC Advantage with voting method X, because X is imperfect." The AVC Advantage's susceptibility to installation of a fraudulent vote-counting program is far more than an imperfection: it is a fatal flaw.


What should be done? Most technology experts who study the security of voting methods recommend precinct-count optical-scan voting, with by-hand audits of the optical-scan ballots from randomly selected precincts. We agree with this consensus. In fact, most states are moving in the right direction: 32 states now vote with voter-verified paper ballots (mostly optical-scan, some with DRE+VVPAT). Only a minority of states are still using paperless DRE voting machines such as the AVC Advantage. We recommend that those states adopt precinct-count optical scan. Executive Summary of the Report


I. The AVC Advantage 9.00 is easily ``hacked, by the installation of fraudulent firmware. This is done by prying just one ROM chip from its socket and pushing a new one in, or by replacement of the Z80 processor chip. We have demonstrated that this ``hack takes just 7 minutes to perform.


The fraudulent firmware can steal votes during an election, just as its criminal designer programs it to do. The fraud cannot practically be detected. There is no paper audit trail on this machine; all electronic records of the votes are under control of the firmware, which can manipulate them all simultaneously.


II. Without even touching a single AVC Advantage, an attacker can install fraudulent firmware into many AVC Advantage machines by viral propagation through audio-ballot cartridges. The virus can steal the votes of blind voters, can cause AVC Advantages in targeted precincts to fail to operate; or can cause WinEDS software to tally votes inaccurately. (WinEDS is the program, sold by Sequoia, that each County's Board of Elections uses to add up votes from all the different precincts.)


III. Design flaws in the user interface of the AVC Advantage disenfranchise voters, or violate voter privacy, by causing votes not to be counted, and by allowing pollworkers to commit fraud.


IV. AVC Advantage Results Cartridges can be easily manipulated to change votes, after the polls are closed but before results from different precincts are cumulated together.


V. Sequoia's sloppy software practices can lead to error and insecurity. Wyle's ITA reports are not rigorous, and are inadequate to detect security vulnerabilities. Programming errors that slip through these processes can miscount votes and permit fraud.


VI. Anomalies noticed by County Clerks in the New Jersey 2008 Presidential Primary were caused by two different programming errors on the part of Sequoia, and had the effect of disenfranchising voters.


VII. The AVC Advantage has been produced in many versions. The fact that one version may have been examined for certification does not give grounds for confidence in the security and accuracy of a different version. New Jersey should not use any version of the AVC Advantage that it has not actually examined with the assistance of skilled computer-security experts.


VIII. The AVC Advantage is too insecure to use in New Jersey. New Jersey should immediately implement the 2005 law passed by the Legislature, requiring an individual voter-verified record of each vote cast, by adopting precinct-count optical-scan voting equipment.

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Guest IWantDemocracyNow



Learn the disturbing truth about voter dis-enfranchisement, dangling chads, and computer manipulation of tallied results.



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In a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey today, the American Civil Liberties Union demanded the Department of Justice (DOJ) reject a White House request to challenge 200,000 registered voters in Ohio. The White House's request came days after the U.S. Supreme Court denied an attempt by Ohio Republicans to challenge voters with discrepancies between the information on their registration forms and other government databases. There is considerable evidence showing these databases are fraught with errors that could lead to the wrongful disfranchisement of thousands of lawful voters.


"With the election one week away, this kind of intrusion represents partisan politics at its worst. In addition, challenging – or purging – lawfully registered voters in the days before an election invites chaos and undermines the integrity of the democratic process," said the letter signed by ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero and Washington Legislative Office Director Caroline Fredrickson. "Despite the lack of any credible evidence of voter fraud, the White House continues to pursue this probe. If this purge goes forward, lawfully registered voters could be removed from the rolls as a result of typos or other innocent discrepancies."


Last Friday, at the urging of Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner, the White House requested the Department of Justice investigate whether 200,000 newly registered Ohio voters must reconfirm their registration before November 4. However, the databases that would be used to compare the new voter lists are riddled with errors and could lead to massive disfranchisement solely due to typos or other data-entry mistakes.


The removal of voters based upon mismatched information at this late date would violate other federal statutes and constitutional provisions governing federal elections, including the National Voter Registration Act and the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.


"The Department of Justice has a responsibility to uphold the law and protect civil rights. We strongly urge you to reject this request from the White House," said the letter.


Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order protecting voters in Ohio from attempts to challenge their registrations based on small inaccuracies in government databases. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a friend-of-the-court brief in that case.


A copy of the ACLU's letter to Attorney General Mukasey is available at:



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The Department of Justice announced today that its Civil Rights Division plans to deploy more than 800 federal observers and Department personnel to 59 jurisdictions in 23 states for the Nov. 4, 2008, general election.


Although state and local governments have primary responsibility for administering elections, the Department is charged with and committed to protecting the rights of all citizens to access the ballot on Election Day, and to preventing and prosecuting voter fraud.


In the days leading up to and throughout Election Day, Civil Rights Division staff members will be available at a special toll-free number to receive complaints related to free and fair ballot access (1-800-253-3931) (TTY line 1-888-305-3228), including allegations of voter intimidation or coercion targeted at voters because of their race, color, national origin or religion. In addition, individuals may also report complaints, problems or concerns related to voting via the Internet. Forms may be submitted through a link on the Department’s Web page: http://www.usdoj.gov/.


Allegations of voter fraud are handled by the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country and the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. Complaints may be directed to any of the local U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the local FBI offices or the Public Integrity Section at 202-514-1412.


In anticipation of a record turnout at the polls during this election cycle, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey reiterated the Department’s commitment to using all available tools to ensure a free and fair election.


"The Department of Justice will do all it can to help ensure that elections run as smoothly as possible – and, equally important, that the American people have confidence in our electoral process," Attorney General Mukasey said. "On November 4, hundreds of Department of Justice lawyers, monitors and observers will be working throughout the country to help make sure that all Americans who are entitled to vote are able to do so, and that the elections accurately represent the will of the people."


Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Department has regularly sent observers and monitors around the country to protect voters’ rights. Under the Voting Rights Act, which protects the rights of Americans to participate in the electoral process without discrimination, the Department is authorized to ask the Office of Personnel Management to send federal observers to areas that have been certified for coverage by a federal court or the Attorney General. The Department also may send monitors from its own staff to elections in other jurisdictions.


Thus far during calendar year 2008 (and not including those individuals involved in the November 4, 2008, monitoring effort), 415 federal observers and 167 Department personnel have been sent to monitor 55 elections in 50 jurisdictions in 18 states.


On Election Day, federal observers will monitor polling place activities in 30 jurisdictions:


Perry County, Alabama;

Apache, Cochise, and Navajo Counties, Arizona;

Kane County, Illinois;

East Carroll Parish, Louisiana;

Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts;

Bolivar, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Kemper, Leake, Neshoba, Newton, Noxubee, Washington, Wilkinson, and Winston Counties, Mississippi;

Salem County (Penns Grove), New Jersey;

Cibola and Sandoval Counties, New Mexico;

Kings County (Brooklyn), New York County (Manhattan), and Westchester County, New York;

Buffalo and Charles Mix Counties, South Dakota; and

Dallas, Fort Bend, and Galveston Counties, Texas.

Justice Department personnel will monitor the election in an additional 29 jurisdictions. The jurisdictions are as follows:


Pima County, Arizona;

Alameda, Riverside, and Santa Clara Counties, California;

Duval, Hillsborough, and Seminole Counties, Florida;

Madison County, Indiana;

Ford County, Kansas;

Jefferson and Orleans Parishes, Louisiana;

Macomb County, Michigan;

Madison County, Mississippi;

Alamance County, North Carolina;

Colfax County, Nebraska;

Bergen County, New Jersey;

Cuyahoga County, Ohio;

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;

Dorchester and Georgetown, South Carolina;

Bennett, Jackson, Mellette, Shannon, and Todd Counties, South Dakota;

Gonzales and Waller Counties, Texas;

Chesterfield County, Virginia; and

King County, Washington.

The observers and Department personnel will gather information on whether voters are subject to different voting qualifications or procedures on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group; whether jurisdictions are complying with the minority language provisions of the Voting Rights Act; whether jurisdictions permit voters who are blind, disabled, or unable to read or write assistance by a person of their choice; whether jurisdictions allow voters who are blind to cast a private and independent ballot; and whether jurisdictions comply with the provisional ballot requirements of the Help America Vote Act. To assist in these inquiries, the Department has deployed observers and monitors who speak Spanish, and a variety of Asian and Native American languages. Both the federal observers and Department personnel will coordinate monitoring activities and maintain contact with local election officials.


More information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting and election-related laws is available on the Civil Rights Division’s Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting. More information about the Department’s Public Integrity Section is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/pin/ .

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Guest Judicial Watch

Illinois State Law Prohibits Political Speech "within any polling place"


Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has issued a request to the Illinois State Board of Elections to investigate whether the Obama campaign's planned Election Day text messages would violate a state law that prevents electioneering in polling places. Judicial Watch plans to issue similar requests to election officials in other states.


According to media reports, Senator Obama's campaign sent text messages to voters on primary day in New Hampshire encouraging them to vote for Senator Obama. The Obama campaign apparently intends to conduct a similar text message campaign on Election Day. Given that these messages will likely be received and read by voters on their cell phones inside polling places, and perhaps inside voting booths, the messages may violate an Illinois state law against electioneering within polling places.


Illinois law specifically states: "No...person shall, at any primary or election, do any electioneering or soliciting of votes or engage in any political discussion within any polling place." [10 ILCS 5/17-29 (a)]


According to the Judicial Watch letter, dated October 28, 2008:


"Even if an individual is planning on voting for Senator Obama on Election Day, a voter should be able to enter a polling place and cast his or her vote without being subjected to yet more electioneering. Secrecy, privacy, and freedom from outside influence in the polling place are fundamental to ensuring a fair election process. The people of Illinois must be free to cast their votes without electioneering text messages inside Illinois polling places. Illinois law requires no less."


"There is no difference between a text message received on a cell phone in a polling station and a campaign sign. The effect is to influence citizens as they cast votes. This electioneering is prohibited not only by Illinois state law, but the by the laws of other states as well. We expect that responsible government authorities will ask Senator Obama to abandon his planned Election Day text message campaign. Our letter to Illinois is a first step, as we're working now to alert other states about this matter," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

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Ralph Nader sues Democratic Party


Consumer advocate and 2004 independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader sued the Democratic Party on Tuesday, contending officials conspired to keep him from taking votes away from nominee John Kerry.


Nader's lawsuit, filed in District of Columbia Superior Court, also named as co-defendants Kerry's campaign, the Service Employees International Union and several so-called 527 organizations such as America Coming Together, which were created to promote voter turnout on behalf of the Democratic ticket.


The lawsuit also alleges that the Democratic National Committee conspired to force Nader off the ballot in several states.


"The Democratic Party is going after anyone who presents a credible challenge to their monopoly over their perceived voters," Nader said in a statement. "This lawsuit was filed to help advance a free and open electoral process for all candidates and voters. Candidate rights and voter rights nourish each other for more voices, choices, and a more open and competitive democracy."

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Guest Madhound

Frankly both the Republicans and Democrats have conspired together for a long time to keep elections and our political system a two party affair for entirely too long. The entire game has been rigged for one of the two majors to win, yet it amazes me how much people whine and moan when even a couple of percentage points goes somewhere else.


Given the incredible shrinking political gap between the Dems and the 'Pugs, don't be surprised if a third party steps in and plays havoc this election cycle. After all, the anti-war left has essentially been told to frak off by both parties, why should we stick around?

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