Independent researchers at TPMMuckraker and ePluribusmedia article (with whom I collaborated) confirmed racial bias in caging lists prepared by the Republican Party of Florida, ostensibly on behalf of the RNC. One name has remained in the media as a principle architect of caging, Tim Griffin.
Mr. Griffin may have been a Rove Operator, but it turns out he was not a rogue operator. There were widespread efforts across the nation to generate caging lists to be used to challenge voters at the polls. It is important to catalogue the individuals involved in this effort so we can be sure to know who to ask questions.
See below the fold for evidence and a list of cagers for you to work on. Put your pajama power to work and lets document the depth and breadth of the Republican efforts to Suppress Voters in 2004, today and in the future.
Tim Griffin and other RNC operatives, as well as Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign workers were the recipients of the Duval County caging list described in the links above. Tim Griffin, RNC Research Director and Deputy Communications Director, responded to the email containing the caging list “thank you, perfect.” Because the RNC sent the letters that generated the Duval County caging list, and Griffin and other RNC operatives are the recipients of that list, there is no question that the RNC was involved, and probably directing the acquisition and use of the Duval County caging operation.
Documents obtained during limited discovery in an Ohio caging case revealed indisputable RNC involvement in caging (by Tim Griffin and others), as well as concern about "GOP footprints" if the caging efforts were brought to light. Further, Bush-Cheney ‘04 campaign National Field Director, Coddy Johnson, suggested use of caging lists to challenge absentee ballots in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico. This email was sent to Terry Nelson, Political Director of the Bush-Cheney ’04 Campaign.
Link to "footprints" concern emails
Link to widespread caging email
Add these Names to the List: According to a submitted declaration by RNC Deputy Counsel Caroline Hunter in the Ohio caging case, as RNC counsel, she advised against RNC involvement in caging operations such as the one "being undertaken by the Ohio Republican Party". See below for an excerpt from her testimony and a list of people she notes attended a meeting in which caging and Consent Decrees were discussed as pertaining to the process in Ohio.
Another email accidentally intercepted by GeorgeWBush.org contains a list of 21 caged voters in Carson and Douglas Counties in Nevada. This email and caging list attachment were forwarded to Rich Beeson (RNC Mountain Regional Director) Cary Evans (Bush-Cheney ’04 Northwest Regional Political Director), and others at the RNC and Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign. Thus, there is documentary evidence for RNC involvement in a third 2004 caging operation.
Another email in the GeorgeWBush.org files was sent by Molly Hauser, Bush-Cheney ’04 Northwest Regional Coordinator, to Jon Seaton, Executive Director of the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign in Washington State, and Doug Badger, Executive Director of the Oregon State Republican Party. To this email is attached a file, “State_Implementation_Template_III.doc”, which contains the header “Attorney-Client Work Product” suggesting the author wishes it not to be available for discovery in court proceedings. The properties of this document indicate prior opening by Christopher Guith, a Bush-Cheney ‘04 campaign worker, who is also an author and recipient of several emails discussing caging operations discovered in the Ohio caging case. An excerpt from this document, which is a template of plans for ballot security measures in states throughout the country, contains specific instructions for generating caging lists and challenging voters on Election Day.
In summary, documents obtained from court proceedings and other sources demonstrate widespread efforts to generate caging lists and intent to utilize them to challenge voters. Statements that the purpose of the caging letters sent by the RNC was to encourage recipients to vote Republican almost certainly do not reflect the real purpose: to identify addresses that can be “caged” for use as a ballot security measure to challenge voters at the polls. Why are the highest echelons of the RNC and the Bush-Cheney ’04 Campaign concerned with collecting these lists (sent in emails) if they are simply to be used to encourage voters or prune campaign mailing lists?
The authors of the caging schemes undoubtedly knew the history of the use of caging for minority voter suppression and knew its utility as a tool to selectively identify Democratic voters. The Duval County caging evidence demonstrates a new evolution of prior caging schemes: rather than sending letters uniquely to addresses in Democratic precincts, letters were sent to newly registered voters diffusely throughout Duval County. The wide scale mailing was perhaps chosen to counter claims of selective targeting in the event this version of caging ended up in court. However, detailed analysis reveals clear racial bias against minority voters- The Duval County caging list is not dramatically different in this regard to its more overtly biased predecessors. The other clear conclusion from the available evidence is that Republicans are trying to circumvent Consent decrees preventing the RNC from caging by farming the efforts out to state Republican Party operations and Political Campaigns.
New legislation, or broadening the Consent Decrees, is necessary to combat racially biased ballot security measures that are being used to combat "voter fraud", but have the side effect of disenfranchising legal voters. In the meantime, we now know a long list of people who participated in Caging in 2004. Will any of them be candid about their involvement? It should be noted that one individual in the Ohio caging machinations was Jill Holtzman Vogel. She is currently running for state Senate in Virginia. Can someone out on the campaign trail please ask her about caging?
Update: For those interested, the most comprehensive review of the history of Voter Suppression tactics I have read is by Chandler Davidson and co-authors at Rice University. From what I understand he is updating his work on Voter Suppression to include the evolution and use of Ballot Security programs such as caging in 2004.
Update 2: Greg Palast was the First Journalist to shine a light on caging and should be thanked again, as I did in my diary yesterday, for his groundbreaking work. I omitted his name from earlier drafts not out of disrespect, but rather because this diary is not based upon his work, and the dichotomy between Palast Supporters and others could be a distraction. Again apologies for the perceived insult.