OK

In my view, there hasn't been nearly enough effort to protect the vote, given that in the last two presidential elections, there has been enough question as to whether or not the results were legitimate. In Louisiana, Democrats have been purged by the thousands these last several weeks.

BATON ROUGE -- Louisiana Democratic Party officials told lawmakers
Tuesday that voters in their party are being removed from the rolls at a
higher percentage than non-Democrats.

Randy Piedrahita, general counsel for the state Democratic Party, told
members of the House Committee on House and Governmental Affairs that
about 11,500 voters were removed from the rolls by parish registrars
from late August to late September, a disproportionate hit compared to
non-Democrats.

He said the ratio of removal of Democrats ranged from 2-1 in some
parishes to as high as 25-1 in East Carroll Parish, where there are
relatively few Republicans registered. Piedrahita said he did not have
the total number of Democrats removed.

"The registrars are whacking non-Republicans at an incredibly high rate,
" he said.

I think its great that Obama has assembled 5000 lawyers to tackle this issue, but the time to take it on would have been the last several years in which laws like this were passed to suppress the vote:

Piedrahita said the voters are removed by the state in a 21-day
"challenge period, " a process in which registrars can question the
address or eligibility of voters and ask them to supply information
within 21 days to stay on the rolls. If not the names are removed.

To make matters worse, there aren't going to be enough provisional ballots available if challenges occur, and they will:

She said all elections officials should have extra paper provisional ballots that are given to voters who claim they are registered but whose
names are not on precinct roll books. Election officials meet after an
election to determine if the voter was eligible and if the ballot should
be counted.

"The worst thing Louisiana can face is a national story on how Louisiana
didn't have enough provisional ballots, " Peterson said. "We may need to
have runners and couriers standing by" to get them to the polls quickly.

The state will have at least 100,000 ballots on hand for those voters --
20 in each of the 3,956 precincts in the state, 100 to each of the
parish clerks of courts, 100 to each parish registrar of voter and 1,000
additional ballots in Orleans, Lincoln and Caddo parishes and an
additional 4,500 in East Baton Rouge Parish, officials said.

For those who say Louisiana doesn't matter, consider this: early voting has been extremely heavy, and particularly heavy in Orleans Parish:

BATON ROUGE -- Dedicated voters braved long lines and chilly conditions Tuesday to cap a record week of early voting, casting more than 264,000 ballots in Louisiana.

Following a national trend that has seen a surge in early voter turnout, nearly one-in-10 of the state's registered voters have already cast their ballots for president, members of Congress and an assortment of state and local offices in the voting that ended Tuesday evening throughout the state, and in New Orleans went late into the night...

...But the zeal of voters to cast an early ballot also spelled long lines and longer waits all over the state. Elections Commissioner Angie LaPlace said that on Tuesday at noon there was a six-hour wait to vote in Orleans Parish; Dardenne said that two-hour waits were commonplace elsewhere.

He said that at 4 p.m., the State Archives Building, one of busiest voter locations in the state, had a line spilling through the lobby, out onto the steps and around the corner of the structure, located in easy access to Interstates 10 and 12.

We've got to become much more sophisticated and efficient in identifying unjust laws, challenging these laws, and ensuring the right to vote long before a presidential election. Unfortunately, from what I've seen here and elsewhere, the Republicans are simply better at stealing the vote than we are at ensuring the right to vote. Brace yourselves.

The same kind of energy and zeal that is put towards a candidacy, needs to be directed to protecting the vote. Otherwise, they will outmatch our zeal in efforts to steal the vote.

Originally posted to scorpiorising on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 09:16 AM PDT.

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