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We will be talking later today about regulation of political activity on the Internet, but in the meantime, Sen. Barack Obama introduced a bill on Election Day which all here should take notice of and applaud.

Here's part of his remarks introducing the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2005:

It might surprise some of you to know, but even in this awesome age of technological advancement and easy access to information, there are folks who will stop at nothing to try to deceive people and keep them away from the polls. These deceptive practices all too often target and exploit vulnerable populations, like minorities, the disabled, or the poor.

Think about the story of the 2004 presidential election when voters in Milwaukee received fliers from the non- existent ``Milwaukee Black Voters League,'' warning that voters risk imprisonment for voting if they were ever found guilty of any offense--even a traffic violation. In that same election, in a county in Ohio, some voters received mailings misinforming voters that anyone registered to vote by the Kerry Campaign or the NAACP would be barred from voting. Deceptive practices often rely on a few tried and true tricks. Voters are often warned that an unpaid parking ticket will lead to their arrest or that folks with family members who have been convicted of a crime are ineligible to vote. Of course, these warnings have no basis in fact, and they are made with one goal and one goal only to keep Americans away from the polls.

I hope voters who go to the polls today are not victims of such malicious campaigns, but I know hoping is not enough. That is why I am introducing the Deceptive Election Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2005 to provide voters with real protection from deceptive practices that aim to keep them away from the polls on Election Day.

The bill I am introducing today provides the clear statutory language and authority needed to get allegations of deceptive practices investigated. It establishes harsh penalties for those found to have perpetrated them. And the bill seeks to address the real harm of these crimes --voters who are discouraged from voting by misinformation -- by establishing a process for reaching out to these misinformed and intimidated voters with accurate and full information so they can cast their votes in time. Perhaps just as important, this bill creates strong penalties for deceptive election acts, so people who commit these crimes suffer more than just a slap on the hand.


People for the American Way has compiled a list of such incidents in recent years, ranging from Philadelphia voters being intimidated by people in cars with decals resembling such federal agencies as the DEA and ATF, asking them for identification; to flyers distributed in black public housing projects in New Orleans stating "Vote!!! Bad Weather? No problem!!! If the weather is uncomfortable on election day [Saturday, December 7th], remember you can wait and cast your ballot on Tuesday, December 10th"; to one I remember well, from Baltimore in 2002, which the wrong date was posted on fliers throughout black communities with warnings that you couldn't vote if you had any overdue parking tickets or even a late rent check.

You can read the text of the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2005, S. 1975, via this link.  Why not give your Senators a call today, and ask them to co-sponsor this worthy legislation?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 06:51 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Whew. (4.00)
    This is a great piece of legislation that fills an important gap in our election laws, and, man, am I proud of my former Voting Rights and Election Law professor today.

    Hat tip to Bob Bauer for alerting me to this story.

    •  are you a new front page guy? (none)

      Kossacks: a large population of Medieval exegetes who each day grapple with the fabulistic opportunities of the early third milennium.

      by DCDemocrat on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 06:57:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good stuff (none)
      Wait, you had Senator Obama as a professor?!?  I'm jealous.  I went to Bradley my freshman year (03-04) and had no idea who he was until summer 2004!

      Evan Bayh 2008
      Miller for KY Governor 2007
      http://kydem.blogspot.com

      by dsolzman on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 07:00:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  When you call: (4.00)
      When you call:

      1. Please ask your representative to co-sponsor (not just support) Rep. Rush Holt's H.R. 550 on broad based voting reform in the hosue

      2. Please ask your senators to co-sponsor (not just support) Ensign's S. 330 on auditable voting systems (including papertrails).

      3. suggest to your senators to become an author/sponsor (or co-sponsor) a sister legislation to H.R. 550 in the senate.

      I will post links to the bills as a followup.

      thanks for your call, and thanks to AdamB for posting this.

      •  I am suggesting these (4.00)
        in addition to Sen. Obama's S. 1975, and as Adam suggests, I thank and applaud Sen. Obama for sponsoring this important piece of legislation.
      •  Here is some more info (none)
        Bill pages etc

        ----

        SENATE: we want to support:

        1. SENATE: Sen. Obama's S. 1975, A bill to prohibit deceptive practices in Federal elections. No co-sponsors yet. Hopefully you will help change that by tomorrow :)

        2. SENATE: Sen. Ensign (NV)'s S. 330, A bill to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require a voter-verified permanent record or hardcopy under title III of such Act, and for other purposes. Eight co-sponsors. We want to see more.

        3. Also, please call Sen. Dodd (CT) at: (202) 224-2823, even if you don't live in CT and tell him that you want to see S.330/S.1975 and similar measures pushed through the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration without blockage, ASAP. He is the ranking member on that committee, and is said to have raised objections to S.330. Later today, also write to Sen. Dodd here.

        4. We would like to see sister legislation to Rep. Rush Holt's H.R. 550 in the Senate (should speed up the process if H.R. 550 passes the house in the near future).

        ----

        HOUSE: we want to support

        1. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ)'s H.R.550. To amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require a voter-verified permanent paper record or hard copy . Current cosponsors (156). We want more. Especially, we would like to add some 10 or more republicans to the list of co-sponsors (that'll ensure its passage, if the Democrats stick together).

        2. Rep. Jim Gibbons, Jim (NV)'s H.R. 704. This is sister legislation to Senate's S.330. Cosponsor (1).

        3. We'd like to see sister legislation to Obama's S. 1975.

        ---

        We want to STRONGLY OPPOSE Republican Rep. Tom Sweeney 's S. 3910 (see this diary by Jennifer Clare), as it seems to be an attempt by the Grand Old Failure Party to subvert the electoral reform process by tying in with Voter ID measures. Cosponsor (8). We'd like to see this number shrink, and the bill to be buried.
        ---

        Important links:

        1. dKos diary by Jennifer Clare
        2. verifiedvoting.org's legislation summary page
        3. voter trust USA's analysis of the various bills and measures. See the remarks by Warren Stewart (it's author) in Jennifer Clare's diary above.
        ---

        Have fun calling, and please come back and post how your calls go.

        thanks!

  •  Definitely a positive step in the right direction (none)
    I read through the text of the bill and have a question: would practices such as creating error-ridden felon scrub lists come within the bill's purview?  Or would there be a high intent threshold to prove deception?
  •  Bravo, Senator. (4.00)
    It's about time there were some real and serious consequences to the now commonplace intimidation tactics.  These tactics are close cousins to Jim Crow methods and have results as pernicious.  Enough of well-paid and vicious hatemongers.  Enough stolen elections.  I back Barack.  
  •  Jail Time. (none)
     Jail Time, indeed, and enforcement of this law is needed.  

     And, watch what happens with this:

     Either a it'll pass and the Right Wingnuts will challenge it on constitutional grounds saying (I'm serious, they'll argue this) that deceptive voter suppression tactics are protected by the First Amendment, which'll be good because it'll show their true colors to America and repulse many fence-sitters; or, b, this bill will be bottled-up in Committee, destined to die there -- murdered by the GOP, which will also be a good thing IF Obama and the Democratic Leadership points out, hammers away on the fact that, Senate Republicans are essentially voting for deceptive and intimidating voter suppression tactics.  

     If, and that's a huge "if", Dems will spotlight this and play it right, it'll have a very good outcome.  If, on the other hand, Dems succumb to political ADD, then this will never get the "airing" it deserves.

     BenGoshi
    _________________

    . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

    by BenGoshi on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 07:00:54 AM PST

  •  Good Idea (4.00)
    It's funny how the people who claim to have a great love for democracy are afraid of what might happen if everybody actually votes.  Intimidation like that has to be stopped.
  •  Extremely Necessary (4.00)
    Instead of laws making it harder to vote, we need legislation like this. I remember all too well the "Milwaukee Black Voters League" flyer that a voter brought in to the polling place to let show us hat was going on. There were also people out and about trying to head off people on the way to the polls and tell them their polling station was closed and they had to go vote at other polling station. Of course, when the misdirected person arrived at the wrong place and found out after spending some time in line that they couldn't vote there, they often became discouraged or ran out of time. I'll never forget the GOP mischief in Milwaukee a year ago.

    I believe in pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will.

    by pHunbalanced on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 07:03:36 AM PST

  •  Many people seem to believe (3.66)
    that you must show a photo id to vote, and lacking that fail to even register !

    I have worked the last 4-5 elections at the polls in an relatively prosperous Los Angles neighborhood, and easily 50% of voters coming in took out their driver's license, unbidden, to show us as we checked them in.

    I can understand that if your name is unusal or  spelled differently, but these folks thought they had to show it and were surprised when told that was not the case.

    Let's get some Democracy for America

    by murphy on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 07:09:57 AM PST

    •  It IS the case in some states (none)
      At least as long as I've lived in Tennessee you have to show ID to vote, and this is in such a small town that everybody knows everybody anyway and the local newspaper carries visits by out of town relatives as news stories.

      More on topic though, is anybody collecting stories of misbehavior from Tuesday's (11-8-05) voting? I found one in the Fredericksburg VA Free Lance-Star about flyers and doorhangers giving bogus information claiming people's polling places had changed.

      Another one today, while evidently a mechanical problem, still troubling:

      By about 10 p.m. Tuesday night, all but one of the Spotsylvania County precincts had reported their results to the voter registration office.

      Spotsylvania voters mark a paper ballot that is then fed into a machine. A faulty memory pack on the system at Wilderness was rejecting ballots with even the slightest fray or fold in the paper, said Shirley Boggs, Spotsylvania's registrar.

      "Since the race was so close we just wanted to make sure the count was accurate," she said...

      Tuesday night's malfunction was the first for the voting machines that were installed starting in 2000, she said.


      full story here.

      Apologies if these are being collected elsewhere; point me in the right direction and I'll move this.

      Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?

      by Xan on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 08:23:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know that I would call this... (none)
        ...misbehavior, necessarily. The machine was rejecting ballots, so they performed a hand count of the paper ballots.  That doesn't sound like foul play, just machine malfunction. It's the touch screen machines with no paper record that bother me the most, because they don't allow any possibility of a recount or voter verification.

        I'm as cynical as the next guy that there was a vast REpublican conspiracy to steal the 2004 election with rigged voting machines and voter suppression tactics, particularly in OH, FL and NM, but let's be careful about automatically calling any problems "misbehavior".

        In this case, I'd point out that Spotsylvania is a pretty Republican area, so if I were a Republican and wanted to rig voting machines I would have done it in NoVa or Hampton Roads/Norfolk.  

        And it's just as, if not more important to focus on ending deliberate deceptive voter suppression tactics. But yes let's make sure we require a paper trail, impartial testing and certification of hardware and software, etc for voting machines.

        It could get real interesting here in VA with the attorney general's race, where the GOP candidate finished with only 1500 votes more than the Dem candidate out of nearly 2 million votes cast. There will be a recount which will probably highlight any voting irregularities or problems.  

      •  This link explains the whole ID thing (none)
        http://www.ncsl.org/...

        It notes that all states have alternatives for those who cannot produce ID.

        Let's get some Democracy for America

        by murphy on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 01:38:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  not so surprising (none)
      I'm not surprised. Even though I know I don't need to show ID, it's always my reflex action to do so. I'm always a bit disconcerted that the only check on my identity is asking me my name and address and having me sign the log. It would be so easy to vote using someone else's name with just a little information. I know there are issues with requiring ID or having a voter reg card, but the current system is just inviting voting fraud.

      In the mean time, it's best to educate people about the actual requirements so those without ID understand they can exercise their right to vote.

      "Instead of asking what you could do, you ought to have been asking what needs to be done."

      by khaavren on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 08:25:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Attorneys Fees (4.00)

     The Bill needs to be amended to include attorneys fees in the case of a prevailing plaintiff in an action for injunction, and, if the action for injunctive relief is found to have no basis in fact and is wholly spurious, then attorney's fees for the defendant.  A defendant in such an action, in other words, does not automatically get attorneys fees just for prevailing, but only upon a successful showing that the plaintiff(s) were, basically, making up the whole thing.

     This is, basically, the standard for other civil rights actions and should be the standard here.

     BenGoshi
    __________________

     

    . . . religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. H.L. Mencken

    by BenGoshi on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 07:12:14 AM PST

  •  Adam (4.00)
    Thank you so much for posting this.  As you wrote, this is such an important piece of legislation.  We should call our Senators, and tell them to support this legislation.

    While we're at important voting rights legislation, Sen. Obama, I wrote in a 23 Sept. diary, also introduced a resolution (S.Con.Res. 53/H.Con.Res. 247) with Sen. Dodd (D-Conn.) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a true civil rights hero, calling for Congress to reject the photo ID voting requirement recommended by the Carter-Baker Election Reform Commission.  This important resolution has co-sponsors from all across the political spectrum of the Democratic party -- from Sens. Ken Salazar (Colo.), Evan Bayh (Ind.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Joe Lieberman (Conn.), and Harry Reid (Nev.) and Reps. Gene Green (Tex.) and Brad Miller (N.C.) to Sens. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) and John Kerry (Mass.) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.) to Sens. Ted Kennedy (Mass.), Pat Leahy (Vt.), Russ Feingold (Wis.) and Reps. John Conyers (Mich.) and Nancy Pelosi (Calif.).  This is also something worth calling your Senators.

    The quest for freedom, dignity, and the rights of man will never end. - Justice Brennan

    by jim bow on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 07:12:17 AM PST

  •  Repugs MUST Cheat to Win (4.00)
    They will never give up the bag of dirty tricks:  lies, intimidation, paperless e-voting, and whatever new tactics are being mapped out as we sit here debating how to make elections fair.

    Repugs win when elections are dirty. Why would they ever give it up? We can expose it all day long until people get tired of hearing it and the media labels us conspiracy theorists.

    Hey, that's our job. Raise hell, Obama.

    Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party - DNC Chair Howard Dean

    by easong on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 07:15:40 AM PST

  •  And who says DFems have no ideas (none)
    It will be intersting to see
    1.  If this gets any press

    2.  How Republicans justify either stalling or voting against this legislation

    and 3.  If any watering down type amendments or distatsteful amendments are placed on it so that it can't pass or if it does won't have any real power.

    And, for what its worth, this applies to both sides of the aisle.  Unfortunately, I was witness to some of this while working on the Kerry campaign doing call outs last year, where a couple other people, when they found out that the person they were speaking to said they were voting for Bush, gave out wrong information as to when to vote.

    Fortunately, they were given the boot very quickly.

    Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

    by JAPA21 on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 07:16:21 AM PST

  •  there's no reason why (none)
    Repubs won't support this thing en mass.  Right?

    ...right?

    "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

    by marjo on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 07:17:19 AM PST

  •  Sen. Obama is a true progressive (none)
    And this is evidence of it. For all those who doubted him, he is taking on an issue here that is key to regaining control of the government.

    Let's see how it goes.

    I can't wait to get my letters from Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn explaining to me that they can't support this bill because...

    What will they say to justify not supporting it, I wonder?

  •  What do I call this? (none)
    A good start.  But that's all it is.

    "I just had the basic view of the American public -- it can't be that bad out there." Marine Travis Williams after 11 members of his squad were killed.

    by Steven D on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 07:26:25 AM PST

  •  The other important part (4.00)
    is to make sure that the bill covers the (mostly imaginary) bugaboos that the Goops accuse Dems of...

    Never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth. -- Henrik Ibsen

    by mik on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 07:26:44 AM PST

  •  Robo calls (4.00)
    Many of the common dirty "keep in the vote" methods use robo calls.  I was wondering if anyone knew if there would be legal issues with making political robo calls illegal.  

    On similar rule I learned during recent local elections involved political signs.  The rules in Mass are that those six foot high signs people hold up near the polls must be held up by people.  If you have to put down your sign to say run get some hot chocolate the sign has to be laying on the ground either upside down or flat.  A rule against robo calls would be similar requiring people instead of machines to make political calls.

    Why Pat Jehlen is the Best Choice on August 30th

    by Agnostic Oracle on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 07:38:28 AM PST

    •  I've discussed this with friends (none)
      I'm always concerned about regulations upon political speech, and I'm not sure anti-robo-call legislation could pass constitutional muster.
      •  Obviously... (none)
        I don't think you can ban "political robo calls" period and specifically, but I think it's a closer call as to whether such calls could be included as FTC violations under the national Do Not Call registry, which has passed constitutional muster (admittedly, with a political/polling exemption).
        •  That's the discussion we had. (none)
          Would a Do Not Call Registry which exempted the phone number from receiving political calls violate the first amendment?

          My attitude is that the right to political speech means nothing if you can't go out and reach people, and that the "free market" of voting outcomes will operate to constrain candidates against using the medium badly.  People will learn a lesson from Kilgore, I hope.

          •  I see... (none)
            There as being three possible regulatory routes:

            1.  Fully regulated--out-right banning of "robocalls."  This clearly wouldn't pass constitutional muster.
            2.  An opt-out system--perhaps supplemental to the pre-existing Do Not Call registry.  I think that's a close csll, but probably is unconstitutional.
            3.  Regulation of time, place, and manner--e.g., a limitation on robocalls that can be placed to any one number within a specified time period by a group.  (No more than one call a day in the week leading up.)  That, I think, would pass muster.  Alternatively, I think a disclaimer can be required up front (they usually tack it on to the end of the call) as to who's paying might be useful (though obviously, you can hide behind a 527 or similar name).
            •  Why is it unconstitutional? (none)
              Why is an opt-out system unconstitutional? (Seriously, I'm not just trying to provoke an argument.) But why is it someone else's constitutional right to impose on my time? Is TIVO unconstitutional if it allows a viewer to strip out political ads? After all, the politician (or his reps) has paid for this air time to be seen -- if you opt out of the commercials, does he have recompense? If one can opt out of solicitor's calls, why can't they opt out of political calls as well? And how can anyone be forced to listen to something they don't want to hear? Isn't that an infringement on their individual rights? Telephone account holders have the right to have their numbers unlisted -- if you pay for that right, is it overridden by someone else's right to disseminate information? I don't know where the boundaries are.
              •  You're not forced to listen (none)
                You can hang up.

                The question of constitutionality deals with the flipside of the freedom of speech, and that's about the ability to be heard.  And while the parameters and contours of such a right are unclear, to say the least, it would attach most strongly when the question regards the ability of political candidates to speak to citizens.

    •  Deceptive Robo Calls and other dirty tricks (none)
      I think are the problem.  Some tactics include using robo calls at midnight, pretending to be from a candidate, telling voters the precinct location has changed, or the election has ben postponed, or that this candidate molests little kids (all bogus of course).
      That should be part of the legislation.
      Also, standing outside of a precinct handing out bogus maps telling voters that the precinct has changed location.
      And.... Using Robo calls to jam the phone lines of a campaign's phone bank so that they can't make any GOTV calls.

      I have seen all of these happen....and not just by Rep's.

  •  What does this (none)
    do about the defective voting machines?  The GAO just released a report saying most voting machines were defective, like the ones used in Ohio in 2004.  What is being done about that?
    •  An extremely good suggestion (none)
      I welcome some ideas on this front.
    •  Open elections with paper ballots and (none)
      random audits will go a long way in restoring trust in the system

      The question is why this isn't the standard, the GOP should demand it to prevent the Democratic cheating they are sure is in every election.

      •  S330 and HR550 would help (none)
        From S330

        SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

              This Act may be cited as the `Voting Integrity and Verification Act of 2005'.

        SEC. 2. PROMOTING ACCURACY, INTEGRITY, AND SECURITY THROUGH PRESERVATION OF A VOTER-VERIFIED PERMANENT PAPER RECORD.
        ...

        From HR550

        SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

              This Act may be cited as the `Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2005'.

        SEC. 2. PROMOTING ACCURACY, INTEGRITY, AND SECURITY THROUGH VOTER-VERIFIED PERMANENT RECORD OR HARD COPY.
        ...

        These would go a long way toward increasing confidence in computerized voting. But there should also also be sufficient paper ballots (the same as absentee ballots) at all polling locations to handle machines breaking. People who make it to the poll line before the poll closes should be able to cast a ballot of some sort regardless of the operational status of the machines at that location.

        -Craig

        Corollary to Clarke's Third Law: Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.

        by krow10 on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:00:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great bill (none)
    I was a special inspector for the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in heavily poor, African American East Cleveland, Ohio, on Nov 2, 2004. Rethug hacks drummed up an excuse to show up in a black SUV with two armed sherrif deputies to investigate an alleged irregularity. No doubt they had an intimidating effect. I will strongly urge everyone that represents me in Congress to back Obama's bill.

    "To die. In the Rain." -Hemingway on why the chicken crossed the road.

    by curatorius on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 08:28:48 AM PST

  •  I love the legislation.... (none)
    But I have to say, Barack was WAY too nice about the way this is presented.  I'd have said something like:

    "This kind of crap has occured in every recent election and IT IS A FUCKING OUTRAGE!  Is there anybody in the Congress, or in the White House, that has the cojones to stand up and say that this sort of bullshit should be legal in this country?  If so, let him stand up and let's see his ugly redneck racist face!!"

  •  Thank you, Sen. Obama! (none)
    This is much needed legislation, IMO.  The GOP hasn't stopped whining about how the Dems routinely win with the "cemetery vote" (yeah, right!  The whole cemetery voted en masses for the Dems, right?), but the GOPer tactic seems to be to try to use trickery and intimidation to deter some would-be Democratic voters from voting.
  •  And while you're at it, Barack... (none)
    How about some legislation requiring that states have so many precincts and voting booths per thousand registered voters, with violations resulting in the imprisonment of the Secretary of State in GITMO and the invalidation of the election?
  •  This is all fine and good (none)
    but nowhere in the bill do I see provisions for challenging the outcomes of subverted elections.

    Making it possible to file a civil suit, after the fact, is ineffective.  Fines of $1000 are insignificant considering the millions that are at stake.

    It's a start, but there's a long way to go.  At least the burden of monitoring elections isn't placed on candidates.

    Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

    by hannah on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:51:30 AM PST

  •  This is a great idea, but it would be helpful... (none)
    to passage of the bill if there were examples of Republican constituencies being treated in the same manner.  I only mention this as a technical point, and I don't believe that these shenanigans are occurring nearly as frequently on the Democratic side.  I just want there to be reasons for Republicans to vote in favor of it.  After all, we will need a good number of them to pass this into law.

    When people advocate criminal actions by their country, they are, by extension, criminals. People who fight such actions are the true patriots.

    by stevietheman on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:52:18 AM PST

    •  Are there any? (none)
      I live in the most Republican precinct in Fairfax County and I can tell you for a fact that we've never been carpet-bombed with information telling us to vote at the incorrect precinct, or that we should vote on the wrong day, or that our candidate had just died.

      Education has to be a large part of this reform.

  •  It's not just minorities (4.00)
    Perhaps this isn't as egregious, but here in NoVA, identified dem voters were fed phony information by shadowy Republican operatives.

    Dem voters were called the day before the election and told that the dem candidate (Mark Sickles) had died.

    And then there were the traditional attacks: On election day, fliers started appearing in minority precincts, advising them to vote in the wrong precinct.

    How to catch these criminals? And if you were so lucky to catch them, how to punish them? It seems that they keep doing this crap because they always get away with it. People shake their heads and say, "that's politics." Hell, no! It is a criminal act, and needs to be treated as such. Throw the book at them!

  •  Echoed (none)
    This is an excellent piece of legislation which is long overdue.  Which means I'm definitely not going to hold my breath waiting for it to pass.

    Good luck, Sen. Obama.

  •  Aren't Voting regulations controled by the states? (none)
    I see this only applies to Federal elections -- and every little bit helps - but isn't it the case that the only way to really fix these problems is to amend state voting rules?  Or amend the US Constitution to  require a limited set of basic voting rights for citizens that the states have to follow (like the amendments for race, sex, poll taxes and such already in there.)

    Just wondering....

    Transparency + Accountability = Honesty (that way we won't have to rely on trust.)

    by David in Burbank on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:05:10 AM PST

  •  Rethug voter intimidation in King County, WA (none)
    Folks should look at the latest tactics being employed by our own Seattle-area brownshirts: wholesale "challenges" to voter registrations by rethug agents, targeting Democratic precincts, in an attempt to stop people from voting.

    I'm at work now and can't post more, but it's outrageous, it has been happening just a few days ago, and the goons need be dragged out into the sunshine for all to see.

    •  That's right (none)
      I live in the Belltown section of Seattle, an odd mix of residential and business buildings -- in other words, a downtown! There are a number of older residential buildings scattered there. Some King County Republicans (not sure of the actual group's name) started challenging voter registrations en masse in some of these buildings, accusing the residents of not actually living at those addresses. Apparently they have found voters who have registered storage units and PO boxes as legal residences, so they had someone (they say an intern) compile a list of questionable addresses. Then, they  challenged the address of one building near the Space Needle, the Watermarke, an apartment  building, and all the residents received letters a few days before the election telling them their right to vote was being challenged. On the local TV news there were several residents -- including Republicans -- who were interviewed, and told stories of having lived in Seattle and voted for many years, so it's not like these were new registrations.

      There's an example of an overreach that pulled in Republicans too.

  •  I'm probably the only one, (none)
    but I happen to think free speech does not mean "only if it's true". I would be concerned this could be extended to a blog where statements are routinely made that stretch the facts, putting it generously. Often, the people doing it are defending the practice because a)it works, and b)the other guys are doing it.

    I'm against the voter ID laws, on the concept that I'd rather have fradulent votes count than deny votes to righful citizens. I'm for restoration of felon voter rights. I'm for provisional ballots that count regardless of the precinct thet are cast in.

    I'm not for any bill that restricts political speech, even when it's knowingly and demonstrably false.

    Daily Kos is the worst form of liberal web-site, except for all the others that have been tried.-Roy Solomon(paraphrasing Winston Churchill)

    by roysol on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 10:26:34 AM PST

    •  But here's what it covers (none)
      "shall knowingly deceive any other person regarding--

      "(A) the time, place, or manner of conducting a general, primary, run-off, or special election for [federal elections]

      "(B) the qualifications for or restrictions on voter eligibility"

      It's not a general Political Truth law.

  •  Here's what I sent to my local newspaper (none)
    I have to be very careful when I send a letter to the editor here in the heart of redstateland or it'll never be published.

    This isn't as strong a call for action as I would like, but it's a tactic I believe will have a chance of success.  

    What do you all think?
    ***
    To the Editor:

    Kudos to Rep. ** for co-sponsoring HR 550 to amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to require voter-verified permanent paper records.  This amendment is a positive step toward much needed election reforms.

    Every election brings disturbing accusations of voter fraud and obstruction; it is clear that our system needs reform at all levels.  Regardless of political persuasion, all Americans have a vested interest in a fair election system in which everyone's voice can be heard; it is the very foundation of our republic.

    The * Congressional Delegation must join Rep. * in co-sponsoring this act and others that will insure every American can cast a vote and have it counted.  Senators * and * must also act to safeguard this fundamental right.

    Our government serves at the will of the people.  Let's live up to our press as the "land of the free" and make absolutely certain that those running the show are the ones we, the people actually elected.  Let's serve notice that any elected representative who does not actively work against any and all efforts at disenfranchising, defrauding, or otherwise discouraging the American voter will be booted by those of us who can and do vote now.

    Then perhaps we, the people can get down to the business of making America a better place for all the people.

  •  I mean to add... (none)
    ...that I've learned not to evoke evil libruls like Obama in these parts.  It completely shuts down any possibility of conversation.  
  •  Hard to come up with something clever (none)
    Except simple admiration for this inspired bill.

    Whether this passes depends entirely on how much daylight it gets. It's impossible to argue against on the merits. If the Repubs block it, opposition can and should turn that into a PR nightmare.

  •  Important Law (none)
    There's a good article on the problems in the current voting system, just came out today.

    ~~~~
    Support independent media:

  •  While I know that Jon Stewart's intention (none)
    was satirical, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that all nine of the Senators who are OK with torture are Republicans, and none of them are Democrats.  
  •  I get a deceptive mailing every election (none)
    It must go to all registered Democrats in Southern California.  It is the size of the sample ballot.  It has photos of Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy on one side.  It says "Vote Democratic!"  It has a red, white and blue shield with a kicking donkey, next to where the stamp would go.

    This time, it urged me to vote for Prop 78.  That was the Big Pharma initiative.  There is no way that the California Democratic party would support Prop 78.  Big Pharma bought off a Democratic politican or two, but the party as a whole never endorsed it.

    It is from "Democratic Voters Choice" in Burbank.

    I don't think that it is a Repug dirty trick.  I think that it was sent by slimeballs that support the highest bidder.

    I saved the mailing so that I could send it to the FEC or the DNC to put a stop to it.  But, if all the dirty tricks mentioned in this thread are legal, I guess that this deceptive mailing is legal, too.

    Oh, well.

  •  Have I ever mentioned... (none)
    I love my senator? : )

    Proud to live in a Blue State!

    by Sister Havana on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 09:39:57 PM PST

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