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There's an important special election going on right now in New York's Nassau County, and as usual, the republicans are up to no good. There's been the usual stuff, thugs at polling places, robocalls, Osama bin Laden on campaign literature, even the required gay-bashing direct mail piece.

Yesterday, the republican chairman of Nassau, Joe Mondello, announced that his people would demand an I.D. from every voter, the intent being to delay the process and make it as burdensome as possible. A Federal judge struck that idea down.

Now, they're doing it anyway, in direct violation of a valid and enforceable court order. Read on.

From Nassau Voter Protection:

MINEOLA – With four hours before polls close in the hotly-contested special election between Craig Johnson and Maureen O'Connell, the Republican County Board of Elections Commissioner has taken illegal steps designed to intimidate and suppress voters.

Commissioner John DeGrace has illegally ordered election inspectors to disregard a legally binding court order, as well as the written instructions of the Nassau County Attorney – effectively encouraging Republican poll workers to suppress voting by demanding identification from voters.

DeGrace issued an order on Board of Elections letterhead requiring Election Inspectors to "disregard" the Nassau County Attorney's letter delivered to all poll watchers this morning.

Johnson campaign spokesperson Alex Navarro said, "We're prepared for the worst. Our campaign has deployed dozens of extra voter protection attorneys to at-risk areas, We have real concerns that Commissioner DeGrace is attempting to interfere with the lawful conduct of the last hours of this critical special election."

DeGrace's actions are illegal for two reasons:

  1. First, the Republican chair issued the order on official Board of Elections letterhead without informing the Democratic Commissioner, Bill Biamonte. Under law, neither Commissioner can act unilaterally. By issuing orders without informing his Democratic colleague, DeGrace has violated election law.
  1. The order issued by Judge Brandveen last night is still in effect while a stay is in effect. Until this stay is lifted in Appellate Court, Judge Brandveen's order is still in full effect. Judge Brandveen's order stated that all polls and all poll workers should have access to the letter issued by the Nassau County Attorney, and requiring elections workers to disregard this law is requiring them to disobey a court order.

Anyone who has ever been at a polling place or worked on a Progressive campaign knows that republicans pull this kind of stuff routinely. This is the first time I can remember, however, when they expressly violated a standing court order. That's new to me, at least.

[Update]: Ah, yes, why not link to that court order? And yes, we do have people out there with cameras.

[Update2]: The polls close in twelve minutes. Lipris tells me that turnout is good, but we don't know what impact, if any, these shenanigans may have had. Too soon to tell.

[Update3]: If you're interested in the results, we'll be liveblogging them here and here; source is here.

[Update4]: Talking to NyBri right now; mood is 'cautiously optimistic', says he's never seen an operation like this before; we shall see.

[Update5]: OK, knock on wood. Looks like none of this helped them and we're heading, knock knock knock, for a solid win. The interim results are here.

[Update6]: Just talked to Lipris; the race has been called for our guy. None of this helped them in the end. Now, we need to make sure it never happens again. And here's a message from Lipris, NyBri, and all New York Kossacks to everyone out there: Thank You. We couldn't have won this without you. This community is the best.

Originally posted to Live Your Life In Neon. on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 04:46 PM PST.

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