Here are some helpful links for Election Day
• Vote411. Plug in your address and find out where your polling station is and information about your registration.
• An interactive map with hundreds of links to state-by-state election websites, including voter guides, provisional voting information and polling place hours and locations.
• 1-800-311-8683 Voter Help Line set up by the Democratic Party
• 1-866-MYVOTE1 (866-698-6831)
• 1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
• 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)
If you would like to help with phone banking (which in many cases you can do from home), this diary contains links to organizations and individual progressive candidates to facilitate that process.
Group will directly fight voter suppression on Election Day
The Advancement Project, a civil rights organization, has targeted more than 30 cities and counties in nine states as possible “Election Day Hot Spots.” In these, it is expected efforts will be made to suppress voting by means of trickery, intimidation or challenges to voters' eligiblity.
Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, the project’s senior attorney and director of voter protection, said the places the group has chosen are among those in the nation “where voters of color would be most vulnerable.”
The project will be on hand with lawyers to handle voter complaints of such suppression in Virginia’s Fairfax and Prince William counties; and in Florida's Osceola, Orlando/Orange, Pinellas, Seminole, Volusia, Miami and Broward counties. The cities: Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Allentown, Harrisburg and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Texas; Durham and Raleigh, North Carolina; Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri; Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada; Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin.
Videographers fan out to document suppression
Through its partnership with Video the Vote, The Leadership Conference and its sister organization, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, which are both nonpartisan, will send teams of videographers to key polling places to record voters’ experiences. Under the auspices of The Education Fund’s “Every Voter Counts” campaign, the videographers will help ensure that problems or barriers related to voting procedures are documented and reported to authorities in a timely manner. The teams will also work in conjunction with local partner groups and state-based election protection coalitions.
(Continue to read about the War on Voting—and its foes—below the fold)
“Voting is the language of democracy,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference and The Education Fund. “And the right to cast a vote free of intimidation has never faced a more sophisticated or coordinated attack. Our videographers are proud to join local and national efforts to make sure that every voter counts in this election.”
In other War on Voting news
Thousands of lawyers will be watching at the polls: In every battleground state, they'll be watching poll workers, the voting process and each other. They'll be initiating legal action if they think it's needed. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, alone, the expectation is that there will be 600 Democratic lawyers. The Republicans expect to have 70 on hand.
The Democrats say they fear acts of sabotage. “How tough would it be for them to send people to the wrong precincts and tie up poll workers to slow things down?” asked Stuart Garson, chairman of the Democratic Party of Cuyahoga County. “If we see someone getting in someone’s face, our lawyers will be there.”
• Team Romney's massive Project ORCA will monitor polls
Project ORCA will rely on 34,000 volunteers in swing states on Election Day, in an effort to keep track of who is voting at key polling places. Romney staffers will use the data to help them target their get-out-the-vote efforts before the polls close, in hopes of gaining an edge over Obama's grassroots operation.
"There's nothing that the Obama data team, there's nothing that the Obama campaign, there's nothing that President Obama himself can do to even come close to what we are putting together here," Romney Deputy Political Director Dan Centinello said Wednesday night in a training call for Project ORCA volunteers, which The Huffington Post called into.
Think Progress uncovered errors in training materials for the project in Wisconsin and Iowa that could have the project's poll watchers challenging voters on bogus matters. Some of those materials were subsequently removed
from training packets.
• Fairfax County Democrats sue Virginia election officials: They say Republicans' last-minute effort to change the rules for observers at polling stations is a move to suppress the turnout in their Democratic stronghold.
For years, the Democrats say, both parties’ observers—many of them lawyers—have been able to move freely at polling stations. They couldn’t say anything about how voters should cast their ballots, but they could speak with them about their rights. This year, though, volunteer poll workers are being advised in training that the observers may do nothing more than watch.
Among other things, that means the observers wouldn’t be allowed to advise voters who lack proper identification that they can go home and get it, said Cesar del Aguila, chairman of the Fairfax Democratic Committee. Nor would they be able to intervene when voters are improperly issued provisional ballots, which don’t always end up being counted.
• Three states forced to establish alternative polling sites after Sandy
• "Dead-voter" letters hit minorities hardest in error-filled Texas voter purge:
State election officials repeatedly and mistakenly matched active longtime Texas voters to deceased strangers across the country—some of whom perished more than a decade ago—in an error-ridden effort to purge dead voters just weeks before the presidential election, according to a Houston Chronicle review of records.
Voters in legislative districts across Texas with heavy concentrations of Hispanics or African-Americans were more often targeted in that flawed purge effort, according the Chronicle's analysis of more than 68,000 voters identified as possibly dead.
It's unclear why so many more matches were generated in some minority legislative districts. One factor may be the popularity of certain surnames in Hispanic and historically black neighborhoods.
• Glitch in Florida voter registration law may disenfranchise some people
Basically, what’s happening is this. As soon as a voter who has moved updates her address with her new local Supervisor of Elections, her voter record in the state’s main voter database is changed so that it indicates the new county. If, however, the voter requested and mailed in an absentee ballot for a given election while living in her old county, the state’s database will make it appear (correctly) to the former Supervisor of Elections, who no longer has custody of the voter’s file, that this voter no longer resides in said county. As such, when the former SOE receives and tries to process the absentee ballot, mailed before the voter moved, it will be rejected.
• Boulder County libertarian may ask for recount in advance
: The chair of the Boulder (Colorado) Libertarian Party, who is also vice chair of the American Constitution Party, has said he may seek a recount of the Nov. 6 voter in advance, in part to avoid the perception that such a request after the election would be seen as sour grapes by a losing candidate.
• AP writer Curt Anderson looks at phony voter instructions. Yep, it's another technique to suppress the vote.
• Possibly thousands of absentee ballots are rejected in Ohio "glitch": The deadline for voter registration and requests for absentee ballots ended three weeks ago in Ohio. But Secretary of State Jon Husted didn't pass along some 33,000 updated registration forms from voters who moved from one county to another to county election officials until this week. So some voters who sought absentee ballots in their new counties were rejected because county officials didn't yet have their correct addresses. How many lost their chance to vote is unknown. Husted, who has been trying up, down and sideways to suppress turnout in Ohio, said the timing of his sending the updates was "unfortunate."
• Commission to restore voter confidence in elections is in disarray: The Election Assistance Commission was created 10 years ago after the debacle of the 2000 elections. But, thanks to Republican opposition to the commission, the EAC has no commissioners, has not been able to fill its executive director post since last year and has had no quorum to conduct business for almost two years.
• Watch Stanley Nelson's newly released films about voter suppression.
• International observers group unhappy with Texas and Iowa: The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which has observed elections in many countries for years, including the United States, has caught a lot of grief from officials in Iowa and Texas, including the Lone Star state's Republican governor, Rick Perry. He threatened OSCE observers with prosecutions.
The organization, with 56 country-members, the U.S. being one of them, will have 44 observers in several states meeting with candidates, officials and voters as well as a 13-member team in Washington, D.C. The OSCE has accused Texas and Iowa officials of needlessly blocking their access. In the past, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Texas have turned away OSCE observers. The organization's poll watchers also have previously run into difficulties in counties in Colorado, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Virgina.
• Xenophobic wackjobs invent voter fraud case out of thin air in Ohio.
• Appeals court stays order to count some Ohio provision ballots: The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals took the action because, its ruling said, the lower court decision requiring a count of provisional ballots mistakenly cast at the wrong location would probably not succeed on appeal.
• Guy who concocted the 2000 felon purge working new suppression in Florida:
The Republican attorney who engineered the 2000 Florida felons list, which African American leaders said purged thousands of eligible blacks from voter rolls in the state and helped swing that election to the GOP, also wrote the first draft of Florida’s controversial House Bill 1355 that has restricted early voting and voter registration campaigns in 2012.
As Rick Hasen says, this one's an eye-opener that should be read in its entirety.
• Voting-record letters rile Indiana voters, secretary of state:
[Indiana] Secretary of State Connie Lawson has received numerous complaints from Hoosier voters who received letters from Americans for Limited Government. These letters purport to be neighborhood voting record audits. The letter lists an individual’s name, address and voter participation for 2008, 2010 and 2012. It also lists neighbors of the individual and their voter participation history.
“The State of Indiana does not treat lightly its role to strictly limit access to voting records and we are not aware of any improper use of the State’s resources to conduct such an ‘audit’,” said Secretary of State Connie Lawson. “Many of the Hoosiers who have contacted our office have indicated that their voting records as stated in the letter were inaccurate. I would advise anyone who receives the letter to disregard it.”
• TruetheVote may be violating Ohio law to suppress the vote
: The tea-party-linked organization, which some have called a "vigilante" formation, is providing supplementary materials to the training documents for Republican poll workers. Not the partisan observers who watch and report but the workers who actually run the election and get paid by the state to do it.
It is a crime in Ohio to interfere with conducting an election. Moreover, after the 2004 presidential election the state signed a federal consent decree that, among other things, established uniform poll worker training. Whether TrueTheVote’s interference with the state’s official trainings violates these legal standards has not been tested in court.
••• ••• •••
• Why Progressives Are Still Worried About Voter Suppression. By Molly Ball:
A decade past the Florida nightmare and 2004's "voter caging" schemes, in which GOP poll monitors challenged tens of thousands of Ohio voters with little basis, advocates are far more proactive about anything that could be construed as discouraging people—particularly minorities—from voting. The Advancement Project was a party to the lawsuit that stopped Pennsylvania's voter ID law and will be working with a coalition of "election protection" groups to monitor the polls in targeted areas of nine states on Election Day. (None will receive more attention, of course, than Florida.)
• Notes on voter fraud
. By Jane Mayer: The author takes issue with Heritage Foundation legal scholar Hans van Skakovsky's attack on her article about his voter fraud crusade.
• 10 dirty tricks to swing an election. By Adam Serwer
• GOP obscenely tries to cast doubt on election's veracity. By Jon Ralston
• The Hunt for Noncitizen Voters. By Fatma Marouf.
According to a survey sponsored by the Brennan Center for Justice and performed by the independent Opinion Research Corporation in 2005, 7% of U.S. citizens surveyed do not have ready access to citizenship documents, such as a U.S. passport, birth certificate, or naturalization certificate. Based on the 2010 census, this means that about sixteen million people lack proof of their citizenship. Those who earn under $25,000 per year and women are especially likely to lack proof of citizenship. The survey found that only 48% of voting-age women with access to their U.S. birth certificates have their current legal names on their birth certificates, while only 66% of voting-age women with access to any type of citizenship document have their current legal name on that document.
• How Many More Near-Election Disasters Before Congress Wakes Up?
. By Rick Hasen
• The Danger of Voter Fraud Vigilantes. By Justin Levitt