Vote Watch 2004
Vote/Election fraud, vote suppression, voting irregularities, voter intimidation in Election 2004



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10/30/04 [Permalink]
Karl-Rove style Dirty Trick from Tennessee makes its move to Georgia

Remember the dirty trick in Tennessee surrounding the egregious flyer "Voting for Bush is Like Running in the Special Olympics -- Even if You Win, You're Still Retarded"? As was highlighted there, there is no evidence that the Democrats put out this flier and the evidence suggests it was a dirty trick that was played ON the Democrats. 

Well, James B3 on Dailykos points out that this has spread to Georgia.

Here's an article:

An upset Debra Lyons lashed out at Democrats for allegedly distributing political flyers that take shots at retarded people.

Lyons, Chair of the Bibb County Republican Party, referred to a picture of person running on a track.

It says voting for Bush would be like running in the Special Olympics, "even if you win, you're still retarded."

Lyons said several were distributed in the Howard Oaks neighborhood in North Macon.

She called it wrong and condemned it as a dirty campaign tactic.

"First of all, this is wrong and to condemn this type of campaigning that's being done. Second, to say to the women supporting Kerry's candidacy, where are you to condemn this because it appears to me that it was an initiative supporting Kerry since their literature was put with this."

Chair of Democratic Women of Bibb County Terry Tripp says she was surprised that Republican Debra Lyons would think Democrats would stoop that low.

Tripp also said she wouldn't be surprised if the Republicans distributed the flyer themselves to anger their own voters into coming out to the polls.

Amy Morton, State Coordinator of Women for Kerry-Edwards, reacted sharply to Debra Lyons' accusations.

"We find the accusations to be ridiculous, and we are apalled that anyone would distribute this information. We think it's wrong, and it has no place whatsoever in politics."

Morton said she has heard of flyers like this popping up in other states. She felt Lyons should have contacted the Democratic Women for Kerry-Edwards about the matter before she called a press conference.

We contacted Debra Lyons afterwards, and she told us "It is not her responsibilty to call them to inform them of her plans to hold a press conference. It is only her responsibility to make sure this type of campaigning doesn't take place again."


10/28/04 [Permalink]
Three racist Whites in rural Georgia challenge Hispanic vote registrations purely based on race - most of those challenged had already proven they are legally allowed to vote; County Board dismisses complaint after race-based petition becomes evident and challenges declined to provide evidence in some cases

Hungry Blues covers this:

I was driving to work earlier this evening, I heard this story on NPR [realplayer], and it made me sick to my stomach for two hours. There's no text version to link to, but the summary blurb reads:

Three white residents in rural Georgia have challenged most Hispanic voter registrations in their precinct, charging they are fraudulent. Most of those challenged have already proven their legal status as voters, but one wants a public hearing.

The only original news coverage in print is at WALB News, Albany, Georgia.

Ninety-eight letters were sent by the Board of Registrars to Hispanics registered to vote in Atkinson County. A version in both English and Spanish informs them of a challenge to their right to vote based on the fact that registered voters must be legal U.S. citizens.
You have to listen to Pam Fessler's NPR piece to understand that that's ninety-eight Hispanics out of the county's 123. The Hispanic voter who wants a public hearing is Antonio Hernandez, who was born in Texas thirty years ago and has lived in Georgia for the last twenty. According to Frank Sutton (in the WALB story), one of the three who initiated the challenge to almost every Atkinson County hispanic voter,
We discovered quite accidentally that we had a lot of non-citizens registered to vote in Atkinson County.
Pam Fessler reports that Sutton came into the office of the Election Superintendent and asked for the names of every Hispanic voter in the county. The Superintendent also explains that under Georgia law, any registered voter can challenge the legitimacy of any other voter if he or she believes there is a reason. These challenge rules were instituted in Georgia and in other states for the specific purpose of keeping Black voters from the polls. And what was Sutton's "reason" for challenging the registrations of as many Hispanic voters as he could? Here's Sutton, verbatim from Fessler's report:
We're contesting these because of a deep belief on my part that citizens of the United States are the ones that people have died for to give us the right to vote. That's the reason that we're contestin' these people that we feel the vast majority of 'em are not citizens of the United States.
That's right, Frank Sutton is contesting the right of US citizens to vote wholly on the basis of their ethnicity—a practice of selection also known as racial profiling. This white, southern man, who appears old enough to have fully enjoyed the benefits of segregation, uses racial profiling and Jim Crow tactics to keep Hispanics from voting, all in the name of the Southern Freedom Movement.

An AP update via Buzzflash:

Ninety-five people who make up more than three-quarters of a rural Georgia county's registered Hispanic voters were summoned to a courthouse Thursday to defend their right to vote after a complaint alleged a county commissioner attempted to register non-U.S. citizens.

The Atkinson County Board of Registrars, however, dismissed most of the complaint at the beginning of the hearing, saying the case could open the county to charges of violating the Voting Rights Act. Remaining complaints against two voters were dropped when the complainants declined to present any evidence against them.

"The challenges ... are legally insufficient because they are based solely on race," County Attorney Russ Gillis said. "Those of you who are here because you were challenged, go to the polls Tuesday and vote."

The three men who filed the complaint had said they have evidence a county commissioner attempted to help non-U.S. citizens register so they could vote for him in the July 20 Democratic primary.

Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund got involved because the men filed the challenges based on a list they had received from the Board of Registrars of all Hispanics registered in the south Georgia county.

Linda Davis, chief registrar in Atkinson County, said she provided the men with a list of the 121 voters on the rolls who listed their race as Hispanic or Mexican. She said the men decided to challenge 95 of them.

"They asked for all Hispanics. They did not say just Hispanics who had registered for the election in July," Davis said. "Some of these people have been registered since 1996."

Olga Contreras Martinez, one of the challenged voters, said she became a naturalized U.S. citizen four years ago. Her husband, who was also challenged, was born in the United States.

"When I received the letter last Friday, I have never been so humiliated in my life," she said, choking back tears at Thursday's hearing as she addressed the complainants. "It really hurts that you doubt me."

The men who brought the complaint have 10 days to appeal the ruling. They said after the ruling that they still believe they should be able to challenge people they believe are registered illegally.
Davis said the registrars were required by state law to hear the complaint, and letters were mailed in English and Spanish to all 95 Hispanic voters summoning them to the hearing Thursday night.

The burden of proof would have been on the complainants, not the voters, Davis said, but voters who didn't attend the hearing could have had their ballots voided had the complaint not been dismissed.


10/12/04 [Permalink]
GOP sends absentee ballots with literature asking voters to support GOP, in violation of Georgia law 

Via Votelaw, the AP is reporting the following:

Georgia Democrats say a campaign mailer sent out by their Republican counterparts broke state law by attaching absentee ballots to literature urging voters to support the GOP.

In a letter Tuesday to the state Elections Board, Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman Bobby Kahn said the mailer - sent to Republican voters by the state Republican Party - violates a law created by the Legislature in 2001.

He asked the board to fine the state Republican Party up to $5,000 for each of the hundreds of thousands of mailings.

"It is obvious they will continue to engage in this illegal activity until the State Election Board sends them a message that seeking advantage by violating Georgia election law will not be tolerated," Kahn wrote.

The mass mailing contained an absentee ballot along with pictures of President Bush and U.S. Senate candidate Johnny Isakson.

It reads: "Vote by mail and help President George W. Bush, U.S. Senate candidate Johnny Isakson and all of the other Georgia Republican candidates win in November."

State law, passed in 2001, forbids anyone from distributing absentee ballots that also advocate for or against a candidate, issue or party.























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