use the definition of Swing States by the Swing State Project.
select your state of interest to proceed. (If there is no link, that
means there is no content for that state yet).
Fraudulent robo (phone)
calls to heavily Democratic counties in Michigan provide false
information on polling locations and claim that a vote for Kerry is a
vote for gay marriage
Josh Marshall, here is an article in the Detroit
Some voters on Monday
complained of getting misleading automated phone calls over the
weekend telling them either that their polling place had changed or
that a vote for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was a
vote to legalize gay marriage.
The messages - known
as robo calls - were placed in heavily Democratic cities of Detroit,
Flint and Pontiac and the Democratic-leaning city of Grand Rapids.
“When you vote this
Tuesday, remember to legalize gay marriage by supporting John
Kerry,” the call said. “It’s what we all want. It’s a basic
Kerry opposes same
sex marriage. Earlier this year, Kerry spoke against a proposal to
amend the federal constitutional to ban same sex marriage, saying
the issue was divisive and should be left up to states. He supports
civil unions for gay or lesbian couples.
The phone calls were
made in communities with large populations of African Americans,
many of whom vote Democratic, but who also have supported the
passage of Michigan’s ballot Proposal 2, a ban on same sex
that they’re using this as a wedge issue to suppress the vote in
Detroit,” said Josh Elling, 28, a Kerry supporter from Detroit,
who received the call Sunday evening. “I think it’s shameful.”
campaign spokesman John Truscott said the campaign had nothing to do
with the calls and that he was not aware of them.
“I checked with
both the party and campaign and nobody knows anything about it,”
said Truscott, spokesman for the Bush campaign in Michigan. “Our
best advice is basically don’t believe what you hear, especially
anything coming at the 11th hour.”
The calls about
polling place changes were received by Democratic voters in Macomb
County as well as in Democratic-leaning cities in Ohio, another
hotly contested state in the presidential election.
The Kerry campaign
was incensed by the calls, which gave no indication of who was the
Fraud in Michigan
involving a small number of registrations submitted by nonpartisan,
but left-leaning group ACORN's Project Vote and the Public Interest
Research Group (PIRGIM)
we have this
unscrupulous campaign workers in several Michigan counties are under
investigation for voter-registration fraud, suspected of attempting
to register nonexistent people or forging applications for
already-registered voters, election and law enforcement officials
Officials in Wayne,
Oakland, Ingham and Eaton counties have been contacted about the
problem, which appears to be an outgrowth of unprecedented efforts
by political interest groups to register thousands of new voters
before the November election.
Director Christopher Thomas said he hoped criminal prosecutions
would result. Thomas, who has held his post for more than 20 years,
said the scale of voter-registration drives this year and the
irregularities were like nothing he had seen before.
Although there is
little likelihood that phony registrations could be used to affect
the outcome of an election because of safeguards in place, alleged
fraud undermines confidence in the system and burdens local elected
officials, Thomas said.
"We don't want
to give the impression that there are a lot of people who will be
able to vote" using a phony registration, Thomas said,
"but these clerks have enough to do without having to screen
thousands of duplicates" and bogus applications.
from two groups whose workers have submitted apparently-fraudulent
applications -- the Public Interest Research Group in Michigan (PIRGIM)
and Project Vote -- downplayed the issue Wednesday, insisting that
it involved only a handful of workers and a limited number of
national director of Project Vote, said fewer than 100 of the
thousands of applications his group has collected in Detroit,
Pontiac and other four other urban centers had been identified as
But the massive
registration drives have produced thousands of registration
applications from voters already on the rolls, city elections
officials said. [eRiposte note:
This in itself, as I
have stated before, is not necessarily an example of fraud
unless there are huge numbers of registrations under the same name.]
Director Gloria Williams said her office has been receiving several
thousand new registrations a day, about half of which were
duplicates of people already registered.
regional director of a PIRGIM voter-registration drive designed to
generate 20,000 new voters in Ingham and Washtenaw counties, said
only three or four workers out of dozens in the project were
suspected of wrongdoing. She described them as "young students
who didn't realize it was a potential felony."
She said PIRGIM pays
workers a flat rate, with bonuses for exceeding registration
targets. The group attempts to verify a sampling of new
registrations, she said.
Project Vote's Leland
said workers from the offices of the Association of Community
Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which are collecting
registrations in Michigan, had produced nearly 70,000 new
registrations with a very low error rate.
"I feel very
happy with the way it is working out, but we will do whatever we can
to ensure the integrity of the process," he said.
There have been
scattered reports of similar voter-registration problems from around
the country. The Project Vote office in Ohio fired two workers
earlier this year for submitting bogus voter applications.
Ingham County Clerk
Mike Bryanton said some of the alleged fraud he had reviewed was
"pretty obvious," including names taken out of the phone
book and as many as eight people registered from a single apartment
More coverage on ACORN here.
Calls made (from as-yet
unknown sources) to citizens in Democrat-rich Michigan counties
falsely claiming that their deadline to apply for absentee ballots has
passed or that completed ballots should be mailed to a wrong address
reader JM and Hesiod,
here's a report
on this incident:
elections official on Monday said qualified voters can request
absentee ballots until Nov. 1, citing fraudulent calls telling
voters the application deadline already had passed.
Registered voters who
qualify for an absentee ballot have until 4 p.m. on Nov. 1 to
request one at their city or township clerk's office, Secretary of
State Terri Lynn Land said. Voters have until 2 p.m. on Oct. 30 to
request an absentee ballot be sent to their home.
Land said there have
been some reports of calls made to Ann Arbor and southern Wayne
County residents by people identifying themselves as members of the
state bureau of elections or local clerk's offices. They are telling
residents the deadline to apply for an absent voter ballot has
passed and are asking that completed ballots be sent to the wrong
activity is unconscionable," Land said in a news release.
"While these activities appear to be extremely limited and do
not represent what's going on throughout Michigan, it's important
that residents do not release private information over the
It's unclear who is
making the calls. A message left with the secretary of state's
office on Monday morning wasn't immediately returned.
Absentee ballots must
be completed and returned to the clerk's office by 8 p.m. on Nov. 2,
Some of Michigan's
Department of State's offices inform newly registered voters, wrongly,
that they are not eligible to vote on Nov. 2; when confronted with
this miscommunication, the GOP Secretary of State's office initially
did nothing. Finally, after a Democratic Party press conference, the
Sec. of State agrees to send out a communication to alert the voters
who were misled.
reader JM (and a Google search), here is some history on this.
voters in at least two Secretary of State offices were wrongly told
they are ineligible to vote in the Nov. 2 election, sparking charges
by Democrats that GOP Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is trying
to suppress turnout.
spokeswoman said Tuesday that it was an isolated mistake made when
fliers were handed out in Battle Creek and Ann Arbor branch offices
during the past week. The notices were intended for distribution
after Oct. 4, the last day of registration for the Nov. 2 election.
The notice told
voters in bold capital letters:: "Registering today? Please be
advised that you are not eligible to vote in the November 2, 2004
"Some of our
branch offices made them available prematurely,'' said Kelly Chesney,
a spokeswoman for Land. She said her office found out about it late
Friday via e-mail from an Ann Arbor voter and notified the 173
branch offices to make sure to hold the notices until Oct. 5.
She said all new
voter registrants where the mistakes were made will be notified by
mail to clarify that they are eligible to vote. Chesney said she
didn't know how many people will have to be notified.
The ill-timed notice
goes on to correctly explain that a first-time voter who registers
after Oct. 4 is not eligible to vote Nov. 2.
Initially, I thought I would attribute
this to an honest mistake that the office stepped up to correct right
away. Then I discovered Ari Berman's report in The
Nation (bold text is my emphasis):
Is the battleground
state of Michigan turning into the next Florida? Is Terry Lynn Land
- the Michigan Secretary of State and Republican co-chair
of the Bush-Cheney campaign - about to become the next Katherine
In the last few weeks
the Department of State's branch offices in Ann Arbor and Battle
Creek have distributed special
notices to newly registered voters. "Registering today?
Please be advised that you are not eligible to vote in the November
2, 2004 General Election." Except the deadline to register for
November's election isn't till October 4 and the fliers were meant
for display only after October 5.
Ann Arbor's a
progressive haven. And Battle Creek remains a hotly contested swing
district with a one-term House Republican struggling for
What's going on here?
It's impossible to
know right now whether the State's offices deliberately mislead
voters or made an honest mistake. But when State Senator Mark
Schauer of Battle Creek asked Land's legislative liaison what they
were doing to remedy the problem, he received a stunning reply.
That prompted a
fiery news conference and rebukes
from seven state legislators on Tuesday. "This is part of a
consistent pattern and practice of the Republican Party," said
Sen. Samuel Thomas of Detroit. Land reversed course and sent out a
second notice informing new voters that their vote would count. But
the damage may already have been done. Who knows how many of these
voters will disregard the second notice? How many didn't register
after seeing the first flier? It's still unclear how many of the 173
state branch offices followed suit. Land's office insists only two.
Schauer's office already learned of a third mailing to Brighton,
There's a precedent
here. In July Republican state legislator John Pappageorge generated
an outcry after labeling voter suppression the key to a Bush-Cheney
victory. "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going
to have a tough time," he told
the Detroit Free Press, speaking of the eighty percent black
and heavily Democratic city.
Michigan's GOP Secretary
of State issues rigid ruling on validity of provisional ballots -
which is expected to lead to vote suppression
at MyDD, here's a report on this:
Secretary of State in Michigan, Terri Lynn Land, is trying to do the
same thing with provisional ballots as Blackwell is trying in Ohio.
Check the extended story for details. In the meantime, I'm urging
fellow Michigan kossacks to email or call her office:
Time to man our
LANSING, Mich. (AP)
-- Democrats in Michigan sued the state's highest-ranking election
official on Tuesday, arguing that voters who show up at the wrong
polling place on Nov. 2 but are in the right city, village or
township can cast a provisional ballot.
The state party and
the Bay City Democratic Party filed a federal lawsuit in Bay City
against Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, a Republican. They say
she has illegally refused to count provisional ballots of voters
who accidentally go to the wrong polling place for the general
Democrats want Land
to rescind her instructions Michigan's 2,438 county and local
election officials not to count provisional ballots for voters who
show up at the wrong precinct.
Party Chairman Mark Brewer said the Help America Vote Act, which
Congress passed in 2002, allows voters to cast provisional ballots
if they are in the correct city, village or township. Provisional
ballots are provided to voters with questionable eligibility and
are set aside and counted after being inspected.
voter should have his or her vote taken away because they
mistakenly went to the wrong polling place," Brewer said in a
have been filed in Colorado, Missouri and Ohio.
State Bureau of
Elections Director Chris Thomas said HAVA doesn't require the
state to count the provisional ballots of voters who are in the
wrong polling location and refuse to go to the correct one.
"We are, under
state law, required to determine if they're in the right
place," he said. "It's never been an issue. ... It's
always been that way that you've got to be in your polling
Thomas said local
elections officials have been instructed to tell voters who are in
the wrong place the correct location to cast their ballots.
A hearing on the
lawsuit is scheduled for Oct. 13, said Jason Moon, spokesman for
the state Democratic Party.
Hesiod, here is an update in the Detroit
A federal judge ruled
Tuesday that Michigan must count provisional ballots cast by voters
who show up at the wrong polling precincts but are in the right
city, township or village.
U.S. District Judge
David Lawson issued an injunction barring Republican Secretary of
State Terri Lynn Land from ordering election officials not to count
provisional ballots unless voters appear in the right precinct.
Lawson agreed with
Michigan Democrats who say people who appear in the right city,
township or village should have their votes counted regardless of
whether they show up in the correct precinct.
More on this here
(also via Hesiod):
His ruling echoed one
last week by a federal judge in Ohio.
Department had argued in a friend-of-the-court brief Monday that the
2002 Help America Vote Act does not give individuals the right to
sue if they believe their state has violated the law. Rather, they
should go through a state administrative complaint process or rely
on a U.S. attorney to file suit, the federal government said.
elections have long been precinct-based," Justice Department
attorneys wrote in court papers. "A well-understood premise of
such a system is that a voter must appear at the correct polling
place — the one to which the voter was assigned, and on whose
rolls the voter appears — or else the voter will not be able to
Mark Brewer, chairman
of the Michigan Democratic Party, had said the department's
"11th-hour request reeks of partisan mischief and is an abuse
of our justice system."