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

 

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Here, I use the definition of Swing States by the Swing State Project

Please select your state of interest to proceed. (If there is no link, that means there is no content for that state yet).

MINNESOTA

11/1/04 [Permalink] UPDATED 11/2/04
Fraudulent calls made to Minnesota voters providing wrong polling places

Minnesotan at Dailykos reports this:

I've been doing election protection work here in Minnesota, and today I received two calls regarding robocalls calling people in Minnesota leaving false polling place information.  I've spoken with the 1-866-OUR VOTE hotline folks, and apparently this is not isolated to Minnesota.

One of the messages left identified itself as coming from The Teamsters.  The second person's call came from "Voters of America."  Both people have caller ID and the same return number was recorded:  503-542-8636.  I've called the number and it's not functional.

Be on the lookout.  If you or anyone you know receives such a call, save the message and call 1-866 OUR VOTE and report the call.

I can't believe this happens in a democracy.

To find your polling place you can go to http://mypollingplace.com

Magnus at Dailykos has an update:

Well, I'm now in the warm after being MoveOnPac man on the spot outside a South Minneapolis poll since 6.30 am.  Rain, cold and 100ft away meant no shelter.  Nonetheless it was great to be involved.  We had it covered - 2 MoveOnPac, 3 Dem lawyers - it's a heavily Democrat neighbourhood and we expected some problems.

All went well until about 8.00, when people started showing up from a different precinct.  They'd received calls over the weekend telling them to come to ours.  Clearly non-legitimate calls, but a lot of people had obeyed the information.  I'd heard about this happening in Michigan, but looks like it's standard swing-state practice.

Anyway, the lawyers got all over it, and a bunch of drivers were delegated to shuttle people back to where they should be.  And it seems at least some of the people still have the message on their answerphone.

 

10/28/04 [Permalink]
RNC funded firm Sproul and Associates' strikes again - voter registration shenanigans extend to Minnesota

Via Buzzflash, here is a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune about Sproul and Associates, which has been in the news for shredding Democratic registrations in Nevada, and false advertising/misleading would-be voters in other states claiming they were non-partisan:

Three former canvassers for a company working in Minnesota to reelect President Bush have come forward to say they were paid bonuses for registering Bush supporters but got nothing for registering voters who favor challenger John Kerry.

One man, who worked for only a few hours for the company, Sproul and Associates, said it was implied that he could be fired for coming back with only Kerry registration cards.

"I was told, your job is to bring in Republican cards. If you don't, then you won't be working here for very long," said Adam Banse, who quit after two hours.

While the state of Minnesota doesn't require voters to register by party affiliation, Sproul sought to determine political allegiances by having canvassers ask people they registered whether they supported Bush or Kerry or were undecided, according to the three canvassers.

There is nothing illegal about seeking voters' preferences or paying bonuses, so long as all of the registrations are properly turned in, according to the offices of the secretary of state and the attorney general. But Leslie Sandberg, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Mike Hatch, said: "The fact that they were differentiating with voter-registration cards between one party and others -- this is troubling. You don't know what happens when they bring them back to the firm."

The company denied paying selective bonuses.

 

10/26/04 [PermalinkUPDATED 11/2/04
Minnesota's Republican Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer hones the art of vote suppression 

Multiple stories here - trying to reduce voter registration by Democratic-leaning groups, attempting to eliminate Independence Party candidate (running against GOP platform), rushing to use untested and unreliable voter registration system, issuing posters near voting booths warning of terrorists, placing highly misleading notices near driver's license stations that the voter registration deadline is past, etc. Hey, you can't blame her for not trying to catch up with her party colleagues nationwide! 

This report in MNPolitics:

Minnesota Secretary of State, Republican Mary Kiffmeyer, has been criticized frequently over the years by state Democrats but the critical fire burned much brighter last week.

State Democrats have been suspicious of Kiffmeyer virtually since she was elected in 1998. Upon taking office, she made the previously civil service Elections Director position a political appointment. In 2003, Kiffmeyer dismissed her own director of elections, because, the former director says, he invited both Democratic and Repulbican legislators to a presentation on new voting machines when Kiffmeyer wanted just the Republicans invited. Kiffmeyer's office disuptes the truth of the allegation.

But now it's not just Democrats who are complaining.

Most recently, it has been many of the state's own county auditors who have complained that Kiffmeyer is moving to quickly to install a new voter registration system that is still plagued by problems a month before the election and that they system has not been adequately tested. The system is too slow to handle the enormous volume of new voter registrations (the Pioneer Press reports that the number of registered Minnesota voters jumped by 56,691 since the June 18 primary) and that the system logs people off, wiping out previously entered data. Critics fear that could result in some voters being turned away at the polls this year. Kiffmeyer is also being criticized for not requesting a waive to postpone the federally-mandated systems until after November, as forty other states have done.

Kiffmeyer also came under fire last week when her office turned away grassroots anti-Bush or pro-Democrat groups requesting voter registration forms for door-to-door voter registration campaigns, saying they ran out of the forms. The Secretary of State's office said that they had run low, but not out, and that the confusion was the result of bad information given by a worker at the election office counter.

Two weeks ago, Kiffmeyer and the Democratic Attorney General Mike Hatch agreed that according to an obscure state law that most people thought had been repealed, Independence Party (IP) candidates should be disqualified from the general election ballot because they did not enough votes during the primaries. The Minnesota Supreme Court recently ruled that the IP candidates could be on the ballot.

Her attempt to keep IP candidates, coupled with other actions, elicited a scathing op-ed piece in the Star Tribune by former U.S. Congressman and IP gubernatorial candidate Tim Penny, who said that "ruling against the Independence Party was only the latest in a long list of curious actions taken by her office."

The list of other things for which Kiffmeyer has been criticized is long. They include:

  • She tried to change the voter identification process to require an exact match between the information provided by a voter on their registration form and the information displayed on the voter's valid identification rather than leaving voter verification to the discretion of the election judge, as had previously been the case. Critics said the exact match would suppress voter turnout. County officials filed a formal complaint, saying the system would be unworkable, and an administrative law judge agreed with them, keeping Kiffmeyer from implementing the system.
  • Prior to the primary, she distributed posters to be posted near voting booths that warned voters to be on the lookout for terrorists, which critics said was alarmist.
  • She tried to keep an unorthodox Republican congressional candidate off the ballot. The Minnesota Supreme Court overruled her decision.
  • She told the newsweekly City Pages that a voter registration contest they were conducting might violate federal election laws.

Here's some coverage in this PFAW/NAACP report:

Minnesota's Secretary of State, Republican Mary Kiffmeyer, came under fire in September for distributing flyers that raise the specter of election-related terrorism. The flyers, which Kiffmeyer asked be displayed in polling places, urged voters to be wary of people appearing at precincts with "shaved head[s] or short hair" who "smell of unusual herbal/flower water or perfume," wear baggy clothing or appear to be whispering to themselves, as they might be "homicide bombers."[i] Many local election officials refused to distribute the posters, arguing that they could trigger harassment of certain ethnic, racial, or religious groups. One state senator claimed that the warnings were "a Chicken Little attempt" to discourage voting. In addition, some raised concerns that the posters could "unnerve" poll workers. It appears that no other state has produced similar posters[ii].


[i] Spencer S. Hsu and Jo Becker, "Election Day Anti-Terrorism Plans Draw Criticism," Washington Post, October 6, 2004
[ii] Mark Brunswick and Brad Stokman, "Poll Officials Spurn Ant-Terror Poster," Star-Tribune, 9/14/04.

Here's more, via Village Voice:

State officials moved Friday to replace notices at more than 200 driver's license examining stations and vehicle tab agencies throughout Minnesota that they said could discourage people from voting.

"It is too late to register for the November 2, 2004, General Election," the notices say under the headline "Important Voter Registration Information."

The notices apparently have been posted since an Oct. 12 deadline for "motor voter" registration -- automatically signing up to vote along with an application for a driver's license or state identification card. But prospective voters still can register at the offices of county auditors or the secretary of state or at the polls on Nov. 2.

"We're getting it changed," state Division of Driver and Vehicle Services spokeswoman Susan Lasley said. "It kind of implies the wrong thing." She said she did not know how the mistake was made or by whom.

A new version of the notice specifies that "It is too late to register to vote on your DL or ID card application."

Both notices add: "If you apply for your DL or ID card today, your name will not appear on this year's voter roster," although that does not preclude registering by other means.

The notices also refer prospective voters to the secretary of state's office. Kent Kaiser, spokesman for Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, said she did not issue either of the notices. But Pat McCormack, director of driver and vehicle services, said the information came from Kiffmeyer's office.

"Some people were misreading it," McCormack said. "If they ask us about it, we tell them to check with their county auditor or the secretary of state."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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