Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Suppression and Deception 2006

Focus of this election day has shifted from the tradition of watching cumulative results to reading the vast number of reports of voting problems and voter intimidation efforts across the country. It is, in a word, staggering. Long lines and machine problems abound in Denver, Cleveland, various counties in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Utah, Illinois and Florida. Report after report is coming in describing broken voting machines and a turn to paper ballots as last resort in California, Utah, Pennsylvania. More incidents of touch screen machine vote flipping in Missouri. In Kentucky, a poll worker was arrested after choking a voter. The governor of South Carolina was turned away from voting. In Virginia, the FBI is now investigating voter intimidation tactics; voters have been called and told they will be arrested upon showing up to the polls, or misdirected to an incorrect address. GOP disinformation fliers have been popping up around the country, citing incorrect voting information and other misdirections. Georgia voters are being told that ID is required when it is not. Elsewhere, GOP disinformation robo-calls have hit voters in Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kansas, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New York. Right wing radio head Laura Ingraham is telling her version of dittoheads to flood the phone banks of the voter assistance hotline, 1 888 DEM VOTE, which they are happily doing. In Colorado, Latinos are being threatened with arrest if they show up to the polls.

But of these myriad disasters, melt-downs and suppression tactics, perhaps the one that crystallizes the desperation of Republicans has to be what is being seen in Maryland on election day. Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich and his cohort Michael Steele, running for the US Senate seat being vacated by Paul Sarbanes, both in tight races and certainly facing a losing position, have bused in homeless black people from Pennsylvania and Delaware to hand out "sample ballots" indicating that Ehrlich and Steele are Democrats. After years of vilifying Democrats as terrorist appeasers or outright traitors, now it seems that being, or at least appearing to be, a Democrat is a good thing:
Inaccurate sample ballots describing Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Senate candidate Michael S. Steele as Democrats were handed out to voters in at least four polling sites in Prince George's County this morning.The ballots were handed out by people who said they arrived by buses this morning from Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Erik Markle, one of the people handing out literature for Ehrlich, who is seeking reelection, and Steele, the current lieutenant governor who is campaigning to replace retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D), said he was recruited at a homeless shelter in Philadelphia.

After a two-hour bus ride to Maryland, Markle said the workers were greeted early this morning by first lady Kendel Ehrlich, who thanked them as they were outfitted in T-shirts and hats with the logo for Ehrlich's reelection campaign. Nearly all of those recruited, Markle said, are poor and black. Workers traveled to Maryland in at least seven large buses.
But Ehrlich spokeswoman Shareese DeLeaver says that these "ballots" were not intended to deceive. Besides, seeming to indicate that misleading voters into thinking Steele and Ehrlich are Democrats would be a perfectly fine tactic, DeLeaver admits that such efforts have probably begun a little too late in the game.
I think it's far too late in the game to mislead voters into thinking that Gov. Ehrlich is a Democrat.
If the GOP manages to hang onto majorities, this is how they will do it. Lies, deception, fraud, and pretense. It is all they have and this is what they know. We need to overwhelm these pricks and their disgraceful tactics. Vote these fuckers out!


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