Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stop GOP Vote Suppression

Stop GOP Vote Suppression

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My friend and Nation writer Roberto Lovato has an important post today on his Of America blog. He outlines what to do before the election to safeguard against any possible dirty tricks and, if necessary, what would be an appropriate response to the unlikely instance of a repeat of the chaos and eventual theft of Election 2000.

If current polls and trends remain, it'll be extremely difficult for any possible fraud to affect the outcome of the presidential race. Moreover, the Obama campaign seems up to the task of protecting the vote and effectively pushing back against any GOP-inspired shenanigans

Yet you need not be a conspiracy theorist to worry about a stolen election, especially in countless down-ticket races that may still remain hotly contested. A recent report in the New York Times found that in some battleground states, for every new voter registered two other voters have been removed. Colorado, a state experiencing rapid population increases, has seen more than 100,000 voters erased from its rolls. Reports from other states of suppression and fraud involving computerized voting systems, voter purges, unreasonable demands for voter documentation and other methods show that the GOP's Rovian bag of tricks is still being put to use, as Andrew Gumble argues in a new Nation article this week.

The alarming fact is that these dirty tricks could still be decisive according to voting experts at NoVoterLeftBehind.net, a group founded by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to fight GOP efforts at voter suppression, who argue that Obama's leads are so slim in five out of nine key toss-up states that Republican vote suppression efforts could still tip the outcome of the presidential election.

Where could GOP vote suppression tactics flip the outcome on Election Day? Based on the state-level "poll of poll" survey averages reported at RealClearPolitics, Florida, Ohio and Colorado are particularly vulnerable.

Lovato outlines a few basic measures we can take to head-off fraud before it occurs, including voting early; helping document and monitor the election on November 2; immediately calling 1-866-OUR-VOTE, the country's largest election monitoring operation, to report irregularities, and, most importantly, pushing for a massive turnout to create a significant margin of victory for Obama. He also points to a general strike as the most effective protest vehicle in the face of a repeat of the selection of the president in Election 2000. ("In the event of a stolen election, local and national work stoppages, school walkouts, protests, and other actions communicate to the government, to corporate interests, and to the world that we will fight the decimation of democracy....Even without a strong labor movement, the immigrant rights mobilization of 2006 – the largest simultaneous marches in U.S. history – proved that you can make a powerful statement simply by not showing up to work and marching instead.")

No Voter Left Behind's Voter Guide, meanwhile, offers a useful primer on voting rights in the US and NVLB's compendium of each state's various election rules, regulations and deadlines answer many basic questions. Watch this space in the final week before the election for further ides on how to safeguard the franchise next Tuesday.

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