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Republicans Plan Voter Challenges in Florida 172

Posted by michael
from the ounce-of-prevention-worth-a-pound-of-lawsuits dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Greg Palast, the journalist who first reported on the initial Florida voter scandal (Warning large PDF), thinks he's found a new threat for this election, reported here at the BBC. He did uncover some interesting shenanigans last time, is this significant, or is he just fishing this time?"
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Republicans Plan Voter Challenges in Florida

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  • Yeah, yeah ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by crmartin (98227) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @10:27PM (#10638029)
    Ohio has counties with 30,000 more registrations than there are people, and we're talking about 1200 questionable registrations in Florida.
    • Did you forget how many votes Florida was won by in 2000?
    • I don't think that statistic proves that any sort of voter fraud is going on. It may just be that they're slow at removing old names from the list.

      It's like the "controversy" going on in Philadelphia, which has an overall voter registration of 99% (and climbing). Republicans are crying fraud, but really it's a simple effect of their Motor Voter bill. The bill requires them to retain voter registrations for more election cycles.

      Basically, people move into the city, register to vote, and eventually
      • Perhaps. But in Cleveland, they've been finding people re-registering to vote 20 years after their deaths; at last count, four counties in Ohio have registered 5-10 percent more voters than their otal voting age population -- and remember that not everyone who is of voting age is eligible to vote.

        Proof of fraud? No. But it's a helluva lot more suspicious than a list of 1800 questionable registrations.
  • If they are so worried about keeping likely Democratic voters from casting ballots, maybe they really don't have root on all the electronic voting machines.
  • by ugmoe (776194) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @10:34PM (#10638073)
    When told of a list of 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida, the election supervisor said: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day."

    Isn't it possible that someone wanted to send letters them letters asking them to vote for Bush?

    • Not at all (Score:5, Insightful)

      by metalhed77 (250273) <andrewvc.gmail@com> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @10:52PM (#10638191) Homepage
      Well, considering that the republican party in FL has tried a number of shennanigans (remember the felons list recently?) in the hope of preventing dems from getting to the polls it's bloody hard to trust them on this. Especially in an election where bush has all but given up the black vote (he didn't even meet with the NAACP!)
      • he didn't even meet with the NAACP!

        Why should he meet with a wing of the Democratic party who has treated him with nothing but contempt? When the NAACP gets back to being what it started as, maybe it will be recognized as something other than an attack machine for the Democrats. It ought be called the NAANAACP, if you know what I mean.

        Bush has been more than willing to meet with legitimate black groups and in fact has appointed more blacks to high position than Clinton. And unlike Clinton, Bush actual
        • (remember Janet Reno? Joycelyn Elders?).

          Yes; both were far more competent than their counterparts under Bush. I'd take Reno any day over Ashcroft, stormtroopers and all! And Jocelyn Elders was extremely intelligent and competent. She just got canned for saying masturbation wasn't as evil as the right wing fundies claimed it was. Meanwhile, Bush has Elliot Abrams (a convicted felon, by the way) sitting the fundies down and explaining to them on their own terms that Bush's policy towards Israel is in acc

          • Let's see, are you talking about Ashcroft's figurative stormtroopers or Janet Reno's literal stormtroopers, or has a little matter in Waco, Texas slipped your memory? Elian Gonzales and his family being raided by armed federal agents ring a bell? Her refusal to investigate the President despite calls for it by the FBI?

            I saw Elders on TV once and all she could do was repeat canned responses whether they were relevant to the question or not. She didn't look intelligent or competent in the least. And no
            • I was talking about Reno's stormtroopers; the point was even given waco (and Elian!) I still prefer her to the snake handling, Constitution-shredding weirdo who spent thousands of dollars of taxpayer money covering up boobs on the statue of Justice.

              As for Elders, I'm judging her intelligence based on the content of what she said, not based on how she looked on TV once.

              And if you want to talk about felons, a large number of Clinton's cabinet and adivsors were under investigation, indicted, and in several

            • Elian Gonzales and his family being raided by armed federal agents ring a bell?

              His dad was in Cuba and had legal custody. A six year old kid belongs with his dad. He shouldn't have been used as a pawn by some political group. I'm a dad and any dad who loves his kids will tell you that Reno and Co. did the right thing.

              And if you want to talk about felons, a large number of Clinton's cabinet and adivsors were under investigation, indicted, and in several cases convicted, while he was in office. Myst
          • Bullshit. You might like Reno better than Ashcroft, but she is not nearly as competent as he is. And Elders got canned not merely for that one comment, and perhaps you think she was competent, but that cometence did not extend to knowing how to talk to people. Telling people to "get over their love affair with the fetus" is just about the dumbest thing I've ever heard a public official say ... and I've been listening to Kerry on the campaign trail for a year and a half. She dug her own grave by being st
            • What makes Ashcroft competent? His association with Assembly of God? His refusal to enforce laws that the NRA doesn't like even after the Bush Administration reluctantly re-started the war on terrorism? His refusal to go after terrorists and their ilk on the American right, despite that some have been found with WMD [upi.com]? His Puritanism, which extended even to covering up a statue of Justice? His open lying to Congress? His questioning of Congressmembers' patriotism? His refusal to release memos demanded
              • What makes Ashcroft competent?

                Lots of hard work and study of the law.

                His refusal to enforce laws that the NRA doesn't like even after the Bush Administration reluctantly re-started the war on terrorism?

                "re-started" what? And he has not refused to enforce any laws. It's never happened. You're confused.

                His refusal to go after terrorists and their ilk on the American right

                Never happened.

                I sense a trend here, and being bored with your lies, I am just going to stop now.
                • Lots of hard work and study of the law.

                  Cute. I guess the other things don't count then. I don't doubt he's a hard worker; I do question his fitness for office.

                  "re-started" what?

                  The war on terrorism; you might have heard of it? The war on al Qaeda specifically, which the Bush administration completely ignored until 9/11, after which Bush gave a speech that almost word for word copied Clinton's 1998 speech.

                  And he has not refused to enforce any laws. It's never happened. You're confused.

                  Here's one [buzzflash.com]

                  • Oh, you bought into Richard Clarke's lies, I see. Try the 9/11 Commission, it's a bit more honest.

                    And your "one example" is justifies my dismissiveness: it does not show Ashcroft refused to enforce gun laws. There is no mention of such a thing in that article. It's about legal access to firearms, not refusal to enforce laws against firearms.

                    You want Ashcroft to violate the law by disallowing their purchase, and you masquerade this in a lie about how he is not enforcing the law.

                    Cute, but stupid.
                    • LOL... Clarke is one of the most honest people in public service. I haven't seen a credible motive for him lying about anything. But the 9-11 Commission confirmed much of what he said, so I don't see your point. The Ashcroft thing was a bad link on my part -- try this one [bradycampaign.org] to see an example of him not enforcing laws that exist (as opposed to the other link which was about him turning a blind eye to the ease of terrorists acquiring legal guns). But legal or illegal, my point that Ashcroft is in the NRA's
        • Maybe it's because republican interest don't serve black interests. Ever thing of that?
      • ...it's bloody hard to trust them on this.

        I think the problem the parent had was that the guy is wildly jumping to conclusions. He found a list of people, and he's claiming that the only possible use George Bush has for a list of people is to prevent them from voting. Regardless of your impressions of George Bush, is that statement even backed by a meager shred of evidence? This is little more than a publicity stunt and a thinly veiled attempt to influence the outcome of the election in Florida. Come on.

    • "Isn't it possible that someone wanted to send letters them letters asking them to vote for Bush?"

      Having worked with a campaign or two, I can tell you that demographics lists like this are commonplace and are not themselves dispositive of an intent to do anything other than know the terrain.

      I'm sure if you visited a Democrat office, you'd find a list of 3,772 rich, white, Republicans. Would those who accuse the Republicans of intending a challenge make the same statement in this case with the same evidenc
  • What would really be funny is if all 1,886 of those black voters switched their affiliation to the Republican party to get "the man" off their backs, voted for complete idiots at the primaries, and then still voted Democrat on election day.
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @10:37PM (#10638088) Journal
    The idea behind voter challenges is that anyone can challenge the legitimacy and eligibility of a voter. This is especially important in states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California where there are large numbers of illegal immigrants who may be influenced to illegally vote. This is also a problem because there are even American citizens who are not eligible to vote such as felons.

    Unfortunately, this law is also a door to abuse. Indiscriminate use of the challenge procedure is akin to Scientology's use of lawsuits to silence the opposition. It produces a chilling effect and keeps people away from the polls.

    However, despite this list being available, the article (neither of them) does not delve deeply into the names nor the reasoning behind them, only going so far as to say that it could possibly be a Republican plot. However, if the names all belong to felons who are not eligible to vote in the first place, such a list is absolutely necessary.

    This is a story looking for more research, not more explosives. Unfortunately, most people would rather toss bombs than to do the hard work of finding out what is really going on.
    • Unfortunately, most people would rather toss bombs than to do the hard work of finding out what is really going on.

      Check back Nov. 3rd, when we know how the lists were used.

      I agree with everything you said, but isn't this one of those situations where, according to prevalent thinking, you have to act preemptively, otherwise it'll be too late to avert whatever's about to happen?
      • The problem is, this isn't even rational. It's a list of people's names; this an election for Christ's sake! How many lists of names do you think both sides are using for entirely legitimate purposes? Without any sort of context, this is insane.

        I know airline security is bad now, but when was the last time you were stopped before getting on a plane because you were carrying baggage, of all things! And of course, the security guard was quoted as saying, "The only possible use of luggage is as a vessel for t

    • This is a story looking for more research, not more explosives. Unfortunately, most people would rather toss bombs than to do the hard work of finding out what is really going on.

      That would include most reporters, no?

    • Anyone doing this to disenfranchise people should be thrown in jail - as should anyone attempting to vote illegally.

      I have no problem if it were required to present ID in order to vote. In our precinct, it appears that we have a representative from both of the major parties there - have them both verify the ID and allow the voter to cast his or her ballot.

    • This is especially important in states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California where there are large numbers of illegal immigrants who may be influenced to illegally vote.

      You misspelled "where there are large numbers of frightened redneck assholes who may be influenced to illegally intimidate anyone foreign-looking away from voting."

  • Watch The Report (Score:3, Informative)

    by Aztech (240868) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @10:52PM (#10638195)
    The article is somewhat brief, especially compared to the original story, you can watch the TV report [bbc.co.uk] on the Newsnight [bbc.co.uk] pages.
  • And pretty soon the Republican brand of freedom will no doubt be on the march all over the world.

    GOP uber alles!

  • by ewithrow (409712) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:16PM (#10638360) Homepage
    What's interesting about this story is the way the it was uncovered. The "secret" email was only revealed because of the stupidity of the sender. Instead of sending it to an email address at the real bush campaign website, it was sent to georgewbush.org, an anti-bush website. georgewbush.org decided to post all email in their catch-all to in what they call the "dead letter office."

    http://www.georgewbush.org/deadletteroffice/ [georgewbush.org]

    Look for an e-mail with the subject "caging"
  • by edbarbar (234498) on Tuesday October 26, 2004 @11:17PM (#10638366)
    Let's see. There is some reported voter registration fraud. Here is a case in Ohio were a registrar was paid with cocaine and registered "Dick Tracy" and "George Foreman":
    http://www.cleveland.com/crime/plaindealer/index.s sf?/base/iscri/109818543096130.xml [cleveland.com]

    along with non-anecdotal evidence of potential fraud (higher incidence of registrations from incorrect address).

    There is record voter registration in important states:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/ a/2004/10/17/MNGAB99QEA1.DTL [sfgate.com]

    The democrats have supposedly hired many lawyers to monitor polls, etc.:

    http://www.voanews.com/english/US-Democrats-Republ icans-Deploy-Lawyers-for-Possible-Election-Battles .cfm [voanews.com]

    Al Gore is telling blacks to "vote early" so their vote will count, presumably not like the last time:

    "Early voting is a good idea," he said. "You want to give them plenty of time to count all the votes."

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/10/24/gore.ap/ [cnn.com]

    In all, it seems like the making for a very big mess, and I think this election, with things so close, I for one would be suspicious and at least investigate.

    One thing I find interesting about this story, is that there is no evidence of any actual wrongdoing, just innuendo, but perhaps this is just part of the democrat playbook, which is to allege claiming voter intimidation, whether it's true or not:

    http://cleveland.indymedia.org/news/2004/10/12700. php [indymedia.org]
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @03:53AM (#10639595) Journal
    That has been the ultimate failure of Bush but also Clinton, the other bush, reagan ... (before is before my time so I couldn't say).

    A good leader should be able once elected to then be a leader to the whole country. Not just those that voted for him. Simply put considering the recent american election results a democrat should be half repiblican and a republican half democrat BECAUSE THAT IS HOW THE AMERICAN PUBLIC VOTED.

    If you are reading about the current election you get the idea that 50% of america totally distrusts the other 50% of america. The democrats think the republicans will create a police state ruled by big business, the republicans think the democrats want to invite the UN as a police force to control their right to carry machine guns.

    This article is about a list found. While there is some smoke here you can see the democrats leaping off to conclusions that just ain't supported by the findings but you also see the republicans leaping to defences that just ain't supported by history. It ain't that both are wrong, it is that both seem not to care about the truth instead twisting the few facts known to suit their mindset.

    The "war on terror" has this as well. Republicans think that if only america hits hard enough the world will come to heel. Never realizing that perhaps the world is barking and biting precisly because america is hitting it.

    The democrats seem to believe that its current enemies could have been apeaced if only it had done X or hadn't done Y. They never seem to capable of realizing that perhaps its current enemies hate america because it is there. That just being a democracy with freedom of religion is enough to be a bitter enemy.

    The most amusing is the example of foreign support for the iraq war. Democrats seem to claim that it should have had support and that countries like france, germany and russia took the moral highroad by not giving support. Like hell. These countries had major money intrests in Iraq and didn't want to lose them. More recent evidence suggests that Iraq was even buying politicians in europe. Before people cry "Republican propaganda" think this. These are the same politicians who said they would vote against software patents and didn't. The same politicians who voted for DMCA style regulation desptite the publics opinion. If they are morally and ethically corrupt on one subject why should we trust them on others?

    However republicans seem somehow to believe that foreign support is not needed and that america can stand alone to defend the entire world from evil. Worse that any who speak against them are part of the evil. That americans need not be held accountable for such silly little things as war crimes. There was even an attempt by republicans to pass allow allowing a friendly country (holland) to be invaded and its soldiers killed to "rescue" any american brought before the international court. A greater insult to the world could not have been delivered as america was at the same time busy to get other countries war criminals before those same courts. One law for the world, another for america. Talk about giving fuel to america haters.

    But the most worrying thing is that these ideas seem to split america right down the middle. It doesn't matter who wins the election, the other side will spent the next four years bitterly opposing everything just because they didn't win.

    Bush or Kerry has a far more important job to do then "the war on terror" or "domestic economy" or any of that crap. Their most important challenge is to turn their 50.0000000000001 election lead into something like 75% "well I don't agree with everything but overall he ain't a bad leader for america right now, next election he may be a goner but for now he is doing okay enough to not constantly be trying to get him out". Can either Bush or Kerry do that? I don't think so.

    Note that this is not a typical american issue, other countries are having real problems with the nature of democracy right now. It is just that dutch internal politics have little effect on the rest of the world. But when america shivers the world trembles.

    • Damn good analysis!

      Winner-takes-all means there are always going to be two parties, and the best strategy for winning is to position yourself as absolutely close to the center as possible, and the best campaign is to try to pretend your competitor is not right next to you at the center by running attack ads. I would estimate that 3/4 or more of the decided voters for Bush or Kerry don't really like their candidate, but are fueled by hate and distrust of the other side.

      With modern polling and computer anal
    • A good leader should be able once elected to then be a leader to the whole country. Not just those that voted for him. Simply put considering the recent american election results a democrat should be half repiblican and a republican half democrat BECAUSE THAT IS HOW THE AMERICAN PUBLIC VOTED.

      So, you think the Constitution is full of shit. Thanks for playing.
    • That has been the ultimate failure of Bush but also Clinton, the other bush, reagan ... (before is before my time so I couldn't say).

      A good leader should be able once elected to then be a leader to the whole country.


      I have no idea how the hell you are involving Bush Senior and Reagan in this. Reagan was re-elected by a land slide and Bush Sr. was too so leave them out of this dam rant.
  • by G. W. Bush Junior (606245) on Wednesday October 27, 2004 @07:26AM (#10640294) Journal

    Sounds alot like a conspiracy nut who got lucky in 2000, and is desperately trying to sell his next wacky theory.
    granted he was right the first time, and it'll be easy to determine if he is right this time (you just have to ask the people on the list afterwards). If he is, I'll be glad to retract my statement about him being a conspiracy theorist.

    This (from TFA) is pretty scary though:
    In Jacksonville, to determine if Republicans were using the lists or other means of intimidating voters, we filmed a private detective filming every "early voter" - the majority of whom are black - from behind a vehicle with blacked-out windows.

    The private detective claimed not to know who was paying for his all-day services.

    On the scene, Democratic Congresswoman Corinne Brown said the surveillance operation was part of a campaign of intimidation tactics used by the Republican Party to intimate and scare off African American voters, almost all of whom are registered Democrats.

    Hasn't florida got laws against stuff like this?
    Isn't there federal laws against this?
    I can't see how non-state or non-government entities can be allowed to register voters without their consent? The potential for abuse definitely outweighs the chances that it can be used for anything good.
    It sounds like something that you would expect to see in a third world or ex-communist country.

    Oh yeah, and before you start spewing liberal media conspiracy theories, this is a BBC article. It is not an american news source!

  • There should be some simple rules to reduce or eliminate conflicts of interest when it comes to voter registration and elimination:
    • the Secretary of State for a State should be required by law to publish the names of anyone convicted of a felony (this is public knowledge anyway) on a website and in a set of major newspapers, once per year only, in June before a November election.
    • The list should include their full name and voter registration number (on their voter registration card).
    • The voter registration n
  • Pudge cleared this up back on October 7th [slashdot.org]: "The Republican party is relying on state parties to hire the lawyers, if necessary." See? The GOP isn't planning anything above the local level. If pudgy says it, it must be true!

    So clearly there's no story here. Move along, folks.

  • I'm just about as biased in this election as anyone here. I've already voted for a straight Democratic ticket (and the Libertarian candidates in races where there was no Democrat running).

    This still looks like fishing to me. Accusing a political party of nefarious intent because they have a list of voters, any type of voters, strikes me as ridiculous.
  • What's interesting is that the non-Republican site georgewbush.org is the one that provided the documentation to the BBC on this story. They apparently had a catch-all mailbox that they discovered accumulating a ton of GOP-internal mails that were misdirected to the wrong domain! [georgewbush.org]

    The site goes on to document all sorts of interesting internal correspondence, including dubious intimidation tactics and sleazy fliers the GOP is encouraging religious groups hand out at services. It's very illuminating.

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