DNC: GOP Continues Trickery at the Voting Booth
Washington, DC - An article in today's Washington Post labels Maryland Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich and his Lt. Governor Michael Steele as key architects in a desperate scheme to trick African American voters in Maryland during last week's mid-term elections. These efforts by Maryland Republicans are just one example of despicable efforts on the part of the GOP to intimidate and deceive American voters. Michael Steele whose name is now being floated as a possible replacement for RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, knowingly hired out of state workers to canvass African American communities, handing out misleading literature which falsely claimed Steele received the support of prominent African American Democrats. [The Washington Post, 11/13/06]
"Clearly the GOP's 'Southern Strategy' is alive and well in Maryland. It's appalling that Michael Steele rolled out his own modern day version of the 'Southern Strategy,' designed to deceive African American voters," said Democratic National Committee Communications Director Karen Finney. "Is this the kind of leadership Steele plans to offer the national party if he were chairman? And when will the GOP stop using trickery to win elections?
"Last Tuesday, despite the efforts of Steele and national Republicans, the American people went to the polls and rejected the Karl Rove politics of hate and division, and overwhelmingly voted for fundamental change. Democrats are offering a new direction for America that protects the right to vote for all, and protects all voters from intimidation and deception at the polls."
Listed below is a small sample of the tactics used by Republicans in recent elections to intimidate voters across America. For more information about the Democratic Party's comprehensive national voter protection program to ensure the American people can vote with confidence in all 50 states visit www.democrats.org/voterprotection:
Republicans Tried to Scare Hispanic Immigrants From Voting. State investigators have linked a Republican campaign to letters sent to thousands of Southern California Hispanics warning them they could go to jail or be deported if they vote next month, a spokesman for the attorney general said. In fact, immigrants who are naturalized U.S. citizens can vote. [USA Today, 10/19/06]
RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman Vowed to Challenge Voters at the Polls. During an appearance on behalf of the GOP gubernatorial candidate in Virginia in 2005, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman vowed to "do whatever we can to help make sure Jerry Kilgore becomes the next governor of the state" - including, according to the AP "having poll workers on hand to challenge voter eligibility." [AP, 05/26/05]
Convicted Republican Phone Jammer Blamed GOP "Culture" and Was Afraid to Push Back on RNC Official. As he finished serving a prison sentence for "jamming Democratic phone lines in New Hampshire during the 2002 US Senate race," Allen Raymond told the Boston Globe that the "scheme reflects a broader culture in the Republican Party that is focused on dividing voters to win primaries and general elections. He said examples range from some recent efforts to use border-security concerns to foster anger toward immigrants to his own role arranging phone calls designed to polarize primary voters over abortion in a 2002 New Jersey Senate race." The scheme led to "the convictions of Raymond and two top Republican officials, and a Democratic lawsuit that seeks to determine whether the White House played any role." Allen said "he got caught up in an ultra-aggressive atmosphere" and that "he had been reluctant to turn down a prominent official of the RNC, fearing that would cost him future opportunities from an organization that was becoming increasingly ruthless." [Boston Globe, 06/10/2006]
Virginia County Asked to Halt Plan for Armed, Uniformed Police at Polling Places. The ACLU said that the planned police presence is a reminder of when armed government officials were used to prevent minorities from voting and will only intimidate many potential voters, causing them to avoid the polls. [ACLU, 10/21/04]
RNC Funded Company Trashed Voter Registration Forms: "Voter's Outreach of America" aka "America Votes" is responsible for ripping up democratic voter registrations in Nevada. According to the investigative report, hundreds and perhaps thousands of individuals who think they are registered to vote actually are not. The organization has reportedly left Nevada and gone to Oregon. Full transcript of story attached... Well, the company [Voter's Outreach for America, aka America Votes] has been largely, if not entirely funded by the Republican National Committee. We should also point out that similar complaints have been received in Reno, where the registrar there has asked the FBI to investigate. It's a complicated story and we'll have a lot more tonight and I think in the days ahead." [KLAS Las Vegas Channel 8, 4pm news, Oct. 12, 2004]
Armed, Plain Clothes Police Officers Intimidated Elderly Black Voters In Orlando. Plain clothes police officers, revealing their side arms, made house calls to elderly, black voters who voted in Orlando's mayoral race in March 2003. The voters were in large part campaign workers or volunteers that helped to organize and get out the vote, mainly using absentee ballots, for African- American Mayor Buddy Dyer. Dyer won with just under 51% of the vote. His challenger, Ken Mulvaney and other defeated candidate alleged that Dyer aide, Ezzie Thomas, the 73-year old head of the Orlando League of Voters, filled out multiple absentee ballots on behalf of black voters. These actions came in spite of the fact that in May 2003 the Florida Dept of Law Enforcement had concluded "that there was no basis to support the allegations of election fraud."[Bob Herbert Column, New York Times, 8/16/04, 8/20/04; AP, 7/17/04]
Florida Election Officials Sought To Purge African-Americans From Voter Rolls. Florida Officials Struck Over 2,000 Eligible Voters From Voting Rolls, 62% Were Democrats, More Than Half Were Black. An analysis by the Miami Herald found that the Florida Division of Elections had improperly included 2,119 voters who were on a list of more than 47,000 felons potentially ineligible to vote in the November elections. Florida law requires convicted felons to request clemency in order to regain their right to vote. Of the 2,119 people on the list, 62% were registered Democrats, almost half were Black and less than 20% were Republican. Only sixty-one Hispanics were included on the list of over 47,000 felons though they comprise 11% of the prison population, a politically significant fact for the November elections since Hispanics in Florida vote overwhelmingly Republican while Blacks vote Democrat. [Miami Herald, 7/2/04; Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 7/7/04, 7/8/04; New York Times, 7/10/04]
Native Americans Told "To Go Home" In June Primary. Poll workers demanded identification from Native Americans in South Dakota's June primary, and they illegally turned away Native American voters from the polls when they did not have it. The state's elections auditor sent out a memo to state poll workers stating that all voters must have IDs, but did not widely disseminate information that said that voters could sign an affidavit in lieu of showing identification. State Democrats say that the actions by poll workers were an extension of a wider move by the GOP controlled state legislature to suppress Native American turnout. The law requiring voters to show identification was passed last year. One South Dakotan voter turned away from the poll was told by an elections worker that "if she didn't' have a photo ID, she could just turn around and home." [Argus Leader, 6/11/04]
Kentucky Republicans Will Place Vote Challengers In African American Precincts. Kentucky's Jefferson County Republican Party announced that it will place Republican vote challengers in predominantly African American precincts during the November 2004 elections, reiterating their 2003 attempt to suppress voter turnout. In 2003, county Republicans placed challengers at 18 polling places in predominantly black districts. However, even Republicans have taken offense this year, and a dozen Republicans including two African Americans joined together to protest their party's actions. [AP, 7/30/04; Courier-Journal, 8/3/04]
Michigan Republican Lawmaker Says Gop Needs To "Supress" The Detroit Voters. Michigan State Representative, John Pappageorge, told members of the Oakland County Republican party that the GOP would do poorly in this year's elections if it failed to "suppress the Detroit vote." Pappageorge's comments were a thinly veiled mandate to suppress African American voter turnout in a city where 83% of the population is Black and overwhelmingly votes Democratic. [Detroit Free Press, 7/16/04; AP, 7/21/04; Washington Post, 8/26/04]NEWS RELEASE