...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
      ( 9:09 AM )
It's More Nasty than I Expected

Of course, the only people reporting on the realities of this coming election are media outlets in other countries. God forbid we'd actually have investigative reporting or actual attention paid to the truth by our own media. Greg Palast leads the way, as usual, with a front page story on the BBC today.

A secret document obtained from inside Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests a plan - possibly in violation of US law - to disrupt voting in the state's African-American voting districts, a BBC Newsnight investigation reveals.

Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".

It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.

An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day."

Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law allows political party operatives inside polling stations to stop voters from obtaining a ballot. (Mama's emphasis)


Purging soldiers

At least 50 persons on the list are in the military, most stationed at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville. They now face challenge because some, like Randall Prausa of Atlantic Beach, have been shipped overseas.

Private detective

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.

Here is what else has happened JUST THIS WEEK:

Ohio – a court ruled on Monday that people have to vote in their exact precinct. That means if you work far from your precinct, you can’t vote by provisional ballot if you’re still within your county lines.

Florida – a court ruled on Monday that the electronic voting machines did not have to be fitted with paper printouts of people’s votes. This means that there is no verifiable way to conduct a recount if one is called for in Florida.

Colorado – Boulder voters no longer have the guarantee of an anonymous vote. A court ruled that it's a-okay for their ballots to be bar coded and for those ballots to correspond with lists of names checked off at precincts.

New Mexico - Early voting started last weekend. Of course the polling places were all open in the posh malls that the white folks use. But over in the Latino neighborhoods? Polling places closed and locked.

Pennsylvania - Pitt students have found that their voter precincts and even their party registrations have been switched after they signed various petitions offered by volunteers.

Around the country will be international election observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, invited by the State Department, and the human rights group Global Exchange. It is the first time either group – with experience in strife-torn countries such as Serbia, Haiti and Venezuela – has observed a presidential election in the United States.

Both [groups] have already raised concerns about the integrity of electronic voting equipment, particularly the lack of paper trails; management of elections by partisan secretaries of state; the potential for voter coercion; and widely varying balloting and vote-counting procedures across the country.

Worries about a repeat of "voter suppression" efforts that surfaced in 2000, including fliers circulated in minority neighborhoods that falsely informed voters they could still cast ballots after Election Day or could be barred for voting for minor legal infractions. Michigan state Rep. John Pappageorge, a Republican, caused a stir last summer when he said, "If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election."

International - Overseas registration for both parties is up by 400 percent over 2000; estimates put the tally of possible civilian votes as high as 2 million. Then the panicked e-mails start flooding in. [L]ess than two weeks before the tightest presidential race in memory, untold thousands of overseas voters still have not received their ballots -- and clearly won't be able to get them back in time.

Should this be happening in a real democracy? Oh wait, I've forgotten...are we a democracy anymore?

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