Thursday, October 21, 2004

Jiggering the vote?

Over the months I've seen a few articles discussing efforts by the Republicans to play with the voting system. Using intimidation against minorities causing them to not vote, or outright tilt the percentages of republicans/democrats voting. Today salon.com has an article detailing a recent story in the news ..

Sproul play
The RNC-funded firm Sproul & Associates stands accused of lying, cheating and even destroying Democratic voter registration forms to get more Republicans to the polls.
(By Farhad Manjoo; http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/10/21/sproul/)

The story is that Sproul & Associates set up a faux voter registration drive that was geared to tilting the number of registered Republican voters. What they did is hire temp workers, instruct them to conduct a pretend voter survey, and then for anybody who indicated a preference to support Bush, to offer to register them to vote. If they indicated a preference other than Bush, to walk away.

Now, last summer I did a little impromptu voter registration drive of my own (Self-organized voter registration drives). I know, from having thought about this, from having been in the act of registering voters, that to do it in integrity you either need to

  • be up-front about your affiliation
  • register anybody

In my voter registration drive, I was willing to register anybody. I believe we all have the right to the voice that is our vote, no matter what ones political leaning. To do anything else is to be incredibly dishonest. But let's get back to the salon.com story ...

Instead Sproul & Associates organization was anything but an integrity driven voter registration operation.

In Las Vegas we have an October 13 news story of a false voter registration scheme that threw away any registration form marked "Democratic". In that case it was Voters Outreach of America, a false front-organization operated by Sproul & Associates.

In Portland OR we have a very similar story, also on October 13. [registration required to read story]

In Pittsburgh PA, well, we have the same story again. This time on October 20.

In Charleston WV there's another story, this time on August 20, of the same scheme with the same outline. To find the article go to the Charleston Gazette web site (http://www.wvgazette.com/), enter "Bragg Sproul" in the search box, and click on the "Library" button.

In Jackson County (Oregon) the story is a little different. In that case, as in several others around the country, a letter was sent to a library asking for permission to conduct a voter registration drive outside the public library. The letter claimed to be from "America Votes" but was not from the real "America Votes" but a false front organization set up by Sproul.