Posts Tagged ‘polls’

By: Dan Froomkin
The Huffington Post

Poll watchers from groups ostensibly targeting voter fraud are headed primarily to minority voting precincts on Election Day, lending support to the argument that their real goal is to suppress the African-American and Latino vote.

A partial list of precincts targeted by a Pittsburgh Tea Party group working on behalf of the Republican Party shows that nearly 80 percent of the voters in those precincts are African-American, compared to 13 percent countywide, according to civil rights and union groups who on Monday called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.

An Ohio political blog is reporting that forms submitted to election officials by Tea Party spin-off group True the Vote in Franklin County — which includes Columbus — show poll watchers heading to 28 precincts, where most voters are African-American. Overall, the county electorate is 20 percent African-American.

“We’ve been concerned from the beginning that the efforts of True the Vote and aligned groups were going to be targeted largely in communities of color,” said Eric Marshall, manager of legal mobilization for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “We’ve seen in the past where these kinds of tactics can lead to intimidation and harassment of voters.”

A potentially even greater concern now is that the groups will use the voter challenge process “for the express purpose of creating lines and confusion,” Marshall said.

Prohibitively long lines, particularly where Democrats are in the majority, are a net plus for Republicans; extraordinarily long lines for early voting in South Florida resulted from Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s rollback of early voting days there.

Pittsburgh Tea Party Movement founder Patti Weaver, whose group trained the would-be poll watchers there, said her volunteers wouldn’t interfere with anyone. “We are not harassing voters. We won’t be talking to voters. We’re just there to observe,” she told HuffPost.

As for the list of precincts, she said: “Nobody’s targeting African-Americans anywhere in the country, that I know of. We’re sending volunteers to precincts which have had irregularities in the past or statistical issues.”

Weaver said the list was provided by fellow activist Bob Howard, but Howard told HuffPost he didn’t make the list himself. “I was not involved in the selection process. I don’t know the details,” he said.

He was told that many of the precincts were on the list because in previous elections, reports were sent in to the local Republican Party or to specific GOP candidates “that there was something at the poll that was a problem.” Others were there because of unusual swings in voting activity, he said.

He said the reasons were explained to him by the man who gave him the list: Chris Metz, executive director of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County.

Metz, however, would not answer questions about how the list was created. “That I cannot speak upon,” he told HuffPost. “That is the state party that put that together.”

He had no further comment. The spokesperson for the Pennyslvania Republican Party did not return phone messages.

But Nicole Berner, a lawyer with the Service Employees International Union — the group that obtained the list of precincts — said the only strong statistical correlation among them is race. The list was obtained by an independent community organizer who attended one of the poll watcher-training sessions and was able to jot down information about 59 of the 111 precincts that the group was asking people to sign up for, according to Berner.

Berner and others have requested that the Department of Justice ask the Republican Party for the complete list. “On the basis of the data that we ran, we can’t find any other single factor that would tie these precincts together, so how did you get this list?” said Berner.

A spokesperson for True the Vote, which vowed to send a million poll watchers out to hunt down voter fraud, did not respond to an email inquiry. Its founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, told The New York Times that she suddenly became concerned with voter fraud after President Barack Obama’s election in 2008. “I don’t know, something clicked,” she told the Times.

Marshall pointed out that none of the groups has provided evidence of in-person voter fraud anywhere — and groups have not provided evidence “to back up exactly why they should send all their poll watchers to African-American neighborhoods.” Lacking that evidence, he said, “we have concerns as to why they’re sending them to those locations.

“I’m not going to describe motivation,” he said. “I think the targeting of where they’re sending people speaks volumes.”

Marshall said that anyone witnessing any kind of voter intimidation on Election Day should call the voter protection hotline at (866) OUR-VOTE, or 866ourvote.org. “Then we’ll try to work through the laws and procedures in that county to get those people to either stop or be removed.”

Facts?!?! We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Facts!

It is not clear who the culprit is. It is not clear if the GOP is causing it, or Fox News, or the Romney/Ryan ticket, or the Religious Right, or if it’s just the “nature of the beast,” but it seems that Conservatives are allergic to facts. What else is the reason to avoid them like the Plague. One can argue that this condition popped up on the radar during the Nixon administration, but it definitely exploded during the Reagan years and then again during the “W” Dark Age.  Just a single, small point to support this position: “[Public Policy Polling] asked voters who they thought deserved more credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden: Obama or Romney. 63 percent said Obama, 31 percent weren’t sure, and 6 percent said Romney. The results for Republican voters were even more astonishing. 38 percent said Obama, 47 percent weren’t sure, and 15 percent said Romney,” (Matthews, Washington Post)  It is not understood how this even happened.  I get how some people are misinformed and others are completely uninformed, however to even come to the decision in one’s head that Mitt Romney had ANYTHING at all, ever, to do with the killing of bin Laden is beyond comprehension.

Fox News is the known source of information to much of the right-wing and almost all of the people in the South and Midwest of the US.  However, there have been more than one study showing that a person is more informed if they don’t watch any television at all than if they sat and watched Fox News all day, every day.  Starting with an article written by Kenneth Rapoza for Forbes.com about a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll and an additional SIX more studies, there has been evidence that Fox News viewers to be the most misinformed about, and in a right-wing direction, about global warming, health care, health care a second time, the Ground Zero mosque, the Iraq war, and the 2010 election.  This unofficially named “Fox News Effect” is frightening and says a lot about today’s media, what is truly fair and balanced, and the right-wing.

The Romney/Ryan Campaign are not ignoramuses.  They are analysts, advisers, strategists, and former staffers to other administrations.  They HAVE to know about this “information-gap” within their base and they have to be capitalizing on it.  Why else would Romney be so close to President Obamain the polls?  Romney/Ryan are campaigning to the ignorant, sometimes racist, Palin-loving, religious conservatives that do not know much and are happy about it.  That could be a reason why Romney and Ryan never get into the specifics about their policies.  It is because they know that their uninformed base cannot comprehend the specifics, and they do not care to boot.  The problem is Romney and Ryan have to run as “the Other;” the anti-Obama; the lesser of two evils.  In talking with other conservatives, Romney is not specific enough, not conservative enough, he’s not a real Christian, and no one knows what position he’ll take from day-to-day.  He’s a businessman trying to run his campaign, and maybe his presidency, like a business.  But the American govt is not to turn a profit, and besides Romney was a lousy businessman who inherited his fortune from his father. And if there were specifics to his policies and positions, the Right does not have a Bill Clinton to explain it to them.

Bill Clinton Explaining Pres. Obama’s Policies at the 2012 DNC

Say what they must about their own campaign and policies, nothing gets the Romney/Ryan ticket up in the polls like Obama-bashing.  But they are finding it increasingly difficult to bash him in anything other than not solving the economic crisis fast enough.  They can’t touch President Obama on foreign policy, or drilling for gas/oil, or mining, or green energy.  They can’t touch him on healthcare, even though they’ve tried like hell, or education, or immigration. They throw the word socialist around, but Obama has been the worst socialist President ever, even though he is not one.

You see, there are a few things the right-wing do not know about President Obama because either Fox News “forgot to mention it” or because they were distracted by the President’s skin color.  When facts are released, the Romney/Ryan Ticket have NOTHING to run on.  Obama probably stopped the Second-Coming of the Great Depression, gave the country healthcare, got the US out of Iraq, started the withdrawal from Afghanistan, was essential in the killing of Osama bin Laden and Muammar al-Gaddafi, implemented Wall Street Reform, the Auto Bailout, the DREAM Act, repealed Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell, put two women on the Supreme Court, reactivated Stem Cell Research, equal pay for women, stopped torture, and reformed student loans for college students.
But hey, don’t distract yourselves with the facts and figures of history and current events.  Because if you do, you forget that the President is a Black Muslim with a Negro army who are coming to take you away to socialist FEMA re-education camps that will make you give away all your money to the poor illegals while you sit in front of a death-panel…