Posted at 01:28 PM in Black Voters, Civic Apps, Civic Engagement, Civic Innovation, Civil Rights, Cost of Freedom App, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Foot Soldiers for Democracy, Help America Vote Act, March on Washington, Power of the Sister Vote, Race, Voter ID, Voting Rights, Yo! Philly Votes | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
Five days and counting. But some voters aren’t waiting. They’re turning out in droves.
CNN’s William Schneider recently asked:
For African Americans, it would be more than intolerable. The New York Times reports:
Election Day is seven days away, but the specter of another “Florida” looms. There are unreliable voting machines, inaccurate voter databases, rejected military ballots, confusing ballot design and unlawful voter purges.
And Ohio. President Bush has asked the Department of Justice to investigate the status of 200,000 newly registered voters whose names were flagged as mismatches in a state database. If challenged at the polls, they will be given a provisional ballot.
In the 2006 election, as many as 20 percent of provisional ballots were not counted in some states.
Americans should be outraged that $3 billion later, states still are not ready. The 2002 Help America Vote Act was intended to help voters and restore confidence in the electoral process. Instead, vendors have helped themselves to taxpayers’ money.
But some are twittering to protect the vote.
I asked Volunteer Coordinator Matt Cooperrider how folks can get involved:
For more info, go here.
Posted at 09:30 AM in Anderson@Large, Black Bloggers, Black Voters, Citizen Journalism, Civic Engagement, Computerized Voter Databases, Don Imus, Electronic Voting Machines, Help America Vote Act, MBANewsweek, Premier Election Solutions, Sequoia Voting Systems, Voting Rights | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
A study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, drove campaign coverage last week:
John McCain is exploiting Wurzelbacher’s celebrity, such as it is. His campaign is plumbing the depths with an “I’m ‘Joe the Plumber’” video contest. The best video could end up in a TV ad.
In one respect, though, Wurzelbacher is average. His name is misspelled in the voter database. He's been registered to vote since 1992 so he's not at risk of being challenged on Election Day.
Some states will not register voters or will purge them from the voter rolls if election officials cannot match their voter registration information against information in other government databases. The problem is the computer match processes states use are inherently unreliable. Between 15% and 30% of all match attempts fail because of typos, other administrative errors, and minor discrepancies between database records, such as a maiden name in one record and a married name in another or a hyphen in one record and not another. No match, no vote policies can block hundreds of thousands of voters through no fault of their own.
If the U.S. Supreme Court had not quashed Republicans' efforts to challenge voters whose name did not match with government databases, a lot of average Joes and Josephines would have been left standing in long lines – again.
I normally don’t read advice columns but a recent “Dear Abby” column caught my eye. One of her readers, a poll worker, sent in this advice:
For voting made easy, go here.
If you still have questions, call the voter assistance hotline, 1-866-MYVOTE1 (1-866-698-6831).
The Associated Press reports that a “senior law enforcement official confirmed” the FBI has opened an investigation into whether ACORN has violated federal law by fostering “voter registration fraud around the nation before the presidential election.”
In light of the FBI investigation, the McCain campaign released a statement:
In the spirit of a fair election Barack Obama should assist in this process prior to Election Day.
What’s old is new again.
Last night, I attended a panel discussion, “Stealing the Vote in 2008,” organized by Demos and the Institute for Public Knowledge, among others. Prof. Frances Fox Piven, co-author of the forthcoming book, “Keeping Down the Black Vote: Race and the Demobilization of American Voters,” observed:
Piven’s co-author, Prof. Lorraine Minnite, added:
And what is likely to happen is chaos at the polls. ACORN’s sloppy voter registration practices have gummed up the process. Some newly registered voters’ names may not appear on official voter lists by Election Day.
There will be confusion as poll workers try to figure out who’s eligible to vote. This will, in turn, lead to longer waits for all voters, some of whom may get discouraged and leave before casting a ballot.
To ease the tension, voters may be given a provisional ballot. But provisional ballots are a “trapdoor to disenfranchisement.” In the Ohio presidential primary, for instance, more than 123,000 provisional ballots were cast. Electionline.org found that only 80 percent of them were actually counted.
It bears remembering that the 2000 Florida presidential election was decided by 537 votes. So, from the nutty myth of “voter fraud” may come an election too close.