Tag Archive: Voter Intimidation

GOP Malarkey

Lest you think Republican voter suppression is limited to swing states like Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, it’s going on right here at home, too.

This morning, Willingboro Democratic Committee Chair Lavonne Johnson described how GOP sympathizers are working to suppress the Democratic vote in Willingboro – a town that must realize a heavy voter turnout if Shelley Adler has any chance of upsetting Jon Runyan.

Poisoning the Well

The right isn’t waiting for the election to end before they start making excuses for why they might lose. In the Wall Street Journal yesterday, John Fund kept up the drumbeat of ballot fraud:

The race for governor in New Jersey is so close in final polls that it may well end up in a recount — the 1981 election did and was decided by less than 1,800 votes. If there is a recount, you can bet disputes about absentee ballots will loom large. Moreover, if serious allegations of fraud emerge, you can also expect less-than-vigorous investigation by the Obama Justice Department — which showed just how seriously it takes such allegations when it walked away from an open-and-shut voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia earlier this year.

Plenty of reasons exist for suspecting absentee fraud may play a significant role in tomorrow’s Garden State contests. Groups associated with Acorn in neighboring Pennsylvania and New York appear to have moved into the state. An independent candidate for mayor in Camden has already leveled charges that voter fraud is occurring in his city. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party in New Jersey is taking advantage of a new loosely written vote-by-mail law to pressure county clerks not to vigorously use signature checks to evaluate the authenticity of absentee ballots, the only verification procedure allowed.

Pick your poison, is what he’s saying. No way that Democrats can be elected without some brand of shananigans. And as for Fund raising either intimidation or fraud, it’s unintended irony, given that party’s history. For him, just toss in a few scare-words – ACORN, Black Panthers – and you can begin to try and delegitimize an election before it even happens. The echo chamber is already tossing these rumors around on Twitter, and Rush Limbaugh is already talking fraud on his show today.

It’s not surprising to see a huge increase in “absentee” ballots now. We have a new balloting law that makes it easier to vote from home. All of the campaigns have been focusing resources into letting people know that their voting options are increased and how to successfully vote that way. Both sides. You’d think Fund and the Wall Street Journal would be pleased with efforts to increase the civic engagement of fellow Americans.

If Christie wins, expect no howling of skullduggery in this race. If Corzine wins, well, they’ve already put their people on notice – with not one scrap of evidence – to say Corzine cheated.

Discrimination and Voter Intimidation

This is the kind of story I absolutely hate to see.  As someone who is the subject of routine attempts to disenfranchise me at the BCDO County Committee, I have a sore spot when I see folks targeted and intimidated and afraid to excercise their rights.


This was for a school board election in 2007.  Many of these folks were first time voters.  Former school board candidate Paul Leale in a McCarthy like tactic tried to throw out 102 ballots cast by Korean-American voters in Fort Lee.  

Fortunately, the Justice Department is investigating this latest form of voter suppression.   It may have been a school board election, and not something on most folks radar, but the tactics used here are so detrimental to our communities and so infuriating that I had to vent about it.

Many of these new folks, due to language barriers, may have been intimidated to go to the polls, and simply chose the option of absentee ballots.  For Mr Leale to accuse them of voter fraud before checking if it was true is just disgraceful.

Verifying and Suppressing the Vote

First, some good news about voting. In an email to constituents, Congressman Rush Holt announced that his verified voting bill is close to receiving the support of a majority of House members:

My legislation, the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (H.R. 550), has received overwhelming support from people like you from all over the country.  Recognized as the “gold standard” of election reform by VerifiedVoting.org, the bill now enjoys the support of 207 members of the House of Representatives, making it just 11 members shy of a majority.

The House leadership has refused to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, but a majority of members can bypass them by signing on to a discharge petition.

Despite the increase in support for verified voting, we don’t have it yet, and besides technological concerns, there’s always the very real threat of voter intimidation and suppression. The Republican party has a history of suppressing the minority vote – nationwide and in New Jersey – and there’s no reason to let our guard down this year.

In 1981, Republicans sealed Tom Kean Sr’s victory by hiring a group of armed white thugs to intimidate black and Hispanic voters. In that gubernatorial election, Tom Kean Sr defeated Jim Florio by just 1,797 votes – the narrowest victory margin in the state’s history. That year, Republicans set up the “National Ballot Security Task Force” – a group with the sole purpose of harassing, intimidating and discouraging the participation of qualified black and Hispanic voters in Newark and Trenton.

The armed officers were drawn from the ranks of off-duty county deputy sheriffs and local police, and prominently displayed revolvers, two-way radios and BSTF armbands. BSTF patrols challenged and questioned voters at the polls and blocked the way of some prospective voters.

In some cases, they “forcibly restrained poll workers from assisting voters in casting their ballots.” They also illegally posted official-looking signs without identification offering $1000 rewards “for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone violating New Jersey election laws.”

This is how Tom Kean Sr came to power. Let’s not forget what they’re capable of. Although we’ll continue to fight to make sure our votes are counted properly, it won’t matter if the voters can’t cast them in the first place.

Voter Intimidation in Englewood

Cross-Posted @ The Huffington Post

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My son recently brought BlueJersey.net to my attention.  I am enthusiastic to see that New Jersey has its very own progressive blogging community.  I thought you might find this story compelling.  I look forward to hearing from you!

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Who would have thought a Democratic mayor in the Northeast would attempt to disenfranchise African-American voters in the year 2006?  I certainly didn’t and I’m the one running against him!  Sure, I knew the election was going to turn ugly when the Mayor called my campaign “a terroristic threat” only days after I submitted my petitions.  I just didn’t know he would attack the very citizens whose churches he visits every Sunday.