Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Coverage and Voter Intimidation Reporting

If my analysis and commentary hasn't influenced your decision yet, it likely is not going to.

So, it's time for casting votes, awaiting results, tracking exit polls,and looking for shenanigans from those who wish to suppress or influence voting in illegal, unethical or not-so-nice means.

I have embedded live-stream from Tony Katz (and many guests) for your viewing pleasure.

The TEA Party has live election coverage streaming from Las Vegas. The player is at the bottom of this article if you prefer that coverage.

So, while we watch the results come in from various sources including Watchdog.com and other Franklin Center affiliated media outlets, let's also keep an eye out and help report any suspicious activity.

This is not meant to be directed at any single party or candidate. However, there have been several incidents of intimidation, suppression, fraud, and manipulation already reported.

First, there was a mural of one of the candidates painted on the wall of a polling station. That was a violation of state and federal campaign and electioneering laws. A judge ordered the polling station to cover up the mural or risk being unsanctioned. Reports are that the mural was covered up, but not very effectively.

In Ohio and Pennsylvania we've seen reports of the the Black Panther Party up to the same tricks they pulled in 2008 and 2010. They intimidated (and removed by force some of) the GOP-affiliated election station volunteers. After a few hours, a judge intervened and ordered the polling stations to allow the workers to return. Who knows how much damage was done in the interim.

In Houston, TX, alleged Black Panther affiliated members of the NAACP took over a polling station in Sheila Jackson-Lee's district. They passed out water while openly campaigning for candidates. They even allegedly harassed and made intimidating actions/statements towards those who seemed not in favor of their candidates. A legal suit has been filed.

In San Antonio, TX, at a polling location that is also an elementary school, there was open campaigning for a local proposition for raising the city sales tax in order to hire more pre-k teachers. The plan is to hire more teachers at an average of $70k a year in salary and benefits, then force parents to send their kids to the government schools' pre-k programs. The claim is that districts that will be bolstered by the tax increase will generate more students. However, there are programs available in those areas. For one reason or another, parents are not sending their kids there. Increasing taxes will not change that fact. All it will do is give more money to the union and create more union members. The polling place, being a school, has a lot of biased literature on the bill but had nothing providing the actual proposal, in full, with amendments.

At that same school, sign posters and campaign volunteers stayed outside of the perimeter. However, most signs for conservative candidates were damaged, defaced, or removed. Some were removed because they had been defaced with words not meant for the eyes of school-aged children.

I attempted to do a little exit-polling. I asked people if they voted. I asked if they had to present proof of identity. I asked if there was anything "hinky" or "suspicious". Most people were not interested in talking and would not even answer the "did you vote?" question. My intent was not to determine election results. There are plenty of people doing that already. I just wanted to know if the state election laws that require a photo ID were being enforced and how effectively.

Those who did answer all stated the same. They attempted to show their IDs and were categorically told not to do so. That raised eyebrows. I informed those people that they could report the violation to 855-444-6100. 

Breitbart.com is reporting numerous claims of intimidation, fraud, and other suspicious activity. In one of their reports, they found that an organization that was helping to register voters had shredded the applications of those who were registering "Republican". Their source even provided pictures. 

Other people have reported on Twitter other incidents of potential fraud. One individual attempted to vote and was told he voted two hours prior. He had not yet voted. Another went to vote and was told she had voted absentee. She never requested an absentee ballot and definitely had not received one.

Are these things more frequent these days? Most likely not. More people are just more aware. The age of new media and social media has enabled these incidents to be more publicized more rapidly. That is a positive occurrence as it will likely deter crimes that went unreported in the past.

It's your vote. Don't let somebody make it less valuable by cheating.