Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wisconsin Republicans/Tea Party Movement tries to Illegally Block Minority/Student voters in “Caging” scheme. What could possibly be wrong with that?

There are so many things wrong with yet another GOP attempt to purge certain voters from their right to cast a ballot, that’s it can’t be summed up in just a few lines. Here’s a simplified look at the voter cleansing action by Republicans and tea partiers, from One Wisconsin Now:
A coordinated plot by the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin and organizations in the so-called Tea Party movement targeting minority voters and college students in a possibly illegal "voter caging" effort for voter suppression has been uncovered in evidence we have obtained. Based on what we have heard, the RPW, the Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin and leading Tea Party organizations are in collusion in an effort to suppress the ability of minorities and university students in Wisconsin to exercise their right to vote this November.
What is Voter Caging:
Voter caging is the practice of sending mail to addresses on the voter rolls, compiling a list of the mail that is returned undelivered, and using that list to purge or challenge voters registrations on the grounds that the voters on the list do not legally reside at their registered addresses.
Rules are meant to be broken:

Federal law prohibits racially targeted caging operations. Statements made during the June 12 meeting make clear that race is a motivating factor in the planned caging and challenge effort. Example:

Tim Dake, head of the GrandSons of Liberty-“Four years ago I lived in a brand new condo, the first people to live in it. I went to vote and found twelve people registered at my address. My wife and I are the only people to have lived there. Yet, there were twelve people registered to vote. I couldn't believe it. They said, "Wow, you must have a big family." And I'm looking at names and going, "No, there's nobody named'Nguyen' and 'Din' and that sort of thing in my family." So that's the kind of thing we need to clean up…”

2. Federal law makes clear that elector challenges cannot be based solely on returned mail. The organizations' plans to recruit individuals to become poll workers in order to conduct challenges based on the returned mail would result in individuals acting unlawfully under color of state law.

3. Federal law also makes clear that private actors are similarly prohibited from challenging voters based solely on undelivered mail.

4. Disturbingly, the mail program described by the Tea Party members will contain false and misleading information. The Tea Party plans to tell certain voters that their name may be removed if they fail to call the telephone number provided. It would be illegal to remove a voter from the statewide database based on this reason.

5. The deceptive nature of the planned mailing is particularly troubling because the mailing described would almost certainly would appear to be an official governmental mailing. For the same reasons that it is unlawful to use official attire to challenge a voter at the polls on Election Day, it is unlawful to send a mailing that appears to be an official action of the governmental.

Based on our discussions with legal counsel, we believe certain statements made at this Tea Party meeting clearly outline a plan by these organizations to engage in what may potentially be illegal conduct. The full recordings, as well as a transcript and other information, is available at One Wisconsin Now's voter protection website: http://www.savewisconsinsvote2010.org/.

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