Republican voter intimidation tactics

Don’t you have to do one to ensure the other? I realize it does not happen now as much as it used to, but the old phrase vote early vote often was a joke about political parties trucking their supporters from place to place in order to swing precints. If you do not verify the bonafides of voters, how would you prevent this sort of thing?

I’m all for verifying the identity and eligibility of a voter, I object to the notion that this is the role of a political party.

When I registered to vote, I presented identification, filled out a form in which I (IIRC) was required to provide my Social Security number, and swore an oath. I don’t know whether the Supervisor of Elections Office ran a search to see if I had any felony convictions; but I certainly provided them with enough information do to so. Also, enough information to find out whether I were also registered in another state, assuming I registered under my real name and SS#.

When I vote, I go to my precinct and present ID (my driver’s license). The pollworker has a preprinted list of the names and addresses of persons registered to vote in that precinct. He/she checks my name and hands me my ballot (which once was a punchcard, but now is in the form of a card resembling a credit card or ATM card, with a magnetic strip, which I insert in the electronic voting computer, cross my fingers, and hope nobody has rigged the software).

What more verification is needed? Why do we need a “challenger” from each party to be present?

The “voter fraud” thing is a red herring. First of all, it’s not a widespread problem, but more importantly, political parties are not in the business of law enforcement.

Voter fraud is simply an excuse, a snivelling pretense for selective intimidation. It has no place in this discussion except to be derisively dismissed. It justifies nothing.

For the same reason we need them to verify the count of ballots. You are correct we have many systems in place to prevent the more common types of voter fraud. But do you trust a mostly republican panel to implement them fairly?

You guys are completely missing the point of challengers. They are not there to implement the vote. That is they do not come up with the official number. They do not vette each and every voter. They are simply the representatives of the respective parties there to observe taht the state apperatus is not missused.

As such they should be allowed to verify that voters are being properly vetted. And that the ballots are being properly counted. I cannot see the problem with this general principle.

Now if some parties have misused the concept to intimidate voters, I’m pretty sure that is illegal. If nothing else, it could be considered a violation of civil rights.

They can challenge anyone who comes in to verify they live in the precinct. I’ll admit - it’s a bit outdated, as it was most likely instituted in a less populated time when the challengers knew most of the people in the area.

They don’t, and they don’t claim to. However, they as citizens have the right to help ensure that people who do not have the right to vote (or vote in their precinct) don’t vote. The fact that the two major parties are involved is simply due to the fact that the two major parties insisted they be involved - do you expect Republicans to allow Democrats sole authority over this matter, or vice versa? That’s a level of idealism I’ve never had. If there were an area that had a sufficiently large Libertarian (or Green Party, or whathaveyou) population (large enough to ensure that at least one person would want the job of “challenger”), I wouldn’t be surprised to see their involvement.

Ultimately, it’s not a “party role” to check the veracity of a voter’s credentials. It’s a “party role” to ensure that it remains so.


The potential for abuse is too high, this benefit would disproportionately favor the rich (who tend to own property more) and this would be a violation of the principle of “one man, one vote.”

For starters. But I think, right now, these reasons are quite sufficient.

When you step back & look at it, it’s amazing that plebiscites without intimidation exist at all.

But yeah, I’d charge state party officials with corruption, & investigate to see if it merits a RICO case. Of course, the parties, running the government, might write laws “legitimizing” all their own activities before I got to court.

Wow. Where did you get all the straw for that strawman? Actually, based on your own statements, the fact that the Democratic Party was simply trying to ensure that the state followed its own guidelines in determining eligibility to be on the ballot should be encouraged. Good for them!

That’s not a strawman. A strawman is when I construct an argument that is not the same as my opponent’s, and then argue against my creation.

If you claim this is a fallacy, it’s probable you meant False Analogy.


There’s a long article in last week’s New Yorker about how John Ashcroft is working to make such tactics easier to accomplish, and for efforts against such tactics to be more difficult.

Oooh! Ooohh! Mister Kotter! I know this one!!

There may be laws against non-citizens voting, but they are rarely enforced. My ex was a Canadian, and she voted in every election, including the 1992 presidential election. At my request, a special investigator with the California Secretary of State’s office completed an investigation, and recommended to the Los Angeles DA that she be prosecuted for voter fraud. The DA declined to prosecute, even though the case was well researched and documented.

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office has never prosecuted a voter fraud case. Ever. This was documented in a 1995 article in the Wall Street Journal.

From a Reuters article dated today:

Why is it amazing? To insure that, we only need two things in place:

  1. A secret ballot – so that nobody has a way of being sure his or her threats and/or bribes have had any effect on how a given voter voted.

  2. Well-enforced laws against anybody trying to discourage voters from voting. Which is what this thread is about.

Maybe we need a meaningful form of punishment to befit the crime. How about we fine violators of election laws votes?

From what you describe, it sounds like to me that you’re talking about a couple of semi-official people who sit at the check-in table and make sure that the poll workers are properly double-checking the names. If that’s what it is, then fine. But as soon as you get to the point where they are getting in people’s faces independent of any actual poll workers, then that’s crossing the line. Demanding proof of citizenship from someone who’s merely waiting in line is intimidation and nothing else.

Your description of challengers has nothing to do with the tactics complained of.

When the party in power (Democratic Party) benefits from loose or nonexistent enforcement of the voting laws, why should Republicans lie back and think of England?

Um, no. It’s more like taxation without representation (or one man, no vote). I fail to see how my one vote for a local official in NY should keep me from exercising my one vote for a local official in FLA. I am not “voting twice” in either precinct.

I accept that there is a puzzle in how to administer such a plan in order to prevent multiple votes for national office (or state office, if one has a vacation home “up north”).

As for the argument that this type of plan would favor the rich, I see no evidence that this argument gains any traction in any other segment of society.

Yeah, instead they should gird up and start harassing poor people and people who “look foreign.” Because there’s absolutely no other means for Republicans to bring the injustice of unenforced laws to the public’s attention.