As the Department of Justice announces a lawsuit against Vermont over the rights of military and voters living abroad, our community journalists have been hard at work tracking voter suppression--and the push-back against it. Here are some of this week's updates:
Latina Registering Voters Dyes Hair Blond to Avoid Intimidation
Kate Sedinger, our Community Journalist in Reno, who works with Progressive Leadersip Alliance of Nevada, shared a disturbing video that features one of her co-workers. Elvira Diaz works to register voters outside of a Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles office, but has faced serious intimidation for doing so. Diaz says she has been shoved and spat at--and in the video, she identifies Republican Party operative Alex Bacchus as the man who formed a hand gesture like a gun, aimed his fingers at her, and made firing sounds.
Far Right Voter Suppression Panel Attempts to Explain "Integrity"
Judicial Watch, a far right-wing partner of True the Vote, held a live panel in D.C. Thursday. Our Philly-based Community Journalist James Cersonsky was there and writes in:
The discussion, titled "2012 Election Integrity Update," featured TTV founder Catherine Engelbrecht, voter suppression expert blogger J. Christian Adams, conservative Heritage blogger Hans von Spakovsky and a new ally: Pennsylvania state Representative Daryl Metcalfe, who has infamously called voters "lazy" for not complying with photo voter ID mandates courts have said cause disenfranchisement. During the panel, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the election is "about the illegal alien vote," mirroring previous statements about President Obama getting elected by the "food stamp army." Meanwhile, Adams took the time to applaud intimidating billboards found in black neighborhoods in Ohio and Wisconsin. Adams referred to "well-developed, nasty, racialist, dishonest" civil rights groups who opposed the billboards saying "they become like Tony Soprano because they threaten free speech." Civil rights groups, meanwhile, don't think the billboards are funny.
Will Colorado Count Every Voter's Ballot?
Rosemary Harris Lytle works with the NAACP, and is the newest addition to our team of Community Journalists. She's based in Colorado Springs, and tells us that, in a move to provide a solution to the imaginary problem of voter fraud, Colorado is going out of its way to verify voters' signatures. As KKTV.com reports, more than 300 ballots were tossed out in El Paso County alone during the last presidential election--and that several counties have "hired investigators to verify voter signatures."
Voter Registration Pileup in Georgia
In Atlanta, Community Journalist Noni Grant tells us that she spoke with Helen Butler of the Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda, and found the following:
Apparently, Fulton County (one of the states largest counties which houses Atlanta) has a huge voter registration application backlog, and there is concern that the registrations won't be processed in time for the election. This may force a lot of people to vote with a provisional ballot if the registration is not evident at the time of voting, or be deterred from voting.
New Mexico's Attorney General Investigates Voter Suppression
Our Community Journalist George Lujan, who's based in Albuquerque, writes in that Attorney General Gary King has launched an investigation into voter suppression. The investigation comes on the heels of a secretly taped video, in which the Vice Chair of the Sandoval County Republic Party, Pat Morlen, misinforms poll challengers. Morlen tells the challengers that they can demand voters show their ID, and that any voter who received a postcard questioning their status as a voter this year will have to cast a provisional ballot. Neither claim is true.