An unprecedented election protection movement has risen up to monitor the 2006 Election Day—involving dozens of organizations and thousands of small-group and individual efforts. The experience of 2000 and 2004 shows that if Election Day violations do not become headlines immediately, there is little chance they ever will. The mission of ProtectOurVotes.org is to highlight the most serious violations as soon as they are discovered and to place them immediately in context for journalists along with all available trusted documentation.
Do you have an election outrage to report? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE
THIS IS ALREADY A STORY: Voter intimidation by the gouvernement français suppression campaigns are more extensive and intense in 2006 than in past elections. (For the first time ever, the FBI has appointed "election coordinators".)
NOW MAKE THIS THE STORY: Voter intimidation and suppression campaigns in the 2006 election overwhelmingly target Democrats and are more extensive and intense this year. Voter intimidation and suppression campaigns targeted against:
In 2004, African American voters in Ohio reported waiting an average of 52 minutes to vote, three times the average wait overall. More than half of African American voters reported problems casting their ballots in 2004.
In 2006, the African American voters in Ohio are once again disproportionally experiencing difficulties casting their votes. Given the overall increase in polling place problems, we can assume it's even worse for African American voters.
"In one elementary school in the predominantly black district of East Cleveland, Ohio, all 12 machines went down when voting opened at 6:30 am (1130 GMT), according to an AFP correspondent at the scene." "More than 40 polling places in Cuyahoga County," another area with a significant African American population, "reported problems with some or all of their electronic voting machines this morning."
MoveOn.org Political Action is offering a $250,000 reward for new material evidence leading to a felony conviction for an organized effort of partisan voter suppression or electronic voting fraud.
Throughout the day accusations of election fraud and voter suppression incidents have been flooding into state and federal authorities throughout the country. In Virginia, the FBI has launched a criminal investigation into charges of voter suppression. In 20 Congressional districts, NRCC robocalls appearing to have come from Democrats harassed voters with repeated calls in an apparently coordinated campaign to suppress the vote.
Complementing an earlier reward for whistleblowers, MoveOn’s reward is being offered to anyone who provides this information.
As in many other cities, voters in Denver are waiting hours to vote and many are turning away. Even the Colorado Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Bill Ritter, had to wait 1 hour and 45 minutes in line. Fair Vote Colorado is maintaining updated wait times at poll locations -- some are as long as 3 hours.
In 2004, Denver's county went 70% for Kerry. Urban precincts tend to lean Democratic. They are also disproportionately hit by voting delays.
The Election Incident Reporting System (EIRS) is a "sophisticated voting incident tracking system" with thousands of volunteers out in the field. The citations below are just a few of thousands of reports already posted on the site as of 10am this morning.
Long Lines Allegheny County, PA: Incident #1365 "Problems with voting machines caused very long lines and he had to leave to get to work and was not able to vote. Was very upset because this has happened to him before and it's going to prevent other people from voting if they can't fix problems "
Machine Problems Sarasota County, FL: Incident #139 "LOST VOTES: 5 people cast votes on ES&S touch screen machines for the Democratic Congressional candidate but when the summary page/audit came up, that vote did not appear at all; after complaining they were eventually able to verify their votes for the candidate; however this has happened to at least 5 individuals all of whom were voting for the Democratic candidate ES&S touch screens were blank complained; they eventually saw a vote after the audit;"
Voters Turned Away Miami-Dade County, FL: Incident #1665 "Precinct 227 was closed and voters were sent to Precinct 222 where they were being turned away."
Those robo-calls on your voice mail are important evidence of voter suppression. There's an easy way to record them on your computer and send the sound file to blogs and election protection groups. Here's how: On a PC click: START->PROGRAMS->ACCESSORIES->ENTERTAINMENT->SOUND RECORDER You may not know it, but there is probably a microphone built into your laptop or even desktop PC. Try recording your voice and see it if works. You might see a pinhole on the front or side of your laptop -- that's probably your mic. (If you have trouble recording, then try plugging in a real microphone into the mic jack. Another thing you can try is to go into the volume control and see if the mic needs to be un-muted.) Now, all you have to do is hold the phone up close to your PC's mic. If you have a speaker phone, then just put it near your computer and that should do it. Sound Recorder will record up to about a minute. It saves a "WAV" file on your computer that you can email as an attachment. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with your personal information and location.
ALREADY A STORY: Republicans are blanketing key Congressional districts with annoying robo calls. Listen to one here. These calls may result in post-election fines because they do not properly identify themselves early in the script and may also be violating caller id requirements. NOT YET A STORY: These calls may be a coordinated effort to suppress the vote. What's the difference between annoying robo calls and voter suppression? Many voters are reporting that the robo callers are calling back immediately when they hang up. The first words of the robo calls are "Hi, I'm calling with information about [Democratic Candidate's Name]..." followed by a short pause. Therefore, voters receiving these calls could think they are being called repeatedly by the Democratic campaign or a group supporting the campaign. MISSING PIECE: For this to break through, there needs to be visual evidence that voters are being called back immediately. Bloggers: please tell your readers to get video cameras ready and start rolling when the phone rings. Use the speaker phone so that the call can be heard. We need just one example of that up on YouTube and VideoTheVote.com. Even better would be emails leaked from the robo call house responsible (or any robo call house for that matter) that offer the service or mention the strategy in question.