Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Intimidated Yet?

There have been a lot of stories lately pushing back against the idea that some public officials and organizations are trying to discourage people from voting in next Tuesday’s election. They argue that voter registration restrictions, for example, and voter ID laws are necessary to counter fraud (even though they can’t prove that widespread fraud exists).

Well, we may not be able to agree on many of the nuances of election administration, but surely we can all get on board with the idea that having a police officer show up at your door is pretty intimidating, right? According to an AP piece that ran in Newsday and the Washington Post yesterday, that’s exactly what may happen to thousands of voters in Westchester County this week.

The hubbub is centered in the 35th Senate District, where incumbent Nick Spano is facing off against Andrea Stewart Cousins, the challenger who came within 18 votes of unseating him in 2004.

Spano’s lawyer John Ciampoli, who fought for a recount in the last election, is leading this year’s vote suppression effort. Ciampoli and others have filed 5,929 challenges “based on change-of-address cards received by the Postal Service.”
To check an address, a first-class letter is sent to each person. If the letters come back undelivered, police are asked to visit the address and see whether the registered voter lives there.
Never mind that the vast majority of challenged voters are registered members of the opposing party. Never mind that most are also minorities. And never mind that basing challenges on undelivered mail is notoriously unreliable. This is just a patriotic push to ensure that our elections are free of fraud.

It couldn’t possibly be a political ploy to win an election by disenfranchising voters, using a tactic that was prohibited by a federal court in 1986.

Categories: General, Voting

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