This year, voting is more than just the core responsibility of citizenship; it is an act of defiance against malicious political forces determined to reduce access to democracy. Millions of ballots on Tuesday — along with those already turned in — will be cast despite the best efforts of Republican officials around the country to prevent them from playing a role in the 2012 election.
Even now, many Republicans are assembling teams to intimidate voters at polling places, to demand photo ID where none is required, and to cast doubt on voting machines or counting systems whose results do not go their way. The good news is that the assault on voting will not affect the election nearly as much as some had hoped. Courts have either rejected or postponed many of the worst laws. Predictions that up to five million people might be disenfranchised turned out to be unfounded.
But a great deal of damage has already been done, and the clearest example is that on Sunday in Florida, people will not be allowed to vote early. Four years ago, on the Sunday before Election Day, tens of thousands of Floridians cast their ballots, many of them black churchgoers who traveled directly from services to their polling places. Because most of them voted for Barack Obama, helping him win the state, Republicans eliminated early voting on that day. No legitimate reason was given; the action was entirely partisan in nature.
The author of that law, as The Palm Beach Post revealed last week, was Emmett Mitchell IV, the general counsel for the state Republican Party. Under his guidance, party officials in Florida got thousands of perfectly eligible black voters purged from the rolls in 2000, and got a law passed last year that limited registration drives and early voting days. A federal judge struck down the registration limits, but not before they drove down the numbers of new registrants.
3:02 p.m. | Updated MIAMI – In a state where legal action often goes hand in hand with presidential elections, the Florida Democratic Party filed a federal lawsuit early Sunday to force the state government to extend early voting hours in South Florida.
The lawsuit followed a stream of complaints from voters who sometimes waited nearly seven hours to vote or who did not vote at all because they could not wait for hours to do so.
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, local election supervisors in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties, where queues sometimes snaked out the door and around buildings, said they would allow voters to request and cast absentee ballots on Sunday. Voters in three other Florida counties also will be able to pick up and drop off absentee ballots. State election law permits election offices to receive absentee ballots through Tuesday so long as they are cast in person.
But later on Sunday, Miami-Dade’s county election supervisor closed down the line for absentee ballots at its Doral office after two hours because too many people showed up. …
Last year, Mr. Scott and the Republican-controlled State Legislature pushed through a measure to cut early voting from 14 to 8 days and do away with voting on the final Sunday before Election Day. Because more Democrats cast their ballots early than Republicans, the move was viewed by Democrats as an effort to blunt Democratic turnout.
EXCLUSIVE: Romney Campaign Training Poll Watchers To Mislead Voters In Wisconsin
Mitt Romney’s campaign has been training poll watchers in Wisconsin with highly misleading — and sometimes downright false — information about voters’ rights.
Documents from a recent Romney poll watcher training obtained by ThinkProgress contain several misleading or untrue claims about the rights of Wisconsin voters. A source passed along the following packet of documents, which was distributed to volunteers at a Romney campaign training in Racine on October 25th. In total, six such trainings were held across the state in the past two weeks.
One blatant falsehood occurs on page 16 of the training packet, which informed poll watchers that any identification cards from a voter “must include a photo”, despite the fact that Wisconsin’s voter ID law has been blocked by multiple state judges for this election.
The training also encouraged volunteers to deceive election workers and the public about who they were associated with. On page 5 of the packet, Romney poll workers were instructed to hide their affiliation with the campaign and told to sign in at the polls as a “concerned citizen” instead. As Kristina Sesek, Romney’s legal counsel who just graduated from Marquette Law School last year, explained, “We’re going to have you sign in this election cycle as a ‘concerned citizen.’ We’re just trying to alleviate some of the animosity of being a Republican observer up front.”
And here’s the worst part. It’s not even a true story. Mitt didn’t seek out these odd “binders full of women” out. The Boston Phoenix‘s David S. Bernstein explains:
What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.
They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.
Dan Amira at New York Magazine has some:
How to Talk to Your 38-Year-Old Son About Birtherism …
Explain to your son that, despite what he may hear from the cool kids at the office or read on Facebook, President Obama was definitely born in the United States.
Be specific: mention the birth certificate, the hospital records, the newspaper announcements, etc. Don’t worry about overwhelming your 38-year-old son with details, because, after all, he is 38 years old, and he should be able to handle it.
Don’t threaten to take away his Gameboy. He’s 38 years old. Plus, we don’t even think those exist anymore. It wouldn’t make any sense.
Be firm, but don’t shame or chastise your 38-year-old son. Remember, he may very well determine whether or not you end up in a shitty nursing home.
An American factory is being closed, with all it’s jobs outsourced to China. Not breaking news, but it’s important news in the context of this election. The factory is located in the northwestern Illinois town of Freeport. Before the end of the year the factory will be closed, all it’s workers out of a job. It’s a Sensata Technologies factory. It’s workers used to make auto-senors. Today, they’re training their Chinese replacements. Chinese workers who back home will earn 99 cents an hour, working 12 hour shifts, housed with 2-3 workers crammed into a single room in barracks. Mitt Romney says America needs to learn to compete with foreign countries in free trade. Compete in what? A race to the bottom? Compete with workers making 99 cents an hour housed 2-3 to a a room, while we need to earn enough to try to pay our mortgages? You can call it “free trade”, but it sure as hell isn’t fair trade. We’re supposed to compete with those wages, those worker conditions, no OSHA rules protecting the workers, no Workman’s Compensation if those workers are injured on the job, no environmental rules against dumping pollution into the air and streams? That isn’t free trade, it isn’t fair trade, that’s completely unacceptable trade. I hope the Obama Administration taxes those Chinese made auto-sensors all to hell with tariffs. Let’s see just how clever Sensata/Bain Capital thinks they are when they have to pay more for those Chinese made sensors than if they’d been made right here in the USA. You can read the stories from Sensata Freeport IL factory workers directly at Bainport.com.