Election 2012 - A Look Back at

It seems like one of the key strategies for some camps this year is to win by preventing others from voting. I've been saving up these bits of info, but haven't had a chance to post them all together. If there's one day urge people to vote, I guess today's the day.

This bit of news from Reuters from October, 2012 explains that "In Florida, Virginia and Indiana, voters have received phone calls that wrongly told them there was no need to cast a ballot in person on Election Day because they could vote by phone."  It goes on to also mention "In Ohio and Wisconsin, billboards in mostly low-income and minority neighborhoods showed prisoners behind bars and warned of criminal penalties for voter fraud - an effort that voting rights groups say was designed to intimidate minority voters."

Earlier, in September, Politicol News reported that the Romney campaign hired a company called Strategic Allied Consulting which was involved in various voting scams. This article says that the Florida Supervisor of Elections accused the company of shredding Democrat voter registration forms in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado.  It also ran a campaign in Florida to diminish democratic votes.  On top of that Election officials are investigating voter registration cards that were shredded or destroyed by the firm, and signatures were altered or changed on others.

A month earlier, in August, The Nation described a plan by Ohio Republicans to limit early voting hours in Democratic counties, while expanding them on nights and weekends in Republican counties.  The Nation implied that these restrictions were racially targeted:

"GOP Chair Doug Preisse gave a surprisingly blunt answer to the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday: “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine.” Preisse is not some rogue operative but the chairman of the Republican Party in Ohio’s second-largest county and a close adviser to Ohio Governor John Kasich."
Luckily, these discrepancies were resolved, as BusinessWeek reported in August. "Ohio’s 88 counties will have uniform early voting hours to ensure residents casting ballots in the presidential election are treated equally, Secretary of State Jon Husted said."

A couple of states, notably Florida and Colorado, attempted to reduce voters by purging supposedly obsolete names.  The News Service of Florida said that initially 2,600 voters would have been removed from the rolls, but after review that list was narrowed to only 207 names.  This whittling away of votes is especially ironic in this state, as Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner mentioned: “We want every Florida voter to be confident that their vote is protected and not hurt in any way by the illegal activity of others...We know that every vote counts, especially here in Florida where only 537 votes decided the presidential election in 2000.”

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler also planned to try to purge 4,000 voters from his state's list of eligible voters.  As Think Progress reported in September, he mailed letters to 4,000 voters asking them to  prove their citizenship.  After 90% of the first 500 people to respond were verified as US citizens, he gave up his quest.  The bad news, however: "Instead, he is handing over the names to county clerks who may challenge them at the polls or when they receive absentee ballots. "

And, in general, states are trying to erect new barriers to voting. CBS News reports that "As many as 700,000 minority voters under age 30 may be unable to cast a ballot in November because of photo ID laws in certain states, according to a new study. The lower turnout could affect several House races as well as the tight presidential contest."

Even local elections have been affected by these tactics.  In Oregon, Clackamas County Clerk Sherry Hall has been accused of tampering with the ballots to the benefit of Republican candidates. 

So, if you haven't yet voted for the 2012 election, this is your chance to cast a ballot to make your voice heard. Don't let intimidation, marginalization or scare tactics stop you from voting.