Romney Campaign Misleading Poll Watchers

This sort of thing is becoming epidemic. ThinkProgress reports that the Romney campaign has been training poll watchers — people whose job is to challenge the eligibility of voters and muck things up at polling places so it takes longer to vote and people will be forced to leave — and has been giving them false information about the legal requirements for voting. For example:

One blatant falsehood occurs on page 5 of the training packet, which informed poll watchers that any “person [who] has been convicted of treason, a felony, or bribery” isn’t eligible to vote. This is not true. Once a Wisconsin voter who has been convicted of a felony completes his or her sentence, that person is once again eligible to vote.

The training also encouraged volunteers to deceive election workers and the public about who they were associated with. On page 3 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.”

They’ve also misled on what forms of identification can be used:

CLAIM: Page 8 lists 10 items as “The ONLY Acceptable Forms of “Proof of Residency”.

FACT: The list used is incomplete. There are many other documents people can use to prove residency that are not included, such as letters from public schools, student loan papers, correspondence with a Native American tribe in Wisconsin, vehicle registration, and food stamp correspondances. In addition, the list fails to mention that homeless voters may use an affidavit from a public or private social service agency as proof of residency.

It’s not a coincidence that they only bother to send such poll watchers to predominately Democratic districts.

Update: Wisconsin election officials are aware of this misleading information and are contacting the Romney campaign:

“Our plan is to contact the Romney campaign and tell them there are issues” with the material, said Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, which supervises elections in the state and enforces state election laws.

Magney said some of the training material — obtained by the liberal Democratic blog Think Progress and posted on its website on Wednesday is either incomplete or misleading. The directive to observers, not to mention their connections to the Romney campaign, also conflicts with official Wisconsin Government Accountability Board guidance to all poll observers, publicly posted on the agency’s website, instructing that they sign in and identify “the name of the organization or candidate the observer represents,” he said.

“We stand by our training materials, but we are always happy to answer any questions that the Government Accountability Board may have,” Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, said in an email to NBC News.


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