Don’t get bullied at the polls.

The open thread is here.  If you want to converse with other voters, head over there.  I’ll be in the comments there all day until Christina and I do our live blog tonight.  I’m constantly updating that post with what I’m finding around the web today surrounding the election.  This bit was important enough to get its own post.

Today “watch” groups like True the Vote will be bullying voters.

In an ostensible hunt for voter fraud, a Tea Party group, True the Vote, descends on a largely minority precinct and combs the registration records for the slightest misspelling or address error. It uses this information to challenge voters at the polls, and though almost every challenge is baseless, the arguments and delays frustrate those in line and reduce turnout. . . .

In 2009 and 2010, for example, the group focused on the Houston Congressional district represented by Sheila Jackson Lee, a black Democrat. After poring over the records for five months, True the Vote came up with a list of 500 names it considered suspicious and challenged them with election authorities. Officials put these voters on “suspense,” requiring additional proof of address, but in most cases voters had simply changed addresses. That didn’t stop the group from sending dozens of white “poll watchers” to precincts in the district during the 2010 elections, deliberately creating friction with black voters.

The group also “used inaccurate lists to slow down student voting” in Wisconsin. This is part of a much larger strategy, as Elizabeth Drew explains:

[T]he current voting rights issue is . . . a coordinated attempt by a political party to fix the result of a presidential election by restricting the opportunities of members of the opposition party’s constituency—most notably blacks—to exercise a Constitutional right. . . . In the aftermath of the 2004 election, which was characterized in Ohio by lines at voting places in black districts so long as to discourage voters, Ohio Democratic officials made voting times more flexible; after the Republicans took over the state they set out to reverse that.

Iowa, Florida, and Colorado tried to purge the voting rolls of suspected unqualified voters, but their lists turned out to be wildly inaccurate. Florida officials compiled a list of 180,000 people whose qualifications were questioned, but after voting registrars checked (some protesting the unfairness of the purge) only 207, or .0002 percent of the state’s registered voters, were found to be unqualified to vote.

If you are being pestered by these people, notify the DoJ by calling 1-800-253-3931.  Spread the word.

Also, if you are voting today, or if you have voted, report in on the open thread and let others know about lines and turnout if you have a second.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • KeganW

    Will do.
    Already reports of voting machine fraud. I don’t know if it’s actually been confirmed, but someone may want to check into it.

    • JT Eberhard

      NW Arkansas? Why the need there? Links? How did you hear this?

  • Rich Stage

    True the Vote was barred from ‘observing’ in Franklin County this election, after forging election officials’ signatures. That’s a 5th degree felony, and I hope we see charges filed.

    • baal

      Holy shit.

  • Adam

    No sign of anyone outside my polling place this morning. Perhaps it was too early, or too cold.

  • Andrew Kohler

    I know I’m stumbling across this almost three months after the fact, but I feel the need to add one further objection to this thoroughly reprehensible and delusional group of human mammals:

    “True” is NOT A VERB.