Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Vote Suppression: Vote-Caging 101

There were few comments on my earlier post that defined 'vote caging' and so I decided to smack-face it here. From Wikipedia:

defined: A caging list is compiled through a direct-mailing technique:a political party sends registered mail to addresses of registered voters. If the mail is returned as undeliverable - because, for example, the voter refuses to sign for it, the voter isn't present for delivery, or the voter is homeless - the party uses that fact to challenge the registration, arguing that because the voter could not be reached at the address, the registration is fraudulent. Then, a political party challenges the validity of a voter's registration; for the voter's ballot to be counted, the voter must prove that their registration is valid.

victims: Voters targeted by caging are often the most vulnerable: soldiers deployed overseas, those who are unfamiliar with their rights under the law, and those who cannot spare the time, effort, and expense of proving that their registration is valid.

operation: On the day of the election, when the voter arrives at the poll and requests a ballot, an operative of the party challenges the validity of their registration. Ultimately, caging works by dissuading a voter from casting a ballot, or by ensuring that they cast a provisional ballot, which is less likely to be counted.

examples: For example, in the United States Presidential Election of 2004, the Republican Party employed this process to challenge the validity of tens of thousands of voter registrations in contested states like Florida, Nevada, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Greg Palast wrote an article called Raging Caging which gives several examples of how both the press and Congress is in denial of this tactic. SourceWatch also has an extensive article on this vote-suppression tactic with a large list of links on the topic. BlueTideRising has more information plus an article that cites the Kansas Republican Party as being 'proud of its caging efforts.'

OHIOANS PAY ATTENTION! Caging is going on right now in all 88 counties of our state. The lists of voters is very easy to obtain. The Ohio GOP paid less than $300 to get a CD of every registered voter in every county. You can too: go to the Lucas County Board of Elections with $3 and it is yours. Every voter, their address, their party, and their precinct.

Here in Lucas County, the GOP is focussing on Wards 2, 4, 8, 10, 13, 14 and 17, the wards with the highest percentage of black and Hispanic voters. It's a no-brainer. The work could be done by one person in a week or less. It's simply voter-targeting in a dastardly spin.

WHAT TO DO? Contact the Ohio Democratic Party:

Ohio Democratic Party
340 East Fulton Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Via Phone : 1-877-OHIO-DEM (toll-free)

email at this link

There will be an exam at the end of this course: November 4, 2008. I hope you [and Ohio] pass.

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