Saturday, October 23, 2004

'America For Jesus' Rally Pushes Religious Right Agenda

Rally Organizers Want Government To Establish Fundamentalist 'Christian Nation,' Watchdog Groups Asserts

A collection of Religious Right groups is hosting an "America For Jesus Rally" in the nation's capital today to advance a radical agenda and attack church-state separation, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The rally, a project of Virginia pastor John Gimenez and far-right group called American Veterans in Domestic Defense, has been portrayed as merely an opportunity to pray for the nation.

There's much more behind the event, Americans United says. The group notes that rally organizer Gimenez is a Religious Right stalwart and opponent of church-state separation.

"Far from promoting 'pro-family' values, these groups are rallying for an officially Christian nation, a theocracy," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. "They have contempt for our First Amendment and separation of church and state and seek a government that will promote their rigid theological views."

Gimenez, a longtime associate of TV preacher Pat Robertson, leads a mega-church in Virginia Beach called The Rock Church. He promoted the rally at the Christian Coalition's "Road To Victory" conference in Washington, D.C., last month, proclaiming that "the righteous" must defeat their enemies for America to survive.

"It is right in your face now on the internet, on the e-mails, everywhere you go," he declared. "You see it in the judicial systems, everywhere. The Old Testament, it tells us in the Book of Numbers that we are to drive out the enemies, not sit down and negotiate."

The rally will also feature a display of the two-and-a-half ton Ten Commandments monument that former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore had installed in the rotunda of the state's Judicial Building. A federal court in 2003 ordered that the monument be removed from public display, citing separation of church and state.

Jim Cabaniss, director of the veterans' group, got Moore's blessing earlier this year to put the monument on a flatbed truck and tour the country. In a press release announcing the tour, Cabaniss griped that "federal authorities" had angered Americans by ordering the monument's removal.

The website of Cabaniss' group contains a "domestic enemies" list, which includes the "Biased Liberal, Socialist News Media," "The Failed Judicial System," "Socialist Members of Congress" and "The Unsafe, Undisciplined Education System."

"The organizers of this event are standing up for religious and political extremism, not American values," Lynn said.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in the safeguarding religious freedom.

Swiftboat Vets Begging For Money

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From: "andrea ERICKSON"
Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2004 13:09:52 -0700 (PDT)


Right now, we are only able to afford to air ads in two states. We need to at least get into Pennsylvania. If all of our email contributors simply repeat 75% of their first contribution, we can do it. And if you have thought about giving but have yet to do so, this is it. We need your help now. Most of us survived on Navy pay, so we know how difficult this might be. But, we also know how important it is. Help us get into Pennsylvania. Without your help, we will have to abandon any advertising in this state.

To give, simply click on the link below:

We can also receive checks through the postal service at:

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
C/O Weymouth Symmes, Treasurer
P.O. Box 26184
Alexandria, VA 22313

Swift Vets and POWs for Truth is an independent group under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code and is not affiliated with any political party or candidate for public office. Contributions to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes. Federal tax law requires us to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of each individual whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year. Therefore, please be sure to provide us with this information so that we can satisfy our reporting requirements.

Thank you again for your support of the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth.

Roy Hoffman, Admiral, USN, (retired)

Ohio: GOP Pre-Challenges 35,000 Voters

Ohio GOP Pre-Challenges 35,000 Voters
By Erin Brezsnyak Correspondent
October 22, 2004

( - The Ohio Republican Party officially filed challenges Friday to approximately 35,000 registrants in 65 counties where voter fraud is believed to have taken place.

The state's Republican Party is pre-challenging these registrants' right to vote in the 2004 presidential election because mail to the new registrants was returned as undeliverable by U.S. Postal Service authorities.

"Our goal in filing these pre-election challenges is to protect the integrity of Ohio's electoral process," said Bob Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. "We want to ensure that voters are not disenfranchised by fraud in this election. This is an effort to clarify questionable registrations in advance so they don't become an issue on Election Day."

Earlier in the week, Bennett was joined by Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie at a news conference where he showed thousands of pieces of undeliverable mail to newly registered voters. Concern was raised when the rate of return was at an unprecedented higher rate than in the past.

At the previous news conference, Bennett cited that the normal rate of return on new registrations in less than 1 percent. However, this year the rate of return has ranged from 2 percent to 11 percent in Ohio counties.

Bennett also called on the Democratic Party to help in ensuring a fair and honest election this November, instead of making outrageous claims that the Republican Party is trying to suppress voters.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Oregon: Are College Republicans working as interns for County Elections Offices around Oregon?

Below is an email sent out to college Republicans regarding an internship at Benton County Elections. This is a very serious situation as many other counties offer internships through county elections offices.

The process of volunteering as an intern is fairly easy. According to Benton County Elections, it is just a matter of students passing a background and have a professor at the University or Community College to be willing to oversee their work. That is the process to get college credit. For work experience, one just needs to pass the background and they are in. It is my experience that the elections offices are willing to take just anyone because they need the extra help.

To: OSU College Republicans
Subject: [Osucr] internship with the election office
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2004 18:02:16 -0700

There is an internship open with the Elections Office.
Apply at the Elections Office in the basement of the Court House.
Luke Sheahan

Bush Administration Limits Voting Rights

Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the Justice Department has fought to protect and expand the right to vote for of all citizens. All of that has changed during John Ashcroft's tenure as Attorney General. Rather than defending voters' rights, Ashcroft is using the resources of his department to prevent eligible voters from casting their ballot and has refused to prosecute cases of voter discrimination and intimidation.

  • The Bush administration is actively trying to stop Americans from exercising their right to vote. On Monday, the Justice Department filed an 11th-hour brief in Michigan district court opposing efforts by civil rights groups to ensure that registered voters who appear in the right city, township or village – but the wrong precinct – have their votes counted. The right to a so-called "provisional ballot" was explicitly endorsed by Congress in the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) which sought to correct many of the problems associated with the 2000 election. Federal judge David M. Lawson yesterday ruled against the Justice Department's position and said their brief added "nothing to the arguments."

  • The Bush administration refuses to fight against voter discrimination. Under Ashcroft's command, the Civil Rights Division of Justice has avoided prosecuting nearly all alleged cases of voter discrimination against minorities. The Justice Department has filed one discrimination case in three years, a case in Colorado it later lost.

  • Americans expect their government to protect and expand voting rights, not restrict them. The Bush administration takes the opposite view – use government resources to challenge voters and restrict the rights of all Americans to express their political preferences.
  • Former CIA Director Says War on Iraq 'Wrong'

    October 22, 2004

    While President Bush continues to deny that his decision to go to war in Iraq was an egregious error, administration officials are revealing their true feelings for the war and conceding their mistakes. In a speech in Michigan yesterday, former CIA Director George Tenet admitted that the Iraq war was "wrong." "I believed [Hussein] had weapons of mass destruction. He didn't," Tenet stated. President Bush's mistakes and his administration's manipulations include:

  • The rush to war in Iraq was not justified. The entire rationale for a rapid war in Iraq—the imminent threat of a major attack with weapons of mass destruction and the supposed Iraqi connection to 9/11—had no basis in reality. Beyond Tenet's admission, a new investigation by the Senate Armed Services committee concludes that an "intelligence unit, run by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith, shaded analytic judgments, ignored contrary evidence and sidestepped the CIA to present dubious findings to senior officials at the White House," according to the L.A. Times. The Bush administration misled the American people and the world community.

  • Post-war security failures have left our troops in a chaotic environment. Top military officials and Paul Bremer, who served as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, have all stated that the administration did not supply enough troops and support to secure post-war Iraq. Consequently, our soldiers are caught-up in a rising insurgency, terrorists are pouring across the borders, and critical reconstruction efforts have been thwarted. Iraq is now a terrorist haven and training ground.

  • The wrong choices on Iraq have left the American people less secure and reduced our position as a trusted world leader. The ongoing strategic failures in Iraq have forced America down a dangerous path and left the U.S. taking 90 percent of the casualties and paying 90 percent of the cost. President Bush's decision to invade Iraq – and refusal since to admit error – have left us isolated and less able to take the steps we need to take to protect our people.

  • Center For American Progress

    Oregon GOP voter "observation manual" instruction on videotaping approaches borderline intimidation

    Oregon GOP voter "observation manual" instruction on videotaping approaches borderline intimidation; false information on voting deadline reveals attempt at vote suppression

    The Count Every Vote project on Tuesday denounced what it called Republican plans to suppress voter turnout in Oregon.

    A front-page story in The Oregonian detailed a plan published by Republicans that calls on operatives to mislead, videotape and disenfranchise voters.

    According to The Oregonian, State Elections Division Director John Lindback has reviewed the Republican instruction manual and said it had “serious” problems. The story outlines two Republican suppression techniques from the manual such as videotaping voters and misleading people who are standing in line on Election Night so they will get discouraged and drop out of line.

    “If they start videotaping when some people are still voting, some voters might consider that intimidating,” Lindback said.

    Lindback also pointed out that the Republican plan contains an untruth about who has the right to vote that could discourage voters who are in line to cast their ballots on Election Night. According to the story, the Republican manual states that ballots dropped off after 8 p.m. are not to be counted.

    That is not correct. State law says that voters who are in line by 8 p.m. will have their ballots counted, even if they haven’t been turned in by the deadline. When asked about this untruth, Republican operative Jeb Mason said that there are a lot of definitions of “in line.”

    “If someone is in line, they are in line. And if they are in line at 8:00 on Election Night, their vote will count,” says Bryan Johnston, spokesperson for the Count Every Vote project. “It is deeply troubling that in the first week of voting the Republicans have already started a misinformation campaign.”

    Johnston says the best defense against intimidation is to stand up and be counted.

    “If these efforts scare even one voter away from the polls,” he says, “we all lose.”

    Johnston also noted that The Oregonian reported that so far only a Multnomah County plan has become public and that evidence is being gathered to challenge ballots in this Democratic voter base.

    “Are they planning to challenge ballots, videotape voters and spread information in counties that aren’t Democratic strongholds?” he asks. “It’s one thing to be opposed to Democrats. I hope this doesn’t mean the Republicans are opposed to democracy.”

    The Oregonian:

    Democrats, pointing to a Republican "observation manual" that has been widely leaked, say Republicans are out to suppress turnout in Oregon as a way to help Bush beat his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

    "The Republicans' main goal is to make people uncomfortable and confused in the election process," said Adam Green, spokesman for the state Democratic Party. An example, he said, is "when Republicans talk about videotaping people as they go turn in their ballots."

    Adams referred to a part of the nine-page GOP instruction manual that calls on volunteers to show up at ballot drop-off sites at 7:45 p.m. on election night, 15 minutes before the voting deadline.

    "They should have a video camera and cell phone," states the manual, a copy of which was obtained by The Oregonian. "Their job is not to confront anyone, but to record and notify the proper officials of any activities that are not in compliance of federal, state or county election laws."

    John Lindback, state elections director, looked at the Republican instruction manual and said it had a few "serious" problems. He, too, was concerned by the reference to video cameras at ballot drop-off sites.

    "If they start videotaping when some people are still voting, some voters might consider that intimidating," Lindback said.

    He also took issue with an implication in the manual that ballots dropped off after 8 p.m. are not to be counted.

    According to the state Elections Division, voters in line by 8 p.m. will have their ballots counted, even if they haven't been turned in by the deadline. In most cases, a sheriff's deputy will stand at the end of the line to ensure no latecomers are allowed to vote.

    But there are a lot of definitions of "in line," said Jeb Mason, executive director of Oregon Victory '04, the grass-roots organizing branch of the state Republican Party. [eRiposte note: This is a blatant indication of an intent to mislead voters].

    Nevada: Local Democrats say GOP group scuttled their opportunity to vote

    Susan Voyles
    10/21/2004 11:49 pm

    Eric Amberson and his wife, Traci, won’t be voting Nov. 2 in Sparks because of a Republican-sponsored voter registration drive that failed to turn in the Democratic forms.
    They are the first in Washoe County to complain about the Voter Outreach of America registration drive that is being investigated by Nevada and Oregon officials for voter fraud and for destroying forms from Democrats.
    “It’s not fair,” Eric Amberson said. “How many thousands of others won’t have their voices heard because some company decided we don’t count?”
    The couple registered to vote Oct. 2 with a canvasser outside the Wal-Mart store on Kietzke Lane.
    The National Republican Committee hired Sproul & Associates, of Phoenix, Ariz., to register voters in Clark and Washoe counties under the Voter Outreach of America name.
    At the Nevada secretary of state’s request, the Nevada Division of Investigations is investigating the company for fraud in filing bogus registration forms as well as destroying voter registration forms signed by Democrats. The company is also being investigated by the Oregon attorney general’s office after one of its canvassers told a Portland television reporter that he “might have” destroyed forms completed by the Democrats, the Arizona Republic reported.
    Nathan Sproul, the firm’s owner and former chief of the Republican Party in Arizona, has denied his employees destroyed any registration forms and said every form has been turned over to election officials, including 1,000 from Democrats.
    The state investigation into the voting drive comes as President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are vying to capture five electoral votes in Nevada, which has emerged as one of eight battleground states. In one of the most hotly contested presidential campaigns in recent history, questions have also been raised at voter registration drives in Florida, another key battleground state.
    In Sparks, Amberson said he and his wife didn’t have a second thought until they didn’t receive sample ballots in the mail. “Then we started wondering,” he said.
    When they checked the Washoe County voter registrar’s Web site Tuesday, they found their names were not on the voter rolls.
    “We were in front of Wal-Mart. Obviously, a lot of people registered,” Amberson said. “I’d like to know how many Republicans were registered on that day.”
    Checking their voter registration receipt numbers with paperwork at the registrar’s office, the Ambersons’ forms were distributed by American Voters Outreach, a voter registration drive supervised by Sproul & Associates of Phoenix, Ariz.
    Steve George, Nevada secretary of state spokesman, said his office expects an announcement from the investigations divisions within a few days on whether there’s a case against Sproul.
    Last Friday, Clark District Judge Valerie Adair denied the Democratic Party’s request to reopen voter registration to those whose forms were destroyed.
    In Las Vegas, 26-year-old Eric Russell, a former Sproul employee, has told the media that he watched his boss tear up 10-12 forms he had turned in for Democratic voters.
    Amberson said he will seek a provisional ballot to vote for the president, senate and congressional race. But he doesn’t give it much hope. And even if he gets a partial ballot, he won’t be happy. “That’s still not acceptable.”
    In Washoe County, Democratic Party director Pam duPre said she has heard only from Eric Amberson. But she said people won’t know they’re not registered until they check or go to vote.
    Voter Registrar Dan Burk said voters are ultimately responsible for their registration forms. “They have the option to turn it in or mail it themselves.
    “If they give it to someone else, they’re always running the risk of not having the form turned in. That’s a risk they run. But it doesn’t make me feel good in this business.”
    Burk said his office has received fewer complaints about lost voter registration forms this year than in recent elections. He said the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles lost 200 voter registration forms in 2000.
    In addition to Sproul, registrar supervisor Harry Day said many other voter registration drives were held this year. He said the office has received calls from other residents complaining their voter registration forms were not filed. But given early voting and preparing for the election, he said the office has not kept a running tally.
    Burk said he was not aware of Amberson’s complaint or any others complaining of not being registered through the Sproul group.
    But he said he has turned over 50 to 75 voter registration forms that came from Sproul to the Nevada Division of Investigations. Burk said he suspects the forms are bogus because the handwriting looks the same.
    In addition, Day said the office has a stack of at least 200 other voter registration forms - six inches thick - that most likely are bogus. He said these forms have phony addresses and similar scribbled handwriting.
    Day estimates at least 75 percent of the stack came from the Sproul group.
    Another stack of 50 voter registration cards have been returned to the registrar’s office by the post office because of wrong addresses. Day also suspects almost all of these are bogus.
    Day said the Sproul group turned in hundreds of voter registration forms that were valid but had exact count.
    Sproul signed for 4,000 registration forms with Washoe County and 1,500 with the secretary of state for distribution in Northern Nevada. State law prohibits canvassers from being paid for each signed voter registration form.
    But Burk said that doesn’t stop a company from requiring workers to turn in a certain number of voter registration forms, such as four an hour. And he said that could be the reason why so many bogus forms have been filed.Are you registered? Voters can check to see if they are registered to vote by checking the Washoe County Registrar of Voters Web site at

    Thursday, October 21, 2004

    Katherine Harris’ former Communications Director goes to Oregon

    Rori Smith, Communications Director for Florida State Elections under Katherine Harris is now working for the Oregon Republicans.

    You may recall the Florida Election of 2000 termed Floridagate. The entire scandel was disguised by a very good and corrupt Communications Director named Rori Smith.

    Seems she is back at it again, covering up GOP backed voter fraud and misconduct. Only this time, in Oregon.

    A Republican "observation manual" that has been widely leaked, say Republicans are out to suppress turnout in Oregon as a way to help Bush beat his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. Many believe that the Republicans' main goal is to make people uncomfortable and confused in the election process.

    In an interview with Oregon's KGW, Smith tried to convince the public that the Oregon Republicans are acting ethically.

    "The voter fraud accusations in Oregon and Nevada have put the GOP on the defensive. The Republican National Committee issued a statement Wednesday that said its party has "a zero-tolerance policy for anything that smacks of impropriety in registering voters." And Rory Smith, a spokeswoman for the Republican Party in Oregon, denounced the alleged misconduct saying, "We do not condone this type of behavior."

    Excerpt from KGW article:

    Here is the link short list of voter disenfranchisement and suppression activities conducted by Katherine Harris and her team during Florida's 2000 election:

    Contact Information for Rori Smith
    office phone: 541-944-8779

    Here Come the Dirty Tricks

    October 19, 2004

    A truism of recent American elections is that high turnout favors Democrats. Hence Democrats are worried about Republican attempts to suppress the vote by way of "dirty tricks" and voter disenfranchisement.
    In an election constantly dubbed "the most important" in years, get-out-the-vote efforts have signed up record numbers of new voters in various states. On the other hand, there would be even more new voters registered if not for the ironically named Voters Outreach for America.
    A former employee told a television station that VOA, which was paid to collect signatures by the Republican National Committee, intentionally destroyed hundreds of registration forms in Nevada, trashing only those filled out by Democrats. VOA, which is run by former Arizona GOP chair Nathan Sproul, has also registered voters in Oregon, where the attorney general’s office is now investigating whether similar selective-ballot-destruction efforts took place there. As the New York Times editorialized:
    "Destroying voter registration forms is not merely an ugly political trick; it can be a felony. The Department of Justice, and the states of Nevada and Oregon, should quickly and thoroughly investigate these allegations, and look into any registration work being done by Voters Outreach and Mr. Sproul in other states. The charges should be pursued wherever they lead. Since the Republican Party was paying the bills, questions should be asked about what instructions it gave for its registration drives, and what it knew about the alleged malfeasance."
    In another swing state, New Hampshire, the regional chair of George Bush’s re-election campaign has had to step down because of his alleged role in a 2002 phone-jamming operation that prevented six Democratic get-out-the-vote offices from making outreach calls. In an election where now-GOP Sen. John Sununu narrowly defeated former Democratic governor Jeanne Shaheen, there’s no telling how much of an impact those dirty tricks had. And as the Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald explains, James Tobin’s resignation still leaves some questions unanswered:
    "The Democrats didn’t get to question GOP operatives under oath on Thursday because the Justice Department stepped in, declaring the testimony in the civil case might damage its ongoing criminal investigation. The Democrats cried foul, charging the Justice Department with protecting the Republican operatives, but clearly there was enough heat around the issue to force Tobin’s resignation.
    "Tobin adamantly denies any wrongdoing. ‘These allegations date back two years and have absolutely nothing to do with the present campaign,’ Tobin told The Associated Press. ‘But to avoid any harm to the campaign from (the Democrats’) underhanded tactics, I elected earlier this week to step down.’ Tobin’s comments are curious because his political affiliates, not the Democrats, pleaded guilty to "underhanded tactics," and he himself acknowledges that the only reason he is stepping down is to avoid damaging the Bush campaign, now deadlocked with U.S. Sen. John Kerry in the Granite State."
    Then there’s Pennsylvania, where Republicans are trying to relocate 63 Philadelphia polling places, 59 in largely minority neighborhoods. Republicans claim those polling places are not adequate for voters, but didn’t file their complaint until Friday. Since voters who go to the wrong polling place will not be able to vote, the last-minute nature of the complaint (which is expected to fail) sure makes it look like an attempt to suppress minority voting:
    "I've never witnessed a more wanton example of an effort to discourage minority voters from participating in an election," Kerry campaign spokesman Mark Nevins told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "It's despicable."
    Swing states aren’t the only ones where such tricks are being deployed. In some California counties, pollworkers are reportedly being trained not to offer voters the option of a paper ballot (and with it, a paper trail) even though the state makes that option available. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
    "Ed Cherlin, a pollworker being trained in Santa Clara County, said he was very disturbed to learn that he was not supposed to mention the paper option. ‘I object to the government telling me that I can't tell people about their rights,’ he said. Representatives of the voting commissions in Orange County and Riverside confirm that they also will not be informing voters about the paper option at the polls. There are ten counties in California using paperless e-voting machines known as DREs. It is not clear at this time whether all ten are adopting similar policies."
    Beyond these tricks, there are concerns about the rules governing provisional ballots in Ohio and Florida, the possible intimidation of minority voters on Election Day, and the possibility of a new tactic from the brain of Karl Rove.
    The aforementioned examples have made headlines with two weeks still to go before the election. As the vote draws nearer, voters must confirm their registration and keep an eye out for more dirty tricks. In an election like this, irregularities at just a few polling places could decide the winner.

    - Jeff Fleischer

    Mother Jones

    Wednesday, October 20, 2004

    Florida: Some Voter Registration Forms Fraudulent

    Election Official: Some Voter Registration Forms Fraudulent

    Associated Press

    October 20, 2004

    GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Alachua County's elections supervisor gave more than 500 voter registration forms to local prosecutors because some people said their party affiliation was fraudulently changed to Republican by a student working for the GOP.

    Beverly Hill, Alachua's Democratic elections supervisor, last week began reviewing the forms collected at the University of Florida and other schools by Mark Jacoby, who worked for a contractor that signed up voters for the Republican Party of Florida.

    "I decided it was fraud," Hill said Tuesday, a day after she gave the forms to the State Attorney's Office in Gainesville. She said her staff checked 30 of them, "And they were across the board (saying), 'No, I never intended to do that."'

    Jacoby handed in a total of 1,218 forms, Hill said. Of those, 510 named people who already were registered, so Hill gave those to prosecutors. The rest were new registrants, and Hill processed those.
    Jacoby said Tuesday he asked every person to initial a box on the form to indicate they wanted to change party affiliation.

    Mindy Tucker Fletcher, a state Republican adviser, confirmed that Jacoby worked for Arno Political Consultants, a firm subcontracted to register voters at central Florida college campuses. Fletcher said she was assured that all registration workers disclosed their attempts to obtain Republican party affiliations.

    Fletcher said she could not explain why the 30 people contacted by Hill's office said they did not want to register as Republicans.

    "I can't guarantee you that's what those people were thinking when they signed that form that day," Fletcher said. "People really may not want to own up to that now."

    OREGON: GOP operatives plan ballot collection drive

    Associated Press

    PORTLAND -- With an all-mail ballot election, Oregon voters don't have to worry about driving to a polling booth. Now they don't have to worry about walking to a mailbox.

    The Oregon Republican Party said Tuesday that it has organized volunteers to go into neighborhoods throughout the state and collect ballots cast by President Bush's supporters. Canvassers for the Democratic Party of Oregon collected ballots from supporters in the 2000 and 2002 elections, and plan to do it again.

    The efforts concern elections officials, who urge voters to mail their ballots or personally deliver them to drop sites."You don't want to speculate about what kind of mischief there might be," said John Kauffman, Multnomah County elections director. "I'm just uncomfortable about people going door to door collecting ballots."

    But in a year when the parties and other interest groups are spending millions of dollars trying to sway voters in Oregon, the parties see collecting ballots as a way to ensure as high a turnout as possible.

    Kevin Mannix, the chairman of the Oregon Republicans, said volunteers will offer several assurances that ballots they pick up will be delivered to county elections offices. He said volunteers will be in distinctive red clothing, carry identification and offer a receipt to voters who turn over their ballots.

    Neel Pender, executive director of the Oregon Democratic Party, said his party's canvassers also will have several safeguards, including handing out receipts.

    In Oregon, it is a felony to accept a ballot and purposely not turn it in.

    Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, who has urged voters to return ballots on their own, said he would not pass specific judgment on the ballot-collection efforts by either party.

    "We are not in the business of certifying ballot-collection efforts," Bradbury said. "My advice to voters is that they should use the mail first and then a drop box. Any other system they want to use, that is their business."Kauffman said he's concerned some canvassers who collect ballots might accidentally misplace them, raising public concern about the security of the system. Even worse would be if someone collects ballots with the intent of destroying them, he said.

    Republican and Democratic officials say they expect the vast majority of voters will turn in ballots on their own. Pender said the number of ballots collected by Democratic canvassers was in the "low thousands" in 2000 and 2002.

    Tuesday, October 19, 2004

    Oregon: Both parties keep tight eye on ballots

    Volunteers watch as elections workers process votes, and instructions in a Republican manual raise some objections
    Tuesday, October 19, 2004
    As ballots pour in to county election offices around Oregon, volunteers from both major political parties are watching closely for questionable ballots, and they're collecting evidence that could be used to challenge the results.
    The volunteers, squeezing into tight quarters around election workers, are even watching one another, suspicious that one side might grab an advantage as ballots are collected and counted in what is shaping into another nail-biter presidential race.
    "Normally, the observers don't start this early in the process," said Eric Sample, spokesman for the Multnomah County Elections Division. "It's definitely a different level of intensity, a different level of scrutiny."
    Ballots began showing up in voters' mailboxes over the weekend. As they're returned, election watchers dispatched by the parties are looking over the shoulders of election workers who check signatures on the envelopes against those on voter registration forms.
    Later, the observers will check whether the ballots have been filled out correctly and put in the correct envelope, and whether the clerks handle them properly.
    The boost this year in election oversight can be traced directly to the disputed 2000 presidential election. After vote counting in Florida was challenged, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled George W. Bush had won the state, giving him the presidency.
    About a dozen states, including Oregon, could prove pivotal in deciding the outcome on Nov. 2, and they are where most of the attention on ballot handling is focused
    In Oregon, the new emphasis on poll watching has raised hackles among Republicans and Democrats.
    Democrats, pointing to a Republican "observation manual" that has been widely leaked, say Republicans are out to suppress turnout in Oregon as a way to help Bush beat his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
    "The Republicans' main goal is to make people uncomfortable and confused in the election process," said Adam Green, spokesman for the state Democratic Party. An example, he said, is "when Republicans talk about videotaping people as they go turn in their ballots."
    Adams referred to a part of the nine-page GOP instruction manual that calls on volunteers to show up at ballot drop-off sites at 7:45 p.m. on election night, 15 minutes before the voting deadline.
    "They should have a video camera and cell phone," states the manual, a copy of which was obtained by The Oregonian. "Their job is not to confront anyone, but to record and notify the proper officials of any activities that are not in compliance of federal, state or county election laws."
    John Lindback, state elections director, looked at the Republican instruction manual and said it had a few "serious" problems. He, too, was concerned by the reference to video cameras at ballot drop-off sites.
    "If they start videotaping when some people are still voting, some voters might consider that intimidating," Lindback said.
    He also took issue with an implication in the manual that ballots dropped off after 8 p.m. are not to be counted.
    According to the state Elections Division, voters in line by 8 p.m. will have their ballots counted, even if they haven't been turned in by the deadline. In most cases, a sheriff's deputy will stand at the end of the line to ensure no latecomers are allowed to vote.
    But there are a lot of definitions of "in line," said Jeb Mason, executive director of Oregon Victory '04, the grass-roots organizing branch of the state Republican Party. Mason said his party's goal is the same as that of the Democrats -- to ensure a fair election.
    "Our volunteers are there to help ensure every vote is counted and counted equally," Mason said. He rejected Green's notion that the effort is aimed at keeping voter turnout low. "We abhor any attempts to suppress voter turnout," he said.
    He noted that the manual does not instruct volunteers to videotape voters, "but just to have the camera in case they see something suspicious."
    If the manual is any indication, Republican election watchers will focus on whether ballots have been placed in the correct envelopes, and whether election workers properly reject ones that haven't. The manual also instructs volunteers to closely watch what happens to ballots and ballot boxes after the 8 p.m. deadline on election night.
    Because there are so many instructions about how to identify a ballot for rejection, Democrats speculate that Republicans will try to challenge as many Multnomah County ballots as possible as an election tactic. Democrats far outnumber Republicans in the county, so the more ballots rejected, the better it would be for Bush's chances in Oregon, they say.
    Mason said the same instructions are being sent to volunteers in all Oregon counties, and that most of them have been taken directly out of county election manuals.
    "We want to make sure we have a clean election that people can trust the results of," he said.
    What happens with evidence collected by the observers depends on the election results, said John DiLorenzo, a Portland attorney who represents state Republicans and the Bush-Cheney campaign in Oregon.
    "I'll be keeping an eye on it," DiLorenzo said. "Oregon is a battleground state, but it's not the main battleground. But all that can change overnight."
    DiLorenzo said Oregon's election process -- the only one in the country that is entirely done by mail -- is no more or less vulnerable to challenge. But he said the process still needs scrutiny based on anecdotes of mishaps and wrongdoing from the previous presidential election.
    In Lane County, elections supervisor Annette Newingham said her office has become crowded with election watchers.
    "It's been sort of escalating ever since 2000," Newingham said. "That's fine. We don't have a problem with that, except we have limited space. It's like a beehive around here."

    Monday, October 18, 2004

    Oregon: Democracy Expelled From Bush Rally

    Teachers T-shirt protest draws national attention

    The Associated Press

    October 18, 2004

    PORTLAND (OR)— The ousting of three Southern Oregon teachers from a Bush campaign rally last week has drawn the attention of national Democratic Party officials.

    Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe pointed to the incident to charge that the Republicans are putting unprecedented restrictions on who can attend the president’s campaign rallies. The three women were ordered, under threat of arrest, to leave the president’s rally in Central Point. They said a volunteer objected to a statement on their T-shirts, “Protect Our Civil Liberties.”

    McAuliffe called the action “beyond outrageous” and said there has never before been a presidential campaign that is so determined to “keep people away who have a different view.”

    “The president has stripped his events of anyone who might disagree with him, which is completely un-American,” McAuliffe said in a conference call with reporters Sunday.

    Tracey Schmitt, a Bush campaign spokeswoman, said no one on the campaign staff “can remember the incident or understand why they would have been removed unless there was reason to believe that they were disruptive or were planning to be disruptive.”

    Tonia Tong, a Medford schoolteacher who was one of the three women removed from the rally, also participated in the conference call. She said the trio had agreed to remain quiet during the event and had successfully passed three security checkpoints.

    But she said a volunteer helping with security stopped one of the three women, Janet Voorhies, when she tried to go to the bathroom.

    The volunteer told her they were no longer welcome and would have to leave the event. The women said they were escorted out of the Central Point fairgrounds by police officers and threatened with arrest if they did not comply.

    Sunday, October 17, 2004

    100% Church or 100% Republican?

    From : American Family Association
    Sent : Friday, October 15, 2004 8:15 AM
    To :
    Subject : Make your church a One Hundred Percent Church!

    October 14, 2004

    Dear xxxxx,

    American Family Association is encouraging individuals to get their church to participate in One Hundred Percent Sunday. On October 31, One Hundred Percent Churches will encourage 100% of their members who are registered to vote to do so.

    Get your church to participate. Ask your pastor to promote One Hundred Percent Sunday. Put information about this day in your bulletin and church newsletters. On Sunday, October 31, encourage your members to go vote!

    Our goal is 100,000 participating churches. Will you encourage your church to be a One Hundred Percent Church? Please participate, then forward this email to others. It will take all of us working together to achieve our goal of 100,000 churches!

    Remember, October 31 is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT SUNDAY!

    Yes, I will encourage my church to participate in One Hundred Percent Sunday with the goal of 100,000 churches encouraging 100% of their registered voters to vote on November 2.


    Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman
    American Family Association

    OREGON: More tricks from the right-wing

    Voters' Pamphlet lookalike provokes outcry from election official

    By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI The Associated Press

    (AP) — PORTLAND, Ore. — A campaign flier which closely resembles Oregon's nonpartisan Voters' Pamphlet has drawn the ire of election officials.
    The "Voter's Guide for the State of Oregon," is printed on cheap, gray newsprint — just like the Voters' Pamphlet. In bold letters, it features the phrase "State of Oregon Election" on each page.
    But unlike the official document, the copycat is clearly partisan, showcasing arguments in favor of Measure 35, a ballot measure which aims to curb the escalating cost of malpractice awards.
    Oregon election officials convened an emergency press conference Sunday in the wake of the mailing.
    "It's real clear based on the phone calls we got to our office that voters are scratching their heads," said Secretary of State Bill Bradbury.
    He shared the podium with members of the No on 35 campaign, but stressed that even though he is voting "no" on the measure, his actions were prompted by concern, not politics.
    "I don't want them hijacking what is essentially a very trusted public document," he said.
    Bradbury argued that the only reason to print a pamphlet reminiscent of the design of the official pamphlet is to "trick" voters into thinking the positions detailed in the pamphlet were backed by state officials.
    "I have to tell you one thing — only the government does such cheap printing," Bradbury said, prompting laughter.
    The mailer was produced by Oregonians for Quality, Affordable and Reliable Health Care, the organization fronting the Yes on 35 campaign. Jim Kronenberg, a spokesman for the group, said Bradbury's accusations are "ridiculous."
    The pamphlet contains a disclaimer on every page. It's also only a few pages long, whereas the Voters' Pamphlet is much thicker.
    Any resemblance is accidental and is a function of the inferior quality of the paper, chosen to save money — not for some ulterior political motive, he said.
    "Does this mean we're not allowed to send out things on inexpensive paper? Our choice of media is really ours and not the secretary of state's," Kronenberg said.
    Bradbury stressed that while the resemblance is troubling, it is not illegal. For the law to have been broken, the lookalike guide would have had to simulate the state seal. Instead, it only used the words, "State of Oregon" — not an infringement in the legal sense, he said.
    He was joined at the podium by former Gov. Barbara Roberts — a vocal opponent of Measure 35 — who implored voters not to be "fooled."
    "Oregon was the first state in the union to have a Voters Pamphlet and this fake voter's guide is a cheap political stunt," she said. "It threatens the trust that Oregonians have in this important and familiar voter resource."
    The pamphlet was part of a "widespread mailing," said Kronenberg, who declined to say exactly how many of the fliers were sent out. But Charlie Burr, campaign manager for No on 35, estimates the mailing was in the "hundreds of thousands."
    Measure 35 would place a $500,000 limit on so-called pain and suffering awards, though juries would still be allowed to award full compensation for medical expenses and earnings losses stemming from a malpractice case.
    The measure mirrors President Bush's efforts to enact a national malpractice damage cap. It raises key issues about availability of medical care in Oregon and people's ability to win adequate compensation in medical malpractice cases.