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« Taylor Branch Lecture: Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. | Main | Congratulations, Sylvia and Bernard! »

KS GOP Brags about Vote Caging

By Ally Klimkoski
December 28, 2007

After some vote slippage in 2006 the Kansas GOP has taken a wide stance by disenfranchising Kansas voters.

Thanks to a tip-off by Blue Tide Rising many news sources have picked up on Kansas GOP Chairman Kris Kobach's push to disenfranchise many of Kansas's 2008 voters.

According to the BRAD Blog, a well known national blog that covers voting rights issues,

"In any case, it's clear that the undemocratic (small "d") practice of working to keep Democratic (large "D") voters off the rolls, through any means necessary, in order to keep them from voting, though any means necessary, has been mainlined as perhaps the top strategy for the GOP in 2008. Even Bush's Dept. of Justice, under the hand of John "Minorities Die First" Tanner, has now been officially mobilized to direct such practices on behalf of the Republican States of America.

For more, see PBS' long-overdue video report from last Summer, on the GOP's sordid history of vote caging and the corporate American mainstream media's failure to cover it when it might have mattered."

According to the Lawrence Journal World

"One form of vote caging is when a political party sends registered mail to an address of a registered voter. If the mail is returned as undeliverable, the voter will be challenged by the party as having a fraudulent voter registration. In the past, there have been reported incidents of caging lists targeting predominantly minority districts that tend to vote for Democrats."

PBS's recent special report details the actions being taken by state GOP officials who are looking at the next best way to disenfranchise more and more voters who trend democratic. Unfortunately this means minority voters and younger voters who tend to move around a lot. And while this might be a target for battleground states its happening right here in Kansas where disenfranchised voters can decrease democratic turnout.

In previous investigations those who have conducted some of these voter disenfranchise tactics have called it "just a direct mail term" referring to the mail being sent to folks.

According to Think Progress's explanation on Vote Caging talks about a 2004 BBC report where investigative journalist "Greg Palast obtained two e-mails -- prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director -- that listed "1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas" of the Jacksonville, FL Naval Air Station. Palast explains:"

Here's how the scheme worked: The RNC mailed these voters letters in envelopes marked, "Do not forward", to be returned to the sender. These letters were mailed to servicemen and women, some stationed overseas, to their US home addresses. The letters then returned to the Bush-Cheney campaign as "undeliverable."

The lists of soldiers of "undeliverable" letters were transmitted from state headquarters, in this case Florida, to the RNC in Washington. The party could then challenge the voters' registration and thereby prevent their absentee ballots being counted."

Just a few days after the blogs and newspapers covered the story I got an invite from a new facebook group that is bringing awareness to this dangerous threat to voters.

In a recent statement by the KS GOP, the bouncing chairman says "This lunatic theory is right up there with the left wing's conspiracy theory that George W. Bush staged the attacks of September 11th to help him get reelected."

Wonkette calls this the worst kind of douchebaggery.

Comments (2)

Wonderful post, Ally- I can't believe the KS GOP would so loudly proclaim they're being this underhanded.

And, don't ya just love Wonkette?


Nora Thomason Author Profile Page:

George Henson, a professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, recently commented on the Kris Kobach debacle.

"The irony is," Henson said, "Kobach is a constitutional law professor at UMKC School of Law. The shame is, Kansas Republicans chose an extremist affiliated with far-right fringe groups to lead their party. Admittedly, Kobach is an attractive man, but his tactics represent the ugliest side of Republican politics."

Not much of a character reference. Seems like an embarrassment to your state.

Thanks for this post, Ally.

Nora T.

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