BBC news discovers people filming voters

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Tue Oct 26 2004 - 18:28:52 CDT

In the past on this list I've been a bit sanguine about ballot secrecy when the plausibility of threats coming from filming voters leaving polls came up. I just had a change of heart on this topic after reading the following program description from bbc news. I felt this was topocial on the point of reverse engnieering ballots and importance of ballot scrambling so I'm posting it to the OVC voting-project.

The money quote the text below was the following:
"In Jacksonville, to determine if Republicans were using the lists or
other means of intimidating voters, [The BBC] filmed a private detective
filming every "early voter" - the majority of whom are black - from
behind a vehicle with blacked-out windows.

The private detective claimed not to know who was paying for his
all-day services."

read on....

Tonight BBC TV to Reveal New Florida Vote Scandal
Republican "Caging List"

BBC Television News On-Line
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Greg Palast, reporting

A secret document obtained from inside Bush campaign headquarters in
Florida suggests a plan - possibly in violation of US law - to disrupt
voting in the state's African-American voting districts, a BBC
Newsnight investigation reveals.

(Watch it tonight at
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/default.stm begining at
5.30pm EST, available for 24 hours.)

Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign
in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington
DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".

It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and
traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.

An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told
Newsnight: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing
is to challenge voters on election day."

Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law allows political party
operatives inside polling stations to stop voters from obtaining a
ballot.

---Mass challenges---

They may then only vote "provisionally" after signing an affidavit
attesting to their legal voting status.

Mass challenges have never occurred in Florida. Indeed, says Mr Sancho,
not one challenge has been made to a voter "in the 16 years I've been
supervisor of elections."

"Quite frankly, this process can be used to slow down the voting
process and cause chaos on election day; and discourage voters from
voting."

Sancho calls it "intimidation." And it may be illegal.

In Washington, well-known civil rights attorney, Ralph Neas, noted that
US federal law prohibits targeting challenges to voters, even if there
is a basis for the challenge, if race is a factor in targeting the
voters.

The list of Jacksonville voters covers an area with a majority of black
residents.

When asked by Newsnight for an explanation of the list, Republican
spokespersons claim the list merely records returned mail from either
fundraising solicitations or returned letters sent to newly registered
voters to verify their addresses for purposes of mailing campaign
literature.

Republican state campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker Fletcher stated the
list was not put together "in order to create" a challenge list, but
refused to say it would not be used in that manner.

Rather, she did acknowledge that the party's poll workers will be
instructed to challenge voters, "Where it's stated in the law."

There was no explanation as to why such clerical matters would be sent
to top officials of the Bush campaign in Florida and Washington.

---Private detective---

In Jacksonville, to determine if Republicans were using the lists or
other means of intimidating voters, we filmed a private detective
filming every "early voter" - the majority of whom are black - from
behind a vehicle with blacked-out windows.

The private detective claimed not to know who was paying for his
all-day services.

On the scene, Democratic Congresswoman Corinne Brown said the
surveillance operation was part of a campaign of intimidation tactics
used by the Republican Party to intimate and scare off African American
voters, almost all of whom are registered Democrats.

Greg Palast reporting. The film will be broadcast by Newsnight tonight,
Tuesday, 26 October, 2004 at 2230 BST (6:30pm New York time).

==================
Contact: media@gregpalast.com

View Greg Palast's BBC Television film, "Bush Family Fortunes,"
available this week on DVD in an updated edition from The
Disinformation Company at http://www.gregpalast.com/bff-dvd.htm

To receive Greg’s investigative reports click here:
http://www.gregpalast.com/contact.cfm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/3956129.stm
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Received on Mon Nov 1 15:28:47 2004

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