Dear DPW Black Caucus,
Have you heard the disturbing news? The Tea Party is trying to keep people of color and young adults in Wisconsin from voting in the upcoming election.
That’s right — Wisconsin Tea Party groups partnered with the Republican Party and Americans for Prosperity to implement an illegal scheme aimed at disenfranchising voters from vulnerable communities.1 What’s more, shadowy anonymous donors are trying to scare off voters by buying billboards depicting people of color being imprisoned for “voter fraud.”2
This is the surest sign yet of what’s at stake in this election. The Tea Party is so desperate to derail the change we voted in 2008 that they’re relying on disinformation and Jim Crow-era scare tactics in an attempt to keep people from exercising their right to vote. The most important thing you can do to help overcome these dirty tactics is vote, and make sure that your friends and family do as well. You can find your polling place here.
And you can do even more. Our friends at Video the Vote are looking for volunteers in your area to help document voting irregularities on Election Day. By recording activity at polling places, you’ll help keep the Tea Party and their Republican allies in check, and help to provide evidence in case they cross the line. You can sign up by clicking the link below:
Around the country, the Tea Party is whipping its members into a frenzy with false allegations of voter fraud in Black, poor and young neighborhoods. Years of serious investigation by the Bush administration demonstrated once and for all that large-scale voter fraud is a myth.3 But Republicans continue to cling to this myth to justify repressive tactics at the polls that discourage minorities and poor people from voting.
One Wisconsin Now is the state progressive advocacy group that uncovered the Tea Party “voter caging” scheme. Here’s what they say about how it would have worked:4
Voter caging is a notorious voter suppression technique used to challenge the registration status of eligible voters to prevent him or her from voting in an election.
Usually, caging occurs when an official-looking, non-forwardable piece of mail is sent to a group of registered voters, often to minorities and students. The parties involved in caging then compile a list of voters whose mail was returned as undeliverable. On Election Day, these organizations will use the undeliverable mail to challenge voters at the polls, utilizing law enforcement and attorneys to support their challenges.
The goal of caging is two-fold. First, is to force as many voters as possible to cast provisional ballots, which require voters to follow-up the day after an election for the ballot to be counted. Historically, about 35% of all provisional ballots are never counted. Additionally, voters whose registration is challenged at the polling place are unlikely to have the required material to complete an Election Day registration, meaning the voter will be turned away at the polls.
The second goal is to create long lines at the polling place as the caging operation challenges voter after voter. Many people cannot afford to sit in line to vote for hours on end. Long lines discourage voters and many simply leave without casting a ballot.
Voter caging is a violation of the National Voter Rights Act of 1993 and is illegal.
It’s bad enough that this is happening in Wisconsin — but right-wing voter suppression schemes are in play all around the nation. In Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, and Illinois, right-wing goons are using false claims of voter fraud to keep Black folks and Latinos from casting ballots.5,6,7,8 They’re counting on keeping regular folks just like you from showing up at the polls so that the Tea Party can continue to bully its way into power.
An important way to stand up to these tactics and fight for the change we voted for two years ago is to make sure that you and everyone you know vote on Election Day. You can locate your polling place by clicking here.
And for those who want to do even more, one of the best things you can do is work with Video the Vote to record activity at the polls. Nothing scares people behind these voter suppression campaigns more than citizens armed with video cameras watching their every move. Please sign up for Video the Vote today, and encourage your friends and family to do the same:
Thanks and Peace,
— James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
October 29th, 2010
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1. “One Wisconsin Now Exposes Voter Suppression Plans Between Republican Party of Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity, Tea Party Groups,” One Wisconsin Now, 9-20-2010
2. “Groups protest voter fraud ads,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 10-12-2010
3. “Right-wing voter fraud obsession leads to tens of criminal charges,” Salon, 10-27-2010
4. Save Wisconsin’s Vote 2010
5. “Voters Complain About GOP Poll Watchers In N.C. County,” Talking Points Memo, 10-27-2010
6. “Voter Fraud Allegations In Yuma County Turn Out Baseless,” Talking Points Memo, 10-26-2010
7. “Texas Democrats: Department of Justice investigating reported voter intimidation in Houston,” The American Independent, 10-19-2010
8. “Mark Kirk Sends Poll Monitors To ‘Vulnerable,’ Largely African-American Neighborhoods,” Talking Points Memo, 10-12-2010
Stephanie Findley, MSM
Wisdems Black Caucus Chair
Ph: (414) 750-6496