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Hillary Front Caught Suppressing Vote – Again

From the DNC’s taxpayer-funded National Public Radio:

Group with Clinton Ties Behind Dubious Robocalls

by Peter Overby

All Things Considered, May 1, 2008 · Thousands of North Carolina residents answered their telephones last week to hear this message, delivered in a deep, soothing voice:

“Hello. This is Lamont Williams. In the next few days, you will receive a voter registration packet in the mail. All you need to do is fill it out, sign it, date and return the application. Then you will be able to vote and make your voice heard. Please return your registration form when it arrives. Thank you.”

In fact, the deadline to register for the May 6 Democratic presidential primary had already passed. The robocall went to many registered voters who were expecting to vote that day. The call and follow-up mailings left many wondering whether they were registered for the primary or not.

This sounds like a classic example of voter suppression — sowing confusion in order to drive down turn-out. The calls seemed to be aimed at African-American communities, places where Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is expected to run well ahead of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

But the group behind the calls isn’t partisan Republican or ideologically conservative. It’s Women’s Voices Women Vote, a 501(c)(3) charity that states its mission as registering single women to vote

Just a week ago, the group’s founder, Page Gardner, contacted the North Carolina Board of Elections to let them know about the mailing. She noted that the Women’s Voices packet, which she said was intended to boost registration in general, would arrive in mailboxes just before the primary. Gardner wrote: “We hope this unfortunate coincidence in timing does not lead to any confusion or aggravation for either your state’s voters or registrars.”

Will Evans of the Center for Investigative Reporting , who collaborated in reporting this story, found some Obama backers among the Women’s Voices leadership, but the group mostly has ties to Clinton and her campaign. Gardner worked on former President Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign. Board member John Podesta was President Clinton’s chief-of-staff. Maggie Williams, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, used to be on the Women’s Voices leadership team and did consulting work for the group

The Institute for Southern Studies began investigating after receiving complaints about the robocalls. The institute traced the calls to Women’s Voices, which has acknowledged responsibility.

The Institute turned up other complaints about the group as well, in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. A “Lamont Williams” robocall similar to North Carolina’s ran in Ohio last fall. In Virginia, robocalls days before the February primary caused voters to flood the board of elections with phone calls, in turn triggering an investigation by the state police.

Kromm says this shows at least five months of a “deceptive tactic, illegal in many states.” He notes, “Each time this group is criticized for this activity, they apologize for the confusion.”

The North Carolina attorney general says the robocalls are illegal. State law requires that automated phone calls identify the sponsoring group and give the recipient a phone number or other means of contacting the group. The Lamont Williams call did neither…

As the article notes, a former “leadership team” member at WVWV is none other than Hillary’s campaign manager, Maggie Williams. And Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, John Podesta, is still listed as a “director.”

As the article also briefly notes, these same people have pulled this and other similar voter suppression stunts several times before.

As the aforementioned Institute For Southern Studies points out, this is not an isolated mistake:

D.C. nonprofit aimed at women voters behind deceptive N.C. robo-calls

By Chris Kromm

May 1, 2008

* In Arizona last November, election officials were “inundated with complaints” after Women’s Voices sent a mailing erroneously claiming that recipients were “required” to mail back an enclosed voter registration form. Many who received the mailing were already registered; the mailing also gave the wrong registration date. Secretary of State Jan Brewer denounced the group’s tactics as “misleading and deceptive.” A similar mailing in Colorado that month “[drew] fire and caused confusion,” according to a state press release.

* In Wisconsin, state officials singled out Women’s Voices for misleading and possibly disenfranchising voters, stating in a press release [PDF]: “One group in particular — Women’s Voices. Women Vote, of Washington, D.C. — apparently ignored or disregarded state deadlines in seeking to register voters,” sending in registrations past the January 30 deadline and causing “hundreds of Wisconsin voters who think they registered in advance” to actually not be.

* Michigan officials ended up “fielding tons of calls from confused voters” after Women’s Voices did a February mailing to “380,000 unmarried women” — including numerous deceased voters and even more that were already registered. Sarah Johnson of Women’s Voices “seemed confused by the confusion,” the Lansing State Journal reported.

* A 1.5 million-piece Women’s Voices mailing in Florida falsely stated: “To comply with state voting requirements, please return the enclosed application.” Pasco County’s elections supervisor called it “disingenuous”; another said it created “a lot of unnecessary panic on behalf of the voters,” reported local newspapers. Sarah Johnson of Women’s Voice said, “I’m sorry to hear that.”

* By March, Women’s Voices was backing off the erroneous “registration is required” language, but there were still problems. For example, a mailing in Arkansas allowed that “registering to vote is voluntary,” but a clerk in Washington County reported that “the majority [of forms] sent back to the county come from registered voters, causing needless labor for office employees.”

Problems with the group’s tactics have also been documented in Louisiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

In each state, the Women’s Voices campaigns have brought the same news and the same themes, again and again: Deceptive claims and misrepresentations of the law — sometimes even breaking the law. Wildly inaccurate mailing lists, supposedly aimed at “unregistered single women,” but in reality reaching many registered voters as well as families, deceased persons and pets. Tactics that confuse voters and potentially disenfranchise them.

For such a sophisticated and well-funded operation, which counts among its ranks some of the country’s most seasoned political operatives, such missteps are peculiar, as is the surprise expressed by Women’s Voices staff after each controversy…

Probably NPR is just relieved to find that mean, racist Republicans aren’t behind these shenanigans.

Of course if they were, NPR and the rest of our watchdog media would be screaming for a special prosecutor and round the clock Congressional show trials.

But speaking of fraud, here is just one example of an ad from this taxpayer supported non-partisan 501c3 “charity”:

Enlarge

That we are funding such blatant politicking is the real scandal here.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, May 1st, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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