Tuesday, November 07, 2006

GOTV and the GOP's dirty tricks

Let's begin with a tiny little subtle hint, shall we?

Vote Blue * GOTV * Vote Democratic * GOTV * Vote Blue * GOTV * Vote Democratic * GOTV * Vote Blue * GOTV * Vote Democratic * GOTV * Vote Blue * GOTV * Vote Democratic * GOTV * Vote Blue * GOTV * Vote Democratic * GOTV * Vote Blue * GOTV * Vote Democratic * GOTV * Vote Blue * GOTV * Vote Democratic * GOTV * Vote Blue * GOTV * Vote Democratic * GOTV * Vote Blue * GOTV * Vote Democratic * GOTV * Vote Blue * GOTV * Vote Democratic * GOTV *

Okay, now let's move on to yet another dirty GOP trick in the dying days of this campaign as they desperately attempt to cling to power: robocalls (or should that be Rovocalls?)

If you live in an area where the GOP candidate is trying to play catch-up in the polls, you will know only too well what I'm talking about. Automated phone calls, which, if you hang up, keep on calling you back until you listen to the message right through. They start off innocuously enough "Hi, I'm calling with information about [name of your local Democratic candidate]" says the voice. Then there's a pause, at which point many people hang up because they're getting really pissed off being harrassed by [local Democratic candidate].

Thing is, it ISN'T your local Democratic Candidate calling you - it's the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) - but they only identify themselves right at the very end of the message.

If you hang up, it calls you right back again, 7 or 8 or a dozen times in a row - and it's quite possible (because you only heard the first bit of the message) that you might think your Democratic candidate is harrassing you for your vote. If you do listen right the way through, the message spews out a whole list of negative (and inaccurate) attacks against that Democratic candidate. Either way the GOP gets the benefit, and the voters get pissed off, and the Democratic candidate gets lots of complaints from harrassed voters for something they had nothing to do with!

Pathetic, really. The interesting thing though is that this is ILLEGAL. In some states there are fines of up to $5,000 per call. Robocalls are only allowed if the caller immediately identifies themselves and says who they are calling on behalf of - so that a person receiving the call can decide whether or not to hang up. None of these calls do that. Robocalls are also not allowed to keep on calling back, as this can potentially tie up the phone in an emergency. The NRCC claims it's just a computer glitch. All over the country. Yeah, right! It's clear these calls are part of a co-ordinated attempt by the Republican Party to either suppress the vote or swing voters in at-risk GOP seats.

But wait - there's more in the Republicans' sleazy bag of tricks - how about phone messages saying you will be arrested if you vote tomorrow because you're still registered to vote in another state? Or flyers telling you your polling station location has changed - or that the election has been cancelled? All part of the GOP's continuing attempts to suppress the vote - and all of course illegal.

Here's Keith Olbermann's take on it:

I guess I'm not surprised, really. When a party and a President have come this close to gaining complete power and have already done so much damage to the Constitution, I guess they are hardly likely to give that power up without a fight - however dirty it gets - and we know already that the GOP plays D-I-R-T-Y.

But I have faith that you've all HAD ENOUGH.

I believe that you will vote these lying, cheating, power-crazy, corrupt scumbag criminals out of office tomorrow. The world is watching, America! We're counting on you! GOOD LUCK!

And remember... the GOP has more dirty tricks up their sleeves for tomorrow - so VIDEO THE VOTE and report any dodgy goings-on at polling stations. THANK YOU AMERICA!!!!

Excellent summaries of the extent of the robocalling and other forms of voter suppression

What you can do about it

Other media coverage

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