voter intimidation

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Georgia: Revealed: Georgia Republicans use power of state to suppress minority vote | Jordan Wilkie/The Guardian

Top Georgia Republicans continue to use the power of the state to investigate political rivals, executing a strategy that voting rights activists say is designed to intimidate voting rights organizations and activists serving minority communities. Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state, and David Emadi, executive secretary of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, are investigating and issuing subpoenas to political opponents, without publicly showing evidence there was wrongdoing by those parties. Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, pioneered the tactic as secretary of state, where he used his authority to investigate political opponents, liberal political groups and get out the vote (GOTV) organizers working in racial minority communities. To date, none of the investigations, subpoenas, arrests or prosecutions against political opponents and minority GOTV organizers have led to convictions, meaning that Kemp’s – and now Raffensperger and Emadi’s – political rivals remain innocent of charges brought against them. But voting rights activists say there is a trend in Georgia of Republicans using the power of an elected office to investigate political opponents as a voter intimidation tactic.

Full Article: Revealed: Georgia Republicans use power of state to suppress minority vote | US news | The Guardian.

North Carolina: Candidate, campaign manager accused of trying to intimidate voters | News & Observer

A voter said Rep. Chris Malone asked her whether she was preparing to vote twice while she waited at an early-voting site this week, in an attempt to intimidate her. Another woman said she overheard a man connected to the Malone campaign ask much the same question of a voter on the first day of early voting last week. She did not know the man’s name but forwarded to the investigative news organization ProPublica a picture of Dennis Berwyn, Malone’s campaign manager, taken at the early-voting location that day. The News & Observer learned about the accusations through the Electionland project, a collaboration of newsrooms around the country tracking voting problems. Berwyn adamantly denied that he asked anyone if they were voting twice. “That is not something that would ever come out of my mouth,” he said.

Full Article: NC candidate, campaign manager accused of trying to intimidate voters | News & Observer.

Texas: Reports of Voter Intimidation at Polling Places in Texas | ProPublica

Tempers are flaring during early voting in Dallas County, Texas, and reports of voter intimidation are on the rise. The county’s nonpartisan election administrator said that the harassment — including name-calling and interrogating voters waiting in line — is the worst she’s seen in decades. “I’ve been here for 30 years, and this harassment that’s going on, I haven’t ever seen the likes of this,” said Toni Pippins-Poole, the county’s election director. “I’ve seen some other things, props being used and whatnot, but nothing like this type of mentality or aggressiveness or demeaning type of actions.” At the Lakeside Activity Center in Mesquite, Texas, election administrators received complaints of a partisan poll watcher looking over voter’s shoulders as they cast their ballots and questioning voters on their politics. The person was later escorted out by Mesquite Police Department officers on Monday after refusing to leave the premises, according to Pippins-Poole.

Full Article: Reports of Voter Intimidation at Polling Places in Texas — ProPublica.

Texas: Crystal Mason begins prison sentence in Texas for crime of voting | The Guardian

Crystal Mason, the woman who became the poster child for voter suppression when she was sentenced to five years for casting a ballot in Texas, has gone into federal prison at the start of her ordeal. Mason, 43, surrendered voluntarily on Thursday to authorities and was taken into federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas. She left her three children behind. In her final Facebook post before she went inside, she wrote: “This fight is not over, I’m glad God choose me for this journey. I’m walking in there no tears and head hung high …” Mason’s crime was to cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election. An African American woman, she had been encouraged by her mother to do her civic duty and vote, in her case on behalf of Hillary Clinton. When she turned up to the polling station her name was not on the register, so she cast a provisional ballot that was never counted. She did not read the small print of the form that said that anyone who has been convicted of a felony – as she had, having previously been convicted of tax fraud – was prohibited from voting under Texas law.

Full Article: Crystal Mason begins prison sentence in Texas for crime of voting | US news | The Guardian.

Cambodia: Authorities Threaten to Withhold Public Services if Villagers Don’t Vote For Cambodia’s Ruling Party | RFA

Agents working for Cambodia’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) are threatening to end public services for indigenous residents of Mondulkiri province unless they vote for the party in an upcoming election marred by allegations of campaign violations and a ban on the opposition, according to sources. An ethnic Phnong resident of Pulu village, in Mondulkiri’s Bu Sra commune, told RFA’s Khmer Service on Tuesday that local authorities and agents of the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC)—headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s son, Hun Many—were compelling villagers to tick number 20 for the CPP on sample ballots ahead of the July 29 general election. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the resident said that authorities and UYFC agents told villagers local government officials would refuse to sign legal documents—including land titles, birth certificates, and family registers—for those who do not vote for the CPP on the sample ballots.

Full Article: Authorities Threaten to Withhold Public Services if Villagers Don’t Vote For Cambodia’s Ruling Party.

Pennsylvania: Mailers attempt to ’embarrass people into voting’ by revealing voting history to neighbors | Lancaster Online

An apparent effort to pressure Pennsylvanians into voting in Tuesday’s primary is raising red flags in Lancaster County and across the state as polls prepare to open Tuesday morning. In mailed letters and emails, a group calling itself the “Pennsylvania State Voter Program” is targeting specific voters with publicly available information showing whether they and their neighbors voted in three recent elections — and then indicating it will send an updated list after the May 15 primary. “What if your friends, your neighbors, and your community knew whether you voted?” the letter starts. Titled “Pennsylvania State Voter Report,” the letter does not indicate who specifically is behind the effort. It features a symbol that could lead some people to believe it’s coming from an official government office, though it’s not from any county or state office. The envelopes, marked that they’re from a post office box in Harrisburg, contain a giant red arrow pointing to the line, “Important taxpayer information enclosed.”

Full Article: Mailers attempt to 'embarrass people into voting' by revealing voting history to neighbors | Politics | lancasteronline.com.

North Carolina: Judge: Libel case over double-voting accusations to continue | News & Observer

Four North Carolina voters can pursue their libel lawsuit against allies of former Gov. Pat McCrory and a Virginia law firm that tried to help the Republican politician’s unsuccessful effort to disqualify votes and win re-election in 2016, attorneys learned Tuesday. Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour notified attorneys he’s decided to allow the four plaintiffs to continue their claims against the Pat McCrory Committee Legal Defense Fund, the Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky law firm and four of the Warrenton, Virginia-based firm’s attorneys. The McCrory allies helped mount a last-ditch effort to sway a close election for governor by accusing voters in 52 counties of double voting and other misdeeds. The voters from Guilford and Brunswick counties sued after being falsely accused of felony voting crimes like casting ballots in multiple states.

Full Article: Judge: Libel case over double-voting accusations to continue | News & Observer.

New Jersey: Here’s what Sean Spicer said in New Jersey voter intimidation case | NJ.com

Former White House spokesman Sean Spicer testified there were no signs keeping Republican National Committee staff members away from Donald Trump’s vote-counting operations on Election Night, but party officials knew to keep their distance. “It had been abundantly clear for the six years that I worked at the RNC that the RNC and its employees were prohibited from engaging in Election Day activities, including poll watching, so I intentionally stayed away from all of that,” said Spicer, then a top Republican National Committee official. Spicer’s testimony came as the Republican National Committee sought to end limits on its voter activities imposed 35 years ago as a result of GOP activities in the 1981 New Jersey gubernatorial election narrowly won by Thomas H. Kean. That consent decree expired Dec. 1, but Democrats are seeking to extend it.

Full Article: Here's what Sean Spicer said in N.J. voter intimidation case | NJ.com.

United Kingdom: Make Facebook liable for content, says report on UK election intimidation | The Guardian

Theresa May should consider the introduction of two new laws to deter the intimidation of MPs during elections and force social media firms to monitor illegal content, an influential committee has said. The independent Committee on Standards in Public Life, which advises the prime minister on ethics, has called for the introduction within a year of a new specific offence in electoral law to halt widespread abuse when voters go to the polls.

Full Article: Make Facebook liable for content, says report on UK election intimidation | Society | The Guardian.

National: Court Order Barring RNC From Voter Intimidation Set to Expire Friday | Bloomberg

A 35-year-old federal court order prohibiting the Republican National Committee from engaging in voter verification and other “ballot security” measures is set to expire Friday, something the GOP says is long overdue but voting rights advocates argue is still needed to prevent intimidation at the polls. Lawyers for the Republican National Committee said in court filings that the organization has been in compliance for years, even going beyond what is outlined in the consent decree. It opts against participating in poll-watching activities, for example, even though they are allowed under the order. “The RNC has worked hard to comply with its obligations under the Consent Decree,” lawyers wrote in documents filed with the court.

Full Article: Court Order Barring RNC From Voter Intimidation Set to Expire Friday - Bloomberg.

National: Widespread problems reported to Election Protection hotline | The Louisiana Weekly

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter-protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, provided live assistance to more than 1,000 voters through its 866-OUR-VOTE hotline. Voters reported complaints, some of which impacted systemic problems, or sought assistance with voting. Since 2001, Election Protection has been the go-to source for voters seeking assistance with navigating the voting process. The volume of calls into the hotline suggested increases in voter turnout relative to comparable election periods from years prior and expanded interest in local electoral contests such as district attorney races. The Lawyers’ Committee led-effort identified a number of problems including robo calls imparting false information to voters; poll workers providing false information regarding voter eligibility; police presence outside of polling sites, the proliferation of false information regarding the voting process on social media, and other deceptive and suppressive tactics as reported by voters around the country.

Full Article: Widespread problems reported to Election Protection hotline | New Orleans' Multicultural News Source | The Louisiana Weekly.

North Carolina: Voting defamation suit seeks to widen net, accuses GOP attorneys of conspiracy | WRAL

The attorneys who brought a defamation lawsuit over voter protests filed in the wake of last November’s election want to add former Gov. Pat McCrory’s legal defense fund and the attorneys who helped file those protests to their suit. They also want to turn the case into a class-action suit on behalf of more than 100 people who they say were unfairly maligned when Republicans falsely accused them of casting fraudulent votes. Attorneys for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice argue there was a coordinated effort by attorneys from a well-connected Republican law firm in Virginia to throw the results of North Carolina’s close gubernatorial race into doubt. Those attorneys, the lawsuit argues, helped North Carolina voters challenge Democratic votes “to delay certification of the election and suggest that voter fraud affected the election results.”

Full Article: Voting defamation suit seeks to widen net, accuses GOP attorneys of conspiracy :: WRAL.com.

North Carolina: Elections rule would make false voter fraud reports a felony | The North State Journal

The North Carolina State Board of Elections held a public comment hearing Monday, soliciting input on a proposed rule that will make falsely reporting voter fraud a felony. The new rule would also require protesters to describe facts, reveal if a lawyer helped them make their claims, and say whether they have any witnesses to the alleged voter fraud. ”We all know laws are written by human beings, and sometimes they’re not very clear.” said Executive Director of the N.C. Republican Party Dallas Woodhouse, who opposes the rule change.  “This issue of protest is amazingly clear in the statute. It is written specifically how to do it and what is required of the voter. [The State Board of Elections] does not have the power to rewrite the statute.

Full Article: Elections rule would make false voter fraud reports a felony – The North State Journal.

Kansas: Couple complains to Kobach of ‘degrading’ voting experience | The Wichita Eagle

A Wichita couple has written an open letter to Secretary of State Kris Kobach complaining that they were subjected to “degrading, humiliating, demeaning, and unnecessary drama” in casting their votes in Wichita’s District 1 City Council election. Eugene and Mamie Jewel Anderson didn’t get the mail ballots they requested, although they have lived at the same address for 49 years. They had to fill out forms and cast provisional votes when they showed up in person at an advance voting site. In their letter, the Andersons questioned whether where they live – a historically black area of Wichita – may have been part of the difficulties. “Well, we jumped through all of those hoops, and were allowed to cast our Provisional ballots,” the letter said. “However, we are deeply concerned! Will we experience the same degrading, humiliating, demeaning, and unnecessary drama when we request advance ballots for the non-partisan General Election? Or is there a deeper problem of residing in a specific zip code or something else?”

Full Article: Couple complains to Kobach of ‘degrading’ voting experience | The Wichita Eagle.

National: Trump’s voter-fraud commission wants to know voting history, party ID and address of every voter in the U.S. | The Washington Post

The chair of President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission has penned a letter to all 50 states requesting their full voter-roll data, including the name, address, date of birth, party affiliation, last four Social Security number digits and voting history back to 2006 of potentially every voter in the state. In the letter, a copy of which was made public by the Connecticut secretary of state, the commission head Kris Kobach said that “any documents that are submitted to the full Commission will also be made available to the public.” On Wednesday, the office of Vice President Pence released a statement saying “a letter will be sent today to the 50 states and District of Columbia on behalf of the Commission requesting publicly available data from state voter rolls and feedback on how to improve election integrity.”

Full Article: Trump’s voter-fraud commission wants to know voting history, party ID and address of every voter in the U.S. - The Washington Post.

Georgia: Threats cloud sixth district election security | WXIA

Elections officials say they are taking steps to ensure the security of voting Tuesday in the sixth congressional district race. It’s gotten national attention, and it was the apparent motive behind a dozen threatening letters discovered Thursday. The threats appeared in the mailboxes of residents living near Republican congressional candidate Karen Handel, and the candidate herself.  They also appeared in the mailrooms of two media outlets – WXIA and WAGA-TV. They all contained computer-printed rants against Handel and President Donald Trump. And some contained a powder identified in some of the notes as anthrax – but which authorities believe was actually baking soda.

Full Article: Threats cloud sixth district election security | 11alive.com.

Lesotho: Officials probe soldiers’ presence near poll stations | AFP

Election officials in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho on Sunday investigated why armed soldiers had been deployed at many polling stations on voting day. The army has often been accused of interfering in politics in Lesotho, a landlocked African country of two million people that has been hit by attempted coups and instability in recent years. “The nation, the voters and even the observers were surprised… they felt that some voters were intimidated,” Independent Electoral Commission spokesperson Tuoe Hantsi told reporters. “The law dictates who should be at the polling stations, and (the soldiers) caused confusion.”

Full Article: Lesotho officials probe soldiers' presence near poll stations | News24.

Mexico: State election heads to court amid alleged intimidation and vote-buying | The Guardian

A hotly contested state election in Mexico is heading to court after the president’s cousin was declared the victor amid widespread allegations of voter intimidation, vote buying and misuse of public resources. Alfredo del Mazo Maza, the candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary party (PRI), was declared the winner after early results in the state of Mexico gave him a two-point lead over Delfina Gómez of the leftwing National Regeneration party (Morena). But with the vote so close, Morena – led by the populist firebrand Andres Manuel López Obrador– is refusing to accept the initial results. The full count will not be completed before 7 June, after which Morena will almost certainly seek that the election be annulled.

Full Article: Mexico state election heads to court amid alleged intimidation and vote-buying | World news | The Guardian.

California: A letter sent to some L.A. voters sought to shame them for their voting records — and no one knows who sent it | Los Angeles Times

Offended, harassed, violated. Those are some of the words voters used to describe their reactions to a letter they received this week from a group calling itself the California Voter Awareness Project. Several people who spoke to The Times said the letter arrived just hours before polls opened in Tuesday’s citywide election in Los Angeles, and included each recipient’s voting history in the last three elections, along with names and addresses of neighbors and acquaintances and whether or not they’d voted. An updated chart would be mailed out after Tuesday’s election, the letter warned, and “other people you know will all know who voted and who did not vote.”

Full Article: A letter sent to some L.A. voters sought to shame them for their voting records — and no one knows who sent it - LA Times.

North Carolina: Prominent Virginia politician implicated in North Carolina GOP voter fraud deceit | Facing South

An elections watchdog is calling for a criminal investigation into whether the campaign of former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, the N.C. Republican Party and their attorneys falsely accused hundreds of citizens of voter fraud in the wake of last year’s election, which McCrory narrowly lost to Democrat Roy Cooper. At the scandal’s center is Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky (HVJT), a prominent Virginia law firm that filed most of the voter challenges. It’s headed by Jill Holtzman Vogel, a three-term Virginia state senator from Fauquier County who’s running for lieutenant governor in the June 13 primary. The firm’s other principals include a former chair of the Federal Election Commission and a former assistant attorney general for the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Full Article: Prominent VA politician implicated in NC GOP voter fraud deceit | Facing South.