A Republican political operative who spent three months in an American prison for making illegal political calls says that fraudulent calls in the last Canadian election are likely an American import. In his 2008 book How to Rig an Election, Allen Raymond tells the story of his 10-year political career, which ended abruptly when he was convicted of jamming the New Hampshire Democrats’ phone bank during a Senate election. When the FBI closed in, officials on the Republican National Committee cut off Raymond, and rather than face 25 years in prison, he co-operated with the investigation. Raymond, who now works in Washington as a lobbyist for a labour organization, suspects whoever made illegal voter-suppression calls in Canada in the last election likely learned their dirty tricks south of the border.
“We have a lot of elections down here,” he said. “We essentially have them every year, whether it be state or federal. So if you’re a political operative and you live in Canada, it might make a lot of sense to come to the United States and gain some experience, and in gaining that experience you might pick up some bad traits.”
Dirty telephone tricks aren’t new. In the 1972 Democratic primary, callers with African-American accents woke up white New Hampshire voters in the middle of the night calling on them to support Ed Muskie “because he’s been so good for the black man” — an early example of voter suppression calls. In every election cycle in the United States, there are instances of deceptive calls, but they tend to be isolated local events.