'Come Out To Vote On November 6th'
November 4, 2002 5:33 PM   Subscribe

'Come Out To Vote On November 6th' In Baltimore, Republicans are accusing Democrats of paying people to canvass African-American neighborhoods on Tuesday. Democrats are accusing Republicans of intimidating minority voters by planning to use members of the Fraternal Order of Police to serve as GOP poll workers. Meanwhile, a flyer being circulated in African-American communities 'reminds' readers to vote on November 6th - but only if all outstanding tickets, warrants, and outstanding rent payments have been paid.
posted by tpoh.org (34 comments total)

 
Where was the flyer distributed? Baltimore? I'm just curious how you came across it. Nothing nefarious on my part, I'm just floored by it. I guess I don't want to believe it...
posted by hank_14 at 5:37 PM on November 4, 2002


Someone (from Baltimore, I presume) posted it on a file-sharing service, with a link to this article.
posted by tpoh.org at 5:41 PM on November 4, 2002


PS: I tried finding an image on a news site to link to, but I couldn't find one.
posted by tpoh.org at 5:43 PM on November 4, 2002


I saw that flyer on Foxnews - You have an unedited version you could mail me?
posted by revbrian at 6:04 PM on November 4, 2002


Republicans are accusing Democrats of paying people to canvass African-American neighborhoods on Tuesday.

Is this illegal? I'm not sure why this would be wrong. Certainly no worse than lobbyists paying people to stand in line. And what if it's a community action organization like ACORN?

But at any rate, I wouldn't be surprised if the Republicans accused the Democrats of being in league with the shape-shifting reptilian aliens, and the Democrats shot back with the accusation that the Republicans are possesed by the black oil aliens (and only be slightly surprised if it were true). If we lived anywhere else in the world, these people would be blowing each other up.
posted by namespan at 6:10 PM on November 4, 2002


Unedited version found at Talking Points Memo.
posted by LeiaS at 6:18 PM on November 4, 2002


The flyer could be sourced to anyone, including someone from the Black community who released it to the press as a way to make Republicans look bad. Or it could be a sick art project in race relations. Who knows it could be anyone for any number of reasons.
posted by stbalbach at 6:20 PM on November 4, 2002


ok.
kevlar vest, check.
protective headgear, check.
alright then, [deep breath]
that tactic is vile but anybody stupid enough to fall for that shit shouldn't be voting anyway.
posted by quonsar at 6:35 PM on November 4, 2002


I'm not sure I feel all that bad about someone ill-informed enough to fall for this not casting their vote on election day.

Still, this is twice in Mefi history I've agreed with quonsar. I fear for my mortal soul.
posted by revbrian at 6:50 PM on November 4, 2002


stbalbach: Very disorienting to consider the possibilities. Further evidence that reality is not binary.
posted by tpoh.org at 6:52 PM on November 4, 2002


quonsar: The cornerstone of the American political system is that all should vote. No one can be turned away from the voting booth: be he (or lately, she) poor, rich, smart, stupid, or, in Chicago, dead.

stbalbach: After carefully inspecting the gif I discovered who is behind the flyer. (scroll down)

Of course, manipulating elections is vile and not uncommon.
posted by ?! at 6:59 PM on November 4, 2002


...anybody stupid enough to fall for that shit shouldn't be voting anyway.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, except the stupid ones, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...

Isn't an attempt to trick someone out of voting at least as bad as tricking someone out of money?
posted by alex_reno at 7:01 PM on November 4, 2002


Look at the end result -- sympathy for the minority oppresed by the invisible hand of the majority -- and I wonder what types of groups promote that kind of victim world view in the press. Without evidence I won't name names but it just seems like a bunch of BS to me. Besides you wont find many white Republican KKK types willing to canvas the parts of Baltimore this flyer would target.
posted by stbalbach at 7:10 PM on November 4, 2002


stbalbach - given your own post, the 'end result' doesn't seem as clear as you seem to think it is. Though I am confused by some other portions of your post: is there any hand, of any group or system, that wouldn't be 'invisible'? And am I misreading your post if I see in it a blanket condemnation of the so-called 'victim world view' in the press? And which press would that be? One last thing: why do you naturally link 'Republican' to 'KKK'? Just a few curiousities.
posted by hank_14 at 7:28 PM on November 4, 2002


My point is that the person or people behind this should be prosecuted. I find it strange that you seem to be saying that this was more likely to have been done to harm republicans than democrats. Democrats are the ones who will lose votes, and the race is apparently close, with the republican slightly ahead.

I doubt anyone thinks it was funded by either of the major parties. It's far more likely to have been some random nut, and in my view more likely a racist than someone trying to demonstrate "the minority oppresed by the invisible hand of the majority."
posted by alex_reno at 7:36 PM on November 4, 2002


The Republicans are famous for dirty tricks that keep turnout down. Here in Florida, they hired an outside company to compare lists of felons to the voter rolls and pull any possible matches under extremely loose guidelines. Even when the company said it would result in lots of legitimate voters being pulled off the roles, the Republican Secretary of State told them to do it and force these folks to show up to prove they should be reinstated. As a result, 94,000 names were dropped from the rolls, and it was discovered after the 2000 election that only 3,000 removals were valid. Even today, the 91,000 people haven't been reinstated -- the Republicans dragged their feet and won't be dealing with it until after Jeb's bid for re-election.
posted by rcade at 8:05 PM on November 4, 2002


what quonsar said. I'll reiterate:

that tactic is vile but anybody stupid enough to fall for that shit shouldn't be voting anyway.

Indeed. New Mexico's Constitution says as much. (For now)
posted by insomnyuk at 8:40 PM on November 4, 2002


Nah, this is so far beyond unsubtle that it looks to me like a Democrat propaganda tactic. If I'd written that, I'd have had in mind the idea of offending people enough to stir them into voting against the Republicans who used these tactics, for real, last election.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:29 PM on November 4, 2002


quonsar and insomnyuk: stupidity and ignorance are not the same thing. First time voters (particularly young people and recently naturalized citizens) would not necessarily know that elections are held on a tuesday or that outstanding parking tickets couldn't disqualify you from voting. One could have quite informed opinions about the candidates and issues and not be aware of these sorts of procedural rules.

One need not be particularly guilable to believe this sort of thing if one has no reason to suspect that it might be false. After all, we've already established it would take an extraordinary vile person to create such a flyer. To say that not knowing these sorts of things should disqualify you from voting seems rather elitist at best.
posted by boltman at 9:59 PM on November 4, 2002


As a former Baltimorean, I have to say the dirty tricks with the notices are more likely to be perpetrated by Republicans. The Demos don't really have a reason to try and smear Republicans, since they basically always win by a landside (if you're talking Balto city proper and not the county.) Now - given the Sun's political leanings - it wouldn't surprise me if the whole article was just an excuse to really tell all the naughty things the Republicans are doing.
posted by sixdifferentways at 10:58 PM on November 4, 2002


I'd have to agree that if one doesn't know to vote on the 5th, then maybe they shouldn't, but the use of intimidation here... Many polls are at courthouses or other like government buildings. If one thinks there might be a problem for them, well I can see this scaring away alot of votes.
posted by LouReedsSon at 1:46 AM on November 5, 2002


The Republicans are famous for dirty tricks that keep turnout down.

And the Dems are famous for illegal tricks that create higher turnout for themselves. It's tit for tat. Every overzealous felon purge can be matched by a hoary story of polls held open late in Dem-heavy districts or certain political machine successes in collecting ballots from beyond the grave. (Btw, if the only cite you can find for those Florida numbers is a Salon article that only idio subscribers can access, you might want to think twice about whether it's a cite at all.) Every accusation of possible intimidation can be met head-on with a charge of WAM violations and undue influence. Nobody has the high ground.

First time voters (particularly young people and recently naturalized citizens) would not necessarily know that elections are held on a tuesday or that outstanding parking tickets couldn't disqualify you from voting.

I looked - a middle school civics textbook teaches that elections are always held on the first Tuesday in November. So strike that idea. As for the unpaid parking tickets as a disqualifier, I guess my question is this: if you saw this and had a legitimate fear that you'd be stopped from voting for that reason, wouldn't you try to a.) rectify the situation somehow or b.) call someone (anyone) and ask? Or heck, even just mention it to someone, who would likely say "What in the hell are you talking about?"

If I'm aware that voting is my right and I wish to exercise it, I'm going to do everything in my power to find out the truth when someone gives me some kind of "information" in such a crude, unattributed, uncited, unclear fashion. After my initial knee-jerk reaction, I'd stop for a minute and realize that if the people who make the rules wanted people to know that they couldn't vote if they owed back rent or had tickets, they'd print that up and send it out in a way that made it clear that those were the real rules.

If this were something real, I'd expect it to be a brochure or a something which said "The Baltimore County Board of Elections informs you that under Maryland state law (Title XI, Sec 9.71 para A) those with unpaid debts, outstanding citations, etc. are not eligible to vote. If you have any questions as to your eligibility, please contact the BoE office." That it's not would have to set off alarm bells for anyone who wasn't living in some sort of parallel universe.

Black communities nationwide have been inundated with "get out the vote" registration drives, literature, exhortations on billboards, storefronts and from the pulpits.

Every community center, library and probably every place of worship has legitimate information on hand for anyone who needs educating, and people know that. The answers aren't that far away. If a piece of xeroxed black and white paper is enough to scare someone away and prevent them from even trying to get the truth, well, then, I go back to what quonsar said. Anybody too stupid/passive/apathetic/unthinking enough to take this piece of paper as gospel ought not be voting. (Or parenting, driving, holding a job or engaging in a number of other activities not suitable for the thinking or effort impaired.)

Many polls are at courthouses or other like government buildings.

Maybe where you live, but not in this case. (Or the case of any large metro area, I'd imagine.) The vast majority of polling places in Baltimore County, Maryland are in schools. The polling places for the particular voting district which includes the NW Baltimore area where the flyers were distributed include nine schools, a nursing home, a synagogue and a fire station.
posted by Dreama at 3:13 AM on November 5, 2002


I don't know. I've seen a lot of instructional documents printed (or rather, Xeroxed until they're nearly unreadable) for poor people by local government agencies. And they look a lot like this.
posted by tpoh.org at 5:15 AM on November 5, 2002


I don't know. I've seen a lot of instructional documents printed (or rather, Xeroxed until they're nearly unreadable) for poor people by local government agencies. And they look a lot like this.

As much as I'd like to believe you, tpoh.org, I find it hard to believe that any official governmental documents are being issued in any widespread manner without any identification of the issuing agency or authority, any contact information indicating where one could receive clarification or even reprints of the material or which attempted to cite some matter of law without any reference whatsoever to what the specific law happened to be or what body (municipality, county, state or fed) enacted and would enforce said law. I'd love to see an example of any official government document that wasn't issued on so much as a generic piece of letterhead. In fact, I might even pay to see something like that, assuming, of course, that it could be verified as such.
posted by Dreama at 5:25 AM on November 5, 2002


At least ten of the twelve poll locations you sited are public buildings and could possibly have a police presence. Just because one is less educated than another and can be easily persuaded, shouldn't exclude them from voting. Most here are obviously "well read," etc, but imagine having grown up and still living in a poverty stricken neighborhood where it literally took ALL the efforts of campaigners, preachers, and the like to see something they already knew; that a change was needed and that you could actually make a difference by voting. Now, several days before election day you see the bulletin in question. A well educated person would do all the things you mentioned above, but we may very well be talking about some/many who would be equally educated if they could vote for changes in their district. Just something to ponder. Peace.
posted by LouReedsSon at 5:27 AM on November 5, 2002


Just up the road in Chatham County, NC, a white Republican-turned-Democrat who was running for commissioner was seen last summer giving a $500 donation check to a black church's building fund. The preacher noted for the congregation what a fine, Christian man he was and let him speak at the pulpit for ten minutes. All perfectly legal, of course, and a perfect example of the kind of vote-buying that used to flourish in this area back in the 1950s.

You know, I can't imagine what's going on at all these new absentee voting places. It's hard enough to police one-day voting.
posted by mediareport at 5:34 AM on November 5, 2002


The vast majority of polling places in Baltimore County, Maryland are in schools.

Is anyone else's polling place in a church? I'm about to head out the door and walk to the corner to vote at my friendly neighborhood place of worship. The old ladies are always nice, but I dunno, something still seems wrong about that.
posted by mediareport at 5:40 AM on November 5, 2002


At least ten of the twelve poll locations you sited are public buildings and could possibly have a police presence.

Any building that's open to the public (i.e. open for voting) could have a police presence, if not inside, on the very public sidewalk outside. Police serving an arrest warrant can enter a public building to do so. Police looking for traffic law scofflaws can sit outside any building waiting for cars with license plates that match their list. It doesn't take much common sense to realize that.

Just because one is less educated than another and can be easily persuaded, shouldn't exclude them from voting.

Just because one doesn't own a car shouldn't exclude them from voting. But it often does because that person doesn't want to put forth the effort of walking or taking a bus or finding a ride. Similarly, if someone is handed what should be a suspect (at best) flyer such as this and doesn't put forth the effort to investigate further, whose fault is it, exactly?

Is anyone else's polling place in a church?

I just got off of the phone with my mother. Her balloting place is actually a day care center (formerly a Catholic grade school) where the building owners are supposed to open the doors to the poll staff at 6:30 a.m. Today, they chose not open the doors until 6:55, causing an illegal half-hour delay in the opening of the polls for her precinct. She reports that 8 people were there at 7:00 a.m. but she was one of only 2 who stayed around and waited while all of the set up was taking place. Everyone else left bitching loudly that they'd have to try to find time to come back later in the day, after work/school/whatever. (Yes, she did call the board of elections to file an official complaint.)

Right about now, I'm sure that she and her neighbours would be happy for a precinct in a church, (like the one that can actually be seen from her polling place, they're so close to one another) where no one's business activities are being disturbed, therefore leaving far less reason for passive/aggressive power plays against poll workers which negatively (and illegally) impact the voters.
posted by Dreama at 6:37 AM on November 5, 2002


that tactic is vile but anybody stupid enough to fall for that shit shouldn't be voting anyway

any elderly person who is stupid enough to be bilked out of money by scam artists shouldn't have money anyway.

Indeed. New Mexico's Constitution says as much

I'm quite certain that the word "idiot" as used in the NM constitution doesn't mean "dumb-ass."


You don't have to be educated to vote in this country. You're allowed to be gullible and still vote. With the way some of the educated dumb-fucks vote, how can we disallow the uneducated ones?

A person need not be well informed to vote. Do people really compare each candidate on every issue and vote for the one that is the best overall, or do they vote for the one who agrees with them on a few pet issues? Worse, how many people vote for a candidate only because they belong to the appropriate party? If I choose to cast my vote for a candidates based only on the whether I liked the color of their tie during the last debate, that's my right.

How is falling for the flyer and different than falling for a candidate's slick advertisement and selective reporting of a candidate's record?

Voting is not a privilege.
posted by tolkhan at 1:05 PM on November 5, 2002


How is falling for the flyer and different than falling for a candidate's slick advertisement and selective reporting of a candidate's record?

On the part of the voter, it's not. A sucker is a sucker.

But on the part of the campaigner, it's evidence of preying on suckers instead of actually trying to convince the public of the validity of one's stand on the issues.

Unfortunately, there are more suckers in the world than there are concerned voters.
posted by oissubke at 1:26 PM on November 5, 2002


Worse, how many people vote for a candidate only because they belong to the appropriate party?

What's wrong with this? What good are political parties if they can't serve as useful indicators about a candidate's general philosophy on governance?

I do generally do research into the candidates, but it is really only out of curiousity. The only way that I'd vote for a non-Democrat (for major office anyway) is if I believed that the Democratic candidate was corrupt (not just in corrupt in that vague way all politicians are but actually engaged in illegal or highly unethical pratices). Why? Because I'm voting the Democratic party to take control of the House and retain the Senate, not for my specific guy.
posted by boltman at 3:10 PM on November 5, 2002


any elderly person who is stupid enough to be bilked out of money by scam artists shouldn't have money anyway.

Apples and oranges. Those scam artists are frequently referred to as con artists, con meaning confidence. They offer enough bonafides to gain trust and make themselves seem legitimate. Crude, unattributed black and white xeroxed flyers only gain the the trust of someone who isn't thinking.

The point is, in the case of anyone who fell for this flyer, no one prevented them from voting but themselves.
posted by Dreama at 9:57 PM on November 5, 2002


Similarly, if someone is handed what should be a suspect (at best) flyer such as this and doesn't put forth the effort to investigate further, whose fault is it, exactly?

It is, exactly, the fault of the person creating and distributing a fraudulently misinformative flyer.
posted by jkilg at 12:56 PM on November 6, 2002


It is, exactly, the fault of the person creating and distributing a fraudulently misinformative flyer.

Legally speaking, that seems accurate. If you con an old man out of his retirement fund by lying to him, the court is going to blame you for the scam, not the old man for falling for it.
posted by oissubke at 1:10 PM on November 6, 2002


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