No need to rig voting machines. The best way to rig an election is to keep voters away from the polls in the first place.
Democrats: GOP clerk discouraging Colorado students from voting
WASHINGTON — Colorado Democrats accused a Republican county clerk Wednesday of falsely informing Colorado College that students from outside the state could not register to vote if their parents claimed them as a dependent on their tax returns.
At a news conference in Colorado Springs, Democrats also charged that county clerk Robert Balink took several steps to dampen voter registrations among college students, who are likely to favor Democrat Barack Obama. Balink was a delegate to the Republican National Convention.
“When election officials spread false information about who is eligible to vote and remove, not add, polling places, we need to be concerned that eligible voters will be denied their right to vote,” said Pat Waak, chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party.
Balink’s actions marked the second time in recent weeks that local election officials have sought to discourage college students from voting. Democrats recently have made a series of accusations that Republicans are attempting to suppress the Democratic voter turnout in the November presidential election.
The New York Times reported on Sept. 8 that a local registrar at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., issued two releases that incorrectly suggested dire consequences for students who registered to vote, including the possibility they no longer could be claimed as dependents on their parents’ tax returns.
Martha Tierney, an attorney for the Colorado Democratic Party, said she obtained emails showing that Balink’s office sent to the Colorado College president’s office a flier to provide students with voter-registration information.
The flier stated: “What this means is that if your parents still claim you on their income tax returns, and they file that return in a state other than Colorado, you are not eligible to register to vote or vote in Colorado.”
Balink didn’t immediately return a call for comment.
Last week, Democrats filed a lawsuit in Michigan, seeking a court order barring Republicans from using lists of people facing mortgage foreclosure proceedings as a basis for challenging their voting eligibility. Michigan Republicans denied using foreclosure lists to cast doubt about voters’ qualifications.
And in Ohio, a pivotal state that was mired in allegations of voting irregularities in the 2004 presidential election, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has taken several steps to safeguard residents’ voting rights. On Wednesday, Brunner advised county election boards across the state that the listing of a voter’s name on a foreclosure list is insufficient, on its own, to sustain a challenge to his or her residency status.
“Ohioans faced with the pain and turmoil of a home foreclosure should not be targeted by the forces of disenfranchisement on Election Day,” Brunner said.
Brunner also recently took action to prevent a tactic known as “vote caging,” in which returned mail sent to a voter’s home is used to challenge the voter’s eligibility. Brunner advised counties that the return of a non-forwardable notice is not enough to sustain a challenge on its own, and she has ordered that all challenged voters have rights to hearings before the election.