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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If You Want George W. Bush to go to Prison...You Better Vote for Obama

by Kris Seals


We have heard the arguments. We have heard the agendas. Now, the country goes to vote. Will the winner be successful in turning the nation around for the better? Probably not. It will take more than two terms to fix this mess. However, there is something at stake, and that is George Walker Bush paying for his crimes.

Here is the short list: An invasion of Iraq that has not achieved its original purpose (Weapons of Mass Destruction...remember?) Enron, Halliburton truckers being paid exponentially more than the soldiers protecting them along their routes, invasion of privacy via the Patriot Act, waterboarding at Guantanamo Bay, the current economic crisis brought on by companies he allowed to run amok, the Hurricane Katrina relief disaster, a third world energy grid (no one ever thinks of that one) and last but certainly not least, the events of September 11th, 2001. There is a big difference between making inspirational speeches after an attack and doing your real job, which is to prevent the attack in the first place.


Should there be an investigation of Bush? Definitely. Do the American people want it? Of course. Remember, the Michael Moore film "Fahrenheit 9/11" raked in millions for his non-official investigation of the president.

Also, the government spent $60 million to prove Bill Clinton has an affair. Surely, Bush Jr. has to be worth a few pennies.

Now, should the country finally respect the American people and the soldiers who are dying for no good reason in Iraq, after an investigation would come the trial. "Guilty", and the case better not take weeks either.

Here is where the choice for president comes in, and it is critical. If McCain wins, Bush wins. As soon as the guilty verdict comes down, McCain will pardon Bush, and all of it was for nothing. George will walk, and he will be as the legendary "Die Hard" villain Hans Gruber said, "...sitting on a beach, earning twenty percent."

If Obama wins, then the pardon is out of the picture, unless Washington is more corrupt than anyone could fathom. However, if Obama is genuine, then Bush will go to prison. Who knows? In an ironic twist, maybe, just maybe, he may be the recipient of some of that old fashioned Texas justice that he likes so much. Yes, I mean execution. Normally, I am against that, but I will make an exception for him. Yes, he deserves it.

The point is, George has to pay, severely. His antics have not just plunged the United States into a debt so massive that the board in Union Square ran out of digits, but the whole world is now in a recession, despite whatever he says.

Granted there are some Bush supporters who will surely reply to this. They have their opinions. I have facts. I win.

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Virginia + Pennsylvania = Good Night Sleep

It is impossible for John McCain to win this election if he loses Pennsylvania and Virginia on Tuesday night. Even if he won every swing state on the map after that -- including Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada -- he would still lose (you can play around with the electoral map and check for yourself here).

This assumes that Obama will carry every other blue state, plus Iowa. He has double digit leads in all of those states, so that is a fair assumption unless there is colossal voter fraud.

Speaking of which, given Obama's wide lead in many of the states mentioned above, if the results do in fact show him "losing," I would be very, very skeptical of those results. Every polling organization in the country can't be wrong about every state. I don't suspect that we will have this problem, but if we do, I'm not buying any of the crap about a Bradley Effect (in fact, someone on our site has written about the possibility of a Reverse Bradley Effect).

So, we might know who the next President of the United States of America is by 8:05 PM EST on Tuesday night. This has been such a long time coming for those of us who have been fighting this Bush administration for all of these years. I still can't get myself to think about the possibility, even when it appears imminent. I can't imagine the feeling I will have, and we all will have, if and when that happens on what can be one of the most historic nights of our lives.

We will be covering the whole night on our website, from 5PM-2AM EST. We will have guests from major media outlets, to Democratic Congressmen, to some of the top progressives in the country, to our correspondents from all over the country, to your calls. But most importantly, if that magical moment happens, we will not pretend to be objective - we will celebrate with unfettered joy.

Are you ready to make history? Today we get to change the world.

Original here

Latest election calls from AP

1_Obama_2008.sff.jpg

Supporters arrive for the election night party for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., at Grant Park in Chicago, Tuesday night, Nov. 4, 2008. Associated Press © 2008

WASHINGTON November 4, 2008, 10:58 pm ET · Latest election calls from AP:

PRESIDENT

Obama wins Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Wisconsin,

McCain wins Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming,

SENATE

Elected:

Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

Joe Biden, D-Del.

Susan Collins, R-Maine

Richard Durbin, D-Ill.

John Kerry, D-Mass.

Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

Kay Hagan, D-N.C.

James Inhofe, R-Okla.

Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

Mark Warner, D-Va.

Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

Michael Enzi, R-Wyo.

Tim Johnson, D-S.D.

Carl Levin, D-Mich.

Jack Reed, D-R.I.

Tom Udall, D-N.M.

Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.

Michael Enzi, R-Wyo.

Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Max Baucus, D-Mont.

Tom Harkin, D-Iowa

Thad Cochran, R-Miss.

Mike Johanns, R-Neb.

Mark Udall, D-Colo.

GOVERNOR

Elected:

John Lynch, D-N.H.

Jack Markell, D-Del.

Jay Nixon, D-Mo.

John Hoeven, R-N.D.

Jon Huntsman, R-Utah

Brian Schweitzer, D-Mont.

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I Didn't Vote For Obama Today

I have a confession to make.

I did not vote for Barack Obama today.

I've openly supported Obama since March. But I didn't vote for him today.

I wanted to vote for Ronald Woods. He was my algebra teacher at Clark Junior High in East St. Louis, IL. He died 15 years ago when his truck skidded head-first into a utility pole. He spent many a day teaching us many things besides the Pythagorean Theorem. He taught us about Medgar Evers, Ralph Abernathy, John Lewis and many other civil rights figures who get lost in the shadow cast by Martin Luther King, Jr.

But I didn't vote for Mr. Woods.

I wanted to vote for Willie Mae Cross. She owned and operated Crossroads Preparatory Academy for almost 30 years, educating and empowering thousands of kids before her death in 2003. I was her first student. She gave me my first job, teaching chess and math concepts to kids in grades K-4 in her summer program. She was always there for advice, cheer and consolation. Ms. Cross, in her own way, taught me more about walking in faith than anyone else I ever knew.

But I didn't vote for Ms. Cross.

I wanted to vote for Arthur Mells Jackson, Sr. and Jr. Jackson Senior was a Latin professor. He has a gifted school named for him in my hometown. Jackson Junior was the pre-eminent physician in my hometown for over 30 years. He has a heliport named for him at a hospital in my hometown. They were my great-grandfather and great-uncle, respectively.

But I didn't vote for Prof. Jackson or Dr. Jackson.

I wanted to vote for A.B. Palmer. She was a leading civil rights figure in Shreveport, Louisiana, where my mother grew up and where I still have dozens of family members. She was a strong-willed woman who earned the grudging respect of the town's leaders because she never, ever backed down from anyone and always gave better than she got. She lived to the ripe old age of 99, and has a community center named for her in Shreveport.

But I didn't vote for Mrs. Palmer.

I wanted to vote for these people, who did not live to see a day where a Black man would appear on their ballots on a crisp November morning.

In the end, though, I realized that I could not vote for them any more than I could vote for Obama himself.

So who did I vote for?

No one.

I didn't vote. Not for President, anyway.

Oh, I went to the voting booth. I signed, was given my stub, and was walked over to a voting machine. I cast votes for statewide races and a state referendum on water and sewer improvements.

I stood there, and I thought about all of these people, who influenced my life so greatly. But I didn't vote for who would be the 44th President of the United States.

When my ballot was complete, except for the top line, I finally decided who I was going to vote for - and then decided to let him vote for me. I reached down, picked him up, and told him to find Obama's name on the screen and touch it.

And so it came to pass that Alexander Reed, age 5, read the voting screen, found the right candidate, touched his name, and actually cast a vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

Oh, the vote will be recorded as mine. But I didn't cast it.

Then again, the person who actually pressed the Obama box and the red "vote" button was the person I was really voting for all along.

It made the months of donating, phonebanking, canvassing, door hanger distributing, sign posting, blogging, arguing and persuading so much sweeter.

So, no, I didn't vote for Barack Obama. I voted for a boy who now has every reason to believe he, too, can grow up to be anything he wants...even President.

Original here

Joe The Plumber Vs. CNN's Rick Sanchez: "You're Asking Me Insane Questions"

Joe the Plumber, in his last media tour of (one can hope) this election cycle, took to CNN this afternoon to make the case for his candidate John McCain. Only things didn't exactly go as planned. Host Rick Sanchez began asking a whole host of questions on sensitive topics like: Why don't you have a plumber's license? Why haven't you paid your taxes? Why is a hospital in South Carolina asking you for $1,100 in payments? And why does someone making far less than $250,000 have a problem with taxes being raised on those in the top income brackets?

Joe, not surprisingly, was none too pleased with having the grilling turned on him. "You're asking me all these insane questions," he said, shooting back that Sanchez never applied the same scrutiny to Barack Obama. Joe called Sanchez's inquiries "ridiculous" and at one point pleaded, "Why don't you ask what I'm going to do now?"

Here is the clip:

And here is the transcript of the heated/humorous exchange.

Why are you vetting me out and you haven't done this for Obama? You are asking me all these insane questions I asked a question of an elected public official and you are going to ask me these questions? That's kind of ridiculous man.

You have gone on the air and endorsed John McCain, you are no longer just joe private person, you have thrust yourself into this campaign by holding news conferences talking to reporters and endorsing a candidate. You have to be asked the tough questions my friend. That's the way it works in this country

Well, ask good questions then. Why don't you ask what I'm going to do now?

Both individuals, it seems, make valid points. But did Joe really think he could go on the stump, call Obama a socialist and a fatal threat to Israel and not expect any push-back?

Original here

GOP Officials Trying To Disqualify Iowa Student Ballots

The Iowa GOP appears to be distancing itself from a Monday effort to challenge thousands of student ballots at Grinnell College.

Spokesman Nathan Treloar told the Huffington Post on Tuesday that while he has "seen reports coming out that its Republican lawyers" objecting to student ballots, he claimed "this could be a local thing" at the county level.

Asked whether the state party has encouraged or endorsed the strategy, in which students who did not register to vote by affixing a PO box to their official university mailing address are being challenged, Treloar said "No, not that I have been made aware of." Treloar then suggested contacting the Republican chair in Poweshiek county, where Grinnell is located.

But if the Iowa Republican Party is not eager to be associated with the challenging the ballots of young voters, they have yet to communicate their displeasure to those who are responsible for the tactic.

Reached by phone, Poweshiek Republican county chair Harry Meek not only claimed responsibility for the strategy, but said he had no idea whether the state party backed his move. "Yeah, it was us," he admitted, sounding somewhat resigned. Asked if he knew how the state party viewed their legal challenge of young voters, Meek said, "I couldn't tell ya."

"We were told that Secretary of State in Iowa had made some concessions for students -- as long as they put down the [university] post office address along with a PO box, that was adequate. So the ones we challenged were those that didn't have a PO box. It's real simple, we're just going by the rules. It says so right on the challenge affidavit."

Alec Schierenbeck, Vice President of the College Democrats of America and a student at Grinnell College, sees it differently. "That is a technicality that they're using to try and disenfranchise students," he said, noting that while only 50 votes have been challenged out of 700 early ballots on campus, the result is mass confusion on campus today. "At the last minute, we've had to rearrange the way we are getting out the vote on campus. I fear some voters were disuaded by the idea they're going to go to polls today, and a lawyer is going to harrangue them and shake a book at them. It spreads a lot of disinformation."

Schierenbeck says that all students who cast challenged ballots have been contacted, and are signing statements in advance of a Thursday hearing on the issue. "Given the [last-minute] context of challenge, and the history of way we've registered, we're optimistic these votes are going to be upheld," he said.

"The is a last-minute tactic by a party that's adrift, and has little left to do but disenfranchise people," Schierenbeck added. "That's why the state party has cut them adrift. They don't want to take responsibility for it, either."

Original here

Tim Robbins' Polling Place Nightmare: He's Turned Away! (VIDEO)


Politically active actor Tim Robbins almost didn't get to vote in New York.

TMZ reports Robbins was turned away at his polling place.

There was some kind of ruckus and the cops were called.


Apparently Robbins has been voting at that polling place for more than a decade, but today his name wasn't on the register. They told Robbins he had to fill out a provisional ballot but he didn't want to do it. An argument erupted between Robbins and the poll worker. Robbins allegedly got loud and the poll worker said he was calling the cops.

Robbins accused the poll worker of trying to intimidate him so he wouldn't vote.

Robbins went downtown to the City Board of Elections to get proof he was good to vote.

That's where a TMZ camera caught up with him. Robbins held up his papers and told the camera:


"This is what you have to do to vote... I had to go down to see a judge... My name was not on the roll, and I'm not the only one. According to workers, 30 people in 5 hours had been taking off the rolls. You can do the math on that. 6 per hour, per district across America..."

WATCH:


Original here

Obama supporter's home vandalized with racism

Reported by: WPTV staff
Email: webteam@wptv.com
Reported by: Marci Gonzalez

Click the video player to the right to watch the story.

LOXAHATCHEE, FL -- A Loxahatchee resident is rattled after he says he came home Sunday evening to find his vehicle and home spray painted with racist graffiti and anti-Obama messages.

The homeowner, Kevius Hodges is an Obama/Biden supporter. Hodges says white supremacy messages were spray painted with an angry anti-Obama tone.

Local residents are outraged over the racist comments threatening violence.

Besides the expletives spray painted on his home, McCain and Palin's names are painted on the owner's SUV.

He believes he was the target because of his race and the Obama sign in his front yard.

Hodges says he is not angry about the damage, "This stuff is material stuff. I can paint this, cover that," said Hodges.

It's the racism he didn’t expect in the community where he lives and teaches elementary school.

"You would think things would be different than it is. What's gonna happen after tomorrow? Let's say Obama does win, then what?"

Original here

Dems poised to sweep House, Senate

By MARTIN SIEFF

Democratic Presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks at a rally on October 31, 2008 in Highland, Indiana. Thousands attended the evening rally held outdoors in a city park as the candidates make their final push leading up to the November 4th election. (UPI Photo/Brian Kersey)
Democratic Presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks at a rally on October 31, 2008 in Highland, Indiana. Thousands attended the evening rally held outdoors in a city park as the candidates make their final push leading up to the November 4th election. (UPI Photo/Brian Kersey)

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Democratic Sen. Barack Obama may win the U.S. presidency narrowly Tuesday, or he may win by a big margin. But either way -- and even if Republican contender Sen. John McCain pulls off an upset -- the outlook for Republicans in Congress is dire.

The Democrats are poised to make sweeping gains in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. They could get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, allowing them to launch a blizzard of reform legislation comparable only to the periods 1933-36 and 1965-66 in U.S. history.

The Democrats are challenging hard all across the nation, showing excellent prospects for carrying states in the presidential race and picking up House and Senate seats in states that have been Republican strongholds for a generation or longer.

Key bellwether states where the Dems are charging hard stretch all the way across the U.S. heartland that as recently as four years ago was a monolithic stronghold for President George W. Bush and the Republican majorities he still then enjoyed in both the House and the Senate.

Obama looks almost certain to make massive gains in the West and Southwest, long the strongest bastion of national conservative Republican free-market political forces. Polls indicate Obama has decisively won the battle for the Latino vote and, along with the defection of key white working-class voters, he appears poised to carry -- and chalk up House gains in -- New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado. Even McCain's home state of Arizona, which already has an able and popular Democratic governor in Janet Napolitano, could see Dem gains.

The Democrats look certain to surge from 50 seats in the Senate to at least 57, and quite possibly 59. Their hopes of getting the magic 60 figure, which would give them a filibuster-proof power to approve any government or Supreme Court nominations they want, hinge on, of all things, a comedian -- Al Franken, who is posing an unexpectedly strong challenge to veteran incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota.

If Franken can pull off a dark horse victory there, as Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., did two years ago, expect Democratic sweeps all across the board. We think he can.

Former Gov. Mark Warner also looks poised to carry Virginia for the Democrats in the Senate, giving them a lock on both Senate seats in the Old Dominion.

The Evans-Novak Political Report last week was frank about the dark outlook ahead for the GOP. "House Republicans face another slaughter. Democrats will make double-digit net gains, possibly pushing 30 seats. Many GOP incumbents are in danger, and Democrats are dominating in the open seats," it warned.

The ENPR concluded, "In the Senate, Democrats start with a gain of four seats, with another seven GOP-held seats in play. We predict 58 or 59 Senate Democrats in the next Congress, but 60 is within reach."

Democratic political strategists and pundits have been predicting a coming emerging long-term Dem majority for more than a decade. Even if there is a sweeping victory across the board this time, and even if a blizzard of legislation remakes the legal and political structure of America in the next two to four years, that is still far from inevitable.

If the expected huge Dem majorities in both houses of Congress deliver renewed prosperity and security, they could have a lock on power for a generation, as the Reagan Republicans, the Franklin Roosevelt New Deal Democrats and the Progressive Era Republicans did before them.

But if the Dem reform Congress fails to deliver on peace, security and prosperity, expect a new, probably populist, nationalist reaction, emphasizing protectionism and nationalism and secure borders to either take over the GOP or emerge as a formidable third party force by 2012.

The bottom line behind the Dem success is not the achievements of the Democratic-controlled 110th Congress, which has consistently shown even lower approval ratings than President Bush.

Nor are the coming Democratic gains powered by widespread enthusiasm for a reform agenda. Even before McCain started losing crucial ground because of his complete inability to credibly address the huge financial crisis that destroyed the main investment banks on Wall Street, polls were pointing to strong further Democratic advances at GOP expense in both house of Congress. The Congresses controlled by Dennis Hastert and Tom DeLay from 1998 to 2006 were already widely seen as no more than ATM machines for the GOP and K Street lobbyists.

Expect a transformation of Congress at least as big as 1994 or 1974 from the election results Tuesday -- probably even bigger. As Bob Dylan sang all those years ago, the times they are a-changin' -- again.

Original here



Voter Intimidation in North County

DEVELOPING…

We had a tip come in our on Strikeforce Hotline that there are police circling Berkley Middle School in the Airport Township.

There are two issues in play:

  1. Police are circling the polling place, which according to our source, is making people in line uneasy.
  2. Poll workers are harassing voters over identification.

Obviously, voter intimdation in a predominately African American pocket of the metro area (77%, 2000 Census)is a very big deal. At this time, we haven’t been able to determine whether or not the intimidated voters are being turned away or being given a provisional ballot.

Upon receiving the tip, we alerted the Obama lawyer at the polling place closest to our current location, who then called the “secret squirrel” hotline to provide the information we were given. Shortly thereafter (and I mean like 4 seconds after he hung up), we received a phone call from the boiler room for more information. We were then told that the campaign was dispatching a platoon of lawyers to deal with the problem immediately.

As we recieve more information, we’ll update the post.

Voter Protection Hotlines

877-874-6226 (Obama Protection Hotline)
314-437-9347 (Obama Strikeforce local Hotline)

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Obama Wins Dixville Notch, NH, The First Place To Vote


DIXVILLE NOTCH, N.H. — Barack Obama came up a big winner in the presidential race in Dixville Notch and Hart's Location, N.H., where tradition of having the first Election Day ballots tallied lives on.

Democrat Obama defeated Republican John McCain by a count of 15 to 6 in Dixville Notch, where a loud whoop accompanied the announcement in Tuesday's first minutes. The town of Hart's Location reported 17 votes for Obama, 10 for McCain and two for write-in Ron Paul. Independent Ralph Nader was on both towns' ballots but got no votes.

"I'm not going to say I wasn't surprised," said Obama supporter Tanner Nelson Tillotson, whose name was drawn from a bowl to make him Dixville Notch's first voter.

With 115 residents between them, Dixville Notch and Hart's Location get every eligible voter to the polls beginning at midnight on Election Day. Between them, the towns have been enjoying their first-vote status since 1948.

Being first means something to residents of the Granite State, home of the nation's earliest presidential primary and the central focus _ however briefly _ of the vote-watching nation's attention every four years.

Town Clerk Rick Erwin said Dixville Notch is proud of its tradition, but added, "The most important thing is that we exemplify a 100 percent vote."

Dixville Notch resident Peter Johnson said the early bird electoral exercise "is fun." A former naval aviator, Johnson said he was voting for McCain, but added, "I think both candidates are excellent people."

Voting was carried out in a room in a local hotel festooned with political memorabilia from campaigns long past. Each voter gets an individual booth so there are no lines at the magic hour. The votes were quickly counted, announced and recorded on a posterboard that proclaims, "First in the Nation, Dixville Notch."

The tradition drew spectators, including Tim McKenna, who drove with his wife 16 miles from Cambridge, N.H., to witness the event.

"Living in New Hampshire, you hear so much about it in the news," said McKenna. "I think it's a very historic election this year."

Ed Butler, a Democratic state representative who runs the Notchland Inn in Hart's Location, said, "Being this small and being able to be first just makes it that much more special."

Although scores of states have voted early, the two villages are the first to officially announce the results on Election Day.

New Hampshire law requires polls to open at 11 a.m., but that doesn't stop towns from opening earlier. It also allows towns to close their polls once all registered and eligible voters have cast ballots.

Hart's Location started opening its polls early in 1948, the year Harry S. Truman beat Thomas Dewey, to accommodate railroad workers who had to get to work early. Hart's Location got out of the early voting business in 1964 after some residents grew weary of all the publicity, but brought it back in 1996.

Dixville Notch, nestled in a mountain pass 1,800 feet up and about halfway between the White Mountain National Forest and the Canadian border, followed suit in 1960, when John F. Kennedy beat Richard M. Nixon. Nixon, the Republican, swept all nine votes cast in Dixville that year, and before Tuesday, the town had gone for a Democrat only once since then. That was in 1968, when the tally was Democrat Hubert Humphrey eight, Nixon four.

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Paid GOP Workers Say They Misled Wisconsin Voters

Four employees hired by a temporary staffing agency to encourage absentee voting for Sen. John McCain in Wisconsin say they were instructed to tell people they were Republican volunteers.

The employees told The Associated Press in interviews on Monday they were hired by Allstaff Labor Group to go door-to-door in the Milwaukee suburbs locating McCain supporters and distributing absentee ballot request forms.

Allstaff recruited the workers under a contract with a consulting firm hired by the Republican Party of Wisconsin to run its absentee ballot program.

The workers claim they were told to say they were GOP volunteers even though they were getting paid $10 an hour for the work. They were required to sign agreements stating they would not speak publicly about their work with anyone including reporters, but they decided to speak out because they were angry they had not been paid for their final few days.

"I told the Republican Party and Allstaff, I wanted to know why we were lying to these residents," said Loyalty Dixon, 26, a Milwaukee resident who worked about two weeks in Waukesha. "I said, isn't that fraudulent? They didn't give me a good explanation. They said, you guys know you're getting paid. Don't worry about it."

She recalled getting praised by Waukesha residents at gas stations and at a McDonald's for being a McCain supporter. Some residents at their doors even asked whether they were getting paid, she said.

"We had to lie to these people and say we were volunteers," she said.

Three other employees shared similar stories on Monday.


"They had us say, 'I'm volunteering for the Republican Party of Wisconsin," said Marquis Mayes, 23. "I asked them, why would we say we were volunteers and we're not? They didn't have an answer for that."

The workers claimed they were owed between $200 and $300 for their last few days of work. They said they needed the money to pay upcoming rent and utility bills; they had found out about the job while they were at a Milwaukee YWCA looking for employment.

Two of the workers said they planned to vote for Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday; two others said they were leaning toward McCain but were unsure now because of the dispute with the Republican Party over their pay.

GOP spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski confirmed there was a dispute over how many hours they worked, and the party's vendor was working to resolve it.

She said the program's managers were instructed to "accurately represent the program," and if that didn't happen it was a mistake. The paid workers may have picked up a script that said they were volunteers since they were working at GOP offices alongside volunteers, she said.

She insisted that if anyone brought the issue to the party's attention it would have been promptly fixed.

"We did not instruct them to misrepresent themselves," she wrote in an e-mail.

Allstaff representatives did not return phone messages.

Allstaff was only one of many temporary staffing firms hired by GOP consulting firm Lincoln Strategy Group to run the party's absentee ballot request distribution program.

Kukowski released a copy of the confidentiality agreement signed by the temporary workers, in which they agreed not to discuss the project "with anyone outside of Lincoln Strategy Group and the Republican Party apparatus.

"In addition," the agreement says, "I acknowledge that I am not authorized to speak to any member of the media (i.e. reporter, journalist, camera crew, etc.) should they inquire about the details of this project."

Kukowski said the agreement was required because workers were handling sensitive personal information about voters.

She said the workers spent three weeks distributing the forms to McCain supporters around the state.

The state's top election official, Kevin Kennedy, said the effort ran into problems in the Green Bay area, with at least one employee turning in numerous absentee ballot distribution forms that were falsified. He said the worker was promptly fired and the local clerk tossed out the forms.

He said he also received complaints that the workers were told to mislead voters into believing they were volunteers. Those complaints have been forwarded to local district attorneys, he said, but it's unclear whether it would be a crime.

"I've heard the argument made that somehow this was falsely facilitating absentee voting but I think that's a stretch," Kennedy said. "I think the issue more is, what does that say about the tactics of a political party? ... I don't think it's illegal to do but it creates all sorts of problems."

Kennedy compared the problems to those seen during voter registration drives by the liberal-leaning group ACORN, which Republicans have accused of voter fraud. Anytime workers are paid for campaign work they have an incentive to cut corners, he said.

Original here

Phony Virginia Flier Culprit Found


State elections officials have identified the person responsible for a phony election flier that told Republicans to vote on Tuesday and Democrats to vote a day later.

State Board of Elections Secretary Nancy Rodrigues said Monday the flier bearing the Virginia seal and the elections board logo was a joke that got out of control. The flier was distributed early last week across Hampton Roads. State police confirmed it also was distributed by e-mail.

State officials declined to name the person who created the flier or a second person who began distributing it.

While distribution of false information to voters is a misdemeanor, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller says no charges would be filed.

Original here

76 Nobel Laureates Endorse Obama


RNC Hits Obama For Visit To Sick Grandmother

Leaving no potential avenue of attack unexplored, the Republican National Committee has decided to bash Barack Obama over his October visit to see his ailing grandmother in Hawaii.

Of course the visit itself is not being criticized, but rather the way the campaign paid for the nominee's unscheduled detour. On Monday afternoon, the RNC blasted out a complaint from the California Republican Party charging that "Obama for America violated federal law by converting its campaign funds to Senator Obama's personal use" for the trip. That proposed issue for the FEC to investigate is one of five violations alleged by California Republicans in their complaint (which you can read in its entirety here).

"Senator Obama recently traveled to Hawaii to visit his sick grandmother. This was the right thing for any grandson to do -- at his own expense -- but it was not travel that his campaign may fund," said California Republican Chairman Ron Nehring in a statement Monday.

"In Senator Obama's own words, his travels took him 'off the [campaign] trail for a day.' The trip featured no campaign events of any kind its 22-hour duration and his decision to travel was 'not driven by political concerns,' according to an Obama spokesperson. Since the trip's purpose was entirely and admittedly personal, the fact that he made campaign telephone calls and talked with staff aides while traveling does not convert this purely personal trip into a proper campaign expense. Therefore, the Obama Campaign violated the FEC's ban on 'personal use' of campaign funds when it paid over $100,000 for the Campaign's charter to fly to Hawaii without obtaining reimbursement from Senator Obama."

"To be clear, the California Republican Party respects Senator Obama's decision to leave the campaign trail for a worthwhile personal purpose. But the Party will not quietly let 'hard facts make bad law.' If the FEC fails to act here, it will-contrary to explicit provisions of federal law-allow personal travel to Hawaii at campaign expense: a loophole sure to be exploited by others for less commendable personal purposes. Sympathy must not cloud the simple truth. This trip was personally important to Senator Obama, but served no campaign purpose. Its costs should have been paid with Senator Obama's own funds," Nehring said.

Asked for comment, an Obama spokesman gave no response.

Beside the Hawaii complaint, the state GOP also raises another allegation against the Democratic nominee based on testimony from a Pennsylvania case involving ACORN. In that testimony, a former employee of an ACORN affiliate alleged that the Obama campaign transfered its donor list to the community organizing group -- a claim disputed by ACORN itself. The California GOP, however, treats the matter as settled fact.

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Virginia Voting: Broken Machines, No Paper Ballots

At the Math and Science Center in Richmond, Virginia, an early breakdown of electronic voting machines led to a three-and-a-half hour wait to vote on Tuesday morning, according to one poll watcher.

"Some people have been here since 6 a.m., and the first voters are just finishing now," said Judith Browne-Dianis, adding that the Richmond location she was watching did not even have backup paper ballots in case of machine malfunction.

"They didn't even have the paper ballots required by state law," she said. "That's not even something we were supposed to have to ask for. I went inside and asked the polling judge, and he said 'we don't have 'em. They [the Board of Elections] were supposed to give 'em to us, and they didn't.'"

Browne-Dianis is also a lawyer with the Advancement Project. That group, along with the NAACP, unsuccessfully brought legal action against Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as part of an effort to expand polling place hours this evening.

The groups had also hoped to get Virginia to provide more paper ballots for voters in case late evening lines proved prohibitive -- a request that was also rejected by a judge on Monday.

On Tuesday morning, though, Browne-Dianis said her group had succeeded in getting Virginia to announce that curbside voting will be in effect tonight for elderly and disabled voters. She also underlined the fact that anyone who lines up by 7pm will be able to vote, no matter how long the line takes to process.

As for her group's thwarted legal challenge, Browne-Dianis said the judge was sympathetic to the case during Monday's hearing. "He himself described waiting two and half hours, at age 85, to vote absentee. ... He said we need to go to the state legislature and get early voting, and that there is no remedy for voters for this election. And so we are monitoring the polls."

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