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Dirty tricks to gain votes

(Credit: Politirazzi)

Washington, D.C. (AP)

By Pete Catapano

Voters being falsely threatened with arrest. Votes being switched for the other candidate in computerized machines. Misinformation about polling sites

These are just some of the shenanigans that some say tainted the 2004 vote, and such tampering could already be happening again.

“We see this every year,” Jonah Goldman of the advocacy group Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law told the Associated Press. “It all happens around this time when there’s too much other stuff going on in the campaigns, and it doesn’t get investigated.”

In the past few weeks, there already have been reports of some shady activities:

* In Michigan, some were allegedly told they couldn’t vote if their home was being foreclosed.

* In Broward County, Florida, residents have been robo-called and falsely instructed that they can vote by phone Tuesday.

* In Pittsburgh, a robo-call is falsely advising voters that Republicans are scheduled to vote Tuesday, and Democrats must wait until Wednesday.

* Community group ACORN has been registering people who are ineligible or don’t exist.

* Three people using electronic machines during early voting had their votes switched from Obama to McCain, according to the Charleston Gazette.

* In Philadelphia’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods, there are complaints of fliers circulating with warnings that voters could be arrested at the polls if they had unpaid parking tickets or criminal convictions, the AP reported Sunday."We’ve seen it every election,” said Mary Boyle, spokeswoman for Common Cause, a nonpartisan advocacy group. “In fact we’re sending out 300,000 robo-calls by actor Danny Glover in Virgina and Pennsylvania in response to these calls” to explain the information being given out is false.

Laws against this sort of duping tactic are not very strong; only two states have it categorized as a felony and there’s no federal legislation against.

Voters who feel that they’ve gotten some fishy instructions can call the national non-partisan election protection hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE.

Tags: voting

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