Local Democratic Party Chair Seems Clueless About Republican Attempt to Disenfranchise His Voters...
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2008, 12:55pm PT  

From the St. Petersburg Times...

TALLAHASSEE — A new pitch for John McCain's presidential campaign aimed at older Democratic voters is causing complaints by Democrats and concern by elections officials.

The piece, paid for by the Republican National Committee and authorized by McCain, tells voters it is seeking to double-check their "unconfirmed" party affiliations while asking for money. A letter signed by McCain tells the Democrats: "We have you registered as a Republican."

"I was a little bit shocked and a little bit surprised," said recipient Bill Smith, 81, of Tampa, who calls himself a lifelong Democrat and has been registered at his current address since 2000.
The RNC declined to discuss the mailer, which Democrats said has landed in five counties: Duval, Hillsborough, Collier, Miami-Dade and Escambia.

The article goes on to note that FL's Republican SoS Kurt Browning believes the mailing is "confusing" and "unfortunate", but does not note whether or not he plans to do anything about it. We're not holding our breath. Neither are we holding it for Democrats down there to do much about it either.

The mailings sent to registered Democrats appear to be classic "caging" letters, marked as "Do Not Forward", so that they will then be returned to the GOP if there is any problem with delivery. Those returned letters will likely then be used as a basis to challenge the legitimacy of those particular voters on Election Day....

The first-class GOP mailing has a "Do not forward" instruction on the envelope, meaning they will be returned to the GOP if a recipient has had mail forwarded, perhaps to a summer address, or has moved.

Letters returned as undeliverable can be compiled into "challenge lists" of unverifiable addresses and can be used to challenge voters' eligibility during early voting or on Election Day. The vote suppression technique is known as "vote caging."

Aside from the troubling points spelled out above, and amplified by former Republican vote-rigger Allen Raymond last night on MSNBC (Allen suggests this effort will be done everywhere by the GOP this year), there's this disconcerting comment from the supposedly Democratic Party chair in Hillsborough County:

Hillsborough Democratic Party Chairman Michael Steinberg said it makes no sense for Republicans to question the party affiliations of Democratic voters. "I don't understand their logic," he said.

You "don't understand their logic," Mr. Steinberg? What rock have you been living under? The same one Dems in the U.S. Congress have been living under, in regard to the practice of vote caging, perhaps? The same one that Bob Woodward and the Washington Post have been inexcusably living under?

If so, Dahlia Lithwick's Slate article from last year, explaining the practice, --- "What the heck is vote caging, and why should we care?" --- filed after the issue finally reared its ugly head before a largely-clueless Democratic U.S. House Judiciary sub-committee, needs to be mandatory reading for every Democrat, and every member of the media. Right now.

Suffice to say, Steinberg's comment does not inspire confidence that Dems have any clue what they're up against this year, as we noted in some detail on Monday.

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