Bush Scandals List

390. Voter suppression efforts in the 2008 elections

In the run up to the 2008 Presidential elections, Republicans deployed a variety of unsuccessful strategies to suppress the vote and cast doubt on the validity of the election if it were close.

  • In Colorado, the Republican Secretary of State Mike Coffman purged 35,000 names in violation of the Voting Rights Act by eliminating them too close to the election and using dubious methods to do so.
  • In Florida, the Republican Secretary of State Kurt Browning also tried to eliminate voters on the basis of minor discrepancies in their voter information, but after a public outcry the state’s Republican governor Charlie Crist overruled Browning.
  • In Georgia, the Republican Secretary of State Karen Handel tried to purge newly registered voters whose citizenship was called into question. A judge rejected this and ruled that the some 5000 involved be given provisional ballots. After the election, Handel threw away the ballots of those who had not submitted proof of citizenship. It remains unknown how many of these were legitimate voters who had their votes nullified by the Secretary of State.
  • In Indiana, the GOP tried to shut down early voting in Democratic areas.
  • In Montana, the GOP tried to challenge likely Democratic voters on the basis of discrepancies in their addresses. When it came out that one was a World War II veteran who had moved across town, the effort was dropped.
  • In Nevada, the GOP wanted new voters to cast provisional ballots if they corrected their voter information at the polls.
  • In New Mexico, Republicans released illegally obtained names of 10 voters, all of them Hispanic, who they claimed had voted fraudulently in the state primary in June, except as it turned out they were all legitimate. One GOP operative Pat Rogers then hired an investigator to harass some of them and this has led to lawsuits against him and the state Republican party.
  • In Ohio, Republicans tried and failed to get the US Supreme Court and Justice Department to force the Democratic Secretary of State to provide election officials lists of voters whose information did not match that on other government documents. Such errors usually result from inputting errors or the use or non-use of a middle name or initial.
  • In Pennsylvania, they wanted a list of 140,000 voters registered by ACORN in order to mount challenges.
  • In Virginia, hackers sent a bogus email to the 30,000 students of George Mason University telling them the election had been moved from November 4th to November 5th.
  • In Wisconsin, in one of the most egregious attempts at voter suppression, the state’s Republican Attorney General JB Van Hollen, at the behest of state Republicans, filed suit to force the election board to reconfirm the eligibility of thousands of voters. His suit was thrown out. He then said he would send 50 lawyers and law enforcement officials to “monitor” the polls and harass voters.

As for the other big Republican election scare, that of voter fraud, out of more than 125 million votes cast, there were virtually no allegations that any had occurred. I doubt that this will deter Republicans or those like Hans von Spakovsky (item 101) who see it everywhere. It is after all such a convenient pretext for the much more important Republican political goal of suppressing the vote.

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