Monday, November 1, 2004


Both sides are preparing a potential legal battle if the election comes down to a few hundred votes in certain swing states. Both sides are claiming early examples of election fraud.

Republicans already lost one legal battle in Ohio due to a loyal Clinton appointee:

The arguments that Democrats make in opposition to any efforts to reform our voting procedures often approach perilously close to the claim that Democrats, at least, have a Constitutional right to commit fraud. That seems to be the case in Ohio, where, following a bizarre Sunday night hearing, federal Judge Susan Dlott held that it is unconstitutional to have poll watchers in that state. Judge Dlott thus substituted her opinion for that of the Ohio legislature, which has enacted statutes that provide for poll watchers.

Poll watchers are necessary especially for elements that attempt to use intimidation and physical threat as a means of discouraging people to vote. Back in 1994, I was a poll watcher for the Republican Party in Illinois. I was a grunt for Governor Jim Edgar and one of the few non-attorneys that volunteered for this duty. I was assigned to a handful of districts to see that rules were being followed and everything was in order on Election Day. We were escorted and driven by a Chicago Police officer for our safety. It wasn't an important election cycle since the presidential race was two years before, and I was poll watching in a Democratic stronghold but it was an eye-opening experience.

Even during a relatively unimportant election year, some of these districts had their candidate supporters and "pushers" out in full force. I remember the first voting site I visited that early morning. A handful of guys from a local union came by the elementary school where the voting was taking place, measured 50 feet from the door (Illinois law didn't allow any political discourse within 50 feet of the polling site... pretty sure about this, but this might have changed by now), drew a line with chalk on the sidewalk, and stood there waiting and sipping on their coffee.

When people started to come by, I could heard them, "Sal, remember who to vote for... Daniel, you know who to vote for... Tony, you voted for the right person, buddy?"

I felt I was in a "B" mafia movie, but also aware that this was a working cog in the Democratic machine of Chicago. Some other polling sites were quiet and others were the same. People from these unions wanted to make sure their people voted for the union's selected candidates. This was power in America and I remember realizing it that day.

Tomorrow the stakes are higher. Maybe the highest ever in American history. I can imagine in some districts throughout America the tension will be thick and emotions might run out of control. I'm glad I'm not a poll watcher tomorrow. I'm just going to sit back and watch everything on the TV and through my laptop.

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