Clinton and Obama Campaigns Accuse Each Other of Voter Intimidation and Election Misconduct

Is this the kind of person whom you want with her/his hands on the United States 3000-plus nuclear weapons? The alleged behavior is suitable for a banana republic, Third World dictatorship, or Neo-Tsar Vladimir Putin’s Russia, not for the United States.

From http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/hqblog and also http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/23/nv001.pdf

January 22, 2008

Jill Derby, Chair
Nevada State Democratic Party
1210 S. Valley View Road
Suite 114
Las Vegas, NV 89102

Dear Chair Derby:

On behalf of the Obama for America campaign, I am writing to request that the Nevada State Democratic Party conduct an inquiry into an apparent and disturbing pattern of incidents reported at precinct locations throughout the state during the January 19 Caucus.  

These reports suggest the possibility of activity conducted in violation of Party rules and the rights of voters—activity that, as the volume and distribution of those complaints indicate, may have been planned and coordinated with the willful intention to distort the process in the favor of one candidate, Senator Clinton.  A sheet of instructions provided by the Clinton campaign to its precinct works captures its program for the Caucus: “It’s not illegal unless they [the temporary precinct chairs] tell you so.”  (See attachment).  This certainly suggests that, for the Clinton campaign, the operative standard of conduct was, simply and only, what it could get away with.

On the day of the Caucus, we received by phone reports of misconduct, violations of the rules and irregularities, in the hundreds.  Since that time, well over a thousand more accounts have been sent to us.  Others have begun to emerge in other sources. http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/01/sleaze-in-nevad.html#more

At the outset, we wish to make clear what the inquiry we are requesting is not intended to accomplish.  We are not seeking to challenge the outcome of the Caucuses at the precinct level. 

Nor is it our intention to question the extraordinary efforts devoted by the NSDP to the organization and conduct of the Caucus, including the contribution its leadership made to resolve the high volume of questions and problems that exploded during the caucusing.  Indeed, the Party responded promptly and effectively to the frontal attack on the Caucus in the form of an eleventh hour legal action by Senator Clinton’s allies, intended to shut down voting locations or to put into question the legitimacy of the process. 

The question raised here about activities on Caucus Day concerns solely the tactics employed by one campaign and their effects—their intended and actual effects—on the participation of voters supporting other candidates.  Participation is a principle second to none in importance to the Democratic Party, emphasized throughout the national party’s rules, as well those of the Nevada party. 

Nature of Suppressive and Other Improper Activity

We have attempted to sort through the range of reports received, and while our own review has not been completed in the short time since the conclusion of the Caucus, we suggest that the evidence supports an inquiry focused on the following:

 Door closings

As you know, and as their own training materials confirm, the Clinton campaign informed its precinct captains that the doors should close—and registration should end—at 11:30 am.  This is, of course, false:  the rules could not be clearer that any voter wishing to participate would until 12:00 pm take his or her place in line.  What the rules clearly specify is repeated, with equal clarity, in the party’s own Guide to the Caucuses.

It seems inconceivable that a well-financed and nationally organized campaign, stressing a platform of competence and experience, could have inadvertently misunderstood a rule of first importance to the Caucus.  It is a rule governing participation and intended to encourage it.  Any preparation for the Caucus would have included careful attention to any such rules of eligibility.

Yet the Manual put out by the Clinton campaign stated a false statement of the “closed door” rules.

Voters have given these reports, which are representative of others received like them:

•           “It happened at my caucus site and it happened, apparently, at every caucus site in Southern Nevada, as I spoke to dozens of Barack volunteers from other caucus sites who all said the same thing.  At 11:30, the Hillary supporters were clamoring to have the doors closed, saying that the caucus was supposed to start at 11:30 and the doors should be closed immediately.  The theory was that if a number of different people asked the caucus chair to close the doors at 11:30, some caucus chairs might believe that 11:30 was indeed the official door-closing time and would close the doors.  This appeared to be the case and a number of caucus locations across the Vegas area, from my own first-hand (random but small) sample.

Apparently, Hillary’s strategy was to tell her supporters to get there early, and have the doors close 30 minutes prior to their prescribed time, thereby shutting out some Barack supporters who might be a little late.”

•           “Those Hillary people…closed the doors on our people and we had to call the cops in some precincts to have locks cut from doors, [they] slipped people in the back doors, they sent people home at 11:30 when it was illegal to prevent people from voting before noon.”

•           “Issue one was when the temporary chairman locked the doors at 1:30 preventing at least two caucus participants at 11:34 and 11:40 from entering.  He stated that the rules were to close the doors at 11:30.  Immediately stated that I was informed that the doors were to close at 12:00 but was rebuffed.”

•           “The Precinct 16 Caucus Chair…ordered the doors locked at 11:30 am. not 12 noon. I objected and called the hotline, and [the Chair] relented, but not before many voters were prevented from entering.”

Obstructing Voter Access

Voters have given these reports, which are representative of others received like them:

•           “While my precinct ran well due to the fact that we had only 24 caucus members present, there was mass confusion in the five other larger precincts at the same site.  Obama people were being told my Clinton supporters that they could not register because the sign-in sheet was only for Clinton voters.”

•           “In Precinct 21, a Democratic worker …(who was clearly for Hillary) refused to register Obama supporters and said she was only registering Hillary supporters.”

•           “Someone told Obama supporters they had to wait until 11:30 to enter because Republicans were voting.  (A Clinton supporter in front of the School.)  There were many Clinton supporters telling Obama supporters to leave.  A Clinton supporter took our bottles of water, and then tried to take our box containing precinct packet and voter registration forms. I had to run her down in the crowd.  By the time I located her (with help)she had thrown things out, but kept the water bottles in her large bag.”

•           “Almost immediately, I was told by a couple of other Obama precinct leaders, whose names I don’t know, that the Hillary people were turning our supporters away, by asking to see their ID’s and telling them they weren’t valid.”

Improper Handling of Voter Preference Cards

Voters have given these reports, which are representative of others received like them:

•           “The next controversial issue involved the voter cards disappearing into the Clinton camp, so that the Edwards and Obama people were left with no cards.  When we asked them to give us back some cards, we then noticed that they had all been pre-marked for Clinton.”

•           “We circled Obama and were given a small slip of paper with our names and no voting ballot.  We were told they were out of ballots. How convenient.  It wasn’t until later than I realized the Hillary group had ballots.”

•           “I personally observed one of Hillary’s precinct captains taking up the ballot of the voter before the caucusing started. When the delegates were moved to the other side of the room she could not find all of the people that she took their ballots she then put them in her purse, further another one of Hillary supporter collected ballots as well and she had a ballot where some one was voting for Obama she fold it up in her hand. I call her on this matter she stated that she could not find the person that it belong to.” 

Process for Conducting Review

This is a smattering of the reports we have received.  Emerging from them is a disturbing picture of rules violations, discriminatory treatment of voters, bullying and disrespectful behavior toward those from other campaigns, the mishandling of preference cards, and failure to follow the process specified under the rules for the conduct of the vote count.

To support the inquiry that we are asking that you conduct, we will provide them these reports, unedited or redacted, to the Party, subject to an agreement protecting the privacy of voters who have given these accounts.  We are confident, however, that with the benefit of these protections, these voters, if asked, will give their first-hand recollections directly to party counsel and representatives. 

We would ask that this process be expedited.  It is crucial that the Party enforce its rules.  And, in the interests of all voters, any and all questions about misconduct at the Caucuses should be conclusively and clearly addressed so that what seems to have occurred in Nevada on January 19 will not be repeated. 
We stand ready to support and cooperate in this inquiry, and hope and expect that the same support and cooperation will be forthcoming from the Clinton campaign and any and all others with relevant information.

Very truly yours,

Robert F. Bauer 

Does Hillary Clinton sound like someone we want with launch authority over more than 3000 nuclear weapons, or like Lady Macbeth, Aggripina, and Lucretia Borgia rolled into one?

And this is what the Clinton campaign has to say about the Obama campaign. (http://i.a.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/23/nv.state.letter.1.23.08.pdf Note: any slight discrepencies between the following and the .pdf file are due to character misreads by the OCR software, although we didn’t see any obvious typos other than the bullet list symbols.)

Dear Chair Derby:
I write on behalf of Hillary Clinton for President (”the Committee”) in regard to the January 19, 2008 Nevada Democratic Caucus. The Committee is aware of a letter addressed to you today from the Obama for America campaign requesting an inquiry into the conduct of the caucuses. The Committee shares the Obama campaign’s concern that full participation in the democratic process may have been compromised by the substantial number of irregularities occurring at the caucuses, and we fully support a complete inquiry by the Nevada State Democratic Party (the ”Party”) into all caucus improprieties.
This letter is not intended as a response to the Obama campaign’s letter. However, in the interest of a complete record, and in contrast to the alleged minor procedural problems noted by the Obama campaign, the Committee wishes to bring to your attention information we have received evidencing a premeditated and predesigned plan by the Obama campaign to engage in systematic corruption of the Party’s caucus procedures. Compounding this blatant distortion of the caucus rules was an egregious effort by the Obama campaign to manipulate the voter registration process in its own favor, thereby disenfranchising countless voters. Finally, the Committee has received a vast number of reliable reports of voter suppression and intimidation by the Obama campaign or its allies.
The Committee had 30 phone lines on Saturday to receive calls in its Las Vegas offices. These lines rang continuously from early morning until well after the caucuses concluded with reports from people who were victimized and who observed irregularities. The phone lines were so overwhelmed that many callers resorted to calling individual Committee staff cell phones to report that they could not get through. The Committee also received many similar calls at its national headquarters.
The Committee is confident that any investigation into the conduct of the caucuses will be thorough, fair and in the interest of insuring that future Party caucuses will be as open and democratic as possible.
Systematic Corruption of the Party’s Caucus Procedures
The Committee received substantially similar reports of improprieties of such a number as to leave no conclusion but that the Obama campaign and its allies and supporters engaged in a planned effort to subvert the Party’s caucus procedures to its advantage. For example:
þ Preference cards were premarked for Obama.
þ Clinton supporters were denied preference cards on the basis that none were left, while Obama supporters at the same caucus sites were given preference cards.
þ Caucus chairs obviously supporting Obama:
o Deliberately miscounted votes to favor Senator Obama.
o Deliberately counted unregistered persons as Obama votes.
o Deliberately counted young children as Obama votes.

o Refused to accept preference cards from Clinton supporters who were at the caucus site by noon on the ground that the cards were not filled out fast enough.
o Told Clinton supporters to leave prior to electing delegates.
þ Clinton supporters who arrived late were turned away from the caucus, while late Obama supporters were admitted to the caucus.
Manipulation of the Voter Registration Process
Numerous reports received by the Committee demonstrate a concerted effort on the part of the Obama campaign and its supporters to prevent eligible voters supporting a candidate other than Senator Obama from caucusing. The Obama supporters complained of were acting in positions of authority at the caucus sites. Some of these reports are as follows:
þ Obama supporters wrongly informed Clinton supporters that they were not allowed to participate in the caucus if their names were not on the voter rolls. However, Obama supporters whose names did not appear on the voter rolls were permitted to register at the caucus site.
þ Obama supporters falsely informed Clinton supporters that no registration forms were available for them to register to vote at the caucus site.
þ Obama supporters wrongly told Clinton supporters who were attempting to caucus at the wrong precinct that they could not caucus at that site, while simultaneously permitting Obama supporters at the wrong precinct to participate.
þ Obama supporters were allowed to move to the front of the registration and sign-in line.
Voter Suppression and Intimidation
The Committee received a substantial number of disturbing reports from voters that they had been subject to harassment, intimidation or efforts to prevent them from voting. Some of the most egregious of these complaints are described below:
þ Voters at at-large caucus sites were informed that those sites were for Obama supporters only.
þ Clinton supporters at at-large caucus sites were told that their managers would be watching them while they caucused.
þ Workers were informed that their supervisors kept lists of Clinton and Obama supporters, and were told that they could not caucus unless their name was on the list of Obama supporters.
þ Many Clinton supporters were threatened with employment termination or other discipline if they caucused for Senator Clinton.
þ Workers were required to sign a pledge card to support Obama if they wanted time off to participate in the caucus.
þ Workers at one casino were offered a lavish lunch and permitted to attend and register to vote only if they agree to support Obama.
The complaints summarized above represent only a small sample of the complaints received by the Committee. With respect to each of these complaints and many more, the Committee has the names and phone numbers of those reporting these incidents and the specific precinct numbers where the incidents occurred. Upon request the Committee will share these with the Party with appropriate safeguards to protect these individuals from reprisal. On the whole, these reports show a troubling effort by the Obama campaign and its allies and supporters to advance their own campaign at the expense of the right of all Nevada Democrats to participate in the democratic process in a free, fair and open manner.
Senator Clinton and the Committee are wholly committed to ensuring that every eligible voter has his or her vote cast and counted. There is no place in the American electoral process for the types of voter suppression, intimidation and harassment systematically engaged in by the Obama campaign, its allies and supporters.
Sincerely,

Lyn Utrecht Counsel Hillary Clinton for President

DOES BARACK OBAMA SOUND LIKE SOMEONE WE WANT IN CONTROL OF THE UNITED STATES’ NUCLEAR ARSENAL? Or does he sound more like a banana republic dictator who would be right at home in some Third World country?

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3 Responses to “Clinton and Obama Campaigns Accuse Each Other of Voter Intimidation and Election Misconduct”

  1. Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Response to the State of the Union « The Husaria Says:

    […] about election fraud and intimidation of voters, as your campaign has been accused of doing by your fellow Democrats? I believe a new kind of politics is possible, and I believe it is necessary. Because the American […]

  2. Grizzly Groundswell » Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Response to the State of the Union Says:

    […] about election fraud and intimidation of voters, as your campaign has been accused of doing by your fellow Democrats? I believe a new kind of politics is possible, and I believe it is necessary. Because the American […]

  3. Israpundit » Blog Archive » Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Response to the State of the Union Says:

    […] about election fraud and intimidation of voters, as your campaign has been accused of doing by your fellow Democrats? I believe a new kind of politics is possible, and I believe it is necessary. Because the American […]

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