“Voter suppression, intimidation and harassment systematically engaged in by the Obama campaign, its allies and supporters.”
It is obvious that Hillary Clinton endorsed Obama only because she would probably have been excommunicated from the Democratic Party for failure to do so. The truth is that her campaign accused, and credibly so, the Obama campaign of serious misconduct during the Nevada Caucuses. This misconduct included intimidation of voters and what sounds a lot like Chicago-style machine politics at their worst. We encourage our readers to circulate the following PDF file, and/or the optical character transcription of it, as widely as possible to encourage Clinton supporters to either not vote for President or, even better, vote for McCain.
- 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.
- RYAN, PHILLIPS, UTRECHT 5. MACKINNON
ATTORNEYS AT LAW
’ Nonlawyer Partner
1133 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Suite 300 Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 293-1177 Facsimile (202) 293-3411
January 23, 2008
Jill Derby, Chair Nevada State Democratic Party 1210 South Valley View Road Suite 114 Las Vegas, NV 89102
Dear Chair Derby:
I write on behalf of Hillary Clinton for President (”the Committee”) in regard to the January 19, 2008 Nevada Democ-ratic 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 cau-cuses, and we fully support a complete inquiry by the Ne-vada 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 continu-ously 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 over-whelmed 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.
Lyn Utrecht Counsel Hillary Clinton for President