Black Box Voting: Voter Intimidation

Hard to believe, but true. Voters are flat-out intimidated to come to the polls.

During the 2014 midterms, incumbent Mitch McConnell sent out warnings to Kentucky voters that read: ELECTION VIOLATION NOTICE. You are at risk of acting on fraudulent information that has been targeted for citizens living in County_____." If you read further, you find that, "This document serves as a notification that you, as a resident of Kentucky and a registered voter in the aforementioned Commonwealth of fraudulent information that is being deliberately spread to voters in your area," then goes on to list the pack of lies his opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes purportedly said. However, the piece of mail doesn't look like your typical ad. It reads like a warning.

Lundergan Grimes filed charges against McConnell on two counts of felony. McConnell may have violated Kentucky state law KRS 516.030 for Forgery in the Second Degree, intent to deceive with falsely designated "official" documents, and KRS 119.115, unlawfully attempting to intimidate voters.

Kentuckian college newspaper, Berea Citizen, published an ad warning students that if they were improperly registered, they could "face significant penalties" and have their right to vote challenged. Jonah Cabiles, campus organizer for the grassroots organization that filed a complaint with the Attorney General said that the words chosen sounded like "this really heavy legal term to intimidate student voters, especially those who...aren't really specific with the Kentucky Revised Statute."

That's soft core intimidation compared with reports of the Wisconsin Poll Watcher Militia proudly advertising on Facebook that it will carry guns to the 2014 polls in search of citizens who might have warrants for dodging taxes. "Some will be headed to some of Milwaukee, Racine, and Beloit's worst areas," read one Facebook post. "We will be armed with a list of people to look for at each location." Radio host Rush Limbaugh gave a nod to the group, tying the tax evaders to the liberals who wanted to oust Governor Scott Walker. Another post at the militia's page said, "We can assure you that we will be targeting all democrats, not just the black ones. If you think we meant blacks only it is because you are a racist who thinks the only people with warrants are black. We know better because we have a nice list of people who are wanted democrat activist types. Most are actually white. We will target everyone."

The Facebook page for the militia has been taken down; however, the threats written by the group were well documented online by other sources.

Today's post is part two of a six-part series on voting, found in Chapter 30 of my book, In Search of the Next POTUS: One Woman's Quest to Fix Washington, a True Story. Follow this blog to receive the next four segments of this article.