Vote Theft, Robocalls, and Terry Nelson
by Matt Stoller, Mon Nov 06, 2006 at 03:15:27 AM EST
Terry Nelson, an unindicted co-conspirator in the TRMPAC Tom Delay scandal, and the boss of Jim Tobin, the convicted felon in the NH phone-jamming case, is the head of opposition research for the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. So it's not a surprise that these kinds of unethical dishonest tactics are being used.
Sources in Bergen County are reporting that an autodial robocall is being made that starts out sounding like a positive Bob Menendez message. If you hang up, it repeatedly calls you back. If you listen all the way to the end, it finishes by saying that Menendez is an embezzler and under criminal investigation.
This is a voter suppression tactic being used nationwide by the GOP. Initially callers will think they are hearing a call from the Menendez campaign asking for support. If they hang up, it will repeatedly call them back. The intention is to annoy the voter so much that they no longer support the candidate. For those who actually listen to the entire call, they are presented with a series of lies and smears against Menendez, also with the intention of suppressing turnout. It's a win-win tactic for them.
Terry Nelson is a key GOP operative, a senior advisor to John McCain and someone heavily involved with both Tom Delay and Karl Rove. This guy breaks the law and gets rewarded for it. Democrats should make election reform a very core part of their agenda for a lot of reasons, but the rampant criminal nature of the Republican operative class is a pretty good rationale.
Now one thing to be aware of is that vote theft is rarely done cleanly. There are usually signs that unethical people are in charge of a campaign before the vote tampering takes place. After all, if someone is capable of breaking the law with impunity, that character usually shows up prior to the election. They don't just become seedy. There's often a trail of gray area electoral tactics, dishonest mailers and ads, lying robocalls, and a history of flouting FEC or IRS law.
Chris has his checklist for whether we're going to win. I have my checklist for whether there will be attempted electoral theft. And check on all of them, for every Republican candidate in the country since the national party is run by a guy promoted because of his penchant for law-breaking, Terry Nelson.
Does this mean I think the election will be stolen? Well given how much people hate uncertainty, my answer won't satisfy you. It's hard to tell. I would lean against it. And I tend not to believe that Diebold is the most likely way to take votes; good old fashioned voter suppression and ballot box theft is still more reliable and easier for local machines, who are the ones that do it. But recognize the signs are all there on the right. These are very bad people.
Fortunately, there's something you can do about this. You can get out into the field and help candidates with GOTV. Go to Do More Than Vote, which has nice lists of opportunities to work, work, work.
Let's blow these people out of the water. Even Terry Nelson can't stop that.