Who Watches the (Poll) Watchers? (Part I)

I was doing some research for a future post and stumbled across this little nugget (below).  I thought it should get out there sooner than the full post, because it looks like some evil is afoot.

 

Speaking of elections, this tidbit came to me from Cathy Keim of Election Integrity Maryland. It’s “even better than being a poll watcher” and it goes right to the heart of the problem.

>I asked Anthony Gutierrez, our local BOE head, if you have to be registered in the county that you serve as an election judge.  He said no.  As long as you are a Maryland registered voter, you can be an election judge in any county that hires you.  He also stated that Baltimore has a terrible time recruiting enough Republican and non-partisan election judges.  The goal is to have one chief judge from each major party at each polling place.  If they cannot do that, then they try to get a non-partisan judge.  If they can’t do that……then it just has to be two of the same party!  This holds for regular judges also.

>Being an election judge is even better than being a poll watcher as you are actually running the election. Please bring this up to the GOP that they need to be filling these positions in Baltimore and PG County and maybe other counties.  I know that this is a regular problem, so the GOP should already be aware of it, but it never hurts to get people working on a solution sooner rather than later.

In Wicomico County we only have about 38 precincts, so presumably they only need 38 election judges from each party.  But if you’re armed with the poll watcher training and are an election judge in a “problem” county it’s indeed possible to give the Democrats fits by insisting the letter of the law be followed.

This is a statement from a representative of Election Integrity Maryland, an affiliate of or heavily inspired by True the Vote.  Read this part again to get that chill going down your spine: “Being an election judge is even better than being a poll watcher as you are actually running the election.”

The Voter ID issue is the tip of the iceberg.  Antics at polling places may end up disenfranchising more voters.  The law in most states allows plenty of wiggle room for activists to be able impede the vote.  In a coming post, I’ll provide a peek at the laws and some hypothetical scenarios that could play out in some of the swing states.   Let that quote be a hint that one side already knows where the loopholes are.

Here are the links to Part II and Part III.

 

  1. Who Watches the (Poll) Watchers? (Part III) | - pingback on 09/28/2012 at 2:45 pm
  2. Who Watches the (Poll) Watchers? (Part II) | - pingback on 09/25/2012 at 10:36 am
  3. Since you “stumbled across” the main “nugget” of your story from my site, let me jump in here as well. Meredith did a good job of making the key points, but there are a couple things I’d like to add.

    Obviously your definition of “disenfranchising” voters is a little different from mine. To me, a voter is disenfranchised if his or her vote is cancelled out by one who games the system to vote multiple times because they are registered in more than one place, or isn’t supposed to be voting anyway because the person is not a citizen but was handed the forms anyway when they secured a driver’s license, or is a convicted felon still barred legally from voting, Any or all of these are possible under the system we have now because it’s not kept up as well as it should be.

    Election Integrity Maryland is simply being a watchdog group making sure the state and local Boards of Election do the jobs they are supposed to, like clear duplicate registrations, deceased voters, and those who have moved out from the system.

    Moreover, those who feel intimidated by the presence of additional eyes and ears within the polling place just might have something to hide. Usually when I walk in to vote there are 8 to 10 people in the room on the other side of the tables, not to mention the half-dozen or so outside campaigning for various candidates and those in line with me waiting to vote. I don’t feel intimidated by that at all, although I may take pause if a couple guys with nightsticks were outside my polling place.

    Personally, I would love to see 100 percent turnout of legally registered voters and let the chips fall where they may. But I also want to make sure that everyone who shows up at the polling place is who they say they are through the showing of a photo identification, just like many other functions of life require.

    Now I have a question for you. Are you really that worried about the election that you’re already setting up the “disenfranchisement” narrative? Seeing how much you fret over John Delaney maxing out a contribution to Andy Harris in another post, I would feel pretty safe in assuming you’re way over there on the left. I thought Maryland was in the bag for you guys.

    • RagingWisdom

      “Obviously your definition of “disenfranchising” voters is a little different from mine. To me, a voter is disenfranchised if his or her vote is cancelled (sic) out by one who games the system to vote multiple times because they are registered in more than one place, or isn’t supposed to be voting anyway because the person is not a citizen but was handed the forms anyway when they secured a driver’s license, or is a convicted felon still barred legally from voting, Any or all of these are possible under the system we have now because it’s not kept up as well as it should be.”
      So you’ve bought into the “rampant voter fraud” myth.   The actual number of fraudsters is maybe dozens.  The cure is worse than the disease.   In order to stop dozens of fraudsters it is somehow OK to burden or, in some case, remove the legal vote of thousands?   Those few fraudsters are not enough to warrant election law changes that passed across the country — but those thousands of legal voters (disproportionately Democrat-leaning) are enough motivation, because we’ve got close elections and the GOP leadership wants to win.

  4. Meredith Austen

    So let me get this straight… According to this “chilling” e-mail, “[t]he goal is to have one chief judge from each major party at each polling place.” Baltimore has trouble meeting this goal, sometimes having to appoint two Democratic election judges rather than the preferred, politically-diverse judging panel.

    So . . . why, exactly, should Maryland Republicans’ desire to make sure that each polling place has *BOTH* a Republican and Democratic election judge be “chilling” – particularly if, as you emphasize, the judges are “actually running the election”? Surely you would agree that if these election judges have such power over the elections, it would be better to have a bipartisan judging team at each polling place?

    So . . . this allegedly “chilling” e-mail says nothing more than that Election Integrity Maryland wants to encourage Republicans to exercise their legal right to serve as election judges at polling places that, traditionally, have had difficulty finding Republicans to serve in these positions and which, it appears, sometimes have had to appoint two Democratic election judges for lack of other qualified candidates. I didn’t read anything in the email about trying to replace the Democratic election judges in Baltimore or other areas with Republicans, so that (bwahahaha!) *only* Republican judges were controlling the election. No, nothing like that.

    So, please, tell me again: what is “chilling” about saying that Maryland polling places should be overseen by two election judges – one from *EACH* party?

    • RagingWisdom

      I think you’re not picking up on the concern I’m trying to highlight.  So I’ll clarify here.
      “So . . . why, exactly, should Maryland Republicans’ desire to make sure that each polling place has *BOTH* a Republican and Democratic election judge be “chilling” – particularly if, as you emphasize, the judges are “actually running the election”? Surely you would agree that if these election judges have such power over the elections, it would be better to have a bipartisan judging team at each polling place?”
      This is OK by me … not great (where are the Libertarian, Green, Constitution, etc. election judges?) but striving for bipartisan representation is a step in the direction of impartiality.
      The danger (potential for mischief) is seen when one acknowledges 1) the power of these positions by law, 2) the tone coming from the increasingly zealous partisans going in believing voter fraud is rampant and committed by people who look like Democrats, and 3) the closeness of the election in some states/districts where deterring/suppressing a few voters could decide the election.
      “So . . . this allegedly “chilling” e-mail says nothing more than that Election Integrity Maryland wants to encourage Republicans to exercise their legal right to serve as election judges at polling places”
      I’m saying that people are unaware just how significant the powers of an election judge can be (I’ll be citing/quoting some actual code from some swing states in a coming post) and how there is a lack of adequate and immediate accountability for their misuse.  Just having an equal number of Democrats/Republicans serving as judges is not enough of a check.

    • Seems to me the “chilling” tone may have come from the expressed desire to “give the Dems fits” which demonstrates a partisan bias and NOT a desire to make sure elections are protected from groups who seek to intimidate voters to impact the outcome. It’s well known to anyone privvy to TTV training that they intend to try to intimidate Dem voters.

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