TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Last Laugh! was Re: Lever Voting Machines - What's Wrong?

Re: Last Laugh! was Re: Lever Voting Machines - What's Wrong?

John McHarry (
Fri, 05 Nov 2004 01:14:15 GMT

Lisa Hancock wrote:

> I did call them back and asked if they were sure if the person was
> registered and qualified to vote. At first the person insisted yes,
> but then she said she'd check on it. She called me back and explained
> that their list was based on people who had voted in the past but
> hadn't voted lately -- it was NOT the official voter rolls. They get
> the list from sitting at the polls and seeing who voted; they cannot
> get access to the official list. Her boss just told her there would
> be people on the list who might be deceased or had moved. With that I
> let the issue go. I was annoyed that previous solicitors insisted
> their list was official and accurate.

In NC the list is public, as is the last few elections in which one voted.
In my precinct people came by to vote with a printout of their information.
The parties also had databases of the stuff that allowed them to mechanize
canvassing. If somebody didn't like getting called, that was plugged in,
and they would not be again.

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: They do that in Chicago, also. The
> precinct captain (the go-fer in your neighborhood who works for the
> alderman) has the duty of driving a van around to get all the old
> people and take them to the polls and show them how to vote, etc. On
> those phone calls you received, did they ask you to please vote a
> straight Democratic ticket? In Chicago, the precinct captain would
> tell the old people "all you have to do is pull lever 6" (or whichever
> lever did the straight ticket thing). Then you can get back on the bus
> and we will stop to get your ice cream (or beer or a pack of
> cigarettes, whatever) on the way back to the nursing home.

A few years ago two of us from opposing parties were standing around
electioneering in Northern VA. We came up with a scheme to give each
person who voted a schwag bag on the way out labeled "I voted" and to
shake down the local businesses to set up on the the outgoing side to
toss in freebies, coupons, etc. It would help get out the vote, but do
we really want voters who are only there for the free crap?

My limited experience in downstate Illinois was that both parties
would arrange free rides for the faithful. I spent part of the day in
'76 driving elderly black ladies to the polls. It was a lot of
fun. They all dressed up as for church and were delighted to be
squired to the polls by a (then) young white graduate student.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Regards your two final paragraphs, that
is *exactly* how it works in Chicago also. The Precinct Captain has
the job of renting a bus or limousine, going around to all the nursing
homes in his area (there are several dozen such places in Chicago if
you count them all; several hundred mostly elderly, mostly black, poor
people are housed between them) and taking 'his people' to the polls
on election day. Each resident gets a bag of goodies to eat on the way
or coming back home, and it is hinted (though never actually stated)
that the job of these elderly black voters is to return to office (or
put in office) the 'proper' Democratic politicians. The people may be
told "there are rumors your (nursing) home is going to be shut down
for violations of the housing code, etc." Or better still, "candidate
X is going to crack down on" (you name it; drugs, crime, etc) which at
best is a campaign promise or at worst, a bald face lie. All the old
church ladies know what is expected of them: *pull lever six*, or
whatever was assigned to straight ticket voting) and they march off
that church bus or whatever dressed in their Sunday finest, at the
polling place to go in and do battle with the forces of evil (the
wrong political party). When they get back on the church bus to go
back to the nursing home their box of goodies is waiting there for
them on their seat. That's how the Democratic 'machine' works in
Chicago, and Mayor Daley II is proud of it, just as his father, Mayor
Daley I was before him. It never occurs to the elderly poor black
residents of the nursing homes and housing authority that the ten
thousand prisoners in the Cook County Jail are mostly poor younger
black guys; the children and grandchildren of the nursing home
residents, and that Daley and his minions put them there. PAT]

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