Friday, September 21, 2012

The Whole Story

If you read today's (9/21/12) Telegram article regarding the Election Commission Meeting last night, you would get the impression that the commission did its best regarding the recent allegations of voter intimidation during our recent primary election, but due to a lack of formal complaints before the panel, they would take no action regarding the charges.

What has been left unsaid in the established reporting is the highly partisan nature of this conflict, which is troubling to me.  As our country becomes more divided based on red state/blue state stereotypes, I wonder if our system of voting is being tarnished by the two party system.  I have volunteered as a poll worker, yet have never been chosen, perhaps due to my lack of participation in party politics.  The fewer actively partisan election workers we have, the less chance we have of people's right to vote being suppressed.

If you only read the T&G version, you might shrug your shoulders and think the issue was resolved, or not a big deal.  Thankfully there is more information out there in the age of the internet.

Here's the link to the video of the meeting on the City website.  Here's Nicole's excellent live blog of the meeting, for those of us who don't use Microsoft products and can't access the live video.  Here's Joe Scully's video of Bonnie Johnson and Tina Hood's testimony before the Commission.  Here's Nicole's previous piece on the activist connections of the players involved in the voting issues at our polling places. 

Jim Savage claimed he saw no instances of voter intimidation, yet attended a coordinating meeting between Activate Worcester and the Worcester Republican Party. The Worcester Republican Party, per city rules, provides poll workers and wardens to the City for elections. Activate Worcester's main goal this election is to prevent "welfare recipients and disenfranchised people" from voting, per Bonnie Johnson (despite the fact that welfare recipients can vote and a disenfranchised person can't vote, hence the word disenfranchised.) Perhaps Mr. Savage has a conflict of interest.

Tina Hood is a poll warden, and repeatedly asked for clarifications of the role observers play at the polls. She is a trained poll warden, and yet doesn't know the rules or how to enforce them, and wants clarification because she didn't want to be accused of being "partisan." Perhaps she would be less partisan if she wasn't a financial contributor to Activate Worcester, and didn't let Bonnie Johnson and the anonymous lawyer photograph, challenge, and harass voters. You will also note that Paul Franco is a contributor to Activate Worcester, and is also the head of the Worcester Republican Party, which is responsible for providing poll workers for our elections.  Here's the complete list of Activate Worcester donors.

Lastly, Bonnie Johnson, head of Activate Worcester testified (I would link to the website, but it disappeared when this controversy became public.  Here's a screen shot of their first event as a PAC.) 

Ms. Johnson's main point was that David Rushford kept on intimidating her by yelling at her and being a bully. She felt it was unfair she was singled out by the clerk for breaking the rules for poll observers. The other observer, "a white male caucasian from the ACLU and an atendee at Mary Keefe's victory party," was allowed to walk around the polling place while she had to sit in a chair that was later moved away from in front of the check-in table by the Clerk. 

While Ms. Johnson claims to be the victim of selective harassment (be careful there Bonnie, Mitt Romney says that victims automatically vote for Obama!), she neglects to connect the dots between her behavior and the unnamed ACLU observer.  The ACLU observer walked around the polling station, stood by the door, and even used his cell phone, per Jim Savage's affidavit filed with the Election Commission (you can find it in the minutes adopted by the Board of Election Commissioners on 9/20/12 here.)  In the testimony of multiple people before the Board on September 10th, multiple people, including City Councilor Sarai Rivera, detailed Ms. Johnson's and the unnamed lawyer's alleged actions where they photographed voters, demanded voter's identifications and attempted to photograph then, interacted with voters in violation of the rules regarding poll observers, demanded that all interactions be conducted in English, and even made video and audio recordings of the proceedings.  

How can she not see the difference between her alleged actions, and the anonymous 'ACLU' observer's actions?  Perhaps it is because of her partisan bias, which has no place in a clean and free election.


Anonymous said...

Someone is drinking the koolaid.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me the only that did anything wrong is Sarai Rivera.

Electioneering is illegal and this sure sounds like electioneering withing the 150' radius.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but, Sean....

there wasn't any proof from you either

just a lot of partisan huff and puffery

maybe it's because someone even dared challenge the prevailing good doers, high moralizers, left-of-Grace-Ross majority here that you guys have been so steamed

you're not used to a level playing field

Anonymous said...

sean: upon rereading your stuff I have to wonder who is drinking the koolaid here?

As a registered Democrat myself I find it dismaying that to abe a "Democrat" in this state means to turna blind ear and deaf ear to counter views.

So what, the other side is Republican. Don't you see how WEAK your side really is? You have never had any opposition for decades.

Being a Democrat in this state is more akin to being a fat, chubby adolescent whose parent never denied the extra chocolate cookies. All fat and lazy.

And now you're made because you actually might have to stand up for yourself and justify your OWN intimidating tactics.

Should I change over to beig an Independent? I dunno. I have thought about it, but staying a registered Dem means they keep sending me all their invitations and writings.

same person as #3 above

WorcGOP said...

Sarai Rivera is a liar. In testimony to the election commission she said that she was not working for any campaign. Raplh Perez and every other Democratic insider say otherwise.

Anything coming out of her mouth is questionable after that bold face lie.

Anonymous said...

Sarai and Mary Keefe had the same campaign manager, Kevin Ksen, a radical activist who has been arrested many times. They all are peas in a pod.

Anonymous said...

Sarai and Mary Keefe had the same campaign manager, Kevin Ksen, a radical activist who has been arrested many times. They all are peas in a pod.

Sean Dacey said...

There's a lot of anonymous noise and comments here, but little in the way of details where I am wrong.

By all means, let me know where my interpretation of the events are wrong. From what I know about these events, from people I have known a long time and trust, I stand by what I said.

If you knew me, or read my blog carefully, you would notice that while I am liberal, I am not partisan.

That was my main critique of the primary day shenanigans- the partisan hackery designed to suppress the vote of "far left liberals" supporting Mary Keefe.

Truth Hurts said...

The system to ensure clean and fair election is Partisan by law and it is also meant to provide parity as well.

This is where you are SO WRONG and asking for it to be non partisan. You have to be a member of a party to be a poll worker. The system is meant to be partisan to keep each other in check. A balanced approach is the idea.

But here is what the Editorial Board wrote about all this. And I think they really hit the mark.

Sunday, September 23, 2012
Electing a course toward calm

The Worcester Election Commission last Thursday showed wisdom and restraint by putting off any call for investigation into alleged voter intimidation or other problems at certain polling spots during the Sept. 6 primary election.

The commission’s Sept. 10 meeting featured numerous speakers who raised the rhetorical stakes to absurd heights. The hyperbole included references to Selma, Ala., two declarations that Worcester is “not Ohio,” and one activist repeatedly tossing about the word “fascists.”

We’re not sure what Ohio has to do with anything, and we haven’t seen any real-life fascists marching in Worcester. The evidence presented so far paints a picture of organizations that, while on opposite sides of the political fence, share the goal of ensuring that everyone who is legally entitled to vote has the opportunity to do so. Add to that a bit of confusion over some of the finer points of election law, and you have a situation that calls for a re-emphasis on mutual respect and better training for poll workers and watchers.

That’s exactly the direction the Election Commission chose Thursday night. The result should be a hard-fought, but smoother and calmer Election Day ahead.

Sean Dacey said...

The theory of balance is nice, but when one party appoints hyper partisan workers and observers to harass voters, what will the other party do?

As a Republican, would you approve of Democratic poll workers harassing you and your fellow party members for purely political reasons, and not within the parameters of the law?

My point is that a citizen's right to vote has nothing to do with party politics, and shouldn't be governed by the whims of the two parties.

As for the T&G editorial, or even Ralph Perez's one sided screed in Womag, neither speak to what actually happened, and turn a blind eye to the attempts at vigilantism at our polls.

Sean Dacey said...

After all, this is what one side of our 'balanced' election process is advocating.

Since when did Activate Worcester become the leading authority on poll training?

Anonymous said...

The Real Sarai Rivera:

From: i see [mailto:iseeitall1234@XXXX]
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 02:23 PM
Subject: The truth shall set you free(sarai rivera)

Form your own opinion, here is a link, and when you listen to it.. ask yourself... if this was your family, your cousin, your sister, your pastor, your councilor... would you still think the same? This is a message to her own sister.