Undercover Video: New Mexico GOP Trains Poll Workers to Suppress Votes
Via ProgressNow New Mexico: VIDEO: NM GOP Trains Poll Workers to Suppress Votes.
Undercover video recorded by ProgressNow New Mexico shows the Republican Party training poll challengers in illegal tactics that could potentially restrict the voting rights of as many as 1-in8 New Mexicans in November.
A recording of the September 26th official “Poll Challenger Training” conducted by the Republican Party shows a GOP & Tea Party leader giving false and/or misleading information about voting rights and regulations to the training’s attendees. The training was replete with misinformation about ID requirements, the use of provisional ballots, assistance for Spanish-speaking citizens, change of address requirements, and the rights of the disabled at the polls.
The group even created it’s own poll challenger guide complete with instructions on how to demand ID and force legal voters to vote by provisional ballot in blatant contradiction with election law.
The training was conducted by Pat Morlen, a Tea Party activist and former Sandoval County Commission Republican candidate who currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Sandoval County Republican Party. A similar training was also given by the GOP on September 5th and another is scheduled for Thursday, October 4th
There are links at the article to the GOP poll challenger guide, and to part of the video of the training session. This clip documents the trainer giving false information:
These people are a threat to democracy, not just Democrats.
Morlen also disparaged disabled New Mexicans, opining, “if the person can’t even say their name, at least their name, I don’t see why they should be voting.”
Obama has a narrow lead over Romney in the New Mexico polls, projecting a very close race. This particular training was filmed just two days after a study was released estimating 10 million Latinos could be disenfranchised by various voter suppression efforts. While Morlen’s statements are easily debunked, New Mexico voters are likely to be harassed and intimidated by these volunteer “voter challengers” armed with false information. But New Mexican voters aren’t the only targets; the national Tea Party group True the Vote has mobilized a large army of volunteers to go to the polls all over the country to harass voters. True the Vote tested out their voter intimidation skills during Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) recall election in June, when poll watchers blocked students and African Americans from voting.
Similar efforts are underway in Arizona. There is also Tea Party involvement in that state.
For a long time, the Republican National Committee engaged in election fraud prevention; until 1982, when the RNC was sued by the Democratic Party for targeting minorities in violation of the Voting Rights Act. The RNC signed an agreement — that a federal judge has upheld through 2017 — curbing its fraud prevention efforts. The absence of an official party apparatus has given rise in the last few years to independent Republican groups.
Verify the Vote is one such group. Its co-chairs repeatedly declined to be interviewed for this story, but a 20 minute video on their website lays out their goals. Brad Zinn — a tea partier, comedy magician, and reporter for the conservative news site Western Free Press — is co-chair of Verify the Vote, along with Jennifer Wright, a lawyer and former Tea Party candidate for Phoenix mayor.
“In the last four years, we’ve all been made aware that there are forces at work to steal power from the people by manipulating the vote,” Wright said in the video. She never said what those forces are, but Verify the Vote outlines a few approaches to stop them. They want volunteers to review voter rolls and registrations, to monitor early ballot counts, and they encourage like-minded voter fraud hawks to get hired as poll workers.
Here’s the video from “Verify the Vote”: