OUR ELECTION DAY PLAN
PJMedia is announcing a new initiative for election day 2010 — “VOTER FRAUD WATCH.” This initiative is to be carried forth on Pajamas Media and PJTV.
As almost everyone would agree, in a democracy the integrity of the vote is paramount. If significant fraud or intimidation occurs at our polling places during an election, our democratic system of government is in peril.
PJMedia has been at the forefront of this struggle for integrity of the vote, most recently via its coverage of the Department of Justice/New Black Panther controversy. This coverage was led by DOJ whistle blower and former attorney in the department’s voter rights division, J. Christian Adams. Mr. Adams has agreed to lend his legal expertise to “Voter Fraud Watch.”
WHAT WE INTEND TO DO
Under “Voter Fraud Watch” PJMedia seeks to develop a network of citizen journalists/poll watchers to monitor as many polling places as possible across the nation on election day. These people would report back to us — with either video, still photos, text or some combination thereof — on cases of voter fraud, intimidation or other voting malfeasances they may encounter. We will then cover these occurrences heavily on Pajamas Media and PJTV and promote them to the media at large.
It should go without saying that we expect these reports to be made irrespective of the political party or ideology of the person or persons involved.
WHAT POLL WATCHERS SHOULD LOOK FOR
Most important are voter intimidation and “electioneering within X feet of the poll.” (The X is there because this distance is matter of state law. Please check the requirements in your state.) These areas are obvious and visible.
According to Christian Adams, other areas of interest are:
1. Forced assistance. Everyone has a right to have someone help them vote, except their employer or union representative. But all too often forced assistance is imposed on elderly voters. The voter doesn’t get to vote, but instead the assistor votes for them. This allows large numbers of votes to be cast by a single machine connected assistor. This particularly corrupts the “down ballot” contests where the voters would otherwise have no idea for whom to vote.
2. Registration fraud. In many places, political organizations are submitting large numbers of registrations. Often they are duplicates, meaning someone gets registered multiple times. They are often deficient, and do not include information such as Social Security numbers or DL numbers. If they are registered without these numbers, as many often are, there is no assurance that these are real people. In states without voter ID, they will be able to vote as ghost voters.
3. And, of course, dead voters.
We would also be interested in instances of behavior that, while not strictly illegal, arguably stretch ethical limits for voting in a democracy. Again, this would be irrespective of political party or ideology.
WE NEED YOU AND YOUR SUGGESTIONS
The methods for uploading these election day reports are still evolving, but will be publicized on Pajamas Media and PJTV shortly. Our producer/editor Bryan Preston is preparing an instructional video on “best techniques” for shooting and uploading video in the field with Flipcams, iPhones, Blackberrys and other cellular phones. He will also be producing a test video from an actual polling place in his home state of Texas, where the polls open for early voting a couple of weeks in advance of election day on November 2.
But none of these methods and techniques are helpful without you. We need your participation in the project in the form of suggestions now (please leave them in the comments section below) and in the field on election day. In all areas you are allowed to bring a camera to the polls and photograph outside. In some you are allowed to photograph inside. Again, this is a matter of state law.
In any case, if you would like to join us in this project, and we hope you do, contact us at [email protected]. Please indicate your area of the country and level of video and/or camera expertise. We are aware that other organizations have taken an interest in voting matters this election and would be pleased to cooperate with them as well.
We look forward to more dialogue on this topic in the very near future. Don’t forget to leave your suggestions.