April 30, 2008

Those mysterious robo-calls in North Carolina

We learned earlier this week that an untold number of North Carolinians, less than a week before their Democratic presidential primary, have received automated calls, suggesting they’ll need to fill out a registration form before they vote.

“Hello, this is Lamont Williams,” the robo-call said. “In the next few days, you will receive a voter registration packet in the mail. All you need to do is sign it, date it and return your application. Then you will be able to vote and make your voice heard. Please return the voter registration form when it arrives. Thank you.” According to one report, the calls were directed at “black neighborhoods.”

The North Carolina state elections board, not surprisingly, is most unhappy about the calls, and has asked the public to help track down the source.

Facing South, however, has already identified the caller.

Facing South has confirmed the source of the calls, and the mastermind is Women’s Voices Women Vote, a D.C.-based nonprofit which aims to boost voting among “unmarried women voters.”

What’s more, Facing South has learned that the firestorm Women’s Voices has ignited in North Carolina isn’t the group’s first brush with controversy. Women’s Voices’ questionable tactics have spawned thousands of voter complaints in at least 11 states and brought harsh condemnation from some election officials for their secrecy, misleading nature and likely violations of election law.

Women’s Voices says this is a big misunderstanding. If so, it’s a pretty dramatic one.

Paul Kiel spoke with a representative of the group and moved the story forward.

The group’s spokeswoman Sarah Johnson confirmed to me that those were the group’s calls and said that they were part of an effort to register three million women voters in 24 states. The fact that the calls came shortly before the North Carolina primary, potentially confusing voters, was unfortunate mistake, she said. We’re “incredibly apologetic about the timing of this.” The group was simply working at such a “high volume” that it was “extremely difficult to tailor the mailing to every single state’s schedule,” she said. The calls precede the mailers, she said, because it increases the rate of response.

The group had also let the state board of elections know prior to sending out the mailings that they would be doing so, but the letter to the board did not mention the calls. […]

The group is currently in the process of halting the mailed packets, she said, at the request of the Democracy North Carolina and the state board of elections. The calls have also stopped.

As for why the group’s calls had used an apparently fictitious persona named “Lamont Williams,” Johnson first said, “as far as I know, it is a recorded message.” But when I asked why the group had used that name when there is no such person working with the group, she said she did not know why the name had been used.

Under normal circumstances, an aboveboard voter registration effort would start a robo-call by saying, “This is so-and-so from Women’s Voices, Women Vote and I’m calling to…” But that’s not what happened here; instead the robo-calls used a made-up person to leave messages and at least gave the impression that someone might need to complete some additional paperwork before voting.

The whole thing seems kind of odd, doesn’t it?

 
Discussion

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57 Comments
1.
On April 30th, 2008 at 3:25 pm, Insane Fake Professor said:

Obviously this is a staged media attack designed to smear “uppity” women who dare to exercise the precious franchise, which supporters of Senator Dreamboy clearly wish women didn’t have.

2.
On April 30th, 2008 at 3:29 pm, BuzzMon said:

Apparently, they got Digby to do a PSA for them, too.

Very odd…

3.
On April 30th, 2008 at 3:34 pm, Vermonter said:

Especially when Clinton campaign manager, Maggie Williams, was formerly on the Leadership Team.

4.
On April 30th, 2008 at 3:34 pm, joey said:

Bright ideas from confused people. Why imply this was necessary to vote. They don’t know why they used the made up name??? Is this like saying we really don’t know what we’re doing or that we just aren’t telling. Based on a record of other election complaints it’s very suspicious. Hopefully there will be loud public response broadcasting this story so it doesn’t interfere with the primary.

5.
On April 30th, 2008 at 3:35 pm, cobsjo said:

Women’s Voices Executive Director Joe Goode worked for Bill Clinton’s election campaign in 1992 as a pollster; the group’s website says he was intimately involved in “development and implementation of all polling and focus groups done for the presidential primary and general election campaigns” for Clinton.

Women’s Voices board member John Podesta, former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, donated $2,300 to Hillary Clinton on April 19, 2007, according to OpenSecrets.org.

And Maggie Williams, Clinton’s current campaign manager, served on it’s board in 2007: http://web.archive.org/web/20070706100052/http://www.wvwv.org/aboutwvwv/index.cfm?id=3

Looks like someone might have been caught red-handed.

6.
On April 30th, 2008 at 3:36 pm, smiley said:

CB: You left out the part about the group being populated by Clinton supporters.

Some have also questioned the ties between Women’s Voices operatives and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton. Gardner, for example, contributed $2,500 to Clinton’s HILLPAC on May 4, 2006, and in March 2005 she donated a total of $4,200 to Clinton, according to The Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org. She has not contributed to the Obama campaign, according to the database.

Women’s Voices Executive Director Joe Goode worked for Bill Clinton’s election campaign in 1992 as a pollster; the group’s website says he was intimately involved in “development and implementation of all polling and focus groups done for the presidential primary and general election campaigns” for Clinton.

Women’s Voices board member John Podesta, former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, donated $2,300 to Hillary Clinton on April 19, 2007, according to OpenSecrets.org. Podesta also donated $1,000 to Barack Obama in July 2004, but that was well before Obama announced his candidacy for president.

7.
On April 30th, 2008 at 3:36 pm, ROTFLMLiberalAO said:

I am convinced:
Crooks and liars needs to rename it website: Bushes and Clintons.

I mean really…

If Maggie Williams is really on board:

WOMEN’S VOICES Leadership Team
Page S. Gardner, Founder and President, WVWV
Joe Goode, Executive Director, WVWV
Ruth Ferguson, Chief Finance Officer, WVWV
Nancy McDonald, Resource Development Director, WVWV
Hal Malchow, President, MSHC Partners
Pat Griffin, Griffin Williams Critical Point Management
MAGGIE WILLIAMS, Griffin Williams Critical Point Management

Couldn’t they have used her name in the calls?
Or how about… instead of using the Lamont Williams fake name, why not use Lamont Sanford?
At least then we could have a side chuckle to integrate with our growing sense of democratic shame…

This is sick shit.

8.
On April 30th, 2008 at 3:37 pm, The Answer is Orange said:

Is WVWV an off-shoot of Concerned Women of America? No it couldn’t be, WV^2^ has an actual female spokesperson.

Or maybe that was just Lamont Williams talking in a high-pitched voice.

9.
On April 30th, 2008 at 3:42 pm, Danp said:

an untold number of North Carolinians, less than a week before their Democratic presidential primary, have received automated calls

Another reason for suspicion? In North Carolina you have to register to vote 25 days prior to the election.

http://www.growthevote.org/ezvote/VoterRegistration.pdf

10.
On April 30th, 2008 at 3:49 pm, NB said:

People, People, the debate over this is clearly a huge overreaction.

1) How was WVWV supposed to know that the voter registration date for North Carolina passed weeks ago? Things just get so crazy around election time that “organization” and antiquated tools like “calendars” can really slow you down.

2) The debate about “Lamont” is silly as well. Women’s groups clearly must use male voices in their robocalls, and shouldn’t identify themselves either. The disenfranchised and downtrodden women they’re trying to help will only listen to the instructions of big strong men like “Lamont,” and certainly won’t act if they think crazy liberal feminist groups are trying to “empower” them (read: subvert the holy institution of marriage).

The bottom line is: WVWV did nothing wrong.

11.
On April 30th, 2008 at 3:54 pm, Lance said:

So the point of your article is that people who are already registered might think they have to fill out the form and send it in, causing confusion?

So that’s a good reason to NOT encourage registration of unregistered citizens?

Now if the timing is wrong and the ‘new’ voters wouldn’t actually get to vote, that I could understand.

12.
On April 30th, 2008 at 4:01 pm, Spero Melior said:

Extremism in the defense of gender solidarity is no vice

— Goldwater Girl

13.
On April 30th, 2008 at 4:03 pm, TR said:

Nothing at all suspicious about a women’s group robocalling black neighborhoods and telling them they need to mail something in before they can vote. Nothing at all.

14.
On April 30th, 2008 at 4:03 pm, Danp said:

Lance: But what purpose would it serve to make these calls after the deadline, if not to deceptively convince people that they would otherwise not be allowed to vote? Follow the second link (identified the caller) and you’ll see a pattern.

15.
On April 30th, 2008 at 4:14 pm, The Answer is Orange said:

Here’s my acid test for political actions by Democrats: If a Republican group did it, would I start piling kindling under the big caldron of the tar?

Yep.

I’m ripping open a feather pillow too.

Regarding “Lamont Williams,” I guess we should give them some credit for not naming their imaginary friend Tyrone Greene.

This is very nasty stuff folks.

16.
On April 30th, 2008 at 4:28 pm, Spero Melior said:

She may campaign like a Republican, but she’d never, ever consider governing like one. C’mon, you can trust her.

My resolve to hold my nose and vote for her in Nov. if she gets the nomination continues to be tested. Forget about holding my nose; I’m going to need at Hazmat suit.

17.
On April 30th, 2008 at 4:36 pm, Lance said:

Danp said: “Lance: But what purpose would it serve to make these calls after the deadline, if not to deceptively convince people that they would otherwise not be allowed to vote? Follow the second link (identified the caller) and you’ll see a pattern.”

Yep, once you point out that they are LATE you have to wonder.

18.
On April 30th, 2008 at 4:41 pm, Mary said:

You’ve put the worst possible spin on this. There seems to be no doubt about overlap between Clinton supporters and this women’s group — hardly surprising given that women’s groups tend to support Clinton. However, that doesn’t mean Clinton or her campaign was behind their effort — the huge leap the Clinton haters all take here. I also realize that few here would be willing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt about it being a campaign to register women voters. If someone is not already registered, wouldn’t they have to fill in a form in order to register? The problem seems to be that those already registered might have misinterpreted the call, but without hearing the wording of the call (for some reason not being supplied), how do we know how much possibility of misinterpretation even existed?

In the context of the South, the name Lamont Williams could be white or black. Lamont Cranston was The Shadow’s alter ego (a white man). But I wouldn’t want to interfere with your racist speculation.

19.
On April 30th, 2008 at 4:42 pm, Dee Loralei said:

Once you also point out that they did these late robo-calls in earlier states like Ohio and 11 others one begins to wonder just how incompetent these ex-Clinton supporters are. None of them are novices to the national political stage. Ever time they got caught previously they gave the same ‘oops” response.

And I’m with TAiO, if this had been a Republican GE tactic we’d all be up in arms. Why in the hell is it ok when it’s one of our own, doing the same dirty trick?

The Ex Officio superdelegates MUST stop this now!

20.
On April 30th, 2008 at 4:50 pm, Shalimar said:

11. Lance said: So the point of your article is that people who are already registered might think they have to fill out the form and send it in, causing confusion?

You aren’t this naive. If it looks like a Republican-style voter intimidation group and acts like a Republican-style voter intimidation group, then that’s probably what it is. You honestly think that a pro-Hillary group is legitimately trying to register predominantly African-American voters at this point in the primaries? She’s losing that demographic 10-1. Read the articles and count all the lies. There is no reason to trust anyone from this group given their established track record. Either they’re trying to decrease African-American turnout or they are incredibly inept. Read the list of Hillary people involved with this group. That says it all.

21.
On April 30th, 2008 at 4:53 pm, Dances with trolls said:

Spero Melior: My resolve to hold my nose and vote for her in Nov. if she gets the nomination continues to be tested.

Keep pinching that you are going to need rhinoplasty…
And I doubt the chump change from the gas tax holiday will help defray the costs.

22.
On April 30th, 2008 at 4:53 pm, MissMudd said:

Smells like Ghosts of The National Congressional Club with a little “Southern Strategy” thrown in for extra stench.

Hillary using Jesse Helms’ playbook: Who’d a thunk it?

23.
On April 30th, 2008 at 4:54 pm, little bear said:

ROTFLMLiberalAO - discovered a long time ago that C&L is NOT a liberal Website. In fact, for the most part, the “Advertise Liberally” group (see this site is part of it, though not a “top tier”) is a circle jerk where atrios, c&l, digby, and later, fdl constantly kick people back and forth - an endless circle of links.

None of those sites are liberal and they actually flame and ban people that post comments/ideas that are historically issues that liberals and progressives have worked for.

This is now common at the shillary blogs too - deleting diaries, erasing comments, and suspending the accounts. But isn’t this what anyone would expect from the crew that advocates for a bush-clinton-bush-clinton monarchy.

24.
On April 30th, 2008 at 4:56 pm, Shalimar said:

And I’ll just add that I can’t understand why anyone other than delusional people like Mary would still support Hillary after the last few months. Is this really what millions of people want the Democratic party to turn into?

25.
On April 30th, 2008 at 5:03 pm, Mary said:

Here is the description of the organization, its effort and its intentions, from HuffPo:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/page-gardner/confusion-surrounding-rob_b_99427.html

You have to be particularly paranoid to interpret this as a voter suppression drive. As I suspected (see above), the group made the calls to a wide range of people, not targeted to African Americans. It was aimed at registering voters for the Fall election. They are trying to register rural women. As noted in the article at HuffPo, the drive was aboveboard, similar to what they have done in the past, and their plan was filed with the appropriate election authories.

Women who support increased participation by women in the political process tend to be much more likely to support Hillary. Isn’t that obvious? The overlap doesn’t mean that Clinton did this. It means that women did it. As noted at the link above, this is a bipartisan non-profit group that predates Clinton’s campaign.

The hysteria about their activities, however, has all the earmarks of an Obama smear. One may way to portray Clinton as racist, lying, manipulative. You can see this as an attempt to suppress African American voting. I see it as an attempt to suppress female voter registration activities by calling them racist. That is every bit as ugly as what the group is being accused of doing by Obamabots.

I DO believe that Clinton may gain some African American voters after the dustup between Obama and Wright.

26.
On April 30th, 2008 at 5:03 pm, Jen said:

Uh, for our favorite, the link in the above article does give the text, too:

“Hello, this is Lamont Williams. In the next few days, you will receive a voter registration packet in the mail. All you need to do is sign it, date it and return your application. Then you will be able to vote and make your voice heard. Please return the voter registration form when it arrives. Thank you.”

I love the excuse about it being so hard to keep track. You know, in a way I bet that’s true, they have to wait until *after* people can register and yet, get the calls there close enough to the primary to make people confused. That’s certainly a much smaller window than several months before a primary, or an after primary push that might have a mailer reading something like, “Wish you could have voted in the primary? Make sure you can vote in November.”

At whoever up above who talked about the nose holding giving way to hazmatting, well, yes. All the more reason to make sure that that just doesn’t happen.

27.
On April 30th, 2008 at 5:04 pm, little bear said:

#10, NB is spot-on. Not only do economically disadvantaged and disenfranchised women need strong male voices from unidentified organizations to tell them what to do, but many of them also need that male figure to sound like a menacing African American.

Listen for yourself: http://www.democracy-nc.org/nc/spprncall.wav

Wonder why he didn’t use the “b” word too?

28.
On April 30th, 2008 at 5:09 pm, Jay said:

It doesn’t seem odd at all. They’re lying.

29.
On April 30th, 2008 at 5:10 pm, phoebes said:

According to my son, who works with Democratic organisations, this group is very above board. He’s even urged me to donate to it a couple of times. He says the group has done marvelous work in registering young women and minorities.

I just emailed him this article and asked, “What’s up with this?” He says it’s a huge misunderstanding and is standing by his support to the group. And, as a Dem professional, he’s neither partisan for either candidate and only wants to elect a Democrat in November.

He also pointed out that almost every Democratic professional has worked for or supported the Clintons in the last 30 years.

30.
On April 30th, 2008 at 5:10 pm, little bear said:

Forget about holding my nose; I’m going to need at Hazmat suit.

A clinton vrs mclame matchup is truly the tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee that Nader talked about. Either way, we get the folks behind dur chimpfurher and more of the same - this is why rush and kkkarl want to see her in the general.

Its also why we are all bloggin’ and commenting on her dishonest campaign on a daily basis.

31.
On April 30th, 2008 at 5:25 pm, doubtful said:

It doesn’t seem odd at all. They’re lying. -Jay

Succinct and accurate.

This is just par for the course for the Clinton Campaign.

Tell, if it talks like a Republican, walks like a Republican, how am I supposed to not conclude it will govern like one?

I logically can’t, and every day it gets ethically harder to say I will hold my nose and vote for her if she steals the nomination.

32.
On April 30th, 2008 at 5:28 pm, Maria said:

So if this group is aboveboard, why do they keep making the same “mistakes,” including pulling this same stunt right before the Virginia primary? I don’t like to cut and paste long passages, but this is instructive:

______________

But since last November, in at least 11 states nationwide, Women’s Voices — sometimes working through its Voter Participation Center project — has developed a checkered reputation, drawing rebukes from leading election officials and complaints from thousands of would-be voters as a result of their secretive tactics, deceptive mailings and calls, and penchant for skirting or violating the law. For example:

* In Arizona last November, election officials were “inundated with complaints” after Women’s Voices sent a mailing erroneously claiming that recipients were “required” to mail back an enclosed voter registration form. Many who received the mailing were already registered; the mailing also gave the wrong registration date. Secretary of State Jan Brewer denounced the group’s tactics as “misleading and deceptive.” A similar mailing in Colorado that month “[drew] fire and caused confusion,” according to a state press release.

* In Wisconsin, state officials singled out Women’s Voices for misleading and possibly disenfranchising voters, stating in a press release [PDF]: “One group in particular — Women’s Voices. Women Vote, of Washington, D.C. — apparently ignored or disregarded state deadlines in seeking to register voters,” sending in registrations past the January 30 deadline and causing “hundreds of Wisconsin voters who think they registered in advance” to actually not be.

* Michigan officials ended up “fielding tons of calls from confused voters” after Women’s Voices did a February mailing to “380,000 unmarried women” — including numerous deceased voters and even more that were already registered. Sarah Johnson of Women’s Voices “seemed confused by the confusion,” the Lansing State Journal reported.

* A 1.5 million-piece Women’s Voices mailing in Florida falsely stated: “To comply with state voting requirements, please return the enclosed application.” Pasco County’s elections supervisor called it “disingenuous”; another said it created “a lot of unnecessary panic on behalf of the voters,” reported local newspapers. Sarah Johnson of Women’s Voice said, “I’m sorry to hear that.”

* By March, Women’s Voices was backing off the erroneous “registration is required” language, but there were still problems. For example, a mailing in Arkansas allowed that “registering to vote is voluntary,” but a clerk in Washington County reported that “the majority [of forms] sent back to the county come from registered voters, causing needless labor for office employees.”

Problems with the group’s tactics have also been documented in Louisiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

In each state, the Women’s Voices campaigns have brought the same news and the same themes, again and again: Deceptive claims and misrepresentations of the law — sometimes even breaking the law. Wildly inaccurate mailing lists, supposedly aimed at “unregistered single women,” but in reality reaching many registered voters as well as families, deceased persons and pets. Tactics that confuse voters and potentially disenfranchise them.

For such a sophisticated and well-funded operation, which counts among its ranks some of the country’s most seasoned political operatives, such missteps are peculiar, as is the surprise expressed by Women’s Voices staff after each controversy.

In at least two states, the timing of Women’s Voices’ activities have raised alarm that they are attempting to influence the outcome of a primary. As we reported earlier, in Virginia, news reports surfaced the first week in February that prospective voters were receiving anonymous robo-calls telling voters that they were about to receive a voter registration packet in the mail.

The timing of the calls was astoundingly off: As the Virginia State Police confirm, the calls were made Feb. 5 and 6 — about 10 days before the then-critical Virginia primary, but more than two weeks after the deadline for registering in the state had passed (Jan. 14). The Virginia State Board of Elections was deluged with calls by confused voters — many who were already registered. When they heard the calls from Women’s Voices, they feared that they really weren’t.

Because of the horrible timing and their secretive nature, state officials assumed the calls and mailings were part of an identity theft scheme. When the Virginia State Police investigated, they found Women’s Voices was behind them. Women’s Voices was unapologetic after the controversy, merely issuing a boilerplate press release trumpeting the success of the program.

__________

If they’re not bent, they’re an astoundingly incompetent bunch. Astoundingly.

33.
On April 30th, 2008 at 5:35 pm, MissMudd said:

Danp: In North Carolina you have to register to vote 25 days prior to the election.

This means, Mary, the calls were placed to imply they are not registered thus, they will not bother to vote.

Yet Mary proclaims: “The problem seems to be that those already registered might have misinterpreted the call…”

Hold your noses ’til they bleed folks. For me, there’s nothing on this planet that would make me vote for that whore. If she wins the nomination, I will be home laughing my ass off while she gets her skanky ass beat by a walking corpse.

She’s no Democrat. She’s Karl Rove with boobs. And you Mary, are an asshole in comfortable shoes.

34.
On April 30th, 2008 at 5:39 pm, hermit crab said:

Transcript of robocall:

“Hello. This is Lamont Williams. In the next few days, I will be coming to your front door, holding Hillary Clinton’s kitchen sink. All you need to do is open your front door and let me smash your head with the sink. You may be injured and therefore unable to vote on Tuesday, but Hillary’s voice will be heard. Please don’t forget to answer your door when you hear me knock. Thank you.”

35.
On April 30th, 2008 at 5:55 pm, little bear said:

Damn, #33 MissMudd!!!!!

Randi Rhodes got FIRED from Air America for using the “w” word!

If it is clinton versus mclame - your vote won’t be counted anyhow. Most likely, they steal it for mclame and the MSM will tell us she had too many negatives (this is why rush and kkkarl want her in general).

But even if they don’t steal it - the same people remain in control and we get more of the same.

36.
On April 30th, 2008 at 6:19 pm, Andy said:

There is no Clinton-conspiracy behind WVWV. The fact is that almost any political operative over 40 has worked at one point for one of Bill Clinton’s campaigns. WVWV is focused on the general election, and registering voters and increasing participation in November. There term “robo-call” is used as a pejorative, but it is a standard practice just like canvassing doors or sending mail.

37.
On April 30th, 2008 at 7:06 pm, reve J. Wright said:

Obviously this is a staged media attack designed to smear “uppity” women who dare to exercise the precious franchise, which supporters of Senator Dreamboy clearly wish women didn’t have.

38.
On April 30th, 2008 at 7:06 pm, Tom Cleaver said:

Mrs. Billy-J sees this as “sisterhood in action.”

39.
On April 30th, 2008 at 7:10 pm, Crissa said:

So let me get this straight…

…A group with no more Clinton supporters than its demographics is ‘a Clinton front’ if they do something wrong.

…Any group that has people who worked for the Democratic administration are therefore Clinton moles… Even though just about anyone who worked as a Democrat from eight to sixteen years ago has worked for the Democratic administration at some point.

…Using fictitious characters is wrong and racist, the GEICO gecko and cavemen aren’t, somehow.

…It’s wrong to put out a get out the vote effort if it says you must be registered to vote, because that insinuates that you’re not registered. How exactly do you say you have to register to vote if you have not done so already?

Okay, so it sounded horrible. Until I heard it. Then we notice there were like, few people involved, and they missed by a couple weeks. Okay, so they’ve gotten complaints about the language in their mailers before. Are there examples of these mailers? Of what it really said? ’cause none of those articles actually did.

Look, I see a thread of assholes who are pretending to be Democrats. You guys looking to lie and pin stuff on Clintons? You’re just fair weather jerks. When you abandon Obama this fall - and I don’t - I’ll just be saying I toldja so. Again.

40.
On April 30th, 2008 at 7:40 pm, phoebes said:

[email protected] is my son, and he knows what he’s talking about.

41.
On April 30th, 2008 at 8:31 pm, Jen said:

Yes, but Andy @36, are all GOTV efforts this lame? How have they managed to hit that window between the end of registration and the primary so many times?

I don’t think anyone is saying this started as a vote suppression group; they likely went into it with the best motives a politically motivated group can. BUT, I think there’s justified feeling that there are too many errors, too many of the same kind of errors, too many things like not identifying the group in the phone call, not giving a call back number or web address, not clarifying anything about registration dates, using a name no one seems to know who it is, repeatedly doing dumb stuff that annoys the elections people in numerous states, etc.

Incompetence or someone (or ones) using that incompetence for their own purposes?

Those are the sorts of things we rail on and on about when Republicans try them, so what’s the difference now? Is incompetence contagious and this DC based group has caught it?

42.
On April 30th, 2008 at 8:38 pm, Jen said:

…Using fictitious characters is wrong and racist, the GEICO gecko and cavemen aren’t, somehow.

Uhhh, see how you used the word GEICO? That means they identified themselves in the ad. You know who the fictitious character is selling for.

…It’s wrong to put out a get out the vote effort if it says you must be registered to vote, because that insinuates that you’re not registered. How exactly do you say you have to register to vote if you have not done so already?

Uhh, how about it’s insanely stupid to repeatedly manage to get a GOTV effort into people’s homes after the registration deadline and just before the primary. Put it out after the primary or way before with dates for registering listed. This isn’t brain surgery, I can find those dates in 2 seconds online.

Okay, so it sounded horrible. Until I heard it. Then we notice there were like, few people involved, and they missed by a couple weeks. Okay, so they’ve gotten complaints about the language in their mailers before. Are there examples of these mailers? Of what it really said? ’cause none of those articles actually did.

I saw one example somewhere around on the web, try TPM. It’s not the mailers or the concept that are so much the problem (except when the mailers imply that you have to do their form or not vote) as the implementation.

few people involved? I don’t know what this means.

Look, I see a thread of assholes who are pretending to be Democrats. You guys looking to lie and pin stuff on Clintons? You’re just fair weather jerks. When you abandon Obama this fall - and I don’t - I’ll just be saying I toldja so. Again.

Wow. Well, gosh I’m not delighted we’re on the same side, but hey, I’m not turning away votes.

How exactly do you get that being against deceptive information about voting isn’t a Democratic thing? See, here’s how the story goes — Republicans like to suppress votes and Democrats like everyone to vote. That’s simple and I’m sticking to it and to voting for Democrats.

43.
On April 30th, 2008 at 8:44 pm, Shalimar said:

36. Andy said: There is no Clinton-conspiracy behind WVWV. The fact is that almost any political operative over 40 has worked at one point for one of Bill Clinton’s campaigns.

It is a group whose aim was to increase registration among single women, a demographic which is voting overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. That in itself is a good thing, every additional registered Democrat is a positive for the party, but you’re naive if you don’t see a connection with Hillary’s campaign. And it is very noteworthy how many of their calls suddenly seem to be going to African-American men. Either the transgender population has drastically increased lately or they are operating from a different list for different goals in North Carolina.

39. On April 30th, 2008 at 7:10 pm, Crissa said:
…Using fictitious characters is wrong and racist, the GEICO gecko and cavemen aren’t, somehow.

If you’re too ignorant to realize there are different laws and rules for political and commercial advertising, there’s no point trying to explain it to you. Do you have any explanation for why they used a fictitious name and didn’t identify their organization in the calls? Because they can’t come up with anything even remotely logical, which is itself pretty damning.

44.
On April 30th, 2008 at 9:24 pm, doubtful said:

[email protected] is my son, and he knows what he’s talking about. -phoebes

Oh, well thank goodness someone who knows what they are talking about finally showed up because all of the regular commenters here are so politically inept and unable to think things through for themselves.

Nah, Andy is right. It’s makes much more sense to assume that all Democrats over 40 work or have worked for the Clintons and that as such we should never draw any suspect conclusions about any shady activity concerning former and current staff of the Clintons.

Both Bill and Hillary are above reproach and would certainly never do anything unethical, of course.

So all of you people who are arguing with Andy, STOP IT! HE KNOWS WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT! Any facts, evidence, or conjecture to the contrary is thereby rendered irrelevant.

45.
On April 30th, 2008 at 10:26 pm, libra said:

And they’re still doing it, in Oregon. I’ve waded through 250+ comments on TPM Muckraker and people are reporting a similar pattern there: no robocalls but mailers, telling you to register to vote and to send the registration card back. Only, the registration card landed on their doorsteps the day the registration date was cut off, so it was impossible to return it in time to participate. The targets there seemed to be urban and young (not necessarily black); one of them said that his neighbourhood had lots of Obama yard signs but nary a one for either Clinton or McLame.

As someone (can’t find that comment… Jen, maybe?) pointed out earlier, if the mailing is aimed at the General Election, it would have been no trouble at all to say something like “don’t miss another election; if you’re not registered to vote, do so now, so that you’re ready for November”. Clear and non-frightening. But the connection to the General Election doesn’t appear in the mailing. In the meantime, everyone is talking about the *primaries*, not the General, so what are people to think?

There are other questions as well. Like:
If the targets are single women, why is the voice in the robocalls male? Wouldn’t appealing to the sisterhood be more credible?
If the targets are single women (presumably, without prejudice as to skin colour), why were the NC calls concentrated on black neighbourhoods?
If the targets are single women, why were so many calls received by married men (all black)? Some of the commenters on the Muckraker did a bit digging and came up with financial info on the group; a lot of money had been spent on research, focus groups, microtargeting etc. If so, how come they were so far off in their targeting?
How come the group has been making the same “mistakes” in their calls and in their mailers *for months*, without ever correcting them?
Why was there a caller-ID block on the robocalls? Added to the fact that the group failed to identify itself anywhere in the call, the anonymity alone had to be scary.

And, overarching all other questions… Cui bono? Who profits? Whether or not this particular caper had been coordinated with the McDame’s (many thanks, Dale! Love it) campaign, she’s the one who’s going to be better off as the result of the confusion. I wonder how many of the people who have received the call are going to stay at home on Tuesday, waiting for their registration card which will never come. The group hasn’t mentioned anything about calling all those same people and disabusing them of the idea that they’re not eligible…

As for everyone here who’s posted saying that Obama’s supporters are seeing Clinton conspiracies under every rock… Well… Essentially, it’s the story of the boy who cried wolf. In the story, the boy had lied so many times that, when he told the truth, nobody believed him. During this campaign, Clinton — either personally or via surrogates — has behaved slime-illy on so many occasions, that believing the worst of her comes naturally. I wish it weren’t so, and, like the villagers in the boy’s story I may end up ruing my judgment but…

46.
On April 30th, 2008 at 10:55 pm, independent thinker said:

It seems clear to me that this robo call and the subsequent mailer are designed to fool people into re-registering AFTER the date for participation in the primary. Especially if one examines the text of the message:

“Hello, this is Lamont Williams. In the next few days, you will receive a voter registration packet in the mail. All you need to do is sign it, date it and return your application. Then you will be able to vote and make your voice heard. Please return the voter registration form when it arrives. Thank you.”

Notice how it deglects to say anything about if you are already registered, then please disregard this notice. The implication is that you must return this form no matter what or you won’t be able to vote.

Clear and simple, this is fraud.

47.
On May 1st, 2008 at 12:11 am, Nell said:

This dog won’t hunt. Give it up. Clinton trying to suppress women voters? LOL

We all need to read this:
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/06/wolcott200806

If you see yourself there, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

48.
On May 1st, 2008 at 2:26 am, libra said:

No, Nell dear, @47,

Clinton isn’t trying to suppress the women’s vote; it would have been, indeed, laughable to suggest that. What the group — with or without Clinton’s encouragement — is doing, is trying to suppress the *black* vote. Just because the group has “women” in its title and just because it *claims* its objective is to encourage female single voters doesn’t mean that it’s all it does or, even, that that objective is their real concern. We’re all familiar with lofty titles like “Clear Skies” which, in practice, translate to “No Tree Left Behind”…

You’re either being disingenuous or reading-comprehension disabled, if “suppressing women’s vote” is how you interpret the comments here.

49.
On May 1st, 2008 at 2:41 am, Freefall said:

Check facts. To suggest that the sloppiness in Wisconsin was anything more than that is just silly — since it could not accomplish voter suppression, since Wisconsin has same-day registration. (The date given here is for early registration; there is no end-date for registration with same-day registration!)

The lack of facts for that tells me the rest of this is not credible, either. The only beneficiaries of this baby brouhaha will be the tin foil companies. There must be a real run on it for making hats.

50.
On May 1st, 2008 at 5:12 am, Blutarski said:

Freefall: Disingenuous or dense? The fact that Wisconsin has same-day registration isn’t the point. Voter suppression efforts do not depend on the mechanics of registration, they depend on heir ability to convince people that they are ineligible, or that they need to take certai actions in order to become eligible. They accomplish their aims is they convince people — not all of whom are aware of the registration laws — that they are not registered or should decide not to register.

51.
On May 1st, 2008 at 8:45 am, Mary said:

If someone re-registers to vote, they will still be eligible to vote. It makes no sense to suggest that you are harming people by telling them to register. There is also no way this group could legitimately conduct its activities without engaging in “voter suppression” under the rules you have laid down above. If you cannot tell people they need to register without somehow suppressing them, then there can be no voter registration drive. Under your criteria, all the Rock the Vote ads in previous campaigns would have been voter suppression tactics aimed at young people — who would all somehow mistakenly think they were not allowed to vote if they had previously registered?

Look how ridiculous this would all sound if you just substituted African American for women and used a female voice instead of a male voice in the ad. Obama’s people have engaged in considerable voter registration efforts without anyone suggesting that they are trying to suppress female voting, or anyone’s voting. But when it is a group less favorable to Obama trying to register people, then all of a sudden it is voter suppression.

The issue over the deadlines is a red herring. They are missing primary deadlines because they are aiming at the Fall election exactly because they are not focused on helping specific primary candidates, not to help Clinton (who is hurt by the timing). This is an ongoing effort aimed at the FALL election. This issue arises only with the handful of states with late primaries (whose deadlines were missed) and ignores that there were many more states where that didn’t happen — the ones with earlier primaries more in step with the timing of this voter registration campaign.

Someone in the Obama campaign decided to target a group aimed at registering women to trump up an issue that could be used to smear Clinton. How noble is it to accuse a group that registers women of voter suppression, thereby handicapping their efforts to register women voters? Would you put up with this kind of crap if it were Clinton trying to suppress efforts to register African American voters? Why is this situation any different? It stinks because Obama thought this would be an issue to help his campaign — the cost is paid by the women who will not be encouraged to vote in the Fall. But anything to win, hey guys? New kind of politician, my foot.

52.
On May 1st, 2008 at 8:53 am, Jen said:

The issue over the deadlines is a red herring. They are missing primary deadlines because they are aiming at the Fall election exactly because they are not focused on helping specific primary candidates, not to help Clinton (who is hurt by the timing). This is an ongoing effort aimed at the FALL election. This issue arises only with the handful of states with late primaries (whose deadlines were missed) and ignores that there were many more states where that didn’t happen — the ones with earlier primaries more in step with the timing of this voter registration campaign.

Uh, wrong, wrong, wrong. They didn’t do these mailings all over the place at the same time, they managed to hit a fairly small window in a lot of places at different times. And got yelled at repeatedly by election officials. And didn’t learn.

If they were aiming at November, then they had a simple solution — start June 15th wrap it up by July 15th, don’t have to worry about pesky timing. Put the information about deadlines ON the mailer.

Now again, I’m not saying that this whole group is nefarious, I’m saying that somehow, one or more people there seem to have manuevered things so that they sure look suspicious. Really all it took was some futzing with the calendar for mailings, some tweaking of the lists used, and the really bizarre decision to keep using that robocall with no identification.

Aren’t we looking for competence and transparency? I am.

53.
On May 1st, 2008 at 9:55 am, Insane Fake Professor said:

I called this in comment #1. Thank God this “Mary” gal came along to back me up. This is nothing more than an attempt to smear women and bust up noble and aboveboard efforts to get women to vote.

The reason WVWV didn’t identify itself on a single one of these calls is that they knew if they did, hostile men like you would bully them, so it was safer to be anonymous. The reason they’re a little disorganized is that, unlike men, women have a lot of things on their minds at once and not a lot of help doing the hard work of the world. That’s why they keep forgetting to include a line like, “If you’re already registered, please disregard this message”–if you people had to multitask like women do every day, you’d forget stuff too.

Instead of praising these women for trying, all you do is carp about them accidentally sending these out after primary registration deadlines in specifically selected states and petty stuff like that. You stink.

54.
On May 1st, 2008 at 12:18 pm, Lance said:

Well, at least for those who haven’t discerned a difference, this story explains the difference between Republican’ts and Clintonites.

Republican’ts, asked to stop their anti-Obama campaign ad in North Carolina by their own Presidential Candidate, said no.

Clintonites, asked to stop their robo-calls in North Carolina, said Yes and did.

55.
On May 1st, 2008 at 1:09 pm, Maria said:

They were asked to stop it in Virginia in February, too, Lance–but here they are doing it again in North Carolina. Mighty slow responders these.

56.
On May 1st, 2008 at 1:14 pm, nerpzilla said:

i don’t like to think of myself as a conspiracy theorist, but when

http://www.wvwv.org/voting-information/additional-voting-information-in-your-state

on your webpage you have the registration deadlines for all fifty states, it seems weird that you don’t read them and realize that you are informing people they need to register too late to really vote in the primary. wouldn’t you read your own website and say,

“hey, that’s weird, if i call NC people today, the registration deadline has already passed, and non-registered people aren’t going to be able to vote anyway. i mean, its not like i didn’t have this information right at my fingertips or anything - who actually keeps track of all the voting registration deadlines for all the states, anyway, right? and if i accidentally called registered voters, it’d almost be like they’ll be waiting for something to come in the mail that might not come in time, and might confuse them.”

least, that’s what i would think.

57.
On May 2nd, 2008 at 1:00 pm, Katie Hill said:

I’m a life long feminist and I will not support Hillary Clinton. She has proved to be the kind of woman who will take advantage of the traditional feminine ethos when it suits her purposes (e.g.; her “tears” before the NH primary and willingness to stand behind her husband when things get rough). When “toughness” is called for , she out- machos any man with ridiculous posturing such as her comment on “obliterating” Iran. The “coincidences of the N. C,voting “registration ” letters with similar efforts in other states before their primaries by the same political group, as well as the fact that one of its leading organizers was one of Hillary’s campaign organizers can’t possibly be a mere “mistake”. How stupid des the Clinton campaign think N.C. voters are, anyway? How cynical!
It’s sad that a t the Clintons, a couple with so much to offer in the 90s, has resorted to cheap Rovian schemes to get her elected . This has nothing to do with being anti- women. It has everything to do with the desire of Americans, male and female, wanting to stop politics as usual in our elections.