Report: Tea Partiers Harrasing Black College Students at South Carolina Polls
Under the Bush administration, the Department of Justice went on a full-court press to unearth voter fraud. They found a grand total of 26 proven cases between 2002 and 2006. That's right -- out of hundreds of millions of votes cast in those three election cycles, there were "five individuals who could not vote because of felony convictions, 14 non-citizens, and five who voted twice in the same election," according to Columbia University scholar Lorraine Minnite.
As Iwrote earlier this week, the fact that voter fraud is a complete non-issue hasn't prevented the Tea Partiers from whipping their members into a paranoid frenzy about the vote being "stolen" by jack-booted vegetarians or whatever, and sending them out en masse to harass voters at "polling places in minority communities and near colleges." And that is exactly what's being alleged today in South Carolina.
Here's Suzy Khimm at MoJo:
Tea party activists in South Carolina are allegedly intimidating black college students and other black voters at the polls, according to the South Carolina Democratic Party. Early this morning, self-identified tea party activists showed up at a polling station near Benedict College in Columbia, "basically harassing students—telling people not to vote and generally making voters feel uncomfortable," says Keiana Page, press secretary for the state Democratic Party, who said that the party's legal team is currently investigating the reported incident at the historically black college.
A writer for JackandJillPolitics.com, a site run by black bloggers, also said that she had gotten a call this morning from a local resident that tea party activists were harassing students. "They are protesting student votes and making them vote with provisional ballots," Cheryl Contee reports. "Benedict is one of our proudest HCBUs [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] and these kids don’t deserve this as one of their first experiences voting in America." Page tellsMother Jonesthat Benedict College has been "a favorite harassment spot for Republicans in 2006 and 2004," claiming that Republicans have a history of challenging student voters who registered using their college address. It's unclear whether any student voters were kept from voting due to the alleged intimidation or how many were forced to fill out provisional ballots.
The South Carolina Democrats are also investigating a separate series of incidents in the North Hope Center precinct in Sumter, South Carolina, where tea party activists have also allegedly been harassing black voters. They have been "shouting at the hard working people who have taken time from work or school and are telling them not to vote. Apparently this is happening at more than one location in Sumter," writes Tubman.
Khimm also has a round-up of other "dirty tricks" being reported today, including "illegal, anonymous robo-calls" in Kansas telling traditionally Democratic voters to "bring a voter registration card and proof of home ownership to the polls on Wednesday." Read it here.