Former U.S. Sen. John Danforth is firing back at Democratic charges of voting intimidation by the GOP at polling places.
Danforth, co-chair of John McCain’s Honest and Open Election Committee, told reporters this weekend that a flyer has been circulating in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, alleging that the Republicans are up to “various tricks” at the polling places.
“The practices that they alleged are that everybody is going be challenged — especially people of color,” said Danforth.
The former U.N. ambassador described some of the “absolutely false” allegations being made in the flyer. The eleventh-hour tactic was, he said, payback for the Republicans taking issue over the activities of ACORN, the grass-roots, Obama-backing recruitment organization that, among other things, is signing up voters who don’t exist.
“Students, they are going to be challenged,” Danforth said, describing one of the charges featured in the flyer. “Voters are going be told before they go into vote that if they did not vote in a primary election that they can’t vote; or if they changed parties after a primary that they can’t vote; or if they have a outstanding parking ticket they can’t vote; or if they are delinquent in their child support payments they can’t vote -- and so on.”
Not true at all, Danforth said.
“All of this is absolutely false, and the purpose of the (conference) call is to say that the suggestions made in the flyers distributed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania are flatly untrue and these are practices that are flatly repudiated by the McCain/Palin campaign.”
Danforth noted that the tactic is reminiscent of Democratic tactics in 2004 when similarly unfounded “preemptive strikes” of a “crying wolf” nature were launched against the GOP.
The former Missouri Attorney General described the Democrats’ tactics in Lancaster as an attempt to “create a lot of smoke by alleging things that are just flatly untrue and are not happening -- that’s part of the playbook the Obama campaign this year just as it was part of their playbook in 2004.”
“As far as the McCain campaign is concerned, any voter irregularity is improper and our committee is in the business to stop it — whether it’s election fraud, whether it’s stuffing the ballot box, or whether it’s swamping the system with bogus registration applications that we have seen in this election, or whether it’s any kind of voter suppression.
“We’re against it. We oppose it. We repudiate it and we state categorically that this kind of practice alleged in the flyer is not part of the McCain campaign.”
Danforth also said that the Department of Justice should be prepared to investigate election fraud as well as allegations of voter suppression.
“We have taken the position that irregularities in the voting process can take several forms,” says Danforth. “One can take the form of suppression or intimidation. Another can take the form of fraud… people voting in places where they don’t reside and so on. We think that the Justice Department should be equally as vigilant with respect to both of those practices.
“Now, what the Justice Department has done is to announce that it will dispatch people from the Civil Rights Division to polling places for the issues of suppression and intimidation, but it will not dispatch lawyers from the Criminal Division with respect to the problem with election fraud.
“We think it’s important for the Justice Department to be engaged in both types of issues and I want to point out that what we are talking about are its lawyers.
“We’re not talking about, you know, lots of law enforcement officers swooping down on a polling place,” Danforth said. “Some people have said, well, if you have lawyers present or people watching the polls that constitutes intimidation. I don’t think that it does, and especially I don’t think it does if the people involved are lawyers. These are people in business suits. They are not people with side arms on their belts.”
During the conference, McCain campaign officials said that its fraud-watch operation will be based out of Phoenix, Arizona on Election Day.
Also on Election Day the McCain political operation will be fielding calls to its voter fraud and intimidation hotline that was recently announced.
McCain campaign officials said that after they determine the validity of these calls, they will share them with the public and the media. In fact, the campaign will be feeding voter fraud alerts directly to CNN on Election Day.
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