Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Americans For Prosperity send phony mailers, disrupt democracy

Absentee ballots' return address sends ballots to conservative organization

Democracy requires equality, openness, and most importantly fairness. When people refuse to play by the rules -- when they purposely distort information for the purposes of their own political gain -- democracy suffers for it. Running political advertisements that suggest your opponent raised her own salary while in office when just the opposite was true, for example, gives voters a false vision of reality, clouding their judgment against issues that truly matter (and truly exist) within the campaign.

Such practices are rotten on their own. But when you distort information and propagate it for the purposes of disposing people's rights, it gets downright despicable.

Americans For Prosperity, a Koch brothers-funded, Tea Party-affiliated organization, sent absentee ballots to households of strongly-identified Democrats, urging them to submit their ballots on August 11 -- two days after the recall elections were set to occur.

The organization purports that it was a simple typo, and that it being sent to Democratic households was the result of these individuals trying to "keep tabs" on the organization by becoming members of it.

That would explain everything -- if it weren't for the fact that, instead of a city clerk’s office, the return address sent the ballots to Wisconsin Family Action, an organization that is most definitely as anti-Democratic Party as one can get.

Now THAT'S one hell of a typo. Had the ballots been sent there, there's no question they would never have been counted. Ballots need to be returned to a city clerk's office, not a non-profit organization, who, once in possession of them, could feasibly do whatever they wanted with them.

The "typo" cop-out is also fishy for other reasons, namely the extent to how bad a typo it would actually be, requiring the typist to type an extra number than what is needed. For instance, a typo of the number "9" (the actual election date) would result in either an "8" or a "0" -- but an "11" requires a complete opposite-side-of-the-keyboard mistake, as well as a conscious decision to type the same number twice (there are no election dates with two of the same numbers in them).

It's clear to see that AFP is trying to step in and ruin the rights of Wisconsin citizens across the state. Telling people to send an absentee ballot form 1) on the wrong date and 2) to an organization that isn't a governmental entity is as low as one can get. To put it bluntly, it's corporate dollars trying to ruin your democratic rights. It’s suppression through deception, a lie to Wisconsin voters to get them to unwillingly invalidate their own vote.

In America, and especially in Wisconsin, that shouldn't be tolerated. The Republican candidates who would benefit from such vile practices ought to come out and oppose Americans For Prosperity and Wisconsin Family Action for engaging in blatant voter suppression.

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