Plunderbund has just confirmed that True the Vote is attempting to place “observers” inside Franklin County polling locations and, surprise!, the precincts they will be targeting are mostly in African American communities.
Quick background: True the Vote was founded in Texas but has been training “poll watchers” throughout the country in an attempt to intimidate Democratic voters at the polls. Their plan is simple: primarily-white volunteers are dispatched to Democratic-leaning districts, usually with high populations Hispanic or African American voters, as part of a coordinated intimidation effort.
In Franklin County, True the Vote has submitted forms to the BOE to allow their observers into 28 precincts. Demographic data show that the precincts being targeted are mostly in African American communities. 20 of the 28 precincts are comprised of over 50% African Americans. And African Americans make up over 80% of the population in the the top 12 precincts.
Statewide, only 12.4% of Ohioans are African American.
The 2012 election cycle has seen multiple attempts by Republicans to disenfranchise African Americans using everything from intimidating billboards to restricting voting hours favored by Black voters.
In Ohio, True the Vote was also responsible for challenging the voter registrations of thousands of students this election cycle.
As reported earlier by the Dispatch, the six candidates who supposedly signed the form to request these observers be allowed at the polls include: Recorder Daphne Hawk, Engineer Dean Ringle, Coroner Jan Gorniak, sheriff candidate Michael Herrill, Common Pleas Court judge candidate Terri Jamison and Scott Rupert, an independent for U.S. Senate.
At this time there are a number of outstanding issues with the applications filed by True the Vote, including the possibility that many of the candidates who originally signed the form have since withdrawn their names. It’s still unclear whether the Franklin County Board of Elections will allow the observers at the polls. A BOE meeting has been scheduled for 3PM tomorrow to discuss this issue. We will provide an update as soon as it’s available.
In all fairness, the members of the Franklin County Board of Elections – and this goes for both the Rs and the Ds – have done an excellent job this year not just with their choice of early polling locations and the availability of voting machines, but also with their earlier decision to unanimously smack down the True the Vote challenges against OSU students.
I’m positive they will make the right decision in this case as well.
Here’s a list of the precincts True the Vote is attempting to target:
- Billboard Attempts to Intimidate African American Voters in Cleveland
- [UPDATED] True The Vote Forged Signatures To Get Observers At Ohio Polls
- Voter Intimidation Billboards Go Up in Columbus
- True the Vote’s voter suppression summit: one more reason we need Voters First
- Remember: Observers at the polls can not challenge your right to vote