Voter Suppression - Part I
Voter suppression in America may have affected our last three Congressional and last two Presidential elections. The efforts uncovered so far have been aimed at suppressing minority votes or those who traditionally vote for Democratic political candidates. Have there been more? We don't know. But we can and must look at the data now available to see if further investigation is warranted.
"Caging" is a method of voter suppression in which first-class mail is sent to registered voters to confirm their addresses. If the letter is returned to the sender, the name and address on the returned mail is entered into a database known as "caging list." A document, "State Implementation Template III.doc," last saved by Christopher Guith, attorney and Bush-Cheney2004 campaign official, provides a template of plans for challenging voters at the polls based on caging.
II. Precinct Identification Method
Every precinct/ward in the state that had 60% or more votes for Gore in 2000 AND every precinct/ward that had 60% or more votes for Bush should be identified as target precincts.
V. Pre-Election Day Operations - New Registration Mailing
At whatever point registration in the state closes, a first-class mailing should be sent to all new registrants as well as purged/inactive voters. This mailing should welcome the recipient to the voter rolls. It is important that a return address is clearly identifiable. Any mail returned as undeliverable for any reason, should be used to generate a list of problematic registrations. Poll watchers should have this list and be prepared to challenge anyone from this list attempting to vote.
We next asked whether caging was biased to identify minority voters. The entire population of Duval County registered voters is 26.9% Black, 2.9% Hispanic and 64.2% White. Examining the caging list reveals very different ratios: 48% Black, 5% Hispanic and 35% White. Thus, the caging list contains a disproportionately high number of Black and Hispanic voters. As such, the Jacksonville caging list emailed to the RNC appears to be racially biased. If the RNC was involved in its generation and if the lists were used to make challenges, this would almost certainly be a violation of the 1982 Consent Decree.