The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008



Justice Dept. Will Send 800 Monitors to Polls

By Mary Pat Flaherty
The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice will send 800 federal observers and justice department staff to 59 jurisdictions in 23 states on Election Day to monitor polling places and elections.

Jurisdictions will include Chesterfield County, Va., which had ballot shortages and delays during the presidential primary that received nationwide attention during Congressional hearings earlier this fall, when voters said the problems cost them a chance to cast ballots.

In 2004, 1,090 observers traveled to 25 states for Election Day. During the deadlocked 2000 election, there were 317 observers watching for problems.

The department is required to monitor polling places covered by the Voting Rights Act or related court orders. In addition, its Civil Rights Section will send watchers to counties in several battleground states.

In September, in response to concerns about voter intimidation raised by numerous civil rights and voting rights groups, the department agreed not to use criminal prosecutors as elections observers, as had been done in the past with observers from U.S. Attorneys' offices.

Polling place activities will be observed by federal monitors in the following places:

  • Perry County, Alabama;
  • Apache, Cochise, and Navajo Counties, Arizona;
  • Kane County, Illinois;
  • East Carroll Parish, Louisiana;
  • Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts;
  • Bolivar, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Kemper, Leake, Neshoba, Newton, Noxubee, Washington, Wilkinson, and Winston Counties, Mississippi;
  • Salem County (Penns Grove), New Jersey;
  • Cibola and Sandoval Counties, New Mexico;
  • Kings County (Brooklyn), New York County (Manhattan), and Westchester County, New York;
  • Buffalo and Charles Mix Counties, South Dakota; and
  • Dallas, Fort Bend, and Galveston Counties, Texas.

Justice Department staff will monitor elections in:

  • Pima County, Arizona;
  • Alameda, Riverside, and Santa Clara Counties, California;
  • Duval, Hillsborough, and Seminole Counties, Florida;
  • Madison County, Indiana;
  • Ford County, Kansas;
  • Jefferson and Orleans Parishes, Louisiana;
  • Macomb County, Michigan;
  • Madison County, Mississippi;
  • Alamance County, North Carolina;
  • Colfax County, Nebraska;
  • Bergen County, New Jersey;
  • Cuyahoga County, Ohio;
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
  • Dorchester and Georgetown, South Carolina;
  • Bennett, Jackson, Mellette, Shannon, and Todd Counties, South Dakota;
  • Gonzales and Waller Counties, Texas;
  • Chesterfield County, Virginia
  • King County, Washington

Posted at 8:58 PM ET on Oct 30, 2008  | Category:  Battlegrounds
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Mary Pat:
This monitor story is getting weirder by the minute; not only are the DOJ sending monitors, but the OPM (Office of Personnel Management are sending observers; now, I'm not an expert on voting law, but what the hell does the OPM have to do with voting rights?

Posted by: spenceradams | October 31, 2008 5:19 PM

SNL material: McCain's 2nd Day As President
Haaaa haaaa haaaaa

Posted by: Mamalucia | October 31, 2008 4:55 PM

Acts 2:44-45 (King James Version)
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

Acts 4:34-35
34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

Apparently not in the faux Christian GOP Bible (King John Version)

Posted by: bdunn1 | October 31, 2008 2:54 PM


"Al Qaeda endorses Obama by calling on voters to "humiliate" Bush and the Republicans!"

Well, if you read it on a BLOG, then it must be true! Why would anyone want to manipulate your opinion there? (sarcasm)

Posted by: redd_green1 | October 31, 2008 2:29 PM

Regarding the clip below, from a previous post: Your post is a grotesque distortion of the truth. First of all, George W Bush's tax cuts grossly favored the extremely wealty, at the expense of the group that pays all of the taxes in this country: the middle class. Our taxes increased.

No one is suggesting to "take one group's lawfully earned profits", that is absurd. What I am suggesting is *fair* taxes. Its not at all a redistribution of wealth. It is about levelling the tax playing field.

If you're so fair minded, then what would you say to a flat tax: everyone above the poverty level pays %12. No tax writeoff's, no tax havens, no 15,000 pages of IRS tax code to wade through (e.g. untaxed income and investments in the Cayman Islands). Everyone pays their fare share.

"The proposition that government should take one group's lawfully earned profits and hand them to another group -- not a collection of destitute or impaired Americans, mind you, but a still-vibrant middle class -- is the foundational premise of Obama's fiscal policy."
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need"
K Marx 1875
B Obama 2008"

Posted by: redd_green1 | October 31, 2008 2:17 PM

The "Civil Rights" Division of the Bush DOJ. LOL! These will be nothing more than 800 GOP strong arms there to intimidate voters and slow the process down.

Posted by: tomanjeri | October 31, 2008 2:07 PM

The South Dakota counties listed are all ones either made up of Indian reservations or those with high Native American populations.
White folks circling the wagons?

Posted by: bdunn1 | October 31, 2008 2:03 PM

I do believe the Justice Department needs to dispatch monitors throughout Georgia to monitor the elections leading up to Tuesday Nov. 4th.

Our Secretary of State, Karen Handel, has shown partisanship with regard to her (Republican) party. It began with trying to keep a Democratic nominee for public service commissioner off the ballot; this was followed by an obessession over the voter id law. Finally, a refusal to extend voting hours at the polls despite people having to wait as long as eight, ten or twelve hours to cast their early votes. Florida governor Charlie Crist issued an executive order to extend hours, citing a "people" and not a "political" decision.

I do feel we'll need some type of monitoring based on these past and current events.

Posted by: TheBigKahuna2 | October 31, 2008 2:00 PM

Is the Justice Dept. sending
its workers to suppress the

The only civil rights case the
department filed in regards
to voting rights was a
mississippi case where it
took the side of a voter
fraud case.

Who's going to police
the police. And why
doesn't the WaPo do
a story on that?

Posted by: printthis | October 31, 2008 12:49 PM

If you want to see how exit polling got a bad rap, go to, or google diebold rob georgia. "Rob Georgia" was the title of a folder in the Diebold company that held the new codes for the election that saw Saxby Chambliss and others get startling differences from the polls to "win" the elections in 2000. They later did some of the same thing in Ohio. Now, it's West Virginia, and who-knows-where-else. This was after the Republican head of the Diebold company publicly stated that he would do "everything I can" to ensure the election of George W Bush.

Let's hope the Statute of Limitations hasn't run out.

Posted by: gkam | October 31, 2008 12:16 PM

What is important to remember in these final days is that if the economy is the most important issue that Obama is the candidate most qualified to deal with the problems of this economy. That is not my opinion that is the opinion of the Financial Times and The Economist magazine. These are two of the most respected, conservative leaning publications in the world. Neither publication is partisan in nature.

Obama's economic philosophy is non ideological, directed towards solving the problems of the middle class. The ones who suffered most under the tax policy of Bush are the ones who need the most help now. John McCain felt that the Bush tax cuts in 2001 were too skewed to the wealthiest Americans. He has changed his mind since.

Obama has chosen respected non political people to advise him economically. McCain has chosen Washington insiders. When it comes to economic policy Obama has been reasoned, careful and reliant on sound economic advise. McCain has just been erratic and clinging to the failed policies of the Bush administration.

If you are looking for sound leadership in economic policy there is Barack Obama. We don't need second best with John McCain and still worse if he can not serve, Sarah Palin.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 31, 2008 10:37 AM

From ABC News-
Jake Tapper is ABC News' Senior National Correspondent based in the network's Washington bureau.

"Meanwhile authorities revealed some answers as to who had improperly searched Wurzelbacher's personal records, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

* "The Toledo Police Department announced today that a civilian employee improperly pulled Wurzelbacher's information on behalf of a reporter for a Toledo television station shortly after the Oct. 15 presidential debate. The employee has been charged with gross misconduct and faces a disciplinary hearing, said Chief Michael Navarre. He declined to identify the TV station, but said the reporter confirmed asking for a check on Wurzelbacher's address.

* "The Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency also said an employee's computer was used to improperly access Bureau of Motor Vehicles records on 'Joe the Plumber.' The employee denies involvement.

* "Another access of Wurzelbacher's information, by an outside contractor who had access to an attorney general's office test account, is being investigated by the State Highway Patrol.

* "Inspector General Thomas P. Charles is investigating why the director of Ohio Department of Job and Family Services approved a check on Wurzelbacher through the state's child-support computer system. Director Helen Jones-Kelley said that after a 'team meeting,' she OK'd the check because the department often runs inquiries to check for unpaid child support when people are thrust into 'the public spotlight.'"

Jones-Kelly, a Democratic appointee who has given the Obama campaign $2,500, claimed to have had no political motivations when she allowed the check."

Democrats Abuse Their Appointed Power in

Attempt To Smear their Political Rivals?

Wow and The Mainstream Media Noticed...

That's Not The Kind Of "CHANGE WE NEED"!

That's more of the worst...

Posted by: thecannula | October 31, 2008 10:04 AM

I don't trust Bush's government to monitor anything. As for the problems with voting machines, Lou Dobbs of CNN has been reporting on the hacking of them for years. PEOPLE in America are not listening!

Posted by: Evisionary | October 31, 2008 9:59 AM


CNN finally did some solid reporting yesterday about how easily electronic voting machines can be hacked, programmed to siphon off a percentage of the vote to a chosen candidate at the expense of another.

"Observers" can't detect an inside job, even if they wanted to try.

This could be another Year 2000- style debacle, but this one with "hanging chips" and hacked code instead of hanging chads.

Congress knew these machines posed a problem, given the lack of a voter-verified paper trail. The "Help America Vote Act" set the nation on this course. Some help, indeed. Or was there some premeditation here?

Consider this recent story from "eweek," a technical trade publication:

Why hasn't mainstream media examined this issue in detail? How many executives of voting machine companies have made political contributions, and to whom?

It's too late for this cycle, but if democracy is to survive, these questions must be asked and answered -- now.

IS GOVERNMENT "EXTRA-JUDICIAL TARGETING" of American citizens a root cause of the mortgage meltdown that spawned the broader financial crisis?

And is there a disinformation campaign underway to blame the Democrats, instead of ideologues who have hijacked federal agencies as their tool of "social engineering?"

Consider this: OR

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 31, 2008 9:41 AM

Springfield, MA? I live here. Why the heck would they send observers here? We have never had any problems. We will vote overwhelmingly for Obama, maybe that is why. Otherwise I can see no reason to send observers to our little city. I'll make sure I smile while they record me for their records. I am a Democrat, so I guess they must keep an eye on the people that some Republicans have called "anti-Americans."

Posted by: Ormsfang | October 31, 2008 9:27 AM

The Democrats need to send observers to each and every location that the "Just Us" department is targeting for their attacks in order to counteract the Republican plans for sabotage and government malfeasance. We need to get video of Mukasey's thugs suppressing voters and disrupting proceedings in order to bring charges against Mukasey and his partisan goon squad. This is war, and BushCo is the Enemy of America and all humankind. We can't let the Enemy operate unchallenged on American soil.

Posted by: mgloraine | October 31, 2008 9:16 AM

David Harsanyi
Denver Post 10/31/08

"...Now, I'm not suggesting Obama intends to transform this nation into 1950s-era Soviet tyranny or that he will possess the power to do so. I'm suggesting Obama is praising and mainstreaming an economic philosophy that has failed to produce a scintilla of fairness or prosperity anywhere on earth. Ever.

If you believe that "fairness" -- a childishly subjective idea that ought to be quarantined to playgrounds and Berkeley City Council meetings -- should be meted out by the autocrats inhabiting Washington, D.C., your faith will be duly rewarded.

You know, once upon a time, the stated purpose of taxation was to fund public needs -- such as schools and roads -- assist those who could not help themselves, defend our security and freedom, and yes, occasionally offer bailouts to sleazy fat cats.

Obama is the first major presidential candidate in memory to assert that taxation's principal purpose should be redistribution.

The proposition that government should take one group's lawfully earned profits and hand them to another group -- not a collection of destitute or impaired Americans, mind you, but a still-vibrant middle class -- is the foundational premise of Obama's fiscal policy."

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need"
K Marx 1875
B Obama 2008

Posted by: thecannula | October 31, 2008 9:06 AM

The "Justice" Dept. should do us all a favor and stay away from the polls. Their credibility is absolute zero. What are they planning to do? Cheat Obama and our country out of a historic election? Seriously, please stay away. Let the international monitors take care of this. No one trusts the Bush administration to do anything except lie, cheat, and steal. Just go back to raiding what's left in the treasury and let us have a fair election.

Posted by: ejmac | October 31, 2008 8:58 AM

There are hundreds of thousands of White House emails missing in which this subject must have been discussed. Rove's tactics often include voter suppression disguised as "voter protection".

Republicans haven't won the presidential election for 16 years, but they don't let democracy get in the way of maintaining their sweet arraignment with big business.

Posted by: rooster54 | October 31, 2008 8:16 AM

Don't be so sure this isn't in Obama's favor.

Not being sent to Urban areas? Philly, Cuyahoga County (Cleveland)... 3 florida counties that include Tampa and Jacksonville.

There's been a pretty serious rift between the Justice department and the executive branch. I'd say that the Justice Department's deployments are for the right reasons... the Fed deployments are probably a counter to that initiated by the administration (i.e. Cheney).

And don't neglect what Crist did in Florida, extending voting hours by 4 hours during early voting. Moderate republicans are revolting against the anti-democratic tactics.

Posted by: bw_green | October 31, 2008 8:04 AM

Hopefully that is enough. Ohio's scary and so is Florida. We can't take another flury of lawsuits like 2000 especially with the country in the sad shape it is in.

Posted by: NotBubba | October 31, 2008 7:52 AM

Republiscum looking to steal another one. After failing to find any voter fraud accept that which they have committed, it's time for the Bush cronies to go into overdrive. Politicizing the DOJ and illegally firing US Attorney's isn't worth enything if you can't use it to your party's advantage. All the right wing scum bags believe the ACORN lie, the e-voting machines are all programed, hundreds of thousands illegally purged from the voter roles, millions of provisional ballots waiting to be thrown in the trash just like '04. There's still one thing that could ruin all their scheme's...

Obama landslide, get out there and vote.

Posted by: mightytightywhity | October 31, 2008 7:30 AM

The second I read this article I about lost my breakfast (and a little hope that we'll actually get the president we vote for this time)'s as if the Dept of "justice" just handed us the list of where they'll be "fixing" the election this time.

Read this:

We have got to either get rid of the electronic machines or get rid of proprietary software.

Posted by: reader25 | October 31, 2008 6:54 AM

THIS one had better not be stolen!

Posted by: taid | October 31, 2008 6:21 AM

Mukasey's minions are worthless. Remember, Mukasey is the man who allowed the "five dancing Israelis" go back to Israel after 911.

Posted by: usnr02 | October 31, 2008 6:21 AM

Is this the same JUST US DEPARTMENT that fired the U.S, Attorney's because they would not sue Acorn for voter fraud. Or the same Michael Mukasey who refuses to enforce any law, especially if it was a Republican breaking the rules. What a disgrace he is to the reputation this country had eight years ago. And how about that Alberto Gonzalez, be sure to check behind that curtain when you go to vote or check to make sure he is not under the voting machine switching the votes.

Posted by: nualak | October 31, 2008 2:30 AM

Happy Halloween everyone see your favorite characters having a party
Feel free to carve the pumpkin

Posted by: LAThinker | October 31, 2008 2:18 AM

Happy Halloween everyone see your favorite characters having a party
Feel free to carve the pumpkin

Posted by: LAThinker | October 31, 2008 2:18 AM

Happy Halloween everyone see your favorite characters having a party
Feel free to carve the pumpkin

Posted by: LAThinker | October 31, 2008 2:16 AM

Notice virtually all of these so-called monitors are being sent to polling places in the Deep South or on Indian reservations or urban areas which are strongly pro-Democratic. No doubt, GWBush's "monitors" will be busy challenging anyone who doesn't look like a McCain voter. Never discount the ability of the Republicans to attempt more corruption even, or especially, as their defeat looms.

Posted by: dsrobins | October 31, 2008 1:17 AM

Video The Vote

Posted by: multifariousoneblogspotcom | October 31, 2008 12:23 AM

Bush's "Justice" Department isn't listed to come to my area, so I feel much more confident that my vote will be counted accurately.

Posted by: Marmann | October 31, 2008 12:14 AM

Al Qaeda endorses Obama by calling on voters to "humiliate" Bush and the Republicans!

Posted by: dcpsychic | October 31, 2008 12:14 AM

Bush's "Justice" Department isn't listed to come to my area, so I feel much more confident that my vote will be counted accurately.

Posted by: Marmann | October 31, 2008 12:14 AM

Al Qaeda endorses Obama by calling on voters to "humiliate" Bush and the Republicans!

Posted by: dcpsychic | October 31, 2008 12:12 AM

Not to worry Democrats, the Russians are sending over their own 200 monitors themselves.

Posted by: peterdaol | October 30, 2008 11:02 PM

I cannot trust Bush Administration or any Administration that is in power monitoring the elections, this just conflict of interest. We should have independent election organization that will administer elections, similar that one they have in India. This organization will be responsible for conducting elections, the officers of which should be appointed by the president and repsentatives. They should have powers during the election period to make timely decisions.

Posted by: rchenna | October 30, 2008 10:21 PM

Can we trust the Justice Department after Gonzales and Rove so thoroughly politicized it? I think someone should be watching them too.

Posted by: Moritaslljn | October 30, 2008 10:19 PM

Can we trust the Justice Department after Gonzales and Rove so thoroughly politicized it? I think someone should be watching them too.

Posted by: Moritaslljn | October 30, 2008 10:16 PM


I bet ACORN is just Sooooooooo Scared! :-o

LOL! Can't wait to see the 20,000,000 Voters for O'Bomba-Nation-in just Dade County! ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | October 30, 2008 9:45 PM

There are some things that remain in the privacy of the voting booth. Obama is reportedly suffering the Half-Bradley Effect. He is not sure how he will vote when in the booth. ............

Posted by: glclark4750 | October 30, 2008 9:25 PM

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