Women’s Voices, Women’s Voter Suppression

I just learned that the suspicious and misleading robocalls from “Lamont Williams” to North Carolina voters, were actually the work of Women’s Voices, Women Vote. WVWV is an organization that works to empower single female voters, and which I used to support. Turns out they have a habit of sending poorly-timed voter registration information, causing thousands of voters to mistakenly think they are not registered to vote!

WUNC’s Laura Leslie posted the audio of the robocall on her blog on Monday, but as far as I can tell has not actually done a story about it. (She’s probably too busy begging for money. Way to schedule a pledge drive at the height of our primary, WUNC!)

Today I read a long investigative piece by my friend Chris Kromm at the Institute for Southern Studies that shows that WVWV was behind this, and that they have been confusing voters all over the nation with their automated phone calls and voter registration packets. “Women’s Voices’ questionable tactics have spawned thousands of voter complaints in at least 11 states and brought harsh condemnation from some election officials for their secrecy, misleading nature and likely violations of election law.”

WVWV claims that their campaign in North Carolina was designed to get unregistered, single, female voters to register to vote in the November general election. However, there is overwhelming evidence indicating quite the opposite. For example:

  • The voice on the calls is a male calling himself “Lamont Williams.” Not exactly ideal for the supposedly female target audience.
  • Many of the people who received the calls are married, male, and/or already registered.
  • WVWV is no newcomer to politics. They have been operating since at least the 2004 election. They are a well-funded organization with a savvy staff. The two top leaders each have at least two decades of political experience a piece. (One as Congressman David Price’s ’96 campaign manager – the one year Price lost.)
  • In fact, many WVWV staff and advisors gained experience working for the Clinton Whitehouse. For example, board member John Podesta (President and CEO of the Center for American Progress) served as President Clinton’s Chief of Staff for over two years.
  • There is no way that these seasoned political operatives could have missed the fact of our prominent May 6 primary, or that anyone with experience in voter engagement wouldn’t be fully aware of the timing involved.

I can only logically conclude that they are either intentionally suppressing voters (in an Obama-friendly state, hmm) or are criminally negligent and unable to carry out their stated mission of “Improving unmarried women’s participation in the electorate and policy process.” Either way, the only responsible step I can imagine is immediately cease operations and consider whether to reorganize or disband this organization.

WVWV’s President Page Garder re-posted her press release as a blog entry over on Huffington Post. Let’s let her know what we think of it.

More related links & discussion: NPR News Blog, BlueNC.

Twittering about the caucuses

Last night I sort-of half-assed live-blogged the caucus results, but I did it on Twitter instead of on my blog. Here’s a collection of my caucus tweets from the last 16 hours, you can also read them at http://twitter.com/ruby.

Deleting literally hundreds of messages in my inbox about Iowa. 22 minutes ago

@mistersugar I think Huckabee is the most Bush-like candidate in the Republican field, especially re: religiosity. AR seems coincidental. 27 minutes ago

@levjoy Fuck yeah! Kucinich has a lot to say and nothing to lose. about 12 hours ago from twitterrific in reply to levjoy

CNN: Biden drops out! about 12 hours ago

Sounds like Stevie Wonder on at Obama HQ. about 12 hours ago

Thinking of how I was inspired the first time I heard Obama speak (at the 2004 DNC). Now I find him sort of… affected. Less authentic. about 12 hours ago

OMG I think they’re also playing U2 @ Obama party. Nice to see his daughters for a change. Michelle’s dress is a bit distracting. about 12 hours ago

Huck: “This election is not about mii, it’s about wii.” about 13 hours ago

Chuck Norris on stage with the Huckster, who is speechifying now. about 13 hours ago

CNN confirms: Dodd is dropping out. about 13 hours ago

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