An advocacy group called Women’s Voices, Women’s Vote, is alleged to be engaging in voter suppression in North Carolina. The group sends robo-calls to predominantly black neighborhoods, telling the residents they aren’t able to vote in the upcoming Democratic primary. Technology meets government blog, Threat Level has some more details:
Voters began complaining to The Raleigh News & Observer last week that they were receiving the automated calls, which the paper reported were primarily going to black households. The calls play a 20-second message voiced by a man who calls himself “Lamont Williams.”
“In the next few days, you will receive a voter-registration packet in the mail,” the Williams recording said. “All you need to do is sign it, date it and return your application. Then you will be able to vote and make your voice heard. Please return the voter-registration form when it arrives. Thank you.”
The message doesn’t identify the group, but after some research, the Institute for Southern Studies traced the calls back to Woman’s Voices, Woman’s Vote. The group acknowledged the campaign, but it’s President, Page Gardner said the “Calls were an extension of a legitimate voter-registration drive that the group began in July 2007.”
But Gardner fails to elaborate on why the messages where done anonymously. If it truly was legitimate it would seem like the group would want it’s name attached.This isn’t the first state where the group has been accused of voter suppression. But it also turns out Gardner has donated $4200 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Wired goes on to quote another man in the automated political call industry as saying “The fact that the autodial campaign was performed anonymously suggests it wasn’t an innocent mistake. In general, automated campaigns are designed to suppress voter turnout.” Don Powell went on to say “”It does happen in North Carolina, it works, or they wouldn’t bother. It’s sleazy money, and it affects people like me who would never think about doing this.”
It’s unfortunate that at a time when America was guaranteed to see either a woman or African American in the White House, it turned into a game of identity based politics. It’s understandable that women vote for Hillary, and blacks for Obama, and it’s reasonable to expect these group to be excited about their choices. But what’s disappointing is how the primary has become a fight between white woman and blacks.