Black and white

I got a few desperate calls from Rob, the Democratic “Voter Protection” guy in New York, and called him back, wondering what was up, since I’d already confirmed my voting precinct here in town, signed up for online training, and arranged to pick up my official credentials in Pittsburgh, 90 miles away, on Saturday.

Well. Seems the Democrats had arranged to protect the most crucial 1,500 precincts in the state, the ones that had to make sure people got the chance to vote if they wanted to, but also that would likely give the Democrats the important numbers they wanted. As I suspected when they first asked me to be an attorney poll watcher, nothing in Crawford County was even on that list. (We’re pretty low-key here; pick-up trucks with shotgun racks, and so on. Rep. Murtha really wasn’t so far off. I’m not sure why everyone got insulted.)

So, I didn’t really need to cover the precinct where they’d assigned me. However, they were having some issues that I would never have expected. Over in Titusville, the second largest city in our county, Rob said, there had been a particularly successful voter registration drive at the local branch of the University of Pittsburgh, including some 800 new voters who are black. Titusville is about as ‘white bread’ as you can get. See the problem coming?

Surely with all the suspicion about ACORN and people interfering with voters, people would be very careful about trying to influence or block certain segments of the population from voting, wouldn’t you think?

You’d think.

But Rob said reports had come in to the national offices that there had been ‘misinformation’ directed at these new black voters from the Dean’s office about their ability to vote. The registrar had interfered with their school activities. They were told by the uniformly Caucasian officials that if they put up political signs, none of them could have Obama’s face on them.

Odd behavior from a place that commits itself to “freedom of thought and expression” and supports “a culture of diversity.” See the Pitt Promise.

So Rob is instead sending myself and another attorney I know to share Election day in Titusville, to make sure that each and every person who’s registered is not hampered from entering the polling place on campus and casting a vote for his or her candidate of choice.

The whole situation makes me sad. I know I was somewhat puzzled that they thought they even needed people to watch polls here, because we’re not Philadelphia, Brooklyn or Chicago. Discovering that the evils of racism and discrimination are blatant and poisonous here in our midst shows me I’ve really turned a blind eye to the truths of our community.

Just let them try to mess with these kids. I’m ready to pick up the phone and call the election authorities, the party lawyers, heck, even the newspaper and tv. This is the twenty-first century, and we’re better than this.


10 thoughts on “Black and white

  1. Pingback: Democrats On Best Political Blogs » Blog Archive » Black and white

  2. sad, sad, sad….. and it’s peeking out everywhere. seeing ugly glimpses of it from many unexpected places. Go watch that poll… thanks for stepping up.

  3. Pingback: Pittsburgh Slim Music, Videos, Fan Site » Blog Archive » Black and white

  4. You are insane. Where did you get that information
    about UPT? I don’t think any of it is even close to true…
    Check your facts before you type. No one is “messing
    with these kids”.

  5. 800 New Voters? I don’t think there’s that many
    kids enrolled there. Enjoy your stay though. Try not to
    get too bored…..

  6. Oh, look, Mom! You got trolls! I recommend a flame thrower.

    And yes, it is sad that there is all these attempts, on both sides, mind, to mislead voters. It’s been happening around the campus of our local Big Ten school as well, although not to the degree it seems to have been cropping up at other schools. Someone tried to register the French Boy, and insisted even after he explained that as a resident alien, he was not allowed to vote. Ah well.

    Good luck, Mom. Take no prisoners…where would you keep them?

  7. OH man, this kind of thing scares me SO much. I’m just glad there ARE voter-watchers out there. This, I didn’t know, and I find it comforting…though…the potential for shenanigans still scares me…

  8. The University of Pittsburgh at Titusville currently has 63 African American students in our current freshman class of 226. I don’t have precise numbers for upper-classmen, but of our entire student population, 28% is black. Of our resident population, in excess of 50% are from minority groups.

    Although we conducted a very successful voter registration drive, we didn’t register 800 students because our entire student population is closer to 600. But it is fair to claim that we registered nearly every student this fall. Most of them will vote on campus today; all of them have been apprised of their rights as voters.

    Their excitement level is amazing; in my 23 years of teaching here, I’ve never had students so motivated to register, campaign, and vote. Our students have particpated in local canvassing and phone banking efforts. They are part of both parties’ GOTV drive all day today.

    I am not aware of any effort to suppress UPT student voters, but we are vigilant nonetheless.

  9. Election day at UPT has come and gone. There were no attorneys at the students’ polling place on campus and there were no incidents. Students were given a toll free number to call to report voting problems; none did.

    Later that evening, students attended a campus-wide election night party with both Republican and Democratic student voters attending. That went well also.

    I responded this second time in order to let all of you know that UPT students and those who worked the polling place were a model of democratic behavior. In fact, during Senator McCain’s concession speech, our Obama student voters listened attentively and cheered the senator’s remarks a number of times. They appreciated his grace and eloquence; there was not one boo.

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