Republican officials continue campaign against voting

Special Internet Edition 11-8-2004
A revised version was published in the 11-12-2004 Comstock Chronicle

RENO (Monday, Nov. 8, 2004) —The Republican Party's national campaign to suppress voting will apparently continue right here in River City.

In a Sunday report (repeated at 5:00 a.m. Monday), KOLO TV-8, the northern Nevada ABC affiliate, reported that "Both the Washoe County district attorney's office and the Secretary of State could join a lawsuit on Monday, November 8, against a judge, who allowed people to vote on election day by just bringing in their voter registration receipts."

KOLO reporter James Steiner's story further stated "The lawsuit was first filed on behalf of Elena Brady, a registered voter who alleges that there were other methods the judge could have used before making his decision."

That's not correct. Ms. Brady asked to intervene in an action filed by Reno attorney Peter Chase Neumann on behalf of "Eric Amberson and Traci Amberson…and all qualified electors of the State of Nevada who have registered to vote but have been denied the right to register to vote."

The Ambersons first went to the Nevada Supreme Court, which refused to get involved. Justices Agosti, Becker, Gibbons, Maupin and Rose stated in their Nov. 1 order that "although the petition raises significant issues," they did not feel it appropriate to intervene. The court is "ill-equipped to resolve factual issues such as whether petitioners are qualified electors and whether they submitted properly complete voter registration forms. The district court is the proper forum in which to resolve this matter in the first instance."

Which is why the case came before Judge Brent Adams on election day.

The action stemmed from activities of a GOP-retained organization accused in Nevada and other states of destroying registration forms of people who registered as Democrats.

"Adams ordered the Washoe County registrar to allow 'any persons' to vote as long as they present their registration receipt even if their names aren’t listed in the poll book," the Reno Gazette-Journal reported on Nov. 2.

Apparently, the Washoe County District Attorney's office takes its cues from the Nevada attorney general and only obeys the orders it likes.

Judge Adams' order was not implemented and in mid-afternoon, Republican Party lawyers asked for a clarification. Did Judge Adams mean just the Ambersons or did he mean to include any others with registration stubs as he had stated? Judge Adams called the parties together in his courtroom late Tuesday afternoon. Washoe County D.A. Dick Gammick, R, and Registrar of Voters Dan Burk both appeared in person.

Republican Party attorney Pat Lundvall asserted that she was representing one Elena Brady. Ms. Lundvall further stated that Ms. Brady feared that her vote would be diluted if the Ambersons and others were allowed to vote.

Ms. Lundvall then proceeded to peripatetically pirouette down the proverbial slippery slope by engaging Registrar Burk in a long series of dilatory questions and answers. Such conduct makes sense only by applying to politics another in an endless series of sports analogies: with polls due to close in less than two hours, Lawyer Lundvall was running out the clock. Judge Adams was not amused and finally adjourned the hearing and left the courtroom.

Secretary of State Dean Heller and Atty. Gen. Brian Sandoval, both Republicans, went to the Nevada Supreme Court earlier this year to try to enforce sections of the Nevada Constitution regarding initiative petitions which had been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1999. In effect, they asserted that the highest court in the land has no jurisdiction in Nevada. Heller repeatedly stated that his actions were based upon his oath to uphold the state constitution, a position which would warm the heart of any unreconstructed confederate.

Last July, I noted that the real reason behind the GOP officeholders' action lay in trying to keep the popular minimum wage petition off the ballot because it could increase voter turnout. The bogus legal rationale which landed the issue in court was drawn and circulated by the law firm of Nevada State Senate Majority Leader William Raggio, R-Reno, which was heavily involved in the campaign to re-elect the president.

If Heller et al. are indeed intent in pursuing some appeal of Judge Adams' ruling, the only conclusion which can be drawn is that suppression of the right to vote is a continuing policy of the Republican Party. [[UPDATE: GOP FILES NOTICE OF APPEAL.]]

Be well. Raise hell.


Judge's Ruling May Cause A Law Suit
By James Steiner
KOLO TV-8, 11-7-2004

Reforms demanded

Washoe judge says citizens may vote with registration receipt, even if name is not on voting rolls

Democratic couple allowed to vote

State Supreme Court declines to get involved

Related article: If all votes were counted, Kerry won
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Copyright © 1982-2004 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 36-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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