Presidential elections are tough, and the candidates often find themselves engaged in brutal verbal combat in order to defend their positions and discredit those of their opponents. But even considering that, the run-up to this year’s presidential election has set a new low in dirty tricks and deplorable conduct.
A good example of this is a recent Robocall making the rounds in South Florida. The story was reported on wired.com, and evidently the automated calls “notify” Florida voters that they can vote by phone on election day, implying that there is no need for them to go to the polls. Of course, the whole thing is a load of BS, and is designed for only one underhanded purpose: voter suppression.
The misleading phone calls, which provide shockingly few details and erroneously claim to be issued by Florida elections supervisor Brenda Snipes, seem to be aimed squarely at older, retired voters in Broward County. Snipes denied having issued any such calls, and reiterated that Florida voters do not have the option of voting by phone, but must show up in person to a certified polling place.
The Robocalls in question are just one of many so-called dirty tricks that have been reported around the country in the run-up to the November 4 general election. The Republican national party, in particular, has taken heat for their use of Robocalls that imply Senator Barack Obama has associations with terrorists, is a Muslim, and other slanderous comments designed to frighten voters away from the Illinois Senator.
The state of Virginia has also seen several examples of attempted voter suppression, including the distribution of flyers instructing voters that because of unexpectedly high turnout at the polls, only Republican voters should vote on November 4 — while Democrats are instructed to vote on November 5.
Voters in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area have also reported receiving robocalls with the same erroneous message, instructing Democrats to vote on November 5 to avoid long lines.
In general, voter suppression is something of a Republican phenomenon. There are very few if any cases of Democrats attempting to suppress the vote, and with good reason: Democratic candidates tend to benefit from higher voter turnout.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Republican Party. Historically, Republican candidates have benefited from low voter turnouts. Whether the RNC is personally responsible for any of these dirty tricks is a subject of much contention. But whatever their source, it appears that fewer and fewer Americans are actually falling for these types of tricks anyway: voter turnout this year it is expected to break records in many states.