« Dems Pin Hopes on Blue 'Burbs | Main | Mid-Term Challenge: Getting Focused on the Big Question »

Palast: RNC 'Scrubbed' Black Troops from Voting Rolls

Greg Palast has a bombshell article, "Massacre of the Buffalo Soldiers" on his web page (and also reported on Democracy Now) charging that the Republican National Committee organized a campaign to 'scrub' African American soldiers serving overseas from the voter registration rolls. Here's how he tells it:

A confidential campaign directed by GOP party chiefs in October 2004 sought to challenge the ballots of tens of thousands of voters in the last presidential election, virtually all of them cast by residents of Black-majority precincts. Files from the secret vote-blocking campaign were obtained by BBC Television Newsnight, London. They were attached to emails accidentally sent by Republican operatives to a non-party website.

...Here’s how the scheme worked: The RNC mailed these voters letters in envelopes marked, “Do not forward”, to be returned to the sender. These letters were mailed to servicemen and women, some stationed overseas, to their US home addresses. The letters then returned to the Bush-Cheney campaign as “undeliverable.”

The lists of soldiers of “undeliverable” letters were transmitted from state headquarters, in this case Florida, to the RNC in Washington. The party could then challenge the voters’ registration and thereby prevent their absentee ballots being counted.

One target list was comprised exclusively of voters registered at the Jacksonville, Florida, Naval Air Station. Jacksonville is third largest naval installation in the US, best known as home of the Blue Angels fighting squandron.

How effective was the RNC campaign? Palast says,

Over one million provisional ballots cast in the 2004 race were never counted; over half a million absentee ballots were also rejected. The extraordinary rise in the number of rejected ballots was the result of the widespread multi-state voter challenge campaign by the Republican Party. The operation, of which the purge of Black soldiers was a small part, was the first mass challenge to voting America had seen in two decades.

There's more at Palast's website, and in his new book Armed Madhouse. The R's have a long, sordid history of sleazy shenanigans to surpress African American votes, and it would be surprising if similar campaigns were not underway for the November election. The hypocrisy of the RNC trumpeting their support of our troops in Iraq, while scheming to suppress the ability of Black soldiers to vote is beyond disgusting. Shame on the mainstream media if they don't get on this story in a big way.