Posted Friday, Oct. 22, 2010, at 2:03 PM
Suzy Khimm keeps pounding away in her essential series on how Tea Partiers have discovered a vital election function that you can dominate with not too much effort -- poll-watching.
Pajamas Media has launched a nationwide campaign to recruit poll watchers to film and photograph "cases of voter fraud, intimidation, or other voting malfeasances they may encounter," the conservative site says, promising to promote the evidence online. A coordinator for ResistNet, a popular tea party networking hub, also urges activists to film suspicious groups of voters. "Small, very discreet cameras are now available and are inexpensive," advises Darla Dawald, ResistNet's national director. "They can be concealed on the mirror of cars or in bushes."
In fact, the conservative activists behind Election Integrity Watch acknowledge that such tactics could run afoul of election rules. But they suggest that such a violation is worth the risk if there's the potential of rooting out acts of electoral skullduggery. "We specifically instruct fraud spotters not to photograph ballots, or people in the act of voting, but if they can capture fraud going on and photos or videos are the only way to identify the perpetrators, we think taking a picture or video is in order," says Dan McGrath, spokesman for Minnesota Majority, one of the conservative advocacy groups backing the effort. Similarly, ResistNet admits that such tactics could be illegal but slyly suggests how activists might be able to skirt the rules : "It is illegal to video the polling place, but you can video the birds on top of the polling place or the dog sitting in front of it. If your video of birds or dogs happens to include voter vans, well... "
Let's say that no actual election fraud is captured, and no voters are scared away by aggressive Tea Partiers. The benefit of this sort of election-watching is enormous anyway, because it was exactly this -- a videoblogger for the little-known Election Journal --
that produced 23 months of scandal over two idiots from the New Black Panther Party
skulking outside of a Philadelphia polling booth. Expect numerous stories of "union thugs" or otherwise scary activists defrauding the vote on November 2; expect a new Republican Congress to investigate them.