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Indybay Feature
Tue Oct 28 2008
Voter Caging in Northern California?
RNC Sending Fake Voter Registration Cards to California Voters
The Republican National Committee has sent non-Republican voters in Northern California a letter identifying them as Republicans. The letters include a registration card with a fake voter ID number and a do-not-forward stamp on the outside of the envelope. Voting rights activists say the letters are part of a voter caging campaign and an attempt to undermine non-Republican voters in the November election.

The voter-caging envelopes bear the name of John McCain and a return address for the RNC's "Voter Identification Division," which according to RNC staffers does not officially exist. The letter also includes an RNC voter registration card with a voter identification number, which Lake County registrar Diane Fridley says has nothing to do with registration in Lake County.

Janie Sheppard, a Mendocino County attorney and voting rights advocate, says the letter is the first step of voter caging, a voter suppression tactic. "Let's say you are a Republican and you don't want Democrats to vote. You send out official-looking notices to the Democrats that you don't want to vote. On the envelope on the outside will say do not forward. So, if it gets returned, the Republicans will go to the polls, they'll have challengers there who will challenge that person's right to vote. Unless the person can prove they live where they are registered to vote, they will end up having to vote provisionally, which is a whole lot of paper work, and it's a matter of record that 50% of provisional votes are not counted."

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