Today I attended a three-hour training session for Republican election observers in NE Ohio. We hailed from Cuyahoga, Lorain, and Erie Counties (see map), and this was just one of three training sessions taking place today in NE Ohio alone. Although I won’t reveal any strategy or data that Democrats might find useful, I do have some interesting tidbits to share.
- Pay close attention to news about Ohio’s new provisional ballots. Remember the dance of the hanging chads? To win Ohio without a court fight, President Bush must take this state by a wide enough margin to make all provisional ballots irrelevant.
- The GOP expected no more than 300 volunteers at today’s poll observer training session in Westlake. Over 400 of us showed up, reportedly blowing away the attendance figures at a corresponding statewide Democrat confab hyped as a demonstration of their grassroots support. Keep in mind that there were two other GOP sessions in progress simultaneously, and you’ll begin to get a sense of the scale of our motivation.
- We 400 observers are mostly average citizens getting involved in a campaign for the very first time. I saw plenty of retirees, college kids, housewives, small business owners, and accomplished professionals. Very few were experienced political operatives. All of us are taking Tuesday off to keep watch over the electoral process. We’re well-trained, we’re on rock-solid legal ground, and we’re motivated. Dear left-leaning friends: you’d be wise not to try any funny business. We won’t interfere in the election, but we’ll sure as hell catch you if you do. We know how to spot every trick in your playbook. You’ve gone a bridge too far, and managed to fire up more of the Republican base than in your worst nightmares.
- Ohio law has permitted poll observers for something like 70+ years, but we’ve never used them and never challenged a vote … until the left forced us to react to their blatant intent to win at any cost. Feel free to thank ACORN, the NAACP National Voter Fund, MoveOn.org, America Coming Together, The Media Fund, George Soros, Peter B. Lewis, Senator John McCain, Senator Russ Feingold …
- There are 78,000 GOP volunteers hard at work in Ohio. Young Republicans from out of state are knocking on doors (including mine, which is how I know) to get out the vote, and total political neophytes are burning up the outgoing phone lines at jam-packed local Bush/Cheney headquarters.
- Democrats have filed lawsuits seeking to forbid more than one GOP observer per polling place. This is significant because many polling places contain voting facilities for multiple precincts. If the Democrat lawsuits succeed (as of 5 PM today the outcome was still up in the air), you’ll see polling places where a single overworked GOP observer tries to keep an eye on several precincts at once. That’ll be a situation ripe for exploitation by fraudsters.
- At least one person tried to infiltrate today’s training session in Westlake by posing as a Republican who dropped in at the last minute to volunteer. His name wasn’t on the list and he couldn’t identify any references. He threatened to volunteer at the Kucinich call center unless we let him in. Odd threat for a “Republican”, eh? He left unhappy.
- Infiltrating a political campaign carries stiff criminal penalties in Ohio. Mr. I-Love-Dennis-Kucinich ought to thank us for saving him from spending Christmas in the pokey.
- Watch the Ohio poll results for a last-minute Democrat surge. Conservative SW Ohio and moderate Central Ohio report their results promptly, but heavily Democratic Cleveland always reports its results late in the evening and can tip the balance for the whole state. I’ll leave you to speculate about the reasons for foot-dragging by NE Ohio Democrats when they’re counting votes.
- 20,000 Republicans turned up in Westlake last week to hear President Bush speak, and only two dozen lethargic Democrats managed to show up to protest. It’ll be raining hard in NE Ohio on Election Day. Rain discourages potential voters who aren’t motivated. Re-read all of the bullet points above and … you do the math.
Buckle your seat belts, folks. It’s gonna be a wild ride.
UPDATE (11/1, 9:00 AM): Thanks to a Clinton judge, we’re on hold. We’ll see what the 6th Circuit has to say.
UPDATE (11/1, 9:00 PM): Rock ‘n roll. Also, see Power Line for news from a blogger who’s an election lawyer in the trenches tomorrow (don’t miss their post on the limousine liberal Clinton-appoinrted judge we observers just thumped, too).