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Daschle suit over GOP Poll Challengers

Old 11-02-04, 01:25 PM
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Daschle suit over GOP Poll Watchers

Story One


Daschle sues to stop 'intimidation' of Indians

Republican poll workers in Lake Andes were intimidating Native American voters on Monday, a federal judge ruled early today.

Republicans may not write down license plate numbers or follow Native Americans from polling places during today's election, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol ruled in a temporary restraining order.

The ruling comes after Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle sued his opponent, John Thune, and the GOP in federal court in Sioux Falls on Monday, asking Piersol to stop what Democrats say was intimidation of voters.

"This ruling will hopefully ensure that every legitimate voter can vote free of intimidation on Election Day," said Daschle spokesman Dan Pfeiffer.

Piersol, whom Daschle chose for the federal bench, released his opinion about 1:45 a.m. today after hearing one witness from each side.

Daschle is depending on heavy turnout from Native American voters to win an expected close election.

Republicans had not decided whether to appeal, as of early today.

"It's a total joke," said Dick Wadhams, Thune's campaign manager. "What you've got is a situation where there is no credible evidence presented and the judge bent over backward for his long-time political pal."

Daschle charges that GOP poll observers have been crowding voters, making notes as they voted and writing down license plate numbers of cars bringing them to vote.

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Story Two - A little partisian, but it has some good information.

Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) filed a lawsuit late Monday to ban Republican poll watchers from observing voting on South Dakota's Indian reservations. Citing claims of "voter intimidation" of Native Americans, Daschle asked a federal judge to apply a 1982 New Jersey consent decree to Tuesday's election.

The Daschle forces produced only one witness before Judge Lawrence Piersol, a Virginia lawyer who arrived in South Dakota over the weekend. He testified that Republican poll watchers observing early voting were "rolling their eyes" and "making negative faces." He said that he believed those acts constituted "intimidation."

A Republican poll watcher testified that he was instructed not to wear a suit so as not to be thought to be an FBI agent.

President Bill Clinton named Piersol to the federal bench at Daschle's urging.

Daschle praised Piersol at an American Trial Lawyers Association convention in 2003, saying, "First, I got my start in politics thanks to lawyers ... rather, one lawyer in particular. In 1978, I won my first election to the House by 14 votes...I was fortunate to be represented by a great lawyer and a dear friend, Larry Piersol."


Just last week, Piersol praised Daschle in a radio interview on the nationally syndicated "Coast to Coast."

He said, "The people that are out here, they believe in strength, but they believe in quiet strength. That's exactly what he has, is quiet strength. That's the same sort of thing that people out here believe they themselves have and I think they look for that in their leaders."

Dick Wadhams, the campaign manager for Daschle's opponent, former Rep. John Thune (R-SD), said, "This is nothing short of an attempt to steal an election Tom Daschle knows he is about to lose tomorrow."

He added, "Daschle's goon lawyers will seek to get Republican poll watchers removed from reservations and for voters to lose their right to vote."

A crowd of 200 Thune supporters gathered outside the courthouse, including former Sen. Jim Abdnor (R-SD). Daschle defeated Abdnor in 1986 to win his first term in the Senate.

Abdnor said, "We need voters to decide this race, not judges."

Thune lost his first bid for the Senate in 2002 by 524 votes. The margin of victory came on a late surge from Shannon County, part of Indian Country. Allegations of voter registration fraud on the reservation led to a highly publicized trial. Charges were eventually dropped.

Daschle's actions follow a plan developed by the Democratic National Committee to allege voter intimidation "even where there is none."

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Seriously, at what point does a federal judge recuse himself?

Last edited by wmansir; 11-02-04 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 11-02-04, 01:28 PM
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Daschle is just desperate because he is going to lose.
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Old 11-02-04, 01:46 PM
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I dont understand having pundits at the polls at all. In California it is against the law.

Seems just crazy that this is allowed at all?
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Old 11-02-04, 01:49 PM
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While it would appear this judge should not have heard this particular case, could one reasonably argue that an injunction against "writing down license plate numbers or following Native Americans from polling places during today's election" is unjust?
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Old 11-02-04, 01:51 PM
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Watchers - challengers - two entirely different things

Both have been around for ages.

Watchers don't challenge.
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Old 11-02-04, 01:59 PM
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My bad. I must have been thinking of all the challenger suits in Ohio. Feel free to correct the title mods.

Although, in my defense, I read the story one first and it doesn't identify them as 'GOP observers' until the last sentence of the article. I just skimmed the second for new info.
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Old 11-02-04, 04:05 PM
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Originally posted by Duran
While it would appear this judge should not have heard this particular case, could one reasonably argue that an injunction against "writing down license plate numbers or following Native Americans from polling places during today's election" is unjust?
I don't think anyone would object to a general injunction such as you've described. The problem is that there is nothing to indicate that any true intimidation was taking place.

We would all agree that it is illegal for observers to tackle voters on their way into the polling place. Does that mean that it would be fair for a "Republican-friendly" judge to issue an injunction stating that Democrats may not tackle Republican voters on their way into the polling places during the election?
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Old 11-02-04, 04:06 PM
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Originally posted by classicman2
Watchers - challengers - two entirely different things

Both have been around for ages.

Watchers don't challenge.
That's right. They watch.

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Old 11-02-04, 05:32 PM
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Originally posted by Shoveler
That's right. They watch.

But who watches the Watchers?
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Old 11-02-04, 06:07 PM
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Originally posted by Shoveler
That's right. They watch.

I just realized, you can see an intimidated minority voter in the lower right corner of that picture. Some Republican must be writing down her license plate number.
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