Jefferson County Republicans intend to place Election Day challengers at 59 voting precincts in predominantly black neighborhoods, a move that NAACP leaders yesterday called blatant intimidation.
The GOP election workers, most of whom live outside the targeted precincts in western and central Louisville, Portland and Newburg, will be on hand to challenge voters who they suspect aren't eligible.
Jefferson County GOP Chairman Jack Richardson IV said the precincts were chosen at random or because the Republican Party has had trouble finding registered voters in those areas to serve as election workers. The challengers, who will receive the same training as precinct workers, could fill in if needed.
Richardson said the precincts weren't chosen because of their racial makeup or voting patterns. Using challengers is a "legal, proper and permissible" way to ensure that voters are bona fide, he said.
"It is in the best interest of everybody and the responsibility of both parties to protect the ballot integrity," Richardson said. "That is the bottom line."
"(They) have only one purpose: to intimidate and suppress votes in the West End and other minority areas," Tim Longmeyer, chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party, said during a news conference yesterday attended by County Attorney Irv Maze; Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney David Stengel; and Louisville Metro Council members Cheri Bryant Hamilton and Mary Woolridge.
Longmeyer said nearly all of the challengers live outside their assigned precincts and many are from the East End, Fairdale and Okolona. He questioned whether those people will know who is voting or whether those voters reside in the precinct.
Fletcher said yesterday that the challengers "shouldn't be any barrier. ... We're doing legally what we can just to make sure that everything is done right in voting, and we invite all members of that community to come out and vote. We want them to vote, and there's absolutely no reason that they shouldn't feel welcome to come out and vote."
Of course they shouldn't. I mean, they should, yeah, that's it.
Oh...of course it won't be a barrier to anyone voting. Except for the fact that it's frothing Rpublicans among a bunch of uppity minorities who think that they have rights or something. And we all know just how much the Rpublicans love minorities. I mean, since they're the ones who usually go to jail, they wouldn't want any felons thinking they can vote. And they're going to easily spot all of the evil people who shouldn't be voting... by their skin color! Ha ha ha ha ha! What a great plan! What they really mean is "we invite all members of that community to come out and TRY to vote". Ha ha! I suggest -- and it's not only for one election somewhere, but for even the presidential election, everywhere -- that one white Democrat escorts black people to their polling place and with bats to beat up the Rpublicans if they cause any trouble. If they're gonna try to pull their dirty tricks again anywhere, and against minorities, then we need white people to drive vans and smirk at cops stopping them for having black people in the car. They're not gonna fight fair, and we have to -- as people -- protect our rights. If we all band together on this, then we can take a vacation to Texas and pretend we're Rpublicans and convince them that they should secede from the Union. Oh, and give out dictionaries and picture history books to rising stars of the Rpublican Party. THEN they won't get elected. And then we won't have to have bats and tasers when we go to the polls. Or maybe I'm just an optimist.