Last week I noted that Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga) was the only (to my knowledge) national politician to stand up and defend Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe. In her statement opposing sanctions against Zimbabwe, McKinney defended Zimbabwe’s corrupt and rigged elections as commendable as compared to what she sees as the wholesale sellout of democracy over what happened in Florida in 2000.
But McKinney’s supporters have a very odd idea of what counts as fair electioneering practices. Somebody has been making tape recorded calls in Georgia targeted at Republican voters telling them that they could be arrested if they vote in the Democratic primary.
The web site for WXIA-TV reports that the message says,
This is an official notice for Republican voters. It is a violation of state and federal law to attempt to vote in a Democratic primary without proper documentation. State and federal enforcement officials will be monitoring the polling places closely tomorrow for violations of the law. Do not risk violating the law by trying to vote in a Democratic primary without the proper documents.
Georgia, like many states, has an open primary system so any registered voter can vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary. The only thing any voter needs to vote in either primary is just some sort of legal identification such as a driver’s license. In McKinney’s case since there’s no way the Republicans are going to win the seat in her district, Republicans have been urging their voters to vote for McKinney’s opponent in the Democratic primary. Apparently somebody’s afraid that strategy might work.
The phone messages themselves are likely a violation of federal and state laws against voter intimidation.
Just the sort of thing that Robert Mugabe would try to discourage opposition voters.