GOP Can’t Scare Us Away
continued, organized assault on the voting rights of Skidmore
students by Republican operatives reached a new low this past
election, and crossed the line between dirty politics (e.g.,
lying about water and sales tax) and outright aggression [“An
Education in Intimidation,” Newsfront, Nov. 13].
Republican poll watchers created chaos in the polling place,
and systematically intimidated Democratic, Green and independent
voters. Many voters turned away out of fear rather than complete
the voting process.
One Republican poll watcher, Matt Dill, a volunteer for Lenz,
confronted voters as they entered the building and challenged
them even before they could walk into the room.
Numerous Republican poll watchers crowded the polling place
and challenged the residency of students, forcing them to
sign an oath before voting. When they were presented with
the oath, Mr. Dill said, “If you fill that out incorrectly,
the district attorney can prosecute you on a felony charge.”
He then threatened them with possible incarceration and/or
expulsion from college.
Another Republican poll watcher, David Bronner, threatened
physical harm to a Democratic poll watcher, and Jasper Nolan,
the Republican County Chairman, was observed shaking his finger
in students’ faces and raising his voice.
One was so brazen as to brag in front of a reporter that “he
successfully encouraged ‘one or two’ to leave without voting”
(Saratogian, Nov. 5). This was a startling (and foolish)
admission of his intent to intimidate voters.
Such election tactics are clearly undemocratic and un-American,
and probably illegal as well. Their tactics remind me of fascism,
and of racist efforts to disenfranchise blacks in the South.
Their behaviors are also reminiscent of Republican efforts
to suppress black votes in the Florida presidential election,
and of Congressman Sweeney’s aggressive tactics to “shut down”
the recount in Miami. In fact, the Republican organizer brought
to Saratoga, Brendan Quinn, helped organize the Republicans
in Florida. When confronted by a city official on using Florida-style
intimidation tactics here, Quinn responded, “It worked, didn’t
I think most voters (including Republicans) don’t want that
level of partisanship in our city; don’t want paid operatives
brought in from out of town to intimidate voters, be they
students, blacks, Jews, seniors, or any other category.
They tried to steal this election, and perhaps they succeeded.
Their actions have left a stain on Lenz, on the other Republican
candidates, on the Republican committees, and on Roohan and
Nolan, their chairmen.
Why are the Republican bosses and activists getting so nasty?
Because they are desperate. One, Democrats are competitive
in spite of the Republican registration advantage; we are
right on the issues and they are wrong; they represent the
moneyed interests and the county’s, not the city’s; and two,
the demographics of the city are changing. The percentage
of Republican voters has been declining for years. They have
to cheat to win.
We Democrats will not sink to their level. We will continue
to follow our values of freedom and democracy. We will continue
to focus on what’s good for the city. We will legally confront
their aggression, whether they employ dirty politics or illegal
intimidation in order to keep their political machine in power.
In the future we will just have to win by enough votes to
overcome their lies and intimidation.
My uncles fought in WWII to fight fascism. I am appalled at
what’s happening right here in our city. But, as I was reminded
this past Veteran’s Day, freedom is not free; it has to be
fought for again and again.
And shame on the Saratogian for downplaying such tactics—weeks
later, their editorials haven’t even mentioned Skidmore.
From the Underground
even bigger hello and thanks to Shawn Stone for getting the
word out on 20 Pages of Funk magazine [Art Murmur,
Jan. 15]. However it’s too bad he quoted only a few words
from one of our 20 pages. Toby Silverman’s words may seem
controversial, yet his quote reflects the frustration that
he as a house music DJ felt in Albany prior to forming 20
Pages of Funk magazine. This so-called “DJ declaration
of war” was more of an invitation to our staff of six to come
together and expand the focus of the Albany area nightlife
and events. As we worked together on the recently released
first issue we evolved into a publication whose mission is
to inspire enthusiasm for electronic music and art culture
that’s underground and off the radar of mainstream exposure.
This includes electronic music and bands, hiphop, reggae,
DJs and all art that reflects independent and progressive
thought. Albany lies in the crossroads of three major cites
and has an experienced and eclectic population. There is a
cosmopolitan energy here that craves cultural stimulation,
and 20PoF is in the house! If Mr. Stone would have
read further he would find articles on tango, MASS MoCA, Redbull
Flugtag, fashion . . . hardly a lineup for a “DJ declaration
of war” on culture. We’d prefer to call it “Shock and Awe-bany,”
it’s just more funky!
20 Pages of Funk
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