Source: Steve Chapman / Chicago Tribune
Many years ago, as a college Republican, I spent one summer in Austin, Texas, working for a candidate in a special election for the state Senate. My hometown was a liberal enclave with many college students — unwashed, longhaired, pot-smoking students, it seemed to me — who were predominantly Democrats. The more students who came out to vote the less likely our candidate was to win.
But our campaign strategists came up with a plan. They sent mailings to all the registered voters in precincts near the campus. Many cards came back because the addressee had moved, as college students often do. Voters no longer at the address on file with election authorities were not eligible to vote.
On Election Day, a fellow campaign worker and I went to a polling place to monitor voters. When they gave their names, we checked to see whether their mailings had come back. If so, we lodged an objection. The voters affected were not pleased.
If we had been asked to defend our actions, I imagine we would have come up with something about upholding the law and assuring the integrity of elections. But the people running the campaign never said anything like that. What they said was that this was a great way to reduce the number of people voting for our opponent.
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