Let's be clear: Someone may try to intimidate you out of voting on Tuesday, Nov. 4, but you must not be stopped. No matter what games you face at the precinct, do not leave the polls without casting at least a "provisional" ballot. Memorize that word.
Here's why: Despite all the talk about "voter fraud," it is voter intimidation that can threaten the 2008 electionpotentially the most important election in our lifetimes, considering the problems that shoddy, corrupt leaders have brought on our country.
One of the worst forms of corruption is playing out across the countrythe attempt by (mostly Republican) operatives and elected officials to scare people who will vote against them away from the polls. Or, to declare them invalid voters because an extra box was checked on their application. Or, because they forgot their ID. Or, because their homes were foreclosed. Seriously.
These tricks are only slightly less subtle than the intimidation black voters faced right here in our state trying to vote even after they won the hard-earned right. Today is much different, but you may well be questioned too much, glared at or even lied to about the rules. (Especially if you're young and/or African American or Latino.)
Part of the point of these challenges is to create long lines, hoping that you will leave without voting. Or, that you will be frustrated while being questioned and decide not to cast a ballot.
Here's what you must do: Hold your ground. It's not like you're facing the kinds of angry mobs of yesteryear, or will be beaten up or killed for trying to vote. This is much easier than that, so refuse to be intimidated.
Also remember: Do NOT leave without casting a vote. What this means is that if your name does not show up on a voter rollwhether you've been "purged" off, or they make up a reason on-site to reject youremember that you have the right to demand a provisional ballot. Take that ballot and cast your vote. And then get in touch with people who can help you.
Speaking of help, there are also going to be legions of poll watchers and attorneys there to "protect" your vote. Take advantage of them. And if there isn't help there, call 1-888-601-VOTE (1-888-601-8683), a legal hotline ready to help you. While you're at it, if you're in the Jackson metro, call the Jackson Free Press at 601-362-6121 ext. 5, and we'll get Adam Lynch or another reporter over to check it out.
Meantime, make sure your registration is in place before Election Day. Go to voteall.org/pollfinder.php and enter your address to check your registration. If you're not listed and you are registered, get to your county's circuit clerk's office before the big day to solve the problem. This is your right; demand it.
I'm voting fo' sho'. I might even vote twice to overcome the cheating I know the republicans will be doing. If they just throw out one of my votes I'll still get one in. Just kidding, but I'll be voting and flexing.