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Check out's frantic effort to lay the groundwork for the claim that Obama's expected win is illegitimate, the product of a chaotic and fraud-prone election system and voter intimidation carried out by violent African-Americans.

At one polling site in Vermont, voters could maybe even look over and see each other's ballots! The election is ruined!

Not to pooh-pooh the importance of a secret ballot, but this is really grasping at straws.

In a way, you can't blame Fox. In stoking fears of an illegitimate election, it's only following John McCain's lead.

Dan Daugherty, a reader in Pasadena, California, reports that he received a call on his answering machine teling him to vote November 5th.

Daugherty provided TPMmuckraker with an audio recording of the call, which you can listen to here:

Here's a transcript: a message for (um) all people (um) in Pasadena. The (um) place for (uh) people in Pasadena is for you to vote at Jackie Robinson on Wednesday the 5th, November 5th. The (uh) ballot can be delivered on November 5th at Jackie Robinson.

Election day, of course, is today, November 4th.

California is not a presidential swing state and has no competitive statewide races, though it does have a controversial initiative -- Proposition 8, which aims to outlaw gay marriage -- on the ballot.

Pasadena is a liberal-leaning city, adjacent to Los Angeles.

Four people in Wisconsin who were hired by a temp agency to pass out absentee ballots and encourage voting for John McCain have admitted they were instructed to tell people that they were GOP volunteers, the AP reports.

From the AP:

The employees told The Associated Press on Monday they were hired by Allstaff Labor Group to go door to door in the Milwaukee suburbs locating McCain supporters and distributing absentee ballot request forms. Allstaff recruited them under a contract with a consulting firm hired by the Republican Party of Wisconsin to run its absentee ballot program.

The workers claim they were told to say they were GOP volunteers even though they were getting paid $10 an hour. They were required to sign agreements stating they would not publicly discuss their work but said they decided to speak out because they were angry they had not been paid for the last few days. They claim they are owed between $200 and $300.

GOP spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski confirmed there was a dispute over how many hours the employees worked and said the party's vendor was working to resolve it.

NOTE: This post has been significantly edited since posting.

A TPM reader in Northern Virginia reports getting three different calls directing her to the same incorrect polling location, with the callers claiming to be volunteers from the Obama campaign.

Rebecca Kingery of Arlington, Virginia, a heavily Democratic area, told TPMmuckraker that all three calls directed her to a housing complex in Arlington which is not close to where she votes.

Kingery, a graphic designer who was recently laid off, answered two of the calls. The caller ID for one said "Master Replica," and listed a 925 area code, which is in the Bay Area. For the other, the caller ID said "Olude Novosiore" and had a 408 area code, which is in central California and San Jose.

Kingery said she wasn't confused about her voting location. She added that when she responded to one of the callers that she was being given incorrect information, the caller insisted that the information was correct.

Calls by TPMuckraker to the numbers that Kingery provided were not immediately returned.

After speaking to TPMmuckraker, Kingery went to cast her ballot -- at the correct location.

Late Update: TPMmuckraker has heard back from people at both of the numbers that Kingery reported seeing on her caller I.D. Both people said they were volunteers for the Obama campaign -- one in Oakland, and another in Walnut Creek, Calif. -- and that they were calling as part of a phone-bank to give legitimate voting information. One woman, Dina Bohacek, said that she gave Kingery a phone number at which she could verify her polling location.

So this appears not to have been an effort to mislead voters about their polling place.

Hackers broke into the email account of the George Mason University provost in Virginia, early this morning and sent out the following email:

Subject: Election Day Update To the Mason Community:

Please note that election day has been moved to November 5th. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Peter N. Stearns Provost

According to Dan Walsh, a spokesman for the university, the hoax message went to the entire student body -- more than 30,000 students -- and about 5000 faculty and staff.

Stearns himself quickly sent out a followup message assuring recipients that it was a hoax, which was being investigated.

Walsh said the university had contacted campus police, who are working with outside law enforcement to look into the hoax.

Gov. Jim Gibbons (R-NV) isn't just content with having his name cleared. Gibbons said at a press conference Tuesday that he is open to suing the person who accused him of accepting bribes from a software company in exchange for contracts. The federal investigation prompted by Dennis Montgomery's accusations resulted Sunday in no charges for Gov. Gibbons. (AP)

Even with the 2008 presidential election happening today, news is still coming from the election in 2004. A Republican computer consultant testified in front of a federal judge Monday that he did not know of an effort to steal the election by rigging Ohio's vote for Bush. The consultant, Michael Cornell, ran a firm hired by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell to provide a backup server in 2004 -- despite his clear GOP connections. (McClatchy)

Students at Grinnell College in a swing district in Iowa had their absentee ballots challenged Tuesday by Republican attorneys. In 2004, the House race in the district was won by just 300 votes by Rep. Eric Palmer (D) who now faces the same Republican challenger. Grinnell students are historically Democrats, and the 50 challenged ballots could impact this tight race. (Iowa Independent)

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The court hearing the lawsuit filed by MALDEF against New Mexico GOP lawyer Pat Rogers did not rule yesterday on the plaintiffs' request for a restraining order to be placed on Rogers, reports the Albuquerque Journal.

The plaintiffs, two Hispanic voters in Albuquerque, want Rogers and Al Romero, the private investigator and ex-FBI agent hired by Rogers, prohibited from intimidating the plaintiffs or challenging their ballots.

The judge, William P. Johnson, questioned lawyers for the plaintiffs skeptically, reports the paper, but said the hearing will continue this morning.

Rogers' attorneys argued that Rogers had hired Romero not because he wanted to intimidate voters, but because he wanted to investigate ACORN for a possible lawsuit. ACORN had registered the plaintiffs to vote. Romero's visits to one of the plaintiffs, Dora Escobedo, and to another voter, were reported last month by TPMmuckraker and the New Mexico Independent.

But Escobedo told the court that Romero came to her home and intimidated her about her right to vote, adding that he "not only threatened me, but he made fun of me."

Romero's lawyer said Romero didn't threaten Escobedo, and that he had good reason to visit her because her voter registration form contained discrepancies.

After the hearing, Rogers told reporters: "This (lawsuit) is clearly a strategy to distract Republican lawyers from the duty at hand, which is getting out the vote."

Today's new Trooper-Gate report (pdf), shows a number of the emails between Gov. Sarah Palin and fired Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan that discuss Trooper Mike Wooten. While the report finds that Palin did not violate any ethics code in firing Monegan, it's worth looking at the emails between the governor and Monegan -- many of which seem to go out of their way to bring up the governor's grievances against her former brother-in-law Wooten.

An e-mail sent on Feb. 7, 2007 from Palin to Monegan with the title "CONFIDENTIAL cop bill" actually spends little time discussing the cop bill at all. While the email briefly touches on the bill -- which addressed jail time for police officers after killing someone -- the governor spends a full three paragraphs discussing her family's history with Wooten.

It was a joke, the whole year long "investigation" of him - in fact those who passed along the serious information about him to Julia Grimes and Tandeske were threatened with legal action from the trooper's union for speaking about it. (This is the same trooper who's out there today telling people the new administration is going to destroy the trooper organization, and that he'd "never work for that b****, Palin")

Three months later, after a flair up with another state trooper, Palin used the incident as an excuse to mention Wooten again to Monegan:

[B]etween this and the message I received the other night where an Ak [sic] State Trooper recently told a friend of family [sic] that he could further "mess with the governor's sister" by claiming falsehoods about us. . .

In July of that same year, Palin emailed Monegan about a legislative proposal on guns. Again, Palin used the opportunity to bring up Wooten:

The first thought that hit me when reading Gara's quote about people not being able to buy guns when they're threatening to kill someone went to my ex-brother-in-law, the trooper, who threatened to kill my dad yet was not even reprimanded by his bosses and still to this day carries a gun, of course. We can't have double standards.

And in Sept. of 2007, Palin brought up Wooten as the "trooper we've talked about before" in an email to Monegan relating to a state settlement with another trooper.

The take-away on Palin's emails to Monegan listed in the exhibits, is that she didn't shy away from inserting her personal history into her official dealings. Whether or not it was Monegan's failure to pay deference to these (not-so) subtle hints that led to his firing, is still unknown -- but this report would have you believe it didn't.

As we noted before, this report is the result of the investigation at the behest of Palin herself -- so it's not any kind of big surprise that it exonerates her.

Earlier tonight we told you about a lawsuit filed by the McCain campaign that seeks to ensure that military ballots not received until after the election are counted in Virginia. Election law expert Rick Hasen writes on his blog that he's now had a chance to look more closely at the suit, and here's his take:

I think there's a strong argument that because of the long delay the suit could well be barred by laches.

More fundamentally, the suit under UOCAVA may be barred for the same reason the Ohio mismatch case failed at the Supreme Court-- there's no private right of action: 42 USC Sec. 1973ff-4 Enforcement: The Attorney General may bring a civil action in an appropriate district court for such declaratory or injunctive relief as may be necessary to carry out this subchapter." The McCain campaign likely doesn't have standing to bring this suit; only DOJ does (and don't count them out!).

So it's by no means clear that the suit will even be heard on its merits. But we're likely to hear more on this...

The key finding of the new Trooper-Gate report is that the earlier report, conducted by the state legislature, erred in finding that Sarah Palin broke state ethics laws by pressuring subordinates to fire Mike Wooten.

The new report finds that:

The Branchflower Report ... states that violation of the scope of code provision may be based on the governor's inaction as opposed to the governor's affirmative acts.


But ... the Ethics Act does not require a person subject to its provisions to police the behavior of third parties who are not subject to its provisions. To find that the Governor violated the Ethics Act by failing to control her husband's behavior would require one to add language to the Ethics Act that does not exist.

In other words, Sarah Palin can't be held legally responsible for Todd Palin's actions.

It bears repeating: this was a report that Palin herself initiated, so, despite some other breathless reporting in the press, it's no surprise that it exonerates her. The only independent report into the matter found that she broke state ethics laws.