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Who is Lamont Williams?

Talking Points Memo reports on some very suspicious robocalls being made in North Carolina. In the calls, a man identifying himself as Lamont Williams delivers the following message:

In the next few days you will receive a voter registration packet in the mail. All you need to do is fill it out, sign it, date, and return your application. Then you will be able to vote and make your voice heard. Please return your registration form when it arrives.

Paul Kiel writes:

Democracy North Carolina, a government watchdog, cried foul, saying that the calls went out to "black neighborhoods" and was evidently a vote suppression tactic since the registration deadline for the presidential primary has already passed. The North Carolina state elections board got involved and asked for the public's help in determining the source of the calls, which apparently blocked caller ID from showing the number. You can listen to the call here (wav).Now Facing South reports that a Washington nonprofit called Women's Voices Women Vote is behind the calls.

(Read the rest right here.)And what about that mysterious "voter registration packet"? Paul Kiel is on top of that, too.

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From the Facing South piece:"Some have also questioned the ties between Women's Voices operatives and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton. Gardner, for example, contributed $2,500 to Clinton's HILLPAC on May 4, 2006, and in March 2005 she donated a total of $4,200 to Clinton, according to The Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org. She has not contributed to the Obama campaign, according to the database."Women's Voices Executive Director Joe Goode worked for Bill Clinton's election campaign in 1992 as a pollster; the group's website says he was intimately involved in "development and implementation of all polling and focus groups done for the presidential primary and general election campaigns" for Clinton."Women's Voices board member John Podesta, former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton, donated $2,300 to Hillary Clinton on April 19, 2007, according to OpenSecrets.org. Podesta also donated $1,000 to Barack Obama in July 2004, but that was well before Obama announced his candidacy for president."

Thanks for pointing that out, Joe. I missed that. But here's an update from Josh Marshall:

Setting aside the incidents in North Carolina, that we're still looking into, it seems like in the rest of the country the group was involved in legitimate voter-registration efforts for a targeted group even though they went about it in heavy-handed way and sometimes confused voters by failing to note key registration deadlines.

(For the record, I'm a member of Obama's National Catholic Advisory Council.)

How would this be an attempt at voter suppression if the registration deadline has already passed?

The idea is that if voters believe they need to mail in some sort of form before they can vote, then they may not go to the polls if they don't receive the "voter registration packet." The fact that the deadline has passed is only a clue that something fishy might be going on.

Sorry, Grant, I still don't get it. If someone sent out messages saying "you have until May 1 to register" when the deadline was really April 1, then I could see that they're trying to trick people into missing the deadline. But that's not the case here. Your response doesn't make any sense -- so what if "they may not go to the polls"? If the deadline had already passed, then the only people who received these calls are people who missed the deadline already, right?

As I understand the matter, the calls are not just going to those who missed registration deadline. They are also going to people who are properly registered to vote but who might now think that there is some paper work that they need to fill out in order to vote on the 6th.One more thing, the woman running Clinton's campaign - Maggie Williams - was, until a year ago, on the board of this organization.

Oh, ok, I think I get it now. At least it's interesting to see TPM accusing a left-wing organization of "voter suppression."