GOP Watching the Polls in Detroit


“If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we’re going to have a tough time in this election cycle.”

— State Rep. John Pappageorge, R-Troy, while discussing election strategy at a meeting of the Oakland County Republican Party (Freep)


Michigan Republicans will renew a controversy from the 2004 election when they send poll challengers to the Detroit and Ecorse mayoral elections Nov. 8 in what GOP officials say is a training exercise for next year’s statewide elections.

Democrats called it an attempt to intimidate black voters and said they’ll watch the GOP poll watchers.

The state Republican Party plans to spread up to 100 poll challengers among Detroit, Ecorse, Grand Rapids and Kentwood, a Grand Rapids suburb, said party spokesman Nate Bailey.

“These are communities with different settings that will be effective training grounds for our people,” he said. (Freep)

Author: Rob Goodspeed


  1. How does one spot a Democrat in Grand Rapids?

    In 1999, challengers targetted people in Hamtramck based on their appearance and speech. The city just recently settled the resulting voter discrimination lawsuit brought by 17 plaintiffs for $150,000. We also have federal election monitors at our polling places.

  2. I really have to ask – what’s wrong with members of either Party, Dem or Repub, going to the polls to watch, and perhaps even challenge? Send your own people to watch the watchers if you’re worried about intimidation. Poll watching used to be considered a noble enterprise – indeed, a necessary one. Of course, Dems would like to be the only ones doing it – so they are saying that Republican poll-watchers are by their very presence racists and intimidating – this is just a tactic.

    Pappageorge’s quote is embarrassing, stupid, and although I suspect somewhat out of context, offensive.

  3. Check out “There is no law”, David, on my new dotcom.

    David, you could endorse me simply as “an honest critic” of whatever, who offers deep analysis of issues. I’d endorse you on that ground, I suspect.

    One need not endorse a person’s views to endorse the person.

  4. “out of context”

    By the way, I do think one could say that Pappageorge didn’t mean “suppressing” in the illegal way – I suspect he meant in the way of neutralizing Dems on issues. The word suppress however was a terrible word choice, and he should be condemned for the indiscretion in choosing it. I suspect he’s not that bad of guy though.

  5. Detroit City Clerk Jackie Curry has had her authority to review absentee ballots taken away by a judge, following the absentee scandal a few days ago where lots of ballots were mailed out with a line already indicating a vote for Curry for Clerk and Kilpatrick for Mayor. Testimony was heard from City employees that Curry and a select number of city workers had a “political machine” process in place whereby they would “round up” or improperly influence absentee votes from elderly and ill individuals in homes and elsewhere.

    In a separate debate, the Secretary of State is deciding when and how to “purge” of the rolls of dead, moved, and untraceable voters in the state, and the largest pool, according to Democratic list-broker Mark Grebner (not a Republican source by any means), of bad QVF information comes from Detroit, which has 670,000 registered names — Grebner finds that almost 300,000, or half, of those names are so unreliable that he purges them from his mailing lists.

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