Bil Browning

IN-07: There's something shady going on

Filed By Bil Browning | January 14, 2008 8:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Andre Carson, Congress, conspiracy theories, election fraud, IN-7, Indiana, Indianapolis, Julia Carson, special election

Some of the events surrounding Saturday's special Democratic caucus to elect the candidate for Indiana's 7th Congressional District seat after the death of Rep. Julia Carson seem a little off. Julia's grandson, Andre Carson, won the 8-way election on the first round of voting - a grand political coup for someone who's never ran in an election against an opponent and whose only political background is being appointed to the City-County Council for a couple of months.

I'm not one for a conspiracy theory, but usually where there is smoke there's fire and there is a lot of smoke blowing around Indy right now. I'm not saying I have all of the answers, but I have lots of questions. It's not clear if this election was fixed or botched or both, but something just isn't right. Follow me after the jump and make your own conclusion.

The Congresswoman's Death

Julia announced she had lung cancer late last year and died shortly thereafter. Potential candidates were left scrambling while her grandson obviously knew before everyone else. A special election in which a maximum of only 599 precinct committee persons would vote determines the nominee. What would you do in that situation? Keeping everyone else out in the cold as long as possible gives you plenty of time to get key people in place and appoint as many of your own precinct committee persons as you can.

At Julia's funeral Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI) and Louis Farrakhan praised Andre and urged attendees to choose him to replace his grandmother. Kilpatrick and Tubbs Jones both claimed Julia's deathbed wish was "Send my seed." Yet Andre rarely appeared publicly with Julia. If I'd wanted my grandson to follow in my footsteps I'd have been pointing him out everywhere and saying "Keep an eye on this guy! He's going places." She didn't.

Candidate Confusion

The 8 candidates for the special caucus had to pay the Democratic Party $500 each for lists of the Precinct Committee people eligible to vote in the special caucus. Confusion ensued as different candidates received different lists and some candidates complained of contacting dozens of supposed committee persons only to find out the lists were horribly out of date.

I don't know about you, but at nearly $1 per person on the list, I'd expect accuracy. Knowing that Indiana hasn't had to replace a Congressperson in a special election in over 50 years, I think I'd probably double check everything.

The Marion County Democratic Party was responsible for the list. Ultimately, the excuse was that the county party hadn't used the 2006 election data to update the PC lists. Mike O'Connor, the county party chair, was "out of communication" while vacationing in California the week prior to the vote. After all, California is a barren wasteland devoid of even tin cans and string for communication.

Disenfranchised Democrats

Several precinct committee persons who should have been able to vote yesterday weren't allowed to cast ballots. I was one of them. The county party is being blamed for providing incorrect lists of eligible precinct committee persons - several times.

In my case, I am an appointed committeeman. Somehow, I ended up being made Jerame's vice-precinct committeman instead of being assigned my own precinct (where I should have been to start with!) Party rules say that the roles have to be filled by a man and a woman. Two people of the same gender can't serve together in the same precinct. That made my appointment as vice invalid, so the party decided to put me in my own precinct and allow me to vote. I had phone calls the night before the caucus from 3 different people to tell me I could vote after all. One came directly from party headquarters at 8:30pm.

At 9:00am, I showed up and tried to register but was refused. After I spoke to attorney Mark Lee, I was told that they'd received another list from the county party that said I wasn't elected. That's true. I wasn't. I was appointed to the wrong spot and given another precinct. And that had nothing to do with the problem at hand.

I got shipped off to Dan Parker, Chairman of the state Democratic Party, who said that I had become City-County Councilor Angela Mansfield's vice chair somehow. She had the vote, not me. Once again, I'm somehow another person's vice and not appointed to my own precinct. There were plenty of vacancies.

Only with a signed proxy statement from Angela (who had no idea that she'd suddenly gained a VP sometime in the wee hours of the morning) could I vote. Why would she give me her proxy if she's already there and registered to vote? I was disenfranchised.

Other precinct committee persons who were appointed in early November weren't entered into the system until December - after the deadline to be eligible to vote in yesterday's caucus. Sources tell me that's about 80 people.

I spoke to 3 other disenfranchised voters yesterday at the caucus. Another called me today. None of us would have voted for Carson. That's five votes. Andre needed 220 votes to win. He got 223. If the five of us alone had voted, he wouldn't have won on the first round. I can't say how the other 80 or so people would have voted, but 223 definitely would not have been enough to win.

Ironically, the state Party chair opened and closed the proceedings with remarks on how Democrats count every vote. Not mine.

Voting Floor Shenanigans

There were about 10 touch screen electronic voting machines in place for the special election. With 440 people to get through, while guaranteeing no one voted twice and everyone got to vote, the process was excruciatingly slow.

Strangely, with fewer than half of the votes cast, officials started shutting down some of the machines. When asked, they said they were getting an early start on tallying the votes and reprogramming the machines. The rules of the special election stipulated that if no one got the requisite 50% on the first vote, the lowest vote getter would be removed and a new vote would take place. It takes about 30 minutes to reprogram the machines for the next vote.

Let's be clear. The tallies are practically instantaneous on these machines. Reprogramming them takes time, certainly, but you can't start reprogramming them until you know the results of the first vote anyway. So what time savings was realized here?

Fuzzy Math

If you watch the video of Dan Parker reading off the vote totals, you'll notice something a little odd. He says that 439 votes were cast (even though 440 people registered.) When he reads off the numbers for each candidate it adds up to a total of 435 votes. That's 4 votes short.

The explanation given to me by a Democratic insider is that those voters went to the machine, but didn't select a candidate when they cast their vote. Which would mean four people went through registration, wandered the halls, waited through the instructions, sat in their rows, waited in a long line, walked to a machine, acted like they voted and got their card punched to show they'd already voted, just to do nothing? Someone wasted all those hours to not do something? Seriously?

The Missing Machines

After yesterday's vote, two of the voting machines were stolen and are currently missing. The staffers say they had gone to lunch, but would have had to have gone out of their way. The warehouse for votes is on Washington Street near downtown. The caucus took place on 34th Street. The machines were stolen about 15 blocks north of the polling place. Washington Street is south of 34th Street.

After the caucus, a vehicle containing the voting machines used in the caucus was broken into in the 5900 block of North College Avenue while members of the Democratic party were having lunch.

Two machines, valued at $5,000 each were taken from the vehicle. Metro police doesn't know how much damage was done to the vehicle and they have no suspects at this time.

What about the PEB units that store the actual votes cast on the machines? Were they stolen as well? No one has divulged that information.

Concluding With Questions

Can you read my eyebrows raising? Doesn't this all seem rather coincidental to you?

Several folks - Democrat and Republican - have called me today to talk about this. They all have their own ideas on what happened, but all of them have been generous with their complaints and skepticism. The county party, the state party, and the Carson machine have all been blamed for dropping the ball, attempting to rig the system, or cheating outright.

I'm not one to spin conspiracy theories, but this smells worse than Limburger cheese.

I want to give the Democrats the benefit of the doubt. I want someone to explain the discrepancies and take responsibility. I want to get clear answers to these questions I'm left with:

  • Who was ultimately responsible for the list of eligible committee persons, why didn't they do their job, and what is being done about it?

  • What was the breakdown of this extremely late update from the MCDP? How many "newly appointed" PCs were on the list? We know this update disenfranchised at least 5 people, but how many did it enfranchise that otherwise wouldn't have been eligible?

  • With so much confusion and last minute shuffling, how can we be assured of the accuracy and integrity of this last minute update? After all, I was shuffled between three spots within 24 hours.

  • With the Carson machine a long-standing institution in Indianapolis, how are we to to know this wasn't a done deal by party insiders?

  • How did the Democratic party - of Voter ID fame - end up disenfranchising so many Democratic voters?

  • When will the mainstream media start reporting about some of these problems with this election?

The only brief mention by the media of discontent and doubt is this tiny pip from today's Indianapolis Star:

[Candidate Jeffery] White indicated no one should be anointed to run for office.

“It’s becoming a mockery of democracy around here,” he said.

As it stands, I spent 4 hours doing nothing. I wasn't allowed to vote even though I should have been eligible. Shady dealings abounded with hardly any questions asked, but I hope to have some on-the-record answers soon.

I didn't see an election; I saw a coronation.

That's a mockery of democracy in my book too.

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André Carson won the Nomination decisively on the first round with 223 votes. The 2nd-place trailed distantly with only 123 votes. The other six maxxed in the 20s. While the Caucus might have gone better in some details, the outcome wouldn't change significantly: Democrats selected our candidate who is LGBT-friendly, pro-choice, anti-War with over 20-years of active political experience. André Carson will be elected March 11th in the Special Election for the 7th District!

He didn't win "decisively" - there are obviously questions about it. I share Bil's questions and concerns. It sucks that an important seat has to be chosen by a handful of party insiders - so the process should be as transparent as possible to the people who will be governed by this candidate.

I find it mind-boggling that the Democratic party nominated Andre - how could that many people be so... stupid? Sure, you know Andre, you love Andre, but we voters DON'T KNOW A THING ABOUT THE GUY. And don't keep spouting on his stats, Wilson. Most people have no information whatsoever on him, and there are candidates who's faces are recognized everywhere. Andre isn't one of them.

Carson is going to lose to Elrod on March 11, without a doubt in my mind, and then a solidly Democratic seat will be up for grabs in November.

That's just dumb, and short-sighted, and all because someone had to over-reach. Hubris.

Wilson, Bil reported feeling disenfranchised here. Doesn't that bother you even a little bit? I know that you are a staunch Carson supporter, but does principle mean so little to you that you can dismiss it so casually? Bil aksed for answers to reasonable questions, and in charges Wilson to dismiss and rah-rah. Nice. This is a large constituency that Bil represents, as you well know. Doesn't that vote mean anything to the Carson camp?

Beyond Carson, I seem to recall Democrats making quite a fuss about voting and disenfranchisement. Are you saying that such talk only applies to public elections, but not to Democratic Party elections? One might expect the Party to lead by example, no?

Now, as for Andre being LGBT-friendly, as I understand it, he believes being gay is a choice. How is that LGBT-friendly?

Like Bil said, where there's smoke...

Carson is going to lose to Elrod on March 11, without a doubt in my mind, and then a solidly Democratic seat will be up for grabs in November.

I should point out that Jon Elrod is the candidate who won the Republican nomination. He is a gay-friendly moderate Republican who opposes our same-sex marriage amendment and is in favor of LGBT civil rights (including gender identity). I know Jon personally and consider him a worthy opponent.

You have to sue to invalidate the election...
But you already know that.

Incompetence Hardly...
With two of the machines gone you couldn't do a recount even if you could trust the machines, which you cannot to begin with.

Y'all are so screwed.
I am sorry to see this kind of thing going on.

Best wishes and good luck.

The downside of an Elrod victory would be losing a D seat in the House, where Democratic control remains desirable for us as best I can tell.

But I have met Jon Elrod, and he is a pretty good dude and unquestionably GLBT friendly, so I don't think GLBT folk in the 7th have anything to fear if he were elected.

Let me add that Jon Elrod stands for inclusion. He is not shy about saying so, even in a Republican caucus, be it county or legislative. He will be a great representative, and I believe that it is important to the community to have such a person as an important member of the Indiana Republican Party. After all, equal rights should not be a partisan issue; it should be the bedrock of policy of all serious political parties. Then we can discuss other issues.

While Julia's death was a surprise, it was also common knowledge that she had been in poor health, so I find it somewhat implausible that the county Party didn't have the correct and updated lists of PC's available to all, and that the entire process was handled in such a slip-shod manner.

It appears that the fix was in on this from the start and the powers that be were relying on nobody questioning their actions. Luckily, they were clumsy and obvious enough that the warnings signs were glaringly easy to see. Clearly, an investigation is in order. It won't happen early enough to make a difference right now, but it's necessary in order to ferret out the truth for the rank and file.

I was there and I wasn't disenfranchised, but I sure feel like there was some shenanigans going on. I witnessed everything Bil attests to and then some.

Several of my Democratic friends spoke to me privately about the strong-arming of PCs by the Carson camp and how they were just sick and tired of the Marion County Democratic Party being controlled by the Center Township Machine. For those of you playing along at home, the Center Township Machine has many other names, but it refers to the very powerful political machine built and maintained by the late Julia Carson and her cronies.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a big Julia fan. I considered her a personal friend and a great Congresswoman. But what is being done here - in her name - is despicable.

(Fecetious grin on my face) Bil, you know there was nothing shady about this! Never mind the fact the party officials who had the voting machines were drinking with the Carson folks at Binkley's when they were stolen. Nooooo, these Blue Dogs would never ever ever stoop to election fraud to put their guy in the seat! He's so well qualified, just like Wilson says, he went to Indiana Wesleyan and was a rapper! We need a rapping Congressman from Indy! I for one welcome our new rapping dynastic overlord!(/Fecetious grin on my face)

Bil: were you an appointed Democratic precinct committeeperson on November 15th (the legally required voting list date of 30 days before the vacancy happened). Considering you were actually a paid agent of a Republican candidate working hard against the Democratic candidate, your appointment as committeeperson had probably been yanked months ago. Were you re-appointed right after the election but before November 15th? If so, you were eligible to vote on January 12th.

Part of political party organization is demanding that party agents not be paid and active agents of the opposing Party. Does Ford let its employees sell Chevrolets? Don't think so! Neither does any political party...

Bil, I think you raise a lot of legitimate questions about the process. On the stolen voting machines, I did have an e-mail exchange with Jen Wagner on it. She explained that they all went to Binkley's for lunch after the caucus--it was well past lunch time and it had been a long morning. While they were sitting in the restaurant, a waiter told them about a break-in outside in one of the cars. It turned out to be the executive director's car. Both a side and back window was broken out. Two voting machines were taken, along with a purse. The voting cards had been removed from the machines after the vote, rendering them useless. Police said there had been several reported smash-and-grabs in recent weeks in that area.

I also think the blame for the confusion and problems with the voting lists clearly lied with the county and not the state party. The state party had to make the best of a bad situation.

You are right on target about the whole thing being planned in advance. Carson's folks repeatedly misled the public about her deteriorating health. You forgot to mention that Andy Jacobs continually made mistatements of fact to throw everyone off--then pre-empted everyone else by throwing his support behind Andre before Julia died. The caucus was clearly stacked against the other candidates.

According to the "Mays Poll", they show HardID among 400 likely voters:
Mitch Daniels: 89%
André Carson: 48%
David Orentlicher: 38%
Carolene Mays: 21%
Jon Elrod: 21%
Elrod's got a lot of catching up to do.

We also know that André Carson's negatives will be driven up by massive and unrelenting GOP anonymous Swiftboaters using every slime and slander of racial and religious bigotry against him...

Andy Harley | January 14, 2008 1:19 PM

It seems to me, as a total outsider from a foreign land, that it is impossible to have any form of election over there in the USA without cries of “fix”!

Yes, I remember how the Presidential election was “stolen” from Al Gore in Florida in 2000. And four years later there were further serious doubts about the counting in Ohio – and suspicions of another “fix”.

Then I note that following the New Hampshire primary the other week, for instance, that Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich and Republican candidate Albert Howard have both demanded a count by humans of ballot papers – not because they question the outcome for them personally but because many in New Hampshire do not trust the “electronic” way of counting the votes which are made by humans with a pen putting a cross in a box (the tried and tested way).

As they say … to make a mistake is easy, but to really foul-up, you need a computer!


Yes - I worked for Scott Keller in the last election - while you helped his opponent, Brian Mahern. I've already covered the dirty tricks that happened in that election.

I am still a precinct committeeman. If you read the post above, you'll see that I went from appointed PC to vice-PC to appointed PC to vice PC. On the latest list sent to candidates, I"m still listed as Jerame's vice PC - where I started.

I helped a pro-gay, moderate Republican. I'm an LGBT activist before I'm a partisan hack. The cause is more important to me than the letter behind someone's name. It just happens that I support Democrats more often since they're usually more LGBT friendly.

Oh - thanks for the info about the machines, Gary.

Same as you - I'm inclined to blame this more on the county party than anyone else.

Bil: were you an appointed precinct committeeperson on November 15th, 2007? That's the only date that counted for this Nominating Caucus.

By the way, elected precinct committeepeople cannot be removed by the County Chair.

Well, believe it or not, some of us have lives outside of the blogs. Just thought I'd check in on some of the CD07 discussions, and found Bil's posting disturbing at best and infuriating at worst.

I am a PC (not in my precinct which interestingly does not have a PC, but in some forsaken abandoned part of the city...but hey, I don't have any voters bothering me like I might have in my own) and was at the froofrau on Saturday. Spoke with tons of people, including Bil, who expressed some of what he's written about. What an embarrassing situation this is!! If it happened to Bil, you can bet it happened to others as well. But they don't have blogs to post it on.

Disgraceful!! Get it straightened out, Bil, so you can vote for the candidate of your choice for the primary in May. This dead horse is only beginning to stink!

Curious Donkey | January 14, 2008 4:39 PM

First of all, while we are on the topic of Scott Keller, let me remind you of the massive democratic support that Keller had. Not just in votes but also in money. So while its true, Bil did work for Scott, so did a lot of people who are good democrats. If for no other reason than he had done a tremendous job as councilor. You must concede, there are good democrats and Lord knows there are bad ones. (C. Mays, S. Franklin, M. Moriarty and others). The same can be said of republicans. Scott was (and is), as you must agree, one of the good ones.
And, its seems that as the new council session begins, the Keller supporters were right. Word on the street is, Mahern is MISSING IN ACTION, and seems to have forgotten how to send emails or return phone calls. Several neighborhoods around that district have no idea why they can not seem to communicate with their councilor. This was never the case with Keller. If this is some tragic foreshadowing of the next 4 years, it would seem that without even mentioning the dirty politics in his campaign, the people of Indy's 16th district have made a terrible mistake.
But on to the Caucus. I can understand how and why a party would not want someone on their lists who was actively working for a member of an opposing party. (Even if that candidate had sided with the democrats on every big partisan issue). I can even understand why the party should have the options to move NON elected precinct committee persons as they see fit. But, what Bil touched on at the start of the article is probably vastly more important an issue. Whether or not a few more people voted and raised the majority needed to win is of no consequence if it never really mattered in the first place. I have a strange feeling, the deck may have been stacked.
Lets get one thing "straight". I am a hugely loyal democrat and a Julia Carson fan for life. But I refuse to believe that a majority of my fellow democrats would have chosen Andre over a couple of other famously competent local heroes. And by such a vast margin. This simple fact really made me wonder how this could happen.
Let us look at the facts. Lets take 3 of the candidates. Joanne, David and Andre. Now let us compare them as far as the attributes we all hope the committee persons would look for in a Dist.7 champion. Joanne and David both have extensive histories in the political arena. Andre has none. Joanne and David both have proven voting track records that mirror those of Julia herself. Andre has none. Joanne and David both have experience running large district campaigns in very competitive districts. Joanne won, even if narrowly, in a Republican stampede. And David remains victorious in a district saturated with active republicans. Andre has no campaign experience. Joanne and David both have been seen in public with Julia as she praised them both. I have never seen Julia AND Andre in any public forum where she suggested a promising political carrier. Please dont get me wrong. Andre may indeed have these traits, I am just not aware of them. And I refuse to think that the 223 people who cast their votes for him at the caucus have been more involved in local politics than I have. I find it impossible that those 223 voters have some kind of other secret information that guided their votes. That is a awful lot of people putting an awful lot of blind faith in such an important role. Its possible, but is it likely? Wilson, if Andre was not your choice to win, you would be the first person to agree and demand an investigation.
Lets ask this question. IT was September when Julia came home from Washington. She died in mid December. That would mean that any vacant precinct positions would need to be filled by mid Nov. Wilson, says the 15th. Lets work with that. She announced on Nov 24th she was sick and 2 days later said she would not run again. That would be Nov 26th. I wonder how many of new precinct committee persons were add in the district between Sep 15th. and Nov 15th? Why is that important? It important because only ONE candidate and his supporters had inside information that Julia was going to leave us. Does anyone else remember thinking, "Sheesh.. she died awfully fast." Does anyone remember thinking that surely someone had to know she wasn't going to make it. Do you remember how long she was back in Indy, sick before they announced she had terminal cancer? (2 months) Does anyone wonder why, the best doctors money can buy did not check this immediately on a woman who has a history of cancer? Or did they.....?
If I was in the Andre camp, and I knew that Julia was passing soon, and I also knew that the only way to get on the ballot for the special election was a vote of precinct committee persons. And I also knew there might POSSIBLY be a few people with VASTLY more pertinent credentials than I also interested in that seat. Might it be at all possible to think it would be tempting to delay any announcements of Julia's terminal-ness a few months, giving me plenty of time to find and appoint as many precinct committee people who favor me as I can AND reduce the number of open spots so if any other candidates think to find committee people, most the spots would be full? Thereby stacking the deck in my favor. She didn't announce she wouldn't run again until Nov 26th. That's when any potentials would start to look for supporters to appoint to PC positions. Even if they started on that very afternoon. It was already too late. Nov 26th was after the Nov 15th cut off date. So any appointments that were left, wouldn't have mattered anyway. They would not have been able to vote. (Although no one knew it was too late as Julia had not died yet.)
Let me reiterate that this is just a hypothesis. A big what if. Is it illegal? Probably not. Is it against party rules? Probably, and if not it should be. But it would be heinously bad form, and surely disrespectful of Julia's memory. A woman who had an undying devotion to fair play. Should it be looked into? Absoulutly. Should the voters know about it if its true? Yes.
We dont have to wonder though. You can find out when these precinct people were appointed. Its on the form that was turned in and should also be listed in their files. Now, who is going to check? (before anyone has time to change the data.)
I will, like a good democrat, vote to keep the seat BLUE in the special election. But I wont shead any tears if Elrod wins.


Yes. I was an appointed PC on Nov 15. I was appointed to the seat in 2006. The party had erroneously placed me in the wrong spot (Jerame's vice instead of the neighboring precinct.) That's why they said I could vote to start with - it was the county party's error. Then the county party "updated" the info again and I couldn't vote any more.

It's just interesting to me that I've run into so many people who were there and so many of those folks expressed deep concerns that there was something very fishy about things.

Wilson: You should be ashamed. You have been part of the county party and the Carson machine for eons, we know. But how can you conscience the fact that the county party KNEW they had bad lists because they sold the candidates bad lists and yet they still didn't have them quite fixed on the day of the caucus. And yet knowing that the lists were bad to start with and knowing that they likely still weren't accurate on voting day, people were disenfranchised.

Whether this confusion was intentional or just the work of buffoons, we may never know. But you have to be awfully cynical to think it's perfectly OK to fuck over your own party to win an election.

I've heard of A LOT of people who will be crossing over to vote for Elrod in the special because they are very concerned about the push for Andre and they had all been Julia supporters.

Is this party error or a fix? Either way, it ain't pretty and it has raised many, many eyebrows.

Rightwing blogs that normally despise Sodomites are gleefully linking to this story.

You mean even shadier than you somehow collecting Social Security disability, yet being able-bodied enough to run a political campaign?

Zach Adamson | January 14, 2008 8:34 PM

What are they saying?

Wilson, are you implying that everyone should just shut up about it, just so as to save face for those playing dirty? Which of the disenfranchised has any incentive to do that? The whole thing could have been avoided with a clean election. Deal with it.

Hmm im glad we do a silly thing here in Georgia and hold a open election to fill a vacant office.
But I did get a good lesson on machine politics from reading all of this.

I can see that a few of our new national readers are joining in this discussion on a post that was more common back when we were all local, all the time.

Since I read this site more than anyone else outside the US, I'll provide an international perspective written in French-for-people-who-don't-know-French:

Oui, oui, oui! Sacré bleu, le croissant! Joie de vivre et bonjour! Oui! C'est la vie, non?

OK, now back to your serious discussion.

And seriously, how can anyone defend these irregularities. And what irony that the machines were stolen....

You mean even shadier than you somehow collecting Social Security disability, yet being able-bodied enough to run a political campaign?

Wow, "Johnny." Pick on disabled guy while hiding behind a fake name. Classy.

I'm bipolar. Look it up. You'll see how it works.

How about you defend a shady election with facts instead of innuendo? Maybe something relevant to the conversation? Nah. Easier this way, isn't it?

In my opinion, Andre Carson is not LGBT friendly and a significant portion of the Democrats in control of the party in Marion County take the LGBT vote for granted. With some exceptions, like Joanne Sanders, I'm sensing lip service from the Democrats.

In my opinion, Elrod is visibly and publicly LGBT friendly. My fellow Libertarian Sean Shepard should be LGBT friendly too and everything I've heard him say supports this.

A real message can be sent to the Democrats by voting for LGBT friendly candidates only in this special election.

from :

We must demand extended protection for human rights. Discrimination & bigotry should not be tolerated on any level, whether the issue at hand concerns ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation. The American way is justice for all - these principles must always be pursued and upheld.