Outside of the community of hardcore politicos, few outside of New Hampshire are aware of the New Hampshire Phone Jamming Scandal. The facts are these:
- For the 2002 election, New Hampshire Democrats and the Manchester firefighters union set up large and costly phone banks to get out the vote
- Among the races affected by these efforts was the Senate race between Rep. John Sununu (R) and Democratic Governor Jeanne Shaheen which was closely contested (Sununu won 51%-46% and by nearly 20,000 votes.)
- On Election Day in Nov 2002, State Republicans paid a telemarketing firm to place hundreds of hang up calls to the above-mentioned phone banks cutting off service to the phone banks for nearly two hours.
- Both Criminal Charges and Civil Suits were brought against various New Hampshire Republican officials and organizations.
- The Criminal investigation is continuing, but per the Associated Press, Former Republican State Committee Executive Director Charles McGee and consultant Allen Raymond served federal prison terms after pleading guilty to telephone harassment charges. McGee admitted masterminding the plot and paying Raymond $15,000 from the state Republican fund to find someone to carry out the scheme.
- Most recently, the AP reported, "State and national Republicans will pay $135,000 to settle a suit involving a scheme to jam Democratic get-out-the-vote calls on Election Day 2002... The state party will pay $125,000 over five years. The Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee will pay $5,000 each. Half of that money will go to a charitable organization benefiting Manchester firefighters, and half to a group that supports police officers, who investigated the case."
This situation of tampering with an election coupled with the National issues like Congressional GOP Corruption and Scandals, the War in Iraq, etc. prompted New Hampshire voters to turn their GOP state legislators and the GOP Gubernatorial Candidate out on their ears for the first time in almost 100 years. In fact, Democratic Governor John Lynch was elected by the largest margin in New Hampshire state history (he won 74% of the vote).
New Hampshire voters saw just how much Republicans respect those values they are always talking about and they did not like what they saw. Voters nationwide need to understand that when Democrats talk about issues with elections and how the GOP seem to play fast and loose (I am being generous) with election laws, there is something behind what we are talking about. I hope the Democratic Congress fully investigates the New Hampshire issue along with what happened in Ohio in 2004 and yes, Florida in 2000. This should be done both to identify the guilty and to continue the process of trying to implement tamper proof voting systems and policies that give voters confidence in the process.