IF WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT INTIMIDATING VOTERS…. It’s been pretty common lately to hear Republicans raise the specter of “voter intimidation,” as if roving bands of Democrats are using threats to coerce the public.
When pressed for evidence, the GOP claims tend to quickly fall apart. On the other hand, illegal voter intimidation does exist; it’s just that Democrats aren’t the one who are doing it.
When workers in a McDonald’s restaurant in Canton, Ohio, opened their paychecks this month, they found a pamphlet urging them to vote for the Republican candidates for governor, Senate and Congress, or possibly face financial repercussions.
The pamphlet appeared calculated to intimidate workers into voting for Republican candidates by making a direct reference to their wages and benefits, said Allen Schulman, a Democrat who is president of the Canton City Council and said he obtained a copy of the pamphlet on Wednesday.
The pamphlet said: “If the right people are elected, we will be able to continue with raises and benefits at or above the current levels. If others are elected, we will not.”
It then named three Republican candidates after stating, “The following candidates are the ones we believe will help our business move forward.”
The deceptive propaganda was literally placed inside the envelope with workers’ paychecks, and was printed on McDonald’s corporate letterhead.
The franchise owner didn’t deny the incident, but apologized through a corporate spokesperson. McDonald’s USA, the parent company, denied having a role in the workplace voter coercion.
Attorney Allen Schulman, who brought the voter intimidation scheme to public light, explained: “The handbill endorses candidates who have in essence pledged to roll back the minimum wage and eviscerate the safety net that protects the most vulnerable members of our workforce. But it’s more than that. When a corporation like McDonald’s intimidates its employees into voting a specific way, it violates both state and federal election law.”
Schulman has turned over the materials to local prosecutors, and is seeking a criminal probe. It’s not an unreasonable request — Gerald Hebert, a former Acting Chief of the Voting Section of the Justice Department now with the Campaign Legal Center, said that it’s possible Siegfried’s actions may even violate federal law.
I don’t imagine this will be on Fox News anytime soon, but it’s something to keep in mind the next time right-wing voices allege “voter intimidation” tactics this year.