Statement of John Podesta, Board Member of Women’s Voices, Women Vote
Women’s Voices. Women Vote has a strong record of registering disenfranchised people so that they can participate in the political process. As a board member, I was aware of the general parameters of the group’s voter registration program, but not the details of its execution. With respect to the calls and mailings made in North Carolina, I understand that remedial action is being undertaken. I agree with fellow board member William McNary that the North Carolina state calling program was a mistake of judgment and execution, and not an attempt to disenfranchise voters, and have been assured by Page Gardner, President of WVWV, that the organization will conduct a full and prompt accounting of the circumstances of the voter registration program for its board of directors.
This follows the statements of board members Mike Lux and William McNary, both supporters of Barack Obama. Lux says he is ‘gathering facts’ while McNary assures us that while ‘[t]here may have been mistakes made in this particular registration drive in North Carolina’ there was no malicious intent. This all fits a basic pattern. They are trying to isolate the problem as specific to North Carolina. If they continue to take this legalistic position they will quickly lose all credibility.
As Progressive South, who broke this story, says this morning:
* Our report documents that, in at least 10 other states — Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin — Women’s Voices has drawn condemnation from election officials and voters. The group has been accused of misrepresenting election law, using secretive and dishonest tactics and generating widespread confusion among voters — again, threatening to dampen voter participation.
* The role Women’s Voices has played in the Virginia and North Carolina primaries has been especially disruptive. In both cases, they launched deceptive robo-calls — some apparently targeting African-American zip codes — just before major primaries, leading residents to think they weren’t registered to vote.
There is a pattern of behavior that needs to be explained and it is by no means confined to the Lamont Williams campaign in North Carolina. If Podesta, Lux, McNary, and WVWV President Page Gardner think they can quarantine this inquiry off from anything outside of North Carolina, they had better look at the comment threads this controversy is generating.
Now, I fully understand their position, as expressed by Podesta.
As a board member, I was aware of the general parameters of the group’s voter registration program, but not the details of its execution.
Their situation is complicated by the criminal investigation, but their primary focus must be getting to the bottom of a pattern of behavior extending over several months and involving ten states. They should not be vouching for anyone’s character or assuring us that nothing untoward took place. We know something untoward took place. We can listen to the tape and read the legal statutes and multiple complaints from state after state.
It does no good to tell us that you have known someone for 16 years and that they are a good person. This is your credibility on the line. When Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff and Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager are involved, nothing short of a full explanation of methods and timelines in all tens states will do.
I understand that everyone is now following legal advice. If at all possible, keep in mind that it isn’t only the Attorney General of North Carolina that wants voluntary cooperation.