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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-15-09 02:16 PM
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Tanner Sends Apology for Racist Email but His Investigations Need Re-Examining!
Tanner Sends Letter To Berry Apologizing For Racist Email
By Zachary Roth - January 15, 2009, 1:31PM
So you'll remember that on Tuesday, a DOJ report found that John Tanner, the former chief of the department's voting rights section, had told a colleague over email in 2004 that he liked his coffee "Mary Frances Berry style -- black and bitter." Berry, an African-American, was at the time the chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights.

Now Tanner is trying to make amends. Moments ago he forwarded to TPMmuckraker a letter of apology he sent to Berry dated January 13.

Tanner -- who has a history of questionable racial remarks and appears still to be working on voting issues on DOJ's payroll -- explains that he only used the phrase because he had recently heard an African-American customer at a coffee shop order coffee "black and sweet -- like me."

Still, he says, it was "a very poor choice of words," "flippant" and "ill-considered."




Bush's Legacy on Voting Rights: A Story from Ohio
By Paul Kiel - October 12, 2007, 10:32AM
In June of 2005, John Tanner, the chief of the voting rights section, wrote Columbus, Ohio's election officials to publicly assure them that the Justice Department had found no evidence of intentional African-American voter disenfranchisement in the 2004 election.

Not only was that an unprecedented move, former Department lawyers say, but the letter is another, and particularly galling, example of Tanner using the force of the Department to further Republican aims -- in this case, to hamper future lawsuits or investigations concerning the problems in Columbus.

"It really looked like the Civil Rights Division was used to run interference for Republican election officials in Ohio," former voting rights section deputy chief Bob Kengle told me.

At issue was the experience of thousands of voters in Franklin County, Ohio, in the 2004 election. Voters in mostly African-American precincts were forced to wait hours in long lines to vote. An investigation by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) found that voters often waited as many as four to five hours, some as many as seven, deep into the night. The Washington Post reported that "bipartisan estimates say that 5,000 to 15,000 frustrated voters turned away without casting ballots." The culprit, of course, was a scarcity of voting machines in those districts, one that seemed to follow a suspicious trend: "27 of the 30 wards with the most machines per registered voter showed majorities for Bush" and "six of the seven wards with the fewest machines delivered large margins for Kerry."


An Open Letter to John Tanner, Chief, Voting Section, U.S. Department of Justice
July 2, 2005

An Open Letter to John Tanner, Chief, Voting Section, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Section in response to his June 29, 2005 letter to Nick A. Soulas, Jr., Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Civil Division, Franklin County:

Dear Mr. Tanner:

I was curious to find that you had conducted an investigation into the November 2, 2004 general election in Franklin County, prompted by allegations that Franklin County systematically assigned fewer voting machines in polling places serving predominantly black communities as compared to its assignment of machines in predominantly white communities.

Let me begin by suggesting the word contrasted would be more appropriate than compared. Indeed, the difference is literally black and white.

You praise the bipartisan nature of the Franklin County Board of Elections (BOE). But you fail to mention that the Director, Matt Damschroder, is the former Chair of the Franklin County Republican Party, and that J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohios Secretary of State and the Co-Chair of the Bush-Cheney Re-election Committee appoints all board members as well as officers, and they serve at his pleasure. Blackwells actions throughout the election year were openly partisan and obviously unethical.

For example, I was at a meeting prior to the election where Mr. Damschroder informed a delegation of esteemed international election observers that he would have them arrested based on the orders of Blackwell if they crossed the 100-foot line outside the polls to observe closer to the voting site. Is that what you mean by the spirit of cooperation?


Justice Dept: 2004 Ohio Voting Problems Solved

Sat Oct 13, 2007 at 09:40:37 PM PDT

TPMMuckraker has the story: a recently discovered letter from John Tanner, chief of the Justice Department voting rights section, explains the problems encountered in the November 2004 general elections. Tanner wrote that the investigation by the Justice Department had been closed, and:

...the principal cause of the difference appears to be the tendency in Franklin County for white voters to cast ballots in the morning (i.e., before work), and for black voters to cast ballots in the afternoon (i.e., after work).


House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. took exception to that explanation. He issued a press release the same day in which he said,

"The 2004 election exposed serious deficiencies in this section's failure to adequately investigate and prosecute voter suppression efforts nationwide and I hope he is prepared to address this issue head on."

FWIW's diary :: ::
Rep. John Conyers' full statement:

I am concerned about the extreme lengths Mr. Tanner went to in order to justify the reasons African-Americans were not treated equally in the 2004 Ohio election. The committee needs to consider this matter. I am aware of no precedent for the Department acting in this capacity in the past.

The Department of Justice since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has a responsibility to thoroughly investigate allegations of voter suppression and discrimination, like those made in Ohio in 2004. I look forward to hearing more from Mr. Tanner in our committee later this month as he testifies about his work as chief of the voting section. The 2004 election exposed serious deficiencies in this section's failure to adequately investigate and prosecute voter suppression efforts nationwide and I hope he is prepared to address this issue head on.



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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-15-09 10:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. he claimed that North Carolina's voting rolls needed cleaning up
in spite of the fact that our state follows state and federal law regarding
voter roll maintenance.

And Tanner was wrong, which our SBOE proved.

Why the DOJ is Snooping Into North Carolina's Voter Rolls21 Jun 2007 by NCVoter
This project evolved into a nationwide effort to assess compliance with Section 8 as John Tanner described it in a letter to North Carolina dated April 17, 2007, in which he demands a copy of the state voter file. ...
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