Here's what we're seeing so far, per Lee Rayburn's show this morning and a few select blogs who've been following the story:
Many people, all registered democrats here in Southern Wisconsin, have been sent a form in the mail from the John McCain campaign, full of "Country First" slogans. It includes 2 requests for absentee ballots in the envelope. It includes an addressed envelope to send it back to the city clerk.And then this, from current.com:
The problem is, that the address of the city clerk is not in the right voting district. For example, the people living in Middleton, Wisconsin (a suburb of Madison) have an envelope to send back to the Madison City Clerk. This, in the best circumstance, would mean an administrative nightmare for the Madison County Clerk, meaning she would have to forward the application to the Middleton City Clerk. At worst, people would either not get their absentee ballot in the mail, or again, would have the wrong city clerk address. If this occurred, the vote, sent to the wrong clerk, would be voided.
Another caller from Detroit. Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida: That's where the absentee ballots are being sent to Obama voters. Add Missouri to that, per one of our commenters.Voter caging, unfortunately, happens on all sides of the political spectrum, and isn't always directly connected to the candidates themselves. So while I'm absolutely furious that people sent these misleading, potentially harmful ballots out at all--regardless of if it was through malice or incompetence--I will be keeping my nose to the ground in an attempt to find out more about this before passing final judgment on the McCain campaign (for this episode, at least).
California caller from registrar's office: McCain should take the application for absentee and submit within 3 days. But the applications will most likely be held for the 3 days and "die". They'll most likely submit the Republican ones, and throw away the Democratic ones.
The return address for the request card goes to the wrong city clerk office address, per Rayburn.
Michigan caller: Wrong home address, and then, wrong city clerk address on the one he got. He donated to Obama, but not a Democrat, so he wonders if that's how they found him.
At this point, though, this seems like a story worth some media attention, so I'll be curious to see who, if anyone, picks up on it.
More in the comments section here.
If anyone has gotten one of these in the mail, or knows anything about it, please feel free to mention it in the comments or email me at lostalbatross AT gmail.com - thanks!
UPDATE 1: The only mention of this in the regular news that I've been able to find comes from Ohio, where the faulty McCain absentee ballot registration forms have now caused some 750 of them to be deemed invalid by the state. I'm still seeing a lot of people in comments section noting that they got these, and all of them seem to mention something being wrong on the damn thing.
UPDATE 2: It's trickling in from everywhere, but still deserves more coverage, I think - this small story from WDBJ7 in Roanoke, VA mentions that their State Board of Elections "will follow up with the mailer to see if it's an isolated incident." Hit the webs! It's happening all over the place.
UPDATE 3: A tip from a source who wishes to remain unnamed tells me that both she and her husband, registered Democrats each, received these absentee ballot mailers--and that, though they live in Madison, the ballots were addressed to the town clerk of Menomenee. Neither of them have ever "set foot" there, apparently.
Also, got my hands on scans of the mailer itself, for your perusal (thanks GT!):
(click for big)