'Tis the Season of Election Dirty Tricks: Scaring Student Voters

In his book, "How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative", Raymond describes how he helped devise other subtle tricks playing on voters' prejudices during the 2000 congressional race in New Jersey. One trick involved phone calls to Democratic voters of Eastern European descent using the voice of an "angry black man," while another used taped phone messages to Democratic union households using actors with thick Hispanic accents. The ultimate goal of both efforts was to make the voters "throw up their hands" and stay away from the polls.

Such schemes may be harder to pull off today now that federal laws require campaigns and parties to identify themselves to callers, but political experts say that in the age of the Internet the dirty trickster has an almost infinite ability to carry out their schemes with easy and anonymity.

"It's easy, it's untraceable, and by the time you find anything about it, the election is over," said Sabato.

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