ABC News' The Note: First Source for Political News

"Some Republican party activists estimate that roughly 30,000 precincts in battleground states will be targeted by their party, which has an aggressive legal recruitment program that 'is in its initial stages,' says one insider."

ABC News Political Unit intern Jessica Kranish reports that the NGO called Global Exchange is sponsoring an election-monitoring project called Fair Election International. You can see it here: LINK

At a Thursday press conference at the National Press Club, the group announced that from Sept. 17 to 24, members will split into five groups to visit five states and observe election-related events such as voter registration drives. Each group will focus on a different aspect of the election: voting technology in Georgia, money and politics in Arizona, battleground states in Ohio, disenfranchisement of voters in Missouri, and the problems of the 2000 election in Florida.

The group says they have "serious concerns about people's confidence in the electoral process," and the presence of an international group — "an increasing phenomenon" across the world — may help to alleviate this. By monitoring the election, they hope to make the electoral process "fair and transparent."

Brent Staples urges the franchise for ex-felons in the New York Times . LINK

ABC News Vote 2004: initiatives and referenda:

The Wall Street Journal 's Antonio Regalado reports that a group in support of a California initiative that would earmark money for stem-cell research has amassed $12 million for an ad campaign.

The politics of Iraq:

"A combination of escalating bloodshed, gloomy assessments and deteriorating security conditions in Iraq are challenging the Bush administration's upbeat view of the struggle to establish democracy in the beleaguered Middle East nation," writes Tyler Marshall of the Los Angeles Times where Senators Lugar and Hagel get some more play today as well. LINK

In USA Today , Secretary of State Colin Powell writes, "Challenges clearly remain. Insurgents are trying to prevent democracy by murdering their fellow citizens and destroying the nation's infrastructure. But they will not succeed." LINK

The Los Angeles Times reports 52 American military deaths in Iraq thus far for the month of September. LINK

AP's Katherine Pfleger Shrader reports that a draft of the Iraq Survey Group's report says Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction but was hoping to revive a dormant program at some point in the future. LINK

AP's Terence Hunt Notes that President Bush focuses on "brighter days ahead" in Iraq rather than the daily stream of bad news. LINK

The Wall Street Journal 's editorial board predicts the situation in Iraq ill worsen between now and election day and concludes that "The Fallujah sanctuary has left the timing of engagements up to the enemy, so we can expect more car bombing and mortar attacks from now to November. We understand that some parts of the Bush Administration are wary of provoking more violence before the election. But what would be truly damaging politically aren't further troubles in Iraq by themselves, but any perception that we aren't really fighting to win."

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