When a Bot Answers Your Get Out the Vote Call

One of the hazards of making political calls in 2020 — you might wind up talking to a bot. I got this one the other day while making calls for Biden-Harris. 

The voice on the other end of the line explains “I’ve really been hoping to hear from you guys” except he’s about to get married in 10 minutes — but he still wants to talk. The bot then tries to keep the conversation going with, taking frequent breaks to argue with the best man about who has the ring and which of them had been drinking too much (or not enough) to be ready for the ceremony.

I still wasn’t sure when I got off the phone whether I was really talking to a crazy groom who sort of wanted to talk politics, despite being just a few minutes away from the altar. (I figured if he was a real person, I’d better let him go anyway).

I sympathize with the impulse to frustrate telemarketers. Hate to think of being what I’m doing as a volunteer as falling into that category (I’m trying to save Democracy, dammit!) but not everyone sees it that way.

So now in addition to dealing with getting hung up on and dealing with angry Trumpkins, you need to be prepared to take the Turing Test once a night or so.

Fortunately, there are still some real people out there whom you can have a real conversation with.

The other bot I spoke with had a heavy Eastern European accent and kept interrupting to yell at his children before coming back to the phone. That pattern of frequent interruptions to talk with some fictional companion might be one giveaway. It’s the bot’s strategy to waste more of your time without having to spend as many computer cycles simulating conversation. 

I’d hate to mistake a real person for a bot, but I guess my strategy going forward will be to say, “I’ll try to call back at a better time” and hang up if I suspect I’m being punked.  

Do Republicans Have Souls?

    Good evening, friends!

    The House Intelligence Committee Democrats have released their report detailing the overwhelming evidence of Donald Trump’s misconduct and obstruction of Congress.  The report is 300 pages long and can be found at:


    But, as I have said before, none of this is that complicated.  There is a section of the United States Code entitled “Contributions and donations by foreign nationals” (52 USC 30121) that specifically prohibits a foreign national from making, directly or indirectly, a contribution or donation of money OR OTHER THING OF VALUE in connection with a Federal, State, or local election.  It also specifically prohibits any person from soliciting, accepting, or receiving such a contribution or donation from a foreign national.  In the July 25th telephone call with the President of Ukraine, Donald Trump said “There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.  Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution SO IF YOU CAN LOOK INTO IT…  It sounds horrible to me.”  When Trump asked the Ukrainian President if he could look into it, he solicited something of value in connection with a Federal election, and violated the law!

    And yet, most Republicans cannot find anything wrong with Trump’s behavior.  They apparently believe that no one is above the law except for Donald Trump.  They appear to be immoral and they appear to lack souls.  None of them should be re-elected!

    I will be back at the West Regional Courthouse tomorrow to register voters from 10 AM until 2 PM.  Can you join me?

    Lonnie Supnick will be at the West Regional Courthouse on Thursday, Dec. 5th from 10 to 2.  If you would like to help on Thursdays, please text Lonnie Supnick at 954-895-3192 or email him at lonniesupnick@gmail.com.

     If you would like to help with voter registration at the West Regional Library for a 2-hour shift on Saturdays, please contact John Ziegler at 954-232-3918 or johnjoeziegler@aol.com.

    And starting next week, I will be at the West Regional Courthouse on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays!  So if you were not available on either Mondays or Wednesdays but are available on Tuesdays, please let me know.

    Finally, don’t forget about the Plantation Democratic Club’s Annual Holiday Party at 7 PM on Tuesday, December 10th, at the Deicke Auditorium, 5701 Cypress Road in Plantation, east of University and just north of Broward Blvd., near Fig Tree Lane.  .  There will be lots of food, lots to drink (including my special punch!), and my grandson’s jazz band!  Make a note to join us on that night!


Maybe You Can Help Out on Tuesdays?

    Good morning, everybody!

    I’m back in Florida after an interesting trip to Cuba.  Great music and great mojitos!

    I will be back at the West Regional Courthouse on Monday and Wednesday, December 2nd and 4th, from 10 AM to 2 PM, to register voters and collect assault weapon ban petitions.  It’s cooler now, but we’ll still have the canopy to protect us from the sun, and the table and chairs.  Please let me know if you can join me.

    Now that it is December and we are that much closer to the Election of our Lifetimes, I would like to start trying to do voter registration on Tuesdays as well.  However I would need to know that some of you would join me out there on Tuesdays, so please let me know if that day would work for you.

    Couldn’t get any news in Cuba, so I’m still trying to find out what happened while I was gone.

    Finally, don’t forget about the Plantation Democratic Club’s Annual Holiday Party at 7 PM on Tuesday, December 10th.  There will be lots of food, lots to drink (including my special punch!), and my grandson’s jazz band!  Make a note to join us on that night!

    Hope to see you out there!


We Need More Help With Voter Registration!

    Good morning, everybody!

    A few weeks ago, I finished reading Hillary Clinton’s book and shared her thoughts about why Republicans were more to blame than Democrats for the polarization that is undermining American democracy.  Well now I have finished reading a book by the person whose actions many people (including Hillary) believe cost her the election.  I mean, of course, James Comey, the former head of the FBI who was fired by Donald Trump.  Comey ends his book, called A Higher Loyalty, with an Epilogue which reads in part as follows:

    “Donald Trump’s presidency threatens much of what is good in this nation. We all bear responsibility for the deeply flawed choices put before voters during the 2016 election, and our country is paying a high price: this president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego driven, and about personal loyalty. We are fortunate some ethical leaders have chosen to serve and to stay at senior levels of government, but they cannot prevent all of the damage from the forest fire that is the Trump presidency. Their task is to try to contain it.

    I see many so-called conservative commentators, including some faith leaders, focusing on favorable policy initiatives or court appointments to justify their acceptance of this damage, while deemphasizing the impact of this president on basic norms and ethics. That strikes me as both hypocritical and morally wrong. The hypocrisy is evident if you simply switch the names and imagine that a President Hillary Clinton had conducted herself in a similar fashion in office. I’ve said this earlier but it’s worth repeating: close your eyes and imagine these same voices if President Hillary Clinton had told the FBI director, “I hope&you will let it go,” about the investigation of a senior aide, or told casual, easily disprovable lies nearly every day and then demanded we believe them. The hypocrisy is so thick as to almost be darkly funny. I say this as someone who has worked in law enforcement for most of my life, and served presidents of both parties. What is happening now is not normal. It is not fake news. It is not okay.

    Whatever your politics, it is wrong to dismiss the damage to the norms and traditions that have guided the presidency and our public life for decades or, in many cases, since the republic was founded. It is also wrong to stand idly by, or worse, to stay silent when you know better, while a president brazenly seeks to undermine public confidence in law enforcement institutions that were established to keep our leaders in check. Every organization has its flaws, but the career prosecutors and agents at the Justice Department and the FBI are there for a reason—to rise above partisanship and do what’s right for the country, regardless of their own political views. Without these checks on our leaders, without those institutions vigorously standing against abuses of power, our country cannot sustain itself as a functioning democracy. I know there are men and women of good conscience in the United States Congress on both sides of the aisle who understand this. But not enough of them are speaking out. They must ask themselves to what, or to whom, they hold a higher loyalty: to partisan interests or to the pillars of democracy? Their silence is complicity—it is a choice—and somewhere deep down they must know that.

    Policies come and go. Supreme Court justices come and go. But the core of our nation is our commitment to a set of shared values that began with George Washington—to restraint and integrity and balance and transparency and truth. If that slides away from us, only a fool would be consoled by a tax cut or a different immigration policy.


    Thoughtful people are staring at the vicious partisanship that has grown all around us. Far from creating a new norm where lying is widely accepted, the Trump presidency has ignited a focus on truth and ethics. Parents are talking to their children about truth-telling, about respect for all people, about rejecting prejudice and hate. Schools and religious institutions are talking about values-driven leadership.

    The next president, no matter the party, will surely emphasize values—truth, integrity, respect, and tolerance—in ways an American leader hasn’t needed to for more than forty years.


    Comey may have given us a President Donald Trump, but you can see from his comments how much he regrets it.  If you want to help make sure that the next President emphasizes Americans’ shared values of truth, integrity, respect, and tolerance, then you have to stop procrastinating and get involved now.  The election is only one year from now and we don’t have a minute to waste.

    Here’s how you can help:

    If you would like to help at the West Regional Courthouse on Thursdays, please text Lonnie Supnick at 954-895-3192 or email him at lonniesupnick@gmail.com.

    If you would like to help at the West Regional Library for a 2-hour shift on Saturdays, please contact John Ziegler at 954-232-3918 or johnjoeziegler@aol.com.

    If you would like to help at the West Regional Courthouse on Monday and Wednesday, November 4th and 6th, from 10 AM until 2 PM, please let me know.

    It was a fairly slow week at the West Regional Courthouse.  With the help of Michael Goldfarb, Debra Longberg, Laurie Stark, Jeffrey Solomon, and Norman Levy, we collected 7 voter registration forms, 2 vote-by-mail requests, and 97 assault weapon ban petitions.

    Withe the help of more volunteers, we will do better.  So, please come out and help!


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Wouldn’t a Unified Democratic Congress be Great?

    Hi, friends!

    Let me put this thought in your heads:  Wouldn’t a unified Democratic Congress working with a newly-elected Democratic President be just what this country needs.  Think about all that could be accomplished with regard to so many important issues, like climate change, immigration, infrastructure, common sense gun restrictions, and so much more.  Well, it is not beyond what is possible for for the Democrats to regain the majority in the Senate.  Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight says that Democrats can flip the Seante.  And read this article by Chris Cillizza from The Point on CNN Politics:   https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/22/polit\ics/senate-democrats-republicans-2020/index.html

    But we have to help this happen.  We have to donate to political campaigns and to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee like never before.  We have to make up for the incredible amount of money that GOP donors will be pouring into the fight for the Senate.  Allow me to suggest that you start off by donating to the DSCC at the following address:  https://www.dscc.org

    Then, you can consider contributing to the campaigns of Mark Kelly in Arizona, John Hickenlooper in Colorado, Sara Gideon in Maine, Jaime Harrison (running against Lindsey Graham) in South Carolina, Theresa Greenfield in Iowa, AND Amy McGrath (running against Mitch McConnell) in Kentucky.

    Let’s make this happen.  Please share this post with everyone you know!

    We had another great couple of days at the West Regional Courthouse.  We collected 16 voter registration forms, and not a single person registered as a Republican!  We also collected 3 requests to vote by mail and 119 petitions to amend the Florida Constitution to ban the sale of assault weapons in Florida!  Many thanks to Michael Goldfarb, Beth Mumby, Debra Longberg, Norman Levy, Lucas, Robin Adell, Lauren Tate, Jeffrey Solomon, and Laurie Stark for being such wonderful volunteers and doing such a great job!

    If you’d like to help out with voter registration, you can do so on almost any day of the week:

    If you would like to help at the West Regional Courthouse on Thursdays, please text Lonnie Supnick at 954-895-3192 or email him at lonniesupnick@gmail.com.

    The Plantation Democratic Club will have a booth at this weekend’s Art in the Park event in Plantation’s Liberty Tree Park.  This is a great event for us to let the community know that we do exist and to help promote our voter registration and petition gathering efforts.  John Ziegler has been coordinating volunteers for this effort.  If you’d like to help out for a couple of hours on either Saturday or Sunday, please contact John at 954-232-3918 or johnjoeziegler@aol.com.

     I will be back at the West Regional Courthouse on Monday and Wednesday, October 28th and 30th, from 10 AM until 2 PM.  Let me know if you can join me.

     On all if these days, we will be registering voters, allowing voters to sign up to vote by mail, and collecting petitions. As always, we will have a canopy to protect us from the sun and/or rain.  We will also have a table and chairs to make our outdoor office as comfortable as possible.  Please let us know when you can join us, and be sure to bring a cap and a bottle of water.  We will have all the forms needed.


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A Good First Step!


Federal Court Rules the Right to Vote in Florida Cannot Be Denied on Account of Wealth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 18, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, FL – A federal court today ruled that the right to vote cannot be denied on account of wealth. Plaintiffs challenged a Florida law that creates wealth-based hurdles to voting and undermines Floridians’ overwhelming 2018 passage of Amendment 4, which restored voting rights to over a million people.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law were in court October 7 and 8 seeking the preliminary injunction, which was granted in part today by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle.

The case was filed on behalf of 10 individual returning citizens, along with the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Florida State Conference of the NAACP, and the Orange County Branch of the NAACP.

The ruling applies to the 10 individual plaintiffs in this case, but the court held that the state must provide a quick and efficient process for others who are also unable to pay their legal financial obligations. Until Florida establishes this process, all other returning citizens who owe legal financial obligations are left waiting.

Floridians voted in 2018 to amend their state constitution to restore voting rights to people convicted of most felonies once they’ve completed their sentences. It was the single largest expansion of voting rights in the United States since the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18 in 1971. In response, the Legislature passed a bill to limit Amendment 4’s reach, requiring people to repay any fines, fees, and restitution before their voting rights are restored.

“The court held that the right to vote cannot be denied based on a person’s inability to pay fines and fees. This ruling recognizes the gravity of elected officials trying to circumvent Amendment 4 to create voting roadblocks based on wealth,” said Julie Ebenstein, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project.

“Today’s ruling is a huge win for our brave clients whose voting rights have been protected by the federal court, which blocked a Florida law that created wealth-based hurdles to voting and undermined Floridians’ overwhelming approval of Amendment 4,” said Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Florida. “The court’s decision is clear: the right to vote cannot be denied to anyone based on their inability to pay. The state must create a clear and unencumbered process that provides Florida’s returning citizens the ability to vote. This is an important win for our democracy.”

Leah Aden, deputy director of litigation, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said, “This decision is a win for our individual clients and a critical step towards ensuring that the voting rights of other people with felony convictions are not trampled on by Florida officials. SB 7066 undermines the will of millions of voters, and undermines our democracy — unlawfully tying the ability to pay financial fees — a requirement disproportionately borne by Black people in Florida — to the right to participate in our political process. We will continue to fight for full relief for Florida voters who must not pay to vote.”

“Today the court upheld the fundamental American principle that the right to vote does not belong only to the wealthy,” said Sean Morales-Doyle, senior counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “It is now incumbent on the Florida Legislature to clean up their mess, quickly.”

Ruling: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/order-1

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We Are Better Than This!

    Hi, everybody!

    When Elijah Cummings said “We are better than this”, he could have been speaking about so many things that have happened since Trump became President.  And now look what Trump has done to the Kurds.  We are better than this!

    At the Courthouse this week, we were able to collect 11 voter registration forms and 93 assault weapon ban petitions.  Many thanks to Norman Levy, Laurie Stark, Michael Goldfarb, and Beth Mumby for helping out!  BUT WE NEED MORE VOLUNTEERS TO COME OUT AND HELP!  There were times this week when I was alone, and the more volunteers that show up, the more forms we collect.  And now that the weather has started to cool down a bit, it is no longer unbearable out there.  So let us know when you can come out and help.

    You can get involved with voter registration on almost any day of the week:

    If you would like to help at the West Regional Library for a 2-hour shift on Saturdays, please contact John Ziegler at 954-232-3918 or johnjoeziegler@aol.com.

    I will be back at the West Regional Courthouse on Monday and Wednesday, October 21st and 23rd, from 10 AM until 2 PM.  Please let me know when you can join me.

    If you would like to help at the West Regional Courthouse on Thursdays, please text Lonnie Supnick at 954-895-3192 or email him at lonniesupnick@gmail.com.

    I just finished reading Hillary Clinton’s book “What Happened.”  Towards the end, she talks about why it is unfair to blame both political parties for the hyperpolarization in our country:

    “There is a tendency when talking about polarization and the breakdown of democratic norms to wring our hands about ‘both sides,’ but the truth is this is not a symmetrical problem.  We should be clear about this:  The increasing radicalism and irresponsibility of the Republican Party, including decades of demeaning government, demonizing Democrats, and debasing norms, is what gave us Donald Trump.  Whether it was abusing the filibuster and stealing a Supreme Court seat, gerrymandering congressional districts to disenfranchise African Americans, or muzzling government climate scientists, Republicans have been undermining American democracy long before Trump made it to the Oval Office.”

     We need to fight as hard as we can to change this dynamic.  We need to do everything we can to elect Democrats all across this country.  And, of course, one of the best ways to do this is by registering as many voters as we can.  It’s time for you to help, so come on out and help turn Florida blue.



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No VR on Wednesday – Can You Help Tomorrow?

    Hi, folks!  Sorry for the extra email.

    Wednesday is Yom Kippur and most of the Courthouse is closed.  So we will not be doing voter registration on Wednesday.

    Instead,, I will be at the Courthouse tomorrow, Tuesday, from 10 AM to 2 PM.  Let me know if you can join me.

    And don’t forget about the Plantation Democratic Club’s next meeting at 7 PM on Thursday at the Deicke Auditorium, 5701 Cypress Road in Plantation.  The guest speaker will be Professor Charles Zelden, who is an expert on voting rights, election law, and judicial politics.  This will be an interesting discussion!


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