Talk:Voter caging

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Obama vs Michigan GOP[edit]

News out today via Mark Halperin ( that the Obama legal team is suing the Michigan GOP for caging using foreclosed home lists. I put in an initial entry but this story is developing so we should keep adding. Also, I don't know proper citation format so if someone could fix my inartful citation... -- (talk) 21:31, 16 September 2008 (UTC)


This doesn't really explain what the political practice of 'caging' is; it merely asserts that some politicians were accused of doing it, and opines-as-fact that fears are justified. -- Sylvar 14:27, 2 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree - with Sylvar. This doesn't explain what caging is, gives no example of what is actually done. This article serves no other purpose but to accuse, no information is actually gained. Chemboss

I disagree with you both. The first paragraph clearly states what, precisely, caging is. Following paragraphs elaborate upon it. Don't interpret the "Examples" as the definition and I think you'll agree.--TheMadTurtle 14:42, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree this article in no way proves that this second definition of caging even exists. It simply asserts the definition as fact. In hours and hours of research I could not find any independent sources(outside the claims surrounding the BBC story) to verify it. I did find some examples of politicians using the term in it traditional sense such as Pat Buchanan crediting good caging techniques of netting his presidential campaign $7 million. I would hope that we simply don't have a case where some political operatives when seeing a subject "Re: Caging" decided to make up a new definition for the word and used wiki as a means to that end. After all that would only be like what the thousandth time that has happened. GTTofAK 22:22, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Might I remind Wikipeida admins that this unsighted and unsubstantiated definition is being used all over the internet to accuse real people of real crimes. And these are low level people i.e. people protected by our country's libel laws GTTofAK 06:15, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Caging is not necessarily a bad political thing[edit]

For obvious reasons, I've restored the previous revision of the page, while incorporating the text of the most recent version of the page. While a "caging list" is a term of art in direct mail, it also has meaning in a political context.--SoLeft 07:07, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

As a direct mail professional, I can say with absolute certainty that caging and caging lists simply are what they are -- every direct mail piece, for every customer, political or otherwise, receives a caging list. While I certainly see your point, I believe that your information would be better suited for a page on voter suppression or perhaps a new page on caging list controversy. It simply is not accurate to put that information on the main caging list page.

RazorbacksFan, as you can see from the history of this page, it is the page on caging lists as the term applies to voter suppression; yours is the first complaint in two years that it should be otherwise. I think we should restore the previous version, more clearly distinguish between the two uses, and suggest a split between the two. I think that, rather than the complete elimination of two years of work, would be more appropriate. --SoLeft 06:07, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

SoLeft, I see your point on wanting to preserve your work -- I am primarily interested, as I know you are, in reaching the highest point of accuracy. What do you think about creating two pages? The first, the current "caging list" entry would stay pretty narrow and focus on the actual term, but reference the controversy in 2004 and link to the second page. The second page, "2004 Caging List Controversy," would contain the information regarding that topic, preserving your work and raising the overall accuracy and quality of both entries. Of course, the second article should also reference the first article and state that the actual term "caging list" has a much more technical meaning. --RazorbacksFan 6 September 2006

I am interested in preserving two years of contributions by several users, yes, and I'm also interested in usability. While the origin of the term "caging list" is clearly direct mail, most users, when the search for the phrase "caging list," are interested in its use as applied to voter suppression, not just in 2004, but in the 1981 New Jersey Gubernatorial election, the 1987 Louisiana statewide elections, and so forth. That's evident both from the fact that this article has been in existence for two years without any mention of its application to direct mail and from the fact that a google search on "caging list" doesn't turn up a direct mail reference . . . well, it's after more than a hundred entries, it seems. I'm open to a disambiguation page, but that's rather drastic, and until there's more information on both topics, I think unnecessary. --SoLeft 20:02, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Controversy is not addressed[edit]

I, too, came here looking for "caging list" in a political sense, but was surprised that there was a) little explanation of what a caging list was in the general, non-political sense, and b) zero discussion of the controversy of the issue. Having read the article, I have no idea what's so bad about it, and I feel like I should feel bad that I don't--and that, my dear, are tell-tale symptoms of NPOV. The article obviously argues that Reagan and George W Bush were monsters for questioning the living arrangements of people whose mail was returned as not living there by the post office (who I would assume is generally right on these matters.) Whether or not the results come back skewed against democrats is merely a positive side benefit. And if that's all caging is, I've done it all the time as my office sends out monthly newsletters whose real purpose isn't to keep people abreast of changes in our company but to see who's moved to skip out on their bill. All reasonable companies of a particular size do that. --Mrcolj 23:56, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Hopefully, the recent addition to the article addresses the controversy in the 2004 election. SoLeft 19:21, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

A year later, I second my own statements above... :) No, really, this article still doesn't mention what a caging list is outside of politics and why it is 100% necessary; doesn't mention why it's bad (or if it's bad) outside of the stringing together partisan adjectives. I still don't understand why, if someone doesn't list in your precinct, you're not allowed to question whether they live in your precinct, especially if they don't live in your precinct. --Mrcolj 17:22, 9 August 2007 (UTC)
Simple answer: because someone does live in your precinct, and you are questioning them not because they don't live in your precinct, but because you'd rather your interrogation dissuade them from casting a ballot, presumably for a candidate of whom you do not approve. Whether you find this bad or not may very well depend on your view of what exactly the "equal right to vote" means, or the importance of it.--SoLeft 08:33, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
"Reagan and George W Bush were monsters for questioning the living arrangements" -- What interest would they have in people's living arrangements? What do living arrangements have to do with whether someone is entitled to vote? "Whether or not the results come back skewed against democrats is merely a positive side benefit." -- Funny joke, that. That is necessarily the main, in fact the entire, benefit, as it is the only point of value to a political candidate. The reason they come back skewed against Democrats is because they are sent to people who are likely to vote Democratic ... that would be the natural, rational thing for Republicans to do. "to see who's moved to skip out on their bill. All reasonable companies of a particular size do that." -- Not marked "do not forward". Political candidates aren't trying to see who skipped out on a bill, they are trying to get more votes than their opponent. There are ethical ways to do that an unethical ways to do that ... removing citizens from voting rolls so that their vote doesn't count falls in the latter category. -- (talk) 08:49, 13 November 2012 (UTC)


I've added the NPOV template to the "Examples" section, which is really (IMO) just a one-sided political screed. The whole paragraph could be replaced by a sentence and one or two neutral references. Joseph N Hall 05:32, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Please let me know what you think is screedy about it.
For example, why is it relevant that the unqualified voters happened to be black? Couldn't the GOP's problem simply have been that they were UNQUALIFIED?

I moved the NPOV tag to the top of the article. Though really I only mean for it to apply one section above where it was, I figured if it could be applied to two sections, it was worth mentioning for the whole thing. (at least until that high-traffic link goes away) 11:13, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Much of the article is clearly written from a partisan POV. I'm not aligned with the GOP or DNC so I feel pretty much equally about both of the big parties and really it seems that the GOP is taking an unfair beating here at the expense of some astroturf activists from or the like. 12:11, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

I think it's fine to document the alleged Republican "caging" activity, but the following should be observed: (1) "Examples" is not one example and more examples should be presented—I think that a single political example is wholly inappropriate; (2) an "Example" should be more like a paragraph than an entire section (which should contain several examples, see (1)); (3) any statements in the article must be supported by references that are not purely editorial and that are not obviously biased even if they contain reporting on facts; (4) an effort to find refuting/contrary/counterbalancing references should be made; and (5) if the truth of the allegations is clearly in dispute, then it isn't a fact (from the standpoint of an encyclopedia) and shouldn't be here presented as such. If the point of the "example" is to report on alleged Republican misconduct, then that should be an article in itself because it is not about "caging." Sorry for all the "quotes." I'd like to see more registered users commenting here. Joseph N Hall 17:04, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
I re-applied the NPOV tag, because I don't see how the article really reads differently in a substantial way since it was removed, and because it still reads like an inventory of Republican transgressions. The article isn't titled "The Republican Use of Caging to Disenfranchise Minority Voters as Reported by Partisan Sources," so it shouldn't be written like that. And, finally, what does a sentence like "Whilst Florida statutory law allows the parties to challenge voters at the polls, this practice is not allowed if the challenges appear to be race-based" have to do with the topic at all? Joseph N Hall 19:06, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
I removed the NPOV tag due to the facts that the poster who placed it is not a registered editor and the reason for the NPOV tag is unfounded. Caging is explained, in both a business and political sense. William (Bill) Bean 15:55, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

I have reinstated the NPOV tag for the section in question. It is clearly written in a partisan point of view based on the writing of a clearly biased author. But more importantly, no hard evidence is provided to substantiate the claims. Should this be documented? Yes, of course. Should it be written more fairly? Also yes. M412k 03:01, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

"the GOP is taking an unfair beating here" -- This is completely invalid; if the examples are "unfair" then they can be augmented with additional examples that provide a representative sample. If a representative sample skews toward Republicans, that's simply a fact about Republicans. It's not WP's place to remove facts about one party or another to achieve a non-representative sort of "balance". "at the expense of some astroturf activists from or the like" -- This statement violates WP policy and makes clear that the objection is based on bias, not fact. "It is clearly written in a partisan point of view based on the writing of a clearly biased author." -- none of that is "clear" , it is simply an unsubstantiated opinion, and is not a valid basis for the tag. -- (talk) 09:00, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Unclear phrase[edit]

What does "which are heavily supported disadvantaged groups within that riding" mean? Hackwrench

If the only examples of political caging involve minority voter suppression by Republicans than it is a shame on them. It is not the role of WIKI to provide balanced coverage of political parties. Wiki is should only be used as a suppository of legitimately sourced facts. Personally I would include links on this page to JIM CROW and the 2004 election controversy. Should these references be included?

NPOV rewrite[edit]

It looks like we've had a considerable number of comments from those who either don't see caging list as an exclusively political term, or are offended or confused at the perceived bias with which the current article is written. There is controversy here, and no mention of it in the article, and that's also a point of confusion to many. I vote that we have enough of these comments to justify a rewrite factoring in the concerns listed above, for the first person that's in the mood. So be bold and see what happens--the wikipedia is as much an experiment in democracy as the US. --Mrcolj 14:00, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

As such political tactics are equally common to all political parties, why does this article only list GOP examples? Furthermore, none of them were actually proven out, yet they remain as examples? This looks as if it was edited by Daily Kos fanatics....

Hmoul 17:45, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

If these tactics are equally common, then you should be able to provide equal examples for each. The reason the article only lists GOP examples is because the GOP is the predominant perpetrator, contrary to your assertion. "This looks as if it was edited by Daily Kos fanatics...." -- This statement clearly illustrates that your objection is based on political ideology, not fact. -- (talk) 09:05, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

I've put this article up for deletion. Its clear that on October 27, 2004 most major news outlets rejected Palast's claim because they could not confirm his definition of caging. Hours after those rejections someone came to wiki and created this page to back up his story. This is a blatant misuse of wikipedia. Wikipedia does not exists for people to create their own evidence out of thin air.GTTofAK 02:45, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

  • Since the result of the proposal to delete the article was "keep" (see: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Caging list, and since there have been zero comments complaining about the Point of View of the Section with an "NPOV" tag since the improvements undertaken during that "deletion discussion," I have removed the NPOV tag. If the tag is reinstated, accompany it with a description of the inadequacies of the article, and suggested means to improve the article, so that a working agenda to respond to the tag may be acted upon. Otherwise the tag will be promptly removed, for lack of an explanation for its presence. -- Yellowdesk 03:00, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Provisional Ballots[edit]

I removed two sentences regarding provisional ballots because they are not true in general, and certainly not true in every state, or even in every county.

It's not true for Federal elections that a voter has to prove his or her eligibility to vote. The burden of proof is on the challenger, and the determination is made by the state or local authority in charge of the list.

And not every election is a federal election, so blanket statements on provisional ballots and how they work and what the state will or will not do are simply not appropriate.

Janus303 16:39, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

I suggest locking this artical from edits. Since this is a current issue in the media and since I just edited out someones additions that refered to caging as a porn fetish. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DJ Dialogic (talkcontribs) May 24, 2007

Current Events[edit]

Should this somehow be added?

Also, does caging's status in the news mean this article should get locked down for a while?

Jdblick 19:39, 25 May 2007 (UTC) jdblick

Keep: Time will prove this to be a vaild assertion and definiton. Even the direct mailing indutry will drop the term" caging" after the fallout of this voter caging is reveled. Tom S.

I added the RNC consent decree that followed the 1986 case. This is very relevant information and should be included in dicriptions of voter caging as they related to voter suppression. I would have also added that since these caging lists are aimed primaraly at minorities that Voter caging is a modern form of Jim Crow (especialy the 1981 case) but I thought some might find that a POV. What do you think? —Preceding unsigned comment added by DJ Dialogic (talkcontribs) June 19, 2007

It is possible that socially disadvantaged people may be disproportionately affected but there is absolutely no targeting of minorities in this practice. It is merely an attempt to clean up the process of voter registration, determining who is eligible to vote. This article is biased to the point of being an anti-GOP diatribe which violates the guidelines pertaining to objectivity. balanced&fair

Your statement is completely contrary to fact, reason, common sense, and WP principles and guidelines. Objectivity is a matter of reality, not "balance". Sometimes -- in fact usually -- the facts are not equally distributed. -- (talk) 09:11, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

"It is possible that socially disadvantaged people may be disproportionately affected but there is absolutely no targeting of minorities in this practice" 1. In 1981 RNC plan, caging was specifically targeted at minorities. See Washington Post, 2. In 1982 and reaffirmed in 1987, legal challenge prevented RNC from caging, even if the process was unintentionally biased against minorities ("Consent decrees", ibid). 3. In 2004, although caging letters were sent diffusely in Duval County Florida, the acquisition of minority voters was disproportionately higher than whites.

Thus, caging is racially biased. If RNC is involved in the caging, they are violating 1982 and 1987 Consent Decrees. See Malone v. RNC, US District Court, District of New Jersey, Civil Action No. 81-3876, October, 2004. This article is focused on GOP caging, because the GOP is the only political entity known to be engaged in the activity. That the original use was clearly directed at minority (who predominantly vote Democratic) voters is documented. That the GOP continues to engage in caging is documented. That their most recent program in Duval County Florida disproportionately selected minority voters for ballot challenges is documented. This article is clearly neutral in describing GOP use of the process.Erational 11:16, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

"Goldmine" comment[edit]

The comment that the caging lists being used in 2004 were a "goldmine" by the director of the Bush-Cheney campaign[1] should be mentioned. Badagnani 02:42, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Kansas GOP chair brags explicitly of "caging voters"[edit]

Kobach wrote in an email in the past week to supporters that his group had:

"To date, the Kansas GOP has identified and caged more voters in the last 11 months than the previous two years!"

Purposeful caging of potential voters like this is illegal. More here:

This is a blog source at the moment, but mainstream sources should be coming along soon.

-- (talk) 18:49, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Its up on crooks and liars now too:

Silverweed (talk) 21:42, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Neither one of these contains a citation to a specific statute in support of the contention that the practice is "illegal". Ramcharanr (talk) 02:40, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Inappropriate tone[edit]

This article reads like a scandal article from a Democrat/Liberal magazine. This is hardly the model of neutrality that we strive for on Wikipedia. Let's trim it down to the specifics of what caging is and why it's illegal. Frotz (talk) 19:12, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

What don't you like about this article? Dems on the move (talk) 20:48, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
1) The process of caging is not clearly defined as distinct from caging direct mail lists.
2) The bulk of the article is composed of allegations of caging.
3) It is not stated why caging is illegal or at the very least unethical.
4) No statements from people alleged of caging are present.
Organizations sympathetic with the Democrat Party have often been caught enrolling people multiple times and having dead people vote. In particular, ACORN is now under investigation for this [2]. Given this, caging seems like a direct and legitimate means of checking this type of electoral fraud. Frotz (talk) 02:11, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Can you suggest a definition/distinction for (1)? Not sure why (4) would be important. On (2), I agree there could be some trimming. I think (3) is untrue -- in the first big paragraph this is discussed towards the end, where a point similar to your final sentence is made. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 11:38, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
It is your comment that is completely outside the bounds of neutrality. Notably, "Democrat" is not a adjective; its use as such is radically partisan. Your fact claims about ACORN and registering dead people are false, as false as that Obama is a muslim socialist born in Kenya. -- (talk) 09:16, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
Whether or not it was a sting operation, ACORN was caught registering people not eligible to vote. I don't know if they were caught registering dead people, but consider the graveyard vote (temporary link to Merriam-Webster unabridged dictionary) in Chicago. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 05:00, 25 December 2014 (UTC)


Is this tactic solely used by the RNC? Are there any other examples? I mean, if the RNC is the only group that does this then maybe that should be noted. Or if not, maybe it should be noted where else it has occurred? (talk) 17:23, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Neutrality cleanup tag[edit]

@Robert the Devil: Although you added a neutrality cleanup tag in 2014, I do not notice any problems with the "neutrality" of this article. Can you suggest any changes that need to be made to the article? Jarble (talk) 20:50, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

I actually don't remember. I think it may have been that I thought there should be at least one instance of Democrats doing this discussed, but maybe there actually aren't any? If you could find one and add it, that would completely satisfy me. Robert (talk) 19:48, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

2016 update[edit]

Could this use a 2016 update? DavidMCEddy (talk) 15:01, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

I just added a new section "2016: No new violations established". DavidMCEddy (talk) 00:55, 27 March 2017 (UTC)