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January 14, 2008
Paulbots 'freakout' Small Town Clerk in NH
This is a story that could only happen as a result of the internet.
It is the world wide web that has fueled the candidacy of Ron Paul from the beginning, gathering not only the rational libertarians, paleoconservatives, and anti-war Democrats to his cause but also the dark underbelly of humanity who apparently have so much time on their hands that they can harrass, threaten, and scare the living daylights out of a small town New Hampshire clerk who made an honest error on the primary voting sheet she sent to the Secretary of State in New Hampshire.
The unhinged nature of some Ron Paul supporters has been well documented. But someone should probably be arrested for this kind of behavior:
Jennifer Call's eyes searched the office for nothing in particular. Her arms waved and her fear spilled out. "This is where I grew up," Sutton's town clerk said yesterday. What happened next is unbelievable. The aroused Paulbots began calling Mrs. Call at the office, at her home. They sent her dozens of emails - some of them threatening. She was forced to get an unlisted number. She actually began to fear for her safety. The calls kept coming. Some "national radio host" had given out her number and told his listeners to call her demanding "answers."
"This is my hometown, this is where my family is, and all of sudden, my name is being splashed across the internet as this horrible person. And the frightening part is, I don't know these people and they don't know me."
Call wants the nationwide army of boisterous Ron Paul supporters, believers in more conspiracy theories than Oliver Stone, to know that she's committed no crime. Not treason, as the dozens of phone callers screamed. Not fraud, as the dozens of e-mails charged. Nothing. Human error, by someone unknown, caused Call's office to claim Paul received zero votes from the town during Tuesday's first-in-the-nation primary.
Paul actually got a whopping 31 votes. Out of 920 cast. Launch an investigation. Alert the media. The mistake was corrected early the next morning, but that hardly mattered. The Paul machine, upon reading the number in print, quickly went into counteroffensive mode.
Of course, the answer was simple human error. But once the crazies were loosed, no explanation could stop them:
She got about five more the next day in her office. She tried to get work done. She called the Massachusetts company that makes the licenses for dog owners in her area. The guy had heard of her. "Ron Paul will never be elected president. But his supporters win the prize for being the most doltish, unhinged, discourteous, and mentally unbalanced in the race.
Wow," the man said. "This is the second time this week I've seen your name."
"Where?" Call asked.
"I've gotten a dozen e-mails about how you've destroyed the New Hampshire primary."
"We make voting machines."
"The problem is," Call said yesterday, "we don't use voting machines."
She went home and locked her doors. She called her mother in North Carolina. She cried. The calls kept coming. She unhooked her answering machine and requested an unlisted number.
"I was drained emotionally and physically," Call said. "That's when I really started to freak out. Thursday it hit me, that most of these people are not rational. That's when I became scared."