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Former President Of Mexico Delivers Scathing Critique Of Romney

Elise Foley   |   November 4, 2012   10:12 AM ET

WASHINGTON -- Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, said Saturday he is confounded by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's decision during the GOP primary to align himself with hardliners on immigration, and questioned whether the candidate realized -- or even cared about -- the message it would send to Latino voters.

"He himself has immigrant [roots]. I don't understand -- why this position?" Fox said in a phone interview with The Huffington Post. "Maybe they have figured out that without the Hispanic vote they can make it. And let's say that is true. But what is going to be the capacity of the nation during the next four years if there is a divide?"

Fox served as president from 2000 to 2006 and now runs a presidential library, Centro Fox, that is set to host a series of upcoming events with other prominent figures -- including a debate between Fox and former U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in December -- to discuss international cooperation.

He took pains to avoid making an endorsement or saying which of the two candidates he thought would better serve the country, and offered up considerable criticism of President Barack Obama along with his worries about Romney. Both, Fox said, seem to be more interested in fighting each other than showing how they would lead the country.

"If they keep spending their energies on trying to convince public opinion that the other guy is wrong, if they keep debating the negatives, I don't see leadership there," he said. "I cannot go for either one. But I think they can change."

On the Latino vote and immigration, though, Fox offered a strong critique of Romney for what he said were either unclear or disrespectful positions. Romney has a major problem with Latino voters, despite having increased the amount of targeted advertising and outreach directed at them over previous cycles. Some polls put Obama ahead of Romney by 50-point margins among Latino voters, and the GOP's failure to win over those voters could be a huge problem for the party going forward as they begin to make up a larger share of the population.

"I really think that Mitt Romney started on the wrong side [on immigration]," he said.

"He started creating a negative evaluation about what Latinos, Hispanics, Mexicans can bring to the United States," he said, referring to Romney's statements during the primary. "He has not changed completely his point of view."

Fox said he does not support open borders, but believes undocumented immigrants already in the United States should be given some way to stay, particularly if they have family, and the system should be reformed so companies have the labor force they need.

During the GOP primary, Romney advocated for "self-deportation", which involves making things difficult for undocumented immigrants until they decide to leave. The view is antithetical to Fox's philosophy that building up Mexico's economy could prevent some illegal border crossings in the first place. Romney has since backed away from "self-deportation," saying he merely meant immigrants have the option to leave of their own accord, but Fox said he is still unsure of Romney's exact position.

"I see him one day saying one thing and the other day saying another thing," he said. "I don't want to be so critical, but real leadership has to be shown."

Fox said he wasn't sure which presidential candidate would better deal with immigration, but acknowledged that his views on the issue more closely align with Obama's. He noted that Obama, like President George W. Bush before him, has failed to deliver on a promise to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Fox worked with Bush when they were both in office to come up with a plan, but Congress was never able to pass it, and hasn't done much to address immigration in the five years since. Harmful laws such as Arizona immigration law SB 1070, which he opposes, have cropped up because of those failures, Fox said.

"If the president of the United States does not take the bull by the horns, does not discuss and come to a solution, then states at the local level are changing their constitutions and locally are changing rules and laws like they did in Arizona in an erroneous way," he said.

Both candidates have disappointed him by failing to speak about Mexico. Fox said he believes the North American Free Trade Agreement needs to be strengthened, and he hasn't heard enough from either candidate on how they would deal with the arrangement in a way that would be beneficial to both nations.

"NAFTA for the moment is dormant," he said. "We usually see the United States focusing on things that are in the Middle East, things that are far away, and not such an interest in our own relationship, that we are neighbors, that we are partners, and we are friends."

He said he was also concerned about their failure to mention the drug war and discuss how they would work with Mexico to end killings along the border. Fox is a major critic of the war on drugs, and said he believes the United States should legalize drugs -- particularly marijuana -- to end some of that violence.

But the subject didn't come up during presidential debates, and neither candidate has devoted much -- or any -- time to discussing it.

"They did not speak about it and I am surprised because we are neighbors and they are hiding away from reality, both candidates, because the war is on," he said. "The killing is every day. The problems at the border are every day. The tons and tons of drugs crossing the border are every day."

The biggest issue for now, though, is getting past the election and addressing the task at hand, which should include strengthening the North American Free Trade Agreement, he said.

"The problem is not the election and who gets it, it's what is going to be the situation once you're elected," he said. "How are you going to get the energy of the nation to move ahead?"

Romney Campaign, Allies Unleash Torrent Of Anti-Obama Robocalls

Sam Stein   |   November 4, 2012    9:30 AM ET

WASHINGTON -- The Mitt Romney campaign and allied groups have released a series of automated phone calls to close out the presidential election, accusing President Barack Obama of attacking religious groups and threatening the economic livelihood of U.S. armed forces.

The calls, passed along by Shaun Dakin of, aren't as explosive as the one The Huffington Post reported on earlier this week, which called the president a "threat to religious freedom." But they do reflect the type of try-anything approach that the Romney campaign and conservative groups have adopted in the closing days of the campaign.

One of them, narrated by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on behalf of Romney for President, says that Obama "refuses" to stop the $500 billion "in automatic defense cuts that will be implemented in January."

"This threatens our national security and promises to sends hundreds of thousands of people from the front line to the unemployment line," McCain says.

In fact, the president has said the sequester won't happen, out of confidence that Congress will put together a replacement package of cuts that both parties like.

Another call, sponsored by the Catholic Association, asks: "Why is President Obama hurting charitable groups that help the poor?"

"Governor Romney has stood up for the Catholic Church and religious freedom time and time again," the call concludes.

The third and final call, again sponsored by Romney for President, features a frustrated former Obama supporter explaining why she can no longer back the president.

Campaign veterans insist that robocalls are one of the least effective forms of voter persuasion. But when you have millions of dollars to spend, and just days to do it, the prevailing thinking is likely, "why not?"

Elise Foley   |   November 3, 2012    5:57 PM ET

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican, dismissed controversy on Saturday over the president's comments that people should vote for "revenge," saying the statement seemed reasonable and that GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney should leave it alone.

"I don't think Obama's comments were unreasonable when he said, 'Don't boo, vote, you know, voting is the best revenge,'" Sanford told Fox News' Gregg Jarrett. "Because I think if you look at this whole notion why people vote, well, they don't vote for the idea of country generally, they vote for specifics they believe in."

Obama told supporters on Friday that they shouldn't boo at the mention of Romney, they should get out and vote. "Voting is the best revenge," he said in Springfield, Ohio.

Romney quickly made the statement a line in his stump speech, saying at three rallies since that Obama "asked his supporters to vote for revenge" and that he asks "the American people to vote for love of country."

Sanford said Romney shouldn't be talking about Obama's comment at all, but instead should be spending the time addressing other issues.

"I just think, again, this is much ado about nothing, and he would do a lot better focusing on economy and jobs," he said.

Sanford said the hubbub over "revenge" is in part based on the press corps, which he noted have watched both candidates' stump speeches countless times, looking "for any slight twinge or difference" to report on. But mostly, Sanford said the issue was part of the "incredible partisan nature of the final days of any campaign, when you mention the guy's name and the crowd starts booing."

"It's sort of the theatrics of politics," he said later. "And you have this back-and-forth, it turns a lot of people off."

When Jarrett brought the conversation to the economy, Sanford took the opportunity to reiterate that he thinks Romney should drop the "revenge" outrage.

"So again I say, the revenge thing, it's a sidetrack," he said. "Forget it, and move back to what people are really focused on, which is again jobs, economy, debt, deficit, those kinds of things."

Jarrett replied, with a laugh, that he was a convert to Sanford's view.

"You convinced me," he said. "I'm over it. I'm over the revenge thing."


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Sabrina Siddiqui   |   November 3, 2012    5:53 PM ET

Three days remain until Election Day, but Mitt Romney's campaign has suggested that Hurricane Sandy would be to blame for a possible defeat.

Citing sources within the campaign, Jan Crawford of CBS News reported Saturday that Team Romney believes the storm, which devastated parts of the East Coast last week, is responsible for putting a halt on their much-touted momentum.

For eight straight days, polls showed him picking up support. The campaign's internal polling, which is using different turnout models than most public polls, had him on solid ground in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Iowa. He had a slight lead or was tied in Ohio, New Hampshire and Wisconsin and was in striking distance in Pennsylvania, a state Republicans hadn't won since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Those leads in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Iowa still hold in the internal polls, campaign sources say, but Romney's movement flattened out or, as the campaign likes to say, "paused." Nevada is now off the table, and those neck-and-neck swing states are even tighter.

Romney's momentum rose after the first presidential debate gave him his first significant bounce this cycle. But there has been little evidence in national and swing state polls conducted since then that the Republican presidential nominee has sustained that momentum, despite the Romney campaign's claims to the contrary.

Nonetheless, Romney's allies also began to point prematurely at the timing of Sandy. Republican strategist Karl Rove called the storm the "October Surprise" and argued it had been disadvantageous toward Romney in an interview with The Washington Post on Friday.

“If you hadn’t had the storm, there would have been more of a chance for the [Mitt] Romney campaign to talk about the deficit, the debt, the economy," Rove said. "There was a stutter in the campaign. When you have attention drawn away to somewhere else, to something else, it is not to his [Romney's] advantage."

“Obama has temporarily been a bipartisan figure this week. He has been the comforter-in-chief and that helps,” he added. "People in Eastern coastal communities are going to be preoccupied by issues of getting food to eat and having a roof over their heads; some of them won’t be thinking as much about the election.”

While Rove acknowledged that people in the Northeast would have little influence on the outcome of the election, his larger point was that the hurricane allowed President Barack Obama to step back into his role as president, while Romney could only watch from the sidelines.

Both presidential candidates temporarily suspended their campaign events in the wake of the storm. But, as the incumbent president, it was Obama who drew the most attention in the final week before the election for his leadership in a time of crisis -- prompting effusive praise from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a top surrogate to Romney.

Putting all campaigning aside, Christie repeatedly commended Obama's outreach and support in a rare show of bipartisanship -- the kind the president has been promising to pursue if he wins a second term. Earlier on Saturday, Politico reported that the Romney campaign was frustrated by Christie's recent show of affection for Obama, another sign that they felt their candidate had been placed in a losing position on account of the storm.

Dave Jamieson   |   November 3, 2012    3:41 PM ET

Democrats have carved out an early-voting lead in Florida ahead of this Tuesday's election, carrying an advantage of 104,000 ballots cast.

Although Republicans in the state are ahead by 84,000 in absentee ballots, the Democrats' lead of 187,000 in early in-person voting gives them their widest margin yet in overall pre-Election Day voting, according to The Miami Herald.

The lead comes despite efforts by Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and the state's GOP-led Legislature to try to prevent a repeat of Democrats' early-voting advantage in 2008. A law passed by Republicans eliminated early voting on the Sunday before the election, a day on which President Barack Obama pummeled Sen. John McCain four years ago.

The state has cut early-voting days from 14 to eight as well, the Herald notes.

In Nevada's early voting, Democrats are ahead of Republicans in crucial locales. According to Ralston Reports, Democrats hold an early-voting lead of 71,000 in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. Nearly half of registered Democrats there have already voted by mail or in person, compared with one-third of Republicans.

In Washoe County, which includes the city of Reno, Democrats and Republicans are roughly even, with about 40 percent of both parties' rolls having cast votes already.

Both Florida and Nevada are swing states in this election. According to the HuffPost Pollster model, President Obama and Mitt Romney are in a dead heat in Florida, tied at 48.1 percent each as of this writing. In Nevada, Obama holds a lead of almost 4 percent as of this writing.


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Elise Foley   |   November 3, 2012    1:07 PM ET

Green advocacy groups on Saturday released an ad reminding voters in Ohio and Virginia that Republican nominee Mitt Romney has mocked President Barack Obama for promising in 2008 to try to slow climate change.

The ad from the campaign, which is led by Forecast the Facts and Friends of the Earth Action, will be funded with donations from supporters, who as of early Saturday afternoon had pledged $8,720.

It shows Romney's comments at the Republican National Convention and then footage of Hurricane Sandy wreaking havoc on the East Coast, set to applause from the audience.

"President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet," Romney said at the convention, to extended laughs from the crowd. "My promise is to help you and your family."

The ad ends by asking voters to "Tell Mitt Romney: climate change isn't a joke."

Former President Bill Clinton also referenced the Romney line during a rally on Tuesday. "[Romney] said, 'Oh, you're going to turn back the seas.' In my part of America, we would like it if someone could've done that yesterday," Clinton said.

And during a Wednesday rally, a heckler interrupted the GOP nominee by shouting, "Climate change caused Sandy."


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Elise Foley   |   November 3, 2012   10:28 AM ET

Romney insiders told Politico this week that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was Mitt Romney's first choice for the vice president, until he decided Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) would be a safer choice due to some problems with Christie.

The information comes just days before the 2012 election and was released in a story on Saturday, adding another narrative to the campaign as Romney and Ryan make their final pitch to voters. But it also comes during a week in which Christie has repeatedly praised President Barack Obama for his help during superstorm Sandy -- a move that, according to Politico, rankled the Romney campaign and could lead to tension should he become president:

From Politico:

In typical Christie fashion, there has been nothing understated about his role at each critical point, culminating with his tour with President Barack Obama on Marine One this week as they surveyed Sandy’s havoc along the Jersey Shore.


The differences were papered over. Now, some Romney friends and donors are irked by Christie’s embrace of Obama this week, which one referred to as “over the top."

"If Romney wins, it won't be forgotten,” the adviser said. "If Romney loses, it doesn't matter."

Despite endorsing Romney early in the race and campaigning for him, when asked whether he had asked Romney to visit the state, Christie kept the focus on the damage to New Jersey in the wake of the storm. "If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don't know me," he said on "Fox and Friends" Tuesday.

Read the full Politico story here.


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Ariel Edwards-Levy   |   November 3, 2012   12:21 AM ET

President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by six percentage points in Ohio, and edges the Republican by two points in Florida, according to an NBC/WSJ/Marist poll released Friday night.

The poll finds Obama ahead 51 percent to 45 percent among likely voters in Ohio, and 49 percent to 47 percent among likely Florida voters.

Both campaigns have their eye on Ohio, which is especially critical to the Romney campaign's path to 270 electoral votes.

"Ohio, you're the lynchpin, you're the battleground of battlegrounds," Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said Friday, while campaigning in the state.

Obama, also in Ohio, urged supporters to the polls, telling them that “Voting is the best revenge.”

Compared with other publicly released polling, NBC/WSJ/Marist's surveys have been somewhat more favorable to Obama in Ohio and close to the average in Florida. Its polls showed Obama leading by seven points in Ohio and by five in Florida in early September. In early October, the same polls put Obama ahead by six to eight points in Ohio and by one point in Florida.

In Ohio, HuffPost Pollster's model estimates that Obama leads by slightly less than three points. Of the 20 polls released in the state since Oct. 25, 18 show the president ahead, by margins of one to six points. Two polls by Rasmussen found the race first favoring Romney by two points, and then tied as of Nov. 1. A survey by the Republican firm Wenzel Strategies for Citizens United found Romney up by three points.

The race in Florida is incredibly tight, with the HuffPost/Pollster model estimating an exact tie early Saturday, with each candidate attracting just over 48 percent of likely voters. Of the 13 polls released since Oct. 25, seven show Obama leading, by one to two points. Four show Romney ahead by one to six points, and one, SurveyUSA, has the race tied.

The NBC/WSJ/Marist poll used live telephone interviews to survey 1,545 likely voters in Florida and 971 likely voters in Ohio Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. The Florida poll has a 2.5 percent margin of error, while the Ohio poll has a 3.1 percent margin of error.

John Celock   |   November 2, 2012    6:40 PM ET

The Republican nominee for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat, state Treasurer Josh Mandel, is being criticized by his wife's cousins, who bought an ad in a Cleveland newspaper opposing his candidacy.

In the full page ad in the Cleveland Jewish News, eight members of the Ratner family -- including real estate developer Bruce Ratner and human rights attorney Michael Ratner -- signed a letter criticizing Mandel's opposition to same-sex marriage. Mandel's wife, Ilana Shafran Mandel, is a member of the wealthy Ratner family.

In the ad, the Ratners write that Mrs. Mandel's cousin, Ellen Ratner, was married eight years ago in Massachusetts to Cholene Espinoza. The letter notes that Espinoza is an Air Force veteran, and criticizes Mandel, a Marine Corps veteran, for his opposition to allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

The letter says:

We are equally distressed by your belief that gay men and women should not be allowed to serve openly in the military. Like you, Cholene spent many years in the armed forces. A graduate of the Air Force Academy and an accomplished pilot, she became the second woman in history to fly the U-2 reconnaissance plane. And yet, you have argued that she, like many gay and lesbian soldiers, should be forced to live a life of secrecy and lies.

Josh, as you know, our roots are deep in the Cleveland area and we have friends and family we love throughout Ohio. This family is sprawling and diverse, but it has always believed strongly in the values of equality and inclusiveness. Your discriminatory stance violates these core values of our family. Nevertheless we hope that over time, as you advance in years and wisdom, you will come to embrace the values of inclusiveness and equality as well.

Several of the Ratners, including Bruce, have donated to the campaign of Mandel's opponent, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D).

Mandel discussed his opposition to same-sex marriage during an Oct. 18 debate with Brown, who supports same-sex marriage. At the time, Mandel said that while he opposed same-sex marriage and the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, he does not condone discrimination.

"I will represent all of the people of Ohio, regardless of their background," Mandel said in the debate. "I don't care if you are a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian or a vegetarian, I will be blind to race, religion or any kind of orientation." reports that Mandel backed same-sex domestic partner benefits while student government president at Ohio State University in 2000, but has since reversed his stance.

Mandel campaign spokesman Travis Considine did not respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post, but told the Columbus Dispatch that Mandel did not even know the Ratners in the ad.

"Josh has never met any of those 'cousins' who signed that letter and has no idea who they are," Considine told the Dispatch. "He looks forward to having the opportunity to meet them someday -- if they ever come to Ohio."

Brown's spokesman, Justin Barasky, was quick to tie the Mandel/Ratner feud to the backing Mandel has received from various outside groups that have spent close to $30 million to oppose Brown.

"Aside from the secretly funded special interests who have spent roughly $31 million dollars on his behalf, it seems there's almost no one who doesn't find Josh Mandel's anti-middle class positions offensive," Barasky told HuffPost.

The ad comes one day after Mandel debuted an ad that included people describing him as having integrity and being "well-mannered."

Amanda Terkel   |   November 2, 2012    5:50 PM ET

Actor Clint Eastwood has recorded a new robocall for Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS group, in which he tells voters it's time to fire President Barack Obama because "he's failed us."

"This is Clint Eastwood. Really," Eastwood says in the spot. "In the last few years, America's been knocked down. Twenty-three million people can't find full-time work, and millions more are struggling. Now we hired President Obama to make a change. When someone doesn't get the job done, we've got to hold them accountable. And the fact is, he's failed us. We need a president who knows how to get that job done. That's why I'm voting for Mitt Romney. Thanks."

The Crossroads GPS robocall was received by a voter in Detroit and passed along to Shaun Dakin, who runs the site

The robocall is part of a larger Eastwood campaign by Rove's super PAC, which also features a TV commercial in which the actor and director conveys a similar message.

Eastwood famously appeared as the surprise guest at the 2012 Republican National Convention, where he gave a rambling, anti-Obama speech to an empty chair.

Listen to the robocall:


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Luke Johnson   |   November 2, 2012    4:46 PM ET

President Barack Obama appeared in his first -- and likely last in this election cycle -- ad for a U.S. Senate candidate, showing support for Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

"I know Chris Murphy. Chris has a real record of job creation here in Connecticut, and a jobs plan that puts the middle class first," said Obama. "And I know Chris Murphy will always stand up to those who would turn back the clock on women's health."

"I know the stakes are high, and I need Chris Murphy as a partner in the United States Senate. Connecticut, I hope you'll support him."

Murphy has been edging Republican Linda McMahon in recent polls, but is underperforming relative to Obama in the deeply Democratic state.

McMahon has tried to make her own play for Obama voters, airing an ad showing people who planned to vote for both her and the president. That spot angered Republicans, who flooded the state party with angry calls.

"I do not recall ever asking my supporters to support a Democrat presidential candidate ... even when the odds were against George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 in Connecticut," wrote former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.)

The former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO has spent $42.6 million thus far, nearly as much as the $50 million of her own money spent during her unsuccessful Senate bid in 2010.

Sam Stein   |   November 2, 2012    4:45 PM ET

Outside Republican groups have been spending millions to expand the map for Mitt Romney in states that have historically leaned Democratic and seem likely to remain in President Obama's camp. Publicly, that list has included Minnesota, Michigan and Pennsylvania. It appears, however, they are also going more quietly into other states.

One of those groups, American Crossroads, has announced plans for a $4.5 million national network television ad buy. But a Democratic source in Washington, who requested anonymity to avoid involvement in the presidential campaign, emailed HuffPost to say anti-Obama ads were running on three Seattle broadcast stations in "high volume" on Friday morning, including during "Today" and "Good Morning America." The American Crossroads ad that the group said it was airing nationally wasn't the one that the source saw. Additionally, some of those ads were seen on Seattle broadcast stations.

The other two groups advertising, according to the source, were Restore our Future, the Romney supporting super PAC, and the conservative group Americans for Jobs Security.

The groups did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Washington is not even close to being considered a swing state. The decision to air ads in the market may be a sign that these groups have more money than they know what to do with, or they may be part of an effort to affect down-ballot contests. The source speculated, "The *only* thing I can fathom is driving down coattails to help in a close governor's race ... but even that doesn't make much sense to me."

Daniel Lippman   |   November 2, 2012    4:04 PM ET

A Florida county that was the focus of national attention for ballot-counting issues in 2000 is back under the spotlight with electoral problems this year. The latest issue? At least 77 voters in Palm Beach County who requested absentee ballots had to wait weeks for them or still haven't received them , reports The Palm Beach Post.

One possible explanation, according to the chief of a local postal workers union, is that the elections office may have incorrectly coded some of the ballots. But county elections supervisor Susan Bucher "denied that either the bar codes or lack of postage caused delays that have absentee voters worried and angry," according to the Post.

The Obama campaign's chief counsel in Florida, Steven Rosenthal, sent Bucher a letter on Wednesday asking why "scores" of voters hadn't received their ballots yet.

Regardless of the reason for the holdup, frustration is mounting among some voters. Joe and Amanda Wilcox, who are from Lake Worth, Fla., but are stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., have not yet received absentee ballots from Palm Beach County despite requesting them at least three times since September.

"We're angry. We want to vote. We have a right to vote. It's one of our rights, and it's pretty much being taken away from us because it's not like we can vote here. Our only choice is to vote in Florida. But we can't vote in Florida because no one will send us our ballot," Amanda Wilcox told CBS 12.

In West Palm Beach, a woman named Mona Reis has addressed a different voting problem by filing a lawsuit against Bucher. The elections supervisor reportedly told Reis that her absentee ballot won't count in the general election because her signature on the ballot did not match the signature the county had on file.

Reis' lawyer, Louis Silber, told WPBF, "So she said, 'Well, can I vote in person, or can I vote some other way?' And the supervisor told Mona that your voting experience is now over. So we've filed this lawsuit."

Here are some other election-related news items collected Friday by The Huffington Post:

A Texas purge of voter registrations made many mistakes, including incorrectly matching the names of some state residents with deceased people around the country and then threatening to drop the Texans from the voter rolls, according to the Houston Chronicle. "Voters in legislative districts across Texas with heavy concentrations of Hispanics or African-Americans were more often targeted in that flawed purge effort, according to the Chronicle's analysis of more than 68,000 voters identified as possibly dead," the paper writes.

A woman in Prince George's County, Md., says she tried to vote early for President Barack Obama but the voting machine defaulted to Mitt Romney, reports. "I went back and my 'X' was under Mitt Romney," she told the TV station. "I was very disgusted. I was upset, like what is going on here?" An election worker helped her fix the ballot.

An elections worker in Clackamas County, Ore., is under criminal investigation for possible voter fraud, reports the Willamette Week. "Sources familiar with the incident say their understanding is that the woman filled in a straight Republican ticket on the ballots where preferences had been left blank by voters," the paper writes.

In Cook County, Ill., a number of voters who needed to complete their registrations were mistakenly sent the personal information of other voters, Palatine Patch reports. Officials said they've emailed all voters who could have been affected and assured that the personal information sent out "should not pose a risk of identity theft."

A record 22-inch-long ballot in Saginaw Township, Mich., may have driven many voters to request absentee ballots this year, reports "When they come in for a ballot, they want to take it home and research the proposals and make a decision," said Saginaw Township Clerk Shirley Wazny. "It's great they want to be informed citizens."

Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus looks at the pros and cons of early voting. She praises its convenience but says it undermines the "quadrennial ritual" of everyone voting together on Election Day. She adds, "Early voting is the civic manifestation of the modern age: fragmented, individualistic and solitary."

HuffPost Live host-producer Jacob Soboroff writes that it's time to move Election Day to the weekend so that more people can vote. "The United States is the world's most famous democracy, yet we rank near the bottom of all nations in voter turnout," Soboroff argues. "So why, when U.S. Census data says most Americans don't vote because it's inconvenient, do we vote on Tuesday smack in the middle of the week? Because it was -- ironically -- convenient for people that traveled by horse and buggy when the law was set in 1845."

Follow Daniel Lippman on Twitter at @dlippman.

Luke Johnson   |   November 2, 2012    3:03 PM ET

The Miami Herald reports that ex-Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, an independent, is starring in a Spanish-language ad for the Obama campaign that refutes an earlier Mitt Romney attack linking the president to Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Che Guevara.

"Have you seen the latest Mitt Romney ad exploiting the suffering of our people? We're tired of the same old, same old. President Obama doesn't want to mislead us with demagoguery. He's looking for the same thing we want," says Diaz, according to the Herald's translation.

Obama then says, in English, "We'll continue to seek ways to increase the independence of the Cuban people, who I believe are entitled to the same freedom and liberty as everyone else."

Diaz continues, "And he'll continue working seriously, with us, for a free and democratic Cuba. Of that, there is no doubt."

Obama concludes the ad, as is typical, with, "I'm Barack Obama and I approve this message" -- but in Spanish.