November 1, 2004 | 3:12 p.m. ET

Break out the tee-pee and rotten eggs— it’s election time!  (Sarah Muller, Hardball associate web producer)

Making prank phone calls is a teenage rite of passage.  Somewhere in between the b-horror movies and Truth-or-Dare at sleepovers, kids make those obnoxious late-night calls. 

Huddled around a phone, trying not to laugh or (worse) wake the parents, my friends and I used to call up other kids from junior high or just ring random strangers from the White Pages.  Sometimes we would call, say something silly and hang up immediately.  Heavy breathing was another favorite.  If we felt a little extra rowdy, we competed to see how long we could chat with our doomed callers before they figured it out. 

Come on, everyone did it. Though much like our penchant for New Kids On The Block and spandex pants, this too, was a passing phase.

At MSNBC, however, we’ve received disturbing reports of harassment between voters, like yard signs for both Bush and Kerry are being torn down.  Heated exchanges over the campaign occur daily from the city streets to small-town supermarkets.

Mary Scholten, a Grand Rapids, MI native, says she has been a victim of such aggression.  In multiple calls, people identifying themselves as RNC members supposedly warned her not to vote for Kerry because he “will kill your babies” and ruin the car industry in the state. Scholten says she also got a couple pre-recorded messages on her answering machine reminding her that Bush has been picked by God to be our leader and she would go to Hell if she voted for Kerry. 

While Scholten got messages form both Democratic and Republican affiliations, some messages proved more upsetting than others.

In Coconut Creek, FL, Joe Antonak, a registered Independent, says Bush supporters are standing outside voting areas holding signs reading, "Arafat supports Kerry" and "Kerry doesn't care about 9/11". Antonak reports that these supporters are heckling voters by telling them Kerry fans "sponsor terrorism" and "if you vote for Kerry, another 3000 Americans will die in terror attacks."

Where is the line between political enthusiasm and harassment in disguise?

Intimidating actions and threatening words never win my heart.  But hey? Who am I to stop you?  You’re on a roll. If you’re going to do something, albeit rude, do it right.

Bust out the rotten eggs.  Tee-pee the houses that are voting for the Other Guy.  Hey, I’ll pass out the whipped cream!

I dare you.  I double-dog dare you!

Or, just act like an adult.


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