Tag: Voter Supression

Dismembering Democracy

Our lunatic president is still manically obsessed with the fact that he lost the popular vote to a woman, a woman, who, as we’ve known, was eminently more qualified to govern than he. That aside, back in January, the Orange Troll announced that he would form a commission to investigate the mythical voter fraud, headed …

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Ohio Voters Win

The Obama/ Biden campaign sued the state of Ohio  over changes in Ohio law that took away the three days of voting for most people, but made exceptions for military personnel and Ohioans living overseas. The 9th Circuit Cout of Appeals ruled that Ohio must make early voting available (pdf) to all Ohio voters and Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, John Husted, made an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court weighed in this afternoon declining to block early voting.

The Supreme Court is siding with Democrats in refusing to block early voting in the battleground state of Ohio.

The court on Tuesday refused a Republican request to get involved in a dispute over early voting in the state on the three days before Election Day.

This is not just a win for Democrats, it is a victory for democracy.

Supressing the Vote: Ohio

As in the past, Ohio is a key state in the electoral politics of the 2012 general election and the Republican Party is doing their level best to suppress voter turnout. On Friday, 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Ohio must make early voting (pdf) during the three days before the election available to all voters if it’s available to military members and voters who live overseas. The ruling upheld a lower court decision. On Tuesday Ohio Secretary of State John Husted announced that he would appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court:

This is an unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into how states run elections and because of its impact on all 50 states as to who and how elections will be run in America we are asking the Supreme Court to step in and allow Ohioans to run Ohio elections.

This ruling not only doesn’t make legal sense, it doesn’t make practical sense. The court is saying that all voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law, but also grants Ohio’s 88 elections boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules. That means that one county may close down voting for the final weekend while a neighboring county may remain open. How any court could consider this a remedy to an equal protection problem is stunning.

At FDL News Desk, David Dayen doesn’t think this will fly with the Supreme Court:

Remember that Husted’s original ruling for early voting would have allowed Republican districts to keep their voting hours open longer and for more days. And he sought to keep options for military voters open while closing them for, say, minorities in Cleveland. So his appeal to equal protection, in light of his previous decisions, is comical.

I doubt that the Supreme Court would choose to intervene here, though of course you never know. But that won’t stop Husted’s well-earned gold star as the hardest-working voter suppressor in America.

Who knows what this Supreme Court will do but here’s hoping that they let the lower court decision stand.

Still Fighting For The Right To Vote

The recent proliferation of laws in states run by Republican legislatures requiring state photo ID’s are tantamount to the “poll tax” and literacy laws of the Jim Crow era that suppressed the African American vote. These new laws go even further by making it difficult to register to vote for the poor, the elderly, the home bound, students, absentee voters and more. The GOP has declared a war on voting:

Newly empowered Republican legislatures have been imposing onerous voter ID laws in at least 32 states, even though in-person voter fraud is virtually nonexistent. Texas went as far as exempting concealed carry permit holders and people born before 1931 from its voter ID law, a transparent admission that such laws can needlessly disenfranchise voters and that the intent of the law was to disenfranchise likely Democratic constituencies. New Hampshire Republicans are trying to ban many college students from voting because they “vote as liberal.” These days, the most important battles over access to the ballot box don’t happen on election day, and they don’t involve dramatic examples of flagrant voter intimidation. They happen in state legislatures, around the basic rules for how to show up and vote on election day.

This is something to consider when Republicans treat the New Black Panther voter intimidation case as an outrage. Not a single voter has said they were intimidated in that case, but Republican legislatures all over the country are actively pursuing policies that could disenfranchise thousands of people because they are more likely to vote for the other side. This also helps explain conservative hostility to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in general — the last thing Republicans want is the federal government intervening to protect the franchise when the GOP is busy trying to restrict it to their own constituencies.

A recent study released from the Brennan Center for Justice estimates that approximately 5 million eligible voters will be disenfranchised by these laws.

New York – New voting laws could make it significantly harder for more than five million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012, according to the first comprehensive study of the laws’ impact.

Widespread voting cutbacks could have a significant electoral impact in next year’s hard-fought races, the study concludes. Minorities, poor and young voters will likely be most affected.

“This is the most significant cutback in voting rights in decades. More voters may be affected than the margin of victory in two out of the past three presidential elections,” said Michael Waldman, the Center’s executive diector. “In 2012 we should make it easier for every eligible citizen to vote. Instead, we have made it far harder for too many. Partisans should not try to tilt the electoral playing field in this way.”

Voting Law Changes in 2012 analyzes the 19 laws and two executive actions that passed in fourteen states this year, as well as more than 100 bills that were introduced but did not pass (some may still pass). The study shows, among other things:

  •    The states that have already cut back on voting rights will provide 171 electoral votes in 2012-63 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
  •    Of the 12 battleground states identified by an August Los Angeles Times analysis of Gallup polling, five have already cut back on voting rights (and may pass additional restrictive legislation), and two more are currently considering cutbacks.
  • Fight For The Right To Vote, with Keith Ellison

    Keith and Rep. Keith Ellison discuss the latest GOP-driven voter ID laws introduced in 34 states that are sure to disenfranchise millions of Americans. To reduce the impact of what he is calling “a poll tax – a price to pay before you can vote,” Ellison has introduced a bill that would require all states to offer same-day voter registration for federal elections and another bill that would prevent state officials from requiring photo identification before a citizen is allowed to vote.

    Noting that the trajectory of voting has been an “expansion of rights” and that the GOP “is trying to roll this back,” Ellison says he hopes and prays that the Occupy movement will “think about how this voter suppression movement is trying to curtail their rights.” In response to Keith’s suggestion that the voting day be changed from Tuesday to Saturday/Sunday, Ellison calls it “a great idea” and says that he’ll “get working on it.”