Archive for Vote Suppression
The GOP insists you prove your identity to vote. But if you want to spend millions to sway U.S. elections, they’ll protect your anonymity, even if you are a non-citizen. Harold Meyerson writes:
Voter suppression has become the linchpin of Republican strategy. After Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, the GOP was briefly abuzz with talk of expanding the party’s appeal to young and Latino voters. Instead, the party doubled down on its opposition to immigration reform and its support for cultural conservatism — positions tantamount to electoral suicide unless the youth and minority vote can be suppressed.
Meyerson discusses the “interstate shell games” wealthy right-wing donors play to prevent the public from knowing the their identities as the sources of so much negative campaign “speech.”
But you may need a court order to get the documentation they insist you must produce before you can exercise your right to vote. This passes for common sense in some sectors.
Some years ago, Johnny Carson was interviewing a NASA astronaut on The Tonight Show. Carson asked him what he thought of the bestselling book about alien visitations to Earth written by Erich von Daniken, titled “Chariots of the Gods.”
The NASA guy paused, took a breath and said, “Whenever Dr. von Daniken looks around the world and encounters something he doesn’t understand, he sees evidence of flying saucers. And since there is a lot in this world that Dr. von Daniken doesn’t understand, he sees evidence for them everywhere.”
Carson rolled his eyes for a laugh.
People who believe in widespread voter fraud are like that too, aren’t they? From the Washington Post, a study looks at a link between claims of voter fraud and alien abduction:
One of the findings of a new working paper by John Ahlquist, Kenneth R. Mayer and Simon Jackman is that “the lower bound on the population reporting voter impersonation is nearly identical with the proportion of the population reporting abduction by extraterrestrials.” Roughly 2.5 percent of the population effectively admit to one or the other.
The researchers use a clever set of survey questions in which subjects have only to admit to how many of the actions on a given list they have engaged in, without admitting to specific actions. The difference between the control and the subject groups is that the latter lists included the addition of vote fraud. But some people report to having engaged in all actions on the lists. To check for simple carelessness in reporting, another list adds being abducted by aliens. What they find again is people admitting to committing fraud and to being abducted in similar proportion.
The implication here is that if one accepts that 2.5% is a valid lower bound for the prevalence of voter impersonation in the 2012 election then one must also accept that about 2.5% of the adult U.S. population – about 6 million people – believe that they were abducted by extra-terrestrials in the last year. If this were true then voter impersonation would be the least of our worries.
Which is why photo identity cards are insufficient for preventing voter fraud. They might stop undocumented aliens, but not space aliens. GOP governors should be insisting on DNA testing for all voters.
Just where is Hans von Spakovsky from? I mean, really?
(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)
Saw this yesterday, but Susie beat me to it. NJ Democrat, Rep. Bill Pascrell :
Susie says, “I have a favorite T-shirt that says, “I’m not angry, I’m from Philly.” I bought it because people always seem to think I’m being hostile when I’m just a little more, um, direct than most people. (If I ever do go ballistic, you’ll know.)”
Pascrell’s target in this “direct” exchange is former interim U.S. attorney and T-party candidate, Rep. Tim Griffin (R – Arkansas), who resigned his earlier job “a day after the BBC broadcast linking him to illegal ‘voter caging.’” Griffin has just announced he will not seek another term so he can spend more time with the family, as they say in Washington.
But perhaps Griffin will be remembered as he didn’t want to be—for the 2004 “voter caging” story. In 2004 the Bush-Cheney campaign and RNC sent mail to voters’ addresses to check whether those addresses were current. If the mail bounced back, the names were “caged,” and the party had reason to challenge the ballots of these voters if they showed up. In 2004, while at the RNC, Griffin received spreadsheets of “caged voters”—a fact that came up during his confirmation process when he was seeking to become a U.S. attorney. Greg Palast, the muckraking journalist who had originally reported the story, also argued that the voters being targeted were disproportinately nonwhite. That sort of discrimination would have been illegal.
A lecture last night by Rev. Dr. William Barber, II at Appalachian State. Worth the hour. Embed seems not to be working. Stream it here. Lecture begins at timestamp 9:45.
Inspiring. Feels like a movement.
[h/t TJ Amos]
Watson: God! You’re just like Don Quixote, you think everything’s always something else.
Playfair/Holmes [Laughs]: Well he had a point. Of course, he carried it a bit too far. He thought that every windmill was a giant. That’s insane. But, thinking that they might be… well… all the best minds used to think the world was flat. — But, what if it isn’t? — It might be round — and bread mold might be medicine. If we never looked at things and thought of what they might be, why, we’d all still be out there in the tall grass with the apes.
They Might Be Giants (1971)
After a local election recount last fall, a colleague observed that tea party members are convinced that if they lose an election it must be because their opponents cheated.
Thus, the Voter Integrity Project of NC (VIP-NC) held a tea-party sponsored “boot camp” for voter fraud sleuths in Asheville over the weekend. About 40 people attended – no one under 30 years-old. Like Justin Playfair, the mental patient who believes he’s Sherlock Holmes, when VIP-NC’s amateur sleuths uncover discrepancies in the state’s voter file, they are certain of this: it might be voter fraud.
The judge who wrote the ruling in the Indiana Voter ID case (later approved by the U.S. Supreme Court) admits he got it completely wrong:
I plead guilty to having written the majority opinion (affirmed by the Supreme Court) upholding Indiana’s requirement that prospective voters prove their identity with a photo id—a law now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than fraud prevention.
Brad Friedman writes:
Now, the very judge who wrote the ruling in the original case later approved by the U.S. Supreme Court is abandoning ship, and directly admitting he got it completely wrong. That the only case of note used by supporters of this kind of voting restriction has now been pretty much disowned by the judge who wrote its majority decision is simply a remarkable development in this years-long battle.
A battle that continues today in North Carolina.
(Cross-posted from BlueNC.)
The suit, set to be filed in Greensboro, N.C., will ask that the state be barred from enforcing the new voter ID law, the source said. However, the case will also go further, demanding that the entire state of North Carolina be placed under a requirement to have all changes to voting laws, procedures and polling places “precleared” by either the Justice Department or a federal court, the source added.
The lawsuit, which will be filed on Monday and announced at a press conference featuring Attorney General Eric Holder, challenges four provisions of the voting law, known as House Bill 589 and signed by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) last month. Voter advocates have criticized the law as one of the most restrictive voting measures passed since the civil rights era.
The Rev. William Barber II, head of the state NAACP, which has filed lawsuits in federal court and the North Carolina courts, challenging the law, said Sunday that he was glad to have assistance from the federal government. “We need every resource, including the federal Department of Justice, to stand against the fundamental attack on democracy,” Barber said. “This law went beyond the pale and all North Carolinians should be repulsed by this effort to turn the clock back on voting rights in this state.”
Didn’t you know, Kansas requires new voters to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote?
The law took effect in January, backed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach and fellow Republicans, who view it as a way to prevent non-citizens from voting improperly. But more than 15,000 legal Kansas residents’ voter registrations are on hold because they have yet to provide proper documents, meaning they can’t legally vote.
From the Brad Blog:
Wow. 15,000 legal voters stopped from voting. Kansas must have a terrible problem with non-citizens voting! After all, that’s all the state’s Republican Sec. of State Kobach (who also wrote Arizona’s “Papers Please” law) ran on in 2010: stopping “voter fraud”! In fact, his own personal website warns even today: “In Kansas, the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive.”
Pervasive, no less. How many is “pervasive”?
“We identified 15 aliens registered to vote.”
Brad Friedman continues,
And did any of those 15 alleged “aliens” actually vote in any Kansas election? Or, like so many similar cases where GOP Sec. of States are playing the same game (like in Colorado and in Florida), was it simply a clerical error, where the registered voter in question never even cast an actual vote or was actually a citizen after all? Who knows? Kobach didn’t say as much, so…draw your own conclusions. After all, Kobach says the problem “has become pervasive”. He just can’t identify it as such, even though, as Secretary of State, he has immediate access to all voting records and can refer cases to prosecutors for arrest. I wonder why he hasn’t?
Imagine the response if we started erecting hurdles to buying guns because someone could document 15 cases (maybe even a few more?) of crimes committed by legal gun owners, or by felons who bought guns illegally, or by buyers who lied on their ATF Form 4473.
You think we’d see the kind of zealous citizen activism and dedicated junior sleuthing from groups like the True the Vote and the Voter Integrity Project to put a stop to something as pervasive as that?
The Brad Blog looks at the prospects for the Texas Voter ID bill surviving multiple court challenges and it doesn’t look good.
In both United States v. Texas, the DoJ’s newly filed legal challenge to the Texas Photo ID restriction law, and in Veasey v. Perry, a separate federal lawsuit filed by Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) and later joined by Dallas County, the plaintiffs not only set forth allegations but facts already found to be true last year by a unanimous three-judge U.S. District Court panel.
Those already established facts reveal that the state’s Photo ID law (SB 14) violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it imposes unreasonable, and often impossible, burdens upon the right of the poor to vote that would likely result in disenfranchisement. The three judge panel further found, via “undisputed record evidence”, as they described it, that a disproportionate percentage of poor Texans who would be subject to such disenfranchisement are Hispanic and African-American.
Circumstances in North Carolina have lots of parallels with the Texas, and North Carolina’s “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to restricting voting access are more restrictive then the law at issue in Texas. Stay tuned.