Archive for Vote Suppression

Renewed attacks on voting rights in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and other states are as much about power as about policy and race. The hand wringing over elusive “fraud” is because America’s majority ethnic group sees its traditional grip on power eroding with shifting demographics.

In North Carolina last week, Republican lawmakers again raised the alarm over the possibility that hundreds — maybe thousands — had criminally cast ballots in two states in the 2012 election. GOP leaders were quick to insist that the numbers justified the draconian voting law they passed in the last legislative session. The U.S. Department of Justice has challenged the law in court.

Chris Kromm of the Institute for Southern Studies just as quickly debunked the study by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach whose office, after checking 5 million voter records in 2013, “couldn’t provide any evidence of a single instance in which the Interstate Crosscheck’s data had led to an actual legal charge of voter fraud.” Because the data, Kromm writes, “offers no proof such fraud is occurring.” Requiring citizens to present identity cards to vote would have no effect on voting in multiple states.

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Mar
27

Voter Registration Challenge Tonight

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Voter Integrity Project: Sitting in a darkened kitchen wearing night-vision goggles to protect their crackers from Bigfoot. ——->

The Voter Integrity Project and the Asheville Tea Party are coming to the Buncombe County Board of Elections on Woodfin St. in Asheville for a hearing set for 5:30 p.m. tonight in Room 330 in the William H. Stanley Building, 35 Woodfin St. The preliminary hearing will consider the 182 voter registration challenges filed earlier this month. The PBS program Frontline was there to cover the story according to accounts.

Perhaps tonight there will be fireworks of the sort VIP-NC director Jay Delancy is known for. After a set of his Wake County challenges was rejected by the local board in 2012, DeLancy “snatched his microphone off the board’s table mid-meeting, kicking glass doors open in front of him as he stormed out of the meeting room in the Public Safety Center. He slowed down once he realized news cameras were chasing him.”

When VIP-NC held a “boot camp” in Asheville last fall, they emphasized the need for getting dead and inactive voters off the rolls because of the possibility of widespread voter fraud — or was it a widespread possibility? — for which they never seem to produce evidence. Basically, T-partiers are convinced that if they lose an election it must be because their opponents cheated. What else could it be? Zombies? Bigfoot?!

VIP-NC also warned the Asheville T-party to avoid vote caging, which they had to have defined. It’s illegal. The T-party sent letters to suspect voters that got returned; they knocked on those doors to see if voters still lived where five or more voters were registered.

So, where would they look for the fraudulently dead in Asheville? Well, here’s a list of the precincts (out of 80) in which they looked, ranked by approximate number of challenges:

11.1- ASHEVILLE SENIOR OPPORTUNITY CTR – Grove St- includes Aston Park Towers and South French Broad
3.1 ST MARKS LUTHERAN CH – Montford
2.1 ISAAC DICKSON ELEMENTARY – includes Klondyke Apts and Hillcrest, Montford
10.1 DR WESLEY GRANT SR-SOUTHSIDE CENTER – includes South French Broad, Lee Walker Heights and Livingston
14.3 ELIADA HOME – Compton Dr
15.1 VANCE ELEMENTARY
12.1 HALL FLETCHER SCHOOL
62.1 GRASSY BRANCH BAPTIST
17.1 BETH ISRAEL SYNAGOGUE
14.2 ASHEVILLE CITY PRE-SCHOOL – Haywood Rd- Burton Street Community
8.2 SHILOH COMMUNITY CENTER

As with promoting voter identity cards, much time and effort expended to prevent ineligible people from voting. At the VIP-NC training last fall, not once (in seven hours?) did anyone suggest opening up the franchise to greater participation, registering new voters and encouraging them to exercise their right to vote.

Be there tonight by 5:30.

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Mar
24

Moral Mondays Spread

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Common Dreams: Thirty-nine protesters were arrested at the capitol building in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday during a raucous protest against the GOP-led effort to prohibit Medicaid expansion in the state. In South Carolina, 17 demonstrators were also arrested at the Columbia state house in the third weekly demonstration against lawmakers’ refusal to accept federal health care funding.

“The movements are rare stirrings of impassioned, liberal political action,” writes Herbert Buchsbaum at the New York Times, “in a region where conservative control of government is as solid as cold grits and Democrats are struggling for survival more than influence.”

The actions are spreading to Florida, Alabama, Wisconsin and New York.

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Jan
09

This Will Be A Big Deal in 2014

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And Chris Christie probably will not be in 2016: August 13: “Time For Some Traffic Problems In Fort Lee”

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Jan
03

Battleground NC

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No, John Travolta is not the star. But YOU are.

North Carolina educators angry at recent legislation that phases out tenure, cuts extra pay for advanced teaching degrees, cuts teacher assistant jobs, and cuts money for instructional supplies and more planned to send Gov. Pat McCrory a sack of coal for Christmas. In August, when women’s health advocates angry over new abortion restriction protested in front of the governor’s mansion, McCrory tried to placate them with a plate of cookies.

Despite recent attempts by the state of North Carolina to marginalize them, Moral Monday protests will continue into 2014. Over 930 people volunteered to be arrested in civil disobedience against extreme legislation passed by the GOP-led legislature in 2013. New voting restrictions have been described as the most restrictive in the nation.

The Nation‘s John Nichols declared the 10,000-strong Mountain Moral Monday protest in Asheville, NC on August 5 the Most Valuable Protest of 2013.

On Christmas, the Associated Press reported that Moral Monday protests will spread across the South in 2014: Read More→

Nov
22

No ID Required To Buy An Election, Just To Vote In One

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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.

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(Creative Commons/Wikimedia, P199)

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.)

Oct
30

Can I Be Frank With You?

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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.

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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]