Archive for Vote Suppression
[The following is satire enhanced for the humor-impaired.]
This week former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told a CEO Forum in Raleigh that North Carolina’s sweeping election law changes would push away blocks of voters that Republicans should instead be wooing.
“What has come out of the legislature is that fraud is widespread and undetected,” Powell said. “How is fraud widespread if it’s undetected? How can it be undetected if it’s widespread?”
How? Hans Von Spakovsky, the GOP’s point man on spreading rumors about widespread voter fraud, knows how, even if he himself cannot say how big a problem it really is.
“It is impossible to answer,” Spakovsky told the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer. “We don’t have the tools in place.”
Moments after Gov. Pat McCrory left the stage, former Secretary of State Colin Powell took aim at North Carolina’s new voting law Thursday, saying it hurts the Republican Party, punishes minority voters and makes it more difficult for everyone to vote.
“I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote,” said Powell, a Republican, at the CEO Forum in Raleigh.
“It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs,” Powell continued. “These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away.”
In one comment, he seemed to rebuke McCrory for suggesting that voter fraud likely exists but is hard to detect. The governor had compared it to insider trading.
“You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud,” Powell said. “How can it be widespread and undetected?”
Powell, who served under President George W. Bush, also said the new sends the wrong message to minority voters. “What it really says to the minority voters is … ‘We really are sort-of punishing you,’” he said.
UPDATED with video.
Not to be outdone by the Republican-led state legislature’s efforts to limit student voting, Watauga County targeted Appalachian State students this week, with Kathleen Campbell, the lone Democrat dissenting:
Amid shouts and boos from an audience of about 60 people, the board — with Campbell’s disapproval — eliminated the early voting site on the ASU campus and recombined the Boone precincts into one with 9,340 registered voters and one polling place.
They also approved a new public comment policy that accepts feedback only in writing and assigned new rules to Board of Elections Director Jane Ann Hodges and employees.
Republicans also looked to further restrict the equal treatment of college-aged voters on the east end of North Carolina, this time at Elizabeth City State University.
Tuesday, the 2-1 Republican-majority on the Pasquotank County Board of Elections voted to disqualify Elizabeth City State University students who live in the country from running for local office. The board ruled that Montravias King, a student at the university who lives on campus, had not established permanent residency. The county’s Republican chairman had challenged King’s eligibility and vowed to challenge the residency of other students in Pasquotank County and around the state — a process made easier under McCrory’s new suppression law.
Someone trolling on Facebook the other day asked why a student with a California driver’s license should be able to vote in North Carolina. Uh, Symm v. United States, 439 U.S. 1105 (1979)?
With the North Carolina state legislature in recess, Moral Mondays – the Forward Together Movement – began a march across the state, starting in Asheville on August 5 with the largest protest yet. The crowd “well exceeded” the 5,000 the Asheville police department had prepared for, with early police estimates to 10,000.
“You can’t do wrong in Raleigh and then hide back home,” said NC NAACP president the Rev. William Barber. Firing up the crowd as he has in Raleigh, Barber condemned the actions of the state legislature as “constitutionally inconsistent, morally indefensible and economically insane.” Barber and other speakers called out local and state legislators by name, some of whom were in the crowd.
“From the mountains to the coast, we’re sick of this mess,” Barber declared. “This is no momentary hyperventilation or liberal screaming match; this is a movement. We have a governor that has decided to be on the wrong side of history. We have a legislature that is bragging and boasting about its power and is legislating on the basis of lies and discrimination. Though they have temporary power, the future does not belong to them.”
Barber and other speakers addressed education, labor, LGBT rights and a bill seizing the local water system. Asheville local, Heather Rayburn, spoke surrounded with a group of other civil disobedience protestors arrested in Raleigh. Keeping with the moral theme, Rayburn reminded the crowd, “This group of jailbirds and I believe in the Golden Rule. That we should treat people the way we would want to be treated. And politicians should live by the Golden rule too.”
(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)
If Republicans in the NC state legislature were any more transparent, they’d be invisible. The arguments for all the proposed radical changes to voting laws in North Carolina are obvious nonsense, and the worst voter suppression bill in the nation. Maybe they are just skilled liars. Maybe they are just seriously deluded. Or maybe they have been consuming a steady diet of their own BS for so long — fed to them by think tanks, Fox News, talk radio and social media — that they actually believe it.
Wednesday night after the seoond reading vote on the Voter Information Verification Act (House Bill 589) in the NC state senate, a group of protesters sat in at office of House Speaker Thom Tillis:
Six people were arrested following a brief sit-in Wednesday night in House Speaker Thom Tillis’ office.
The group was protesting the Senate’s proposed voting restrictions and voter ID law. The bill passed the Senate in a second reading Wednesday.
The protesters walked into Tillis’ office shortly before 8 p.m. and said they wanted to meet with the Speaker and ask him to stop HB 589 in the House.
“What I witnessed … was the operation of an oppressive government,” said Bree Newsome, 28, of Raleigh, describing the Senate hearings.
Weeks of growing Moral Monday protests have given the fight a national profile. Gov. Pat McCrory said he wanted to rebrand North Carolina. Mission accomplished.
(Cross-posted from Crooks and Liars.)
If Republicans in the state legislature were any more transparent, they’d be invisible. The arguments for all the radical changes to voting laws in North Carolina are that obvious nonsense. Maybe they are just skilled liars. Maybe they are just seriously deluded. Or maybe they have been consuming a steady diet of their own BS for so long — fed to them by think tanks, Fox News, talk radio and social media — that they actually believe their own BS.
The push to require identity cards before one can vote in North Carolina should reach a head today in the legislature. The bill itself (House Bill 589, aka VIVA) is a sight to behold. And it will likely soon end up on the desk of the man BlueNC refers to as Deputy Assistant Governor McCrory.
But they want to erect obstacles to voting, hands over their hearts, they do. Badly. So badly they’re prepared to sacrifice their own voters to hurt Democrats, as you can read here. The NCGOP is playing a calculating game of percentages that treats their own supporters as expendables, and any harm to their own foot soldiers’ ability to vote acceptable losses. Because they figure Democrats will get it worse.
The GOP will sacrifice their own to hold onto power. Figuratively, Republican leaders are willing to shoot their own troops to hit Democrats standing behind them. All good, if you’re the leader. But what if you’re not?
“You see? I kill my own men.”
— Mystery Men (1999): Evil is Cocky
Democrats rending their garments over the NCGOP’s latest legislative caca del toro — the Voter Information Verification Act (House Bill 589), the election “reform” bill — have missed the real story. Fortunately for Republican leaders, so have their own supporters.
This is worse than anyone imagined. In addition to disenfranchising somewhere north of 318,000 voters without government issued identification, this proposal will suppress voter registration efforts, expand the influence of big money donors, and potentially create an army of vigilantes who can challenge your right to vote.
This is dangerous and antithetical to our democracy. Here’s a list of things this proposal would do:
- The end of pre-registration for 16 & 17 year olds
- A ban on paid voter registration drives
- Elimination of same day voter registration
- A provision allowing voters to be challenged by any registered voter of the county in which they vote rather than just their precinct
- A week sliced off Early Voting
- Elimination of straight party ticket voting
- A provision making the state’s presidential primary date a function of the primary date in South Carolina
- A provision calling for a study (rather than a mandate) of electronic candidate filing
- An increase in the maximum campaign contribution to $5,000 (the limit will continue to increase every two years with the Consumer Price Index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- A provision weakening disclosure requirements for ”independent expenditure” committees
- Authorization of vigilante poll observers, lots of them, with expanded range of interference
- An expansion of the scope of who may examine registration records and challenge voters
- A repeal of out-of-precinct voting
- A repeal of the current mandate for high-school registration drives
- Elimination of flexibility in opening early voting sites at different hours within a county
- A provision making it more difficult to add satellite polling sites for the elderly or voters with disabilities
- New limits on who can assist a voter adjudicated to be incompetent by court
- The repeal of three public financing programs
- The repeal of disclosure requirements under “candidate specific communications.”
This bill is a radical shift away from egalitarian voting principles toward a mean-spirited ethic that ignores our nation’s values. It encourages intimidation and discourages participation. It shifts more power to the wealthy and connected, just like the General Assembly’s tax proposals and environmental proposals.
See y’all at Mountain Moral Monday on August 5th. Let us work to empower and include voters rather than disenfranchise and exclude them. Let us organize and send anti-voting radicals packing next November.
This is America, and it is dying by inches of stupidity and greed before our very eyes. — William Rivers Pitt
From the Charlotte Observer:
RALEIGH Tuesday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Voting Rights Act could have far-reaching effects in North Carolina – affecting everything from voting districts to voter ID legislation.
The court effectively struck down a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Though it left intact Section 5, which gives the Justice Department special oversight over voting laws in some states, it nullified the formula on which that oversight is based.
No problemo, right? Racism is dead, dammit. Assertions to the contrary are just a lib’rul plot to smear tea party conservatives. Ask Paula Deen.
MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry was in Raleigh, NC this week covering the largest Moral Monday protest to date against the GOP-led legislature’s radical rightward tilt. State NAACP president Reverend William Barber leads the protests that grew to well over 1,000 last week, with 150 arrests for civil disobedience.
Perry: We have a series of bills including voter I.D. requirements and doing away with same-day voter registration and a bill that would penalize parents of college students who vote where they attend school. A bill whose numerical name, SB666, is not lost on Reverend Barber.
Barber adds that North Carolina has joined the 15 states that have rejected Medicaid expansion under Obamacare — a group Paul Krugman’s Friday column labeled “The Spite Club”:
Barber: In the first two weeks of the session, they denied 500,000 people Medicaid. Not 500,000 black people. Not 500,000 white people. 500,000 poor people and disabled children in a state that has 1.6 million poor people and 600,000 of them are children.