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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, October 21, 2014
'Mercy', 'Rehabilitation' and 'Restorative Justice'
Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts that seem to have gone missing from the justice system in the U.S...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP candidates still dodging climate Qs; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes lung cancer; 2014 on track as hottest year on record; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell Oil...
Previous GNRs: 10/14/14 - 10/16/14 - Archives...
Everything Old is Texas Again
On the upside though, even if they successfully violate the Constitution by keeping some 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately minority voters from voting this year, they can save some money on signage...
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attorney dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical questions'...
SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
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Emergency Appeals Filed at SCOTUS to Restore Voting Rights to 600,000 in TX
GOP Photo ID law, which lower court found intentionally discriminatory, is different from recent cases before High Court, say plaintiffs...
'Green News Report' 10/16/14
Ryan backs away (sort of) from climate change denial; NatGas isn't a bridge to lower-emissions; PLUS: Did Lockheed-Martin really invent a compact nuclear fusion reactor?...
Bloomberg on BRAD BLOG on Judge Richard Posner on Photo ID Voting Laws...
'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
'BradCast': WI, TX, AR Photo ID Rulings
Trouble keeping up with the on-again/off-again court rulings on GOP voter suppression laws? Brad tries to make sense of it all for ya...
WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
5th Circuit Appeals Panel Restores Texas GOP's 'Discriminatory' Photo ID Law
While not contesting law's unconstitutionality, judges cite SCOTUS rule on last minute voting changes...
'Green News Report' 10/14/14
Coal wins U.S. Senate debate in KY!; Pentagon: climate change threat to NatSec; Wind power cheapest source of energy; PLUS: September 2014 was hottest ever...
Repub Judge Who Approved Nation's 1st Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent Against Them
Reagan-appointed Richard Posner pens best case ever against Photo ID voting restrictions...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
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'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
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EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Larry King to moderate additional third party debate on Oct. 23...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/20/2012 7:33pm PT  

Democracy Now!'s "extended second debate" (see video below), featuring third-party candidate responses to questions from last week's "official" Presidential Debate at Hofstra University side-by-side with the two main party candidates, illustrates the malaise of an American electorate which senses a fundamental disconnect between the promise of "change we can believe in" offered up by one of two corporate sponsored candidates, even as political and economic inequality, outsourcing and war have expanded over the past four years.

Yet, the only other voice generally offered to the American electorate is the 21st century equivalent to a snake-oil salesman, whose entire work in the private sector, along with a brief stint as a governor, have been devoted to outsourcing, predatory capitalism and greater inequality. He is a candidate who not only seeks to retain the deficit-exploding Bush tax cuts, but wants to pile on with a $5 trillion pig-in-a-poke tax cut for the billionaire class. That tax-cut, coupled with a massive give-away to the military-industrial complex would, of necessity, reduce government to the point that it would be incapable of performing its constitutionally recognized core function of promoting the general welfare.

The comments made by Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party Presidential candidate, at the time of her unsuccessful attempt to enter the second Presidential debate --- an attempt which resulted in her being arrested and cuffed to a chair for eight hours --- along with the substantive dialogue produced by Stein, Justice Party Presidential candidate Rocky Anderson, and Constitution Party Presidential candidate Virgil Goode, Jr., during Democracy Now's "extended second debate", underscore what Noam Chomsky referred to in Failed States as the "democracy deficit" --- the significant gap between the policy positions of the vast majority of American citizens and the political elites who supposedly represent them...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2012 11:33pm PT  

We've been remiss in highlighting the smart work of comedian, activist and very smart social satirist Lee Camp here at The BRAD BLOG. He's done some terrific stuff on Election Integrity, voter suppression and e-voting issues, here for example. Or just do yourself a favor and browse his full YouTube channel here.

So, as I'm still clawing my way out from under the weather this week, allow me to let Camp fill you in on what happened last night when Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala --- who will be on 85% of the ballots in the U.S. this November, qualifying them for more than enough electorate votes to actually, ya know, win the Presidency --- were arrested and then reportedly shackled to metal chairs for 8 hours thereafter, for little more than having the temerity to show up and try to gain entrance to the "official" Presidential Debate at Hofstra University in New York.

I'm more than happy to associate myself with Camp's outrage...

Video of the arrest of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, for "blocking traffic", and the somewhat remarkable transcript of what was said during the first part of it, courtesy of Democracy Now!, follows below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Republican Sec. of State Husted finally forced to announce Early Voting hours for final three days before Election Day...
UPDATE: Order denying stay issued by entire Court without dissent
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/16/2012 3:12pm PT  

The old baseball adage that three strikes and you are out applies to Ohio's Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted and his underhanded effort to emulate his predecessor, the infamous J. Kenneth Blackwell (R), by preventing Early Voting for all over the last three days before the November 6, 2012 election.

That effort, to restrict voting in those days to active-duty military voters only, was first rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus (strike one!) whose decision was upheld in all aspects by a three judge panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal --- strike two!

Now comes an order from the U.S. Supreme Court summarily rejecting Husted's eleventh hour request for a stay of Judge Economus' decision --- strike three!

When Brad Friedman interviewed the former Democratic Ohio Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner in mid-August, she explained how Husted's efforts to limit early voting were "clearly aimed at 'Souls to the Polls,'" the very successful effort by African-American churches to encourage their congregations to get out and vote on the Sunday before Election Day. During the 2008 election, nearly 100,000 largely Democratic-leaning voters cast their vote over that weekend.

Husted, who previously backed off an earlier effort to obstruct Judge Economus' initial order, filing an apology to the court in early September, has now issued a directive informing all County Election Boards "to open for early voting from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Nov. 3, 1-5 p.m. on Nov. 4 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Nov. 5," according to the Chicago Tribune.

Contrary to the initial lie spun by the right wing echo chamber and by Mitt Romney himself, this case in no way impacted the right of military voters to cast Early Absentee ballots. To the contrary, it assured that all lawfully registered voters could do so.

This is a very clear victory for democracy.

UPDATE: The order [PDF] reveals that although Husted filed the application for a stay with Justice Kagan, she referred the request "to the Court," which, in turn, denied the stay without any dissents.

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Jon Husted is now, officially, the new J. Kenneth Blackwell
Now UPDATED with details on Husted's application to SCOTUS...
By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2012 2:41pm PT  

This is really rather astonishing.

After having been told by two federal courts --- a U.S. District Court in late August and then a 3-judge panel on the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals just last week --- that the Ohio GOP's attempt to restrict Early Absentee Voting in the final three days before Election Day, for all but active-duty military voters, is an unconstitutional violation of voting rights, disproportionately effecting low-income and minority voters, the state's Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted is, nonetheless, appealing the rulings yet again.

This time, Husted is skipping an appeal to the full 6th Circuit and going directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a statement issued today, Husted describes last week's ruling at the Appellate Court, upholding the lower court's ruling, as "stunning" and an "unprecedented intrusion by the federal courts into how states run elections." (Perhaps Husted was out of the country for Bush v. Gore in late 2000?)

At the core of Husted's complaint is the fact that, by overturning the GOP's restrictions on Early Voting for all but active-duty military, so that all eligible voters can vote during those days, Ohio's 88 county Boards of Election will once again be able to set their own hours for voting over those days. That, argues Husted (disingenuously, for reasons explained in a moment), will lead to a lack of uniformity across the state.

"This ruling not only doesn’t make legal sense, it doesn’t make practical sense," Husted says in his statement announcing his plan to appeal today. "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."

While Husted's remarks about the possibility of differing hours for Early Voting in differing Ohio counties, strictly speaking, are correct, they are also purposely misleading and, more to the point, entirely disingenuous...And Husted knows it...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Rightwing media, Romney attempt to lie to voters about case is ignored by court. Again...
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2012 4:52pm PT  

Via Ryan Reilly at TPM:

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that Ohio must make early voting 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's decision.

"The State's asserted goal of accommodating the unique situation of members of the military, who may be called away at a moment's notice in service to the nation, is certainly a worthy and commendable goal," the court ruled. "However, while there is a compelling reason to provide more opportunities for military voters to cast their ballots, there is no corresponding satisfactory reason to prevent non-military voters from casting their ballots as well."

In short, the attempt by Ohio Republicans to keep Democratic-leaning voters, who turned out in droves to support Obama in 2008 on the final weekend before Election Day from voting, has failed yet again.

A 3-judge panel on the 6th Circuit of Appeals has upheld, as our legal analyst Ernie Canning describes it, "every aspect of" the lower court's ruling in August. The ruling comes as yet another stinging defeat for Ohio Republicans and Sec. of State Jon Husted (R) and their attempt to restrict voting rights in the Buckeye State. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling is available here [PDF].

This case began as an attempt by the Obama campaign and Democrats to restore voting rights removed by Republicans, for no reason other than to disenfranchise voters. It became widely public, as a blatant lie by the editor of Breitbart.com who lied about Obama attempting to keep military voters from being able to vote. It was then advanced by Fox "News" and even the Romney campaign who repeated the lie, and it all recently culminated in an apology to the court by Ohio's Secretary of State who had attempted to ignore the lower court's ruling which was ultimately upheld today.

Despite all of those embarrassments, and today's latest court victory, there remains a bit of wiggle room for the OH GOP if they still wish to attempt to keep voters --- or, as the Republican Party Chair and Election Board Commissioner of Franklin County (Columbus), OH put it, " the urban --- read African American --- voter-turnout machine" --- from exercising their right to vote during the final three days before the November 6th Presidential Election...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2012 11:20am PT  

I had a lot to pack in to about 4 minutes on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture TV show last night, but I did my best, including a tasty new morsel on Florida's criminal investigation into the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal that I was able to obtain just before air, and which I haven't yet broken elsewhere...

As referenced in the video above:

  • More on the nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal here...
  • More on the polling place Photo ID restriction ruling in PA yesterday here...
  • More on the story Thom mentioned about Romney investors tied to voting machine company Hart Intercivic, here...
  • And more, if you've yet to read it, on the coordinated, systematic, nationwide GOP Voter Registration Scam to lie to potential registrants in hopes of keeping Obama supporters from even being able to register to vote this year, here...

By the way, while I try to include the following tag below when posting our Election Integrity stories, I usually get few takers. Your support this time of year is crucial, as I simply don't have much time for fund raising at all, or even for selling stories elsewhere (which sometimes helps to cover some of the expenses we have here). I'd rather be reporting, than fund raising, especially now. So anything you can do to hit the tip jar below is greatly appreciated! I do hate asking, but I have to. So my great thanks in advance!

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Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here).

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By Ernest A. Canning on 10/2/2012 10:11pm PT  

Today, democracy in Pennsylvania was granted a reprieve. For now. Of a sort.

In response to a recent state Supreme Court remand, unanimously voiding his previous August ruling, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, a Republican, issued his new ruling [PDF] today on the state GOP's polling place Photo ID restriction law.

He enjoined just a part of the law, but it effectively strikes down the most onerous provision of it --- but only for this November's Presidential election. There were also a number of troubling caveats with what he left in place, rather than striking down the entire statute as the petitioners had sought.

There has been some confused and confusing reporting on the ruling today. Here is where --- barring any additional court challenges --- the law stands at this moment, just over one month from Election Day...

  • Voters will NOT have to show a state-issued Photo ID at the polling place in order to cast a normal ballot.
  • Poll workers SHALL ask voters for Photo ID, but they may NOT keep them from voting if they do not have one.
  • Voters will NOT have to cast a provisional ballot if they do not have state-issued Photo ID.

Hopefully that clarifies the key points of today's ruling, which is being misreported in some quarters.

Also of note, the court refused to enjoin the Commonwealth's tax-payer funded $5 million ad campaign, as written into the statute for the purposes of "educating" the public about the polling place Photo ID requirement (even though it no longer practically applies for this election.)

Given that, and given that poll workers may still ask for ID this November, and given that the Photo ID requirements, barring more legal challenges, will be allowed to take effect next year, it is almost guaranteed that confusion will reign in parts of Pennsylvania this year. On the upside, the 1.6 million otherwise-eligible voters who it was feared could be disenfranchised, will at least be allowed to vote in this year's Presidential election, presuming they can navigate all of the confusion left in place by Judge Simpson.

Contrary to the claim made by GOP "voter fraud" fraudster, Hans Van Spakovsky, the court did not rule on the constitutionality of PA's Photo ID statute. A ruling on that aspect of the law will not be made until after the case proceeds to a trial, following the election, on the plaintiff's request for a permanent injunction.

Tonight, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow also discussed the confusion likely to be brought by the state's continuing ad campaign along with the other vagueries allowed to continue by Judge Simpson's ruling today...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Petitoners argue Judge's suggested partial injunction would disenfranchise voters, violate state Supreme Court's mandate...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/30/2012 9:30pm PT  

A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge may be on the verge of "splitting the baby" in his latest ruling on the challenge to the state Republicans' polling place Photo ID law, despite a clear mandate from the state Supreme Court ordering him to either find the new law will not disenfranchise any voters this year, or block it entirely with an injunction.

Last Friday, attorneys representing the petitioners in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the state GOP's draconian polling place Photo ID law, filed a 26-page Post Hearing Brief [PDF] in which they counseled Commonwealth Judge Robert E. Simpson not to defy the state Supreme Court by issuing only a "limited injunction" in the case.

Such a ruling, they argue, could force a minimum of 90,000, but perhaps as many as 1.6 million voters who lack the requisite Photo IDs, to cast provisional ballots --- which are sometimes counted, sometimes not --- during the Nov. 6, 2012 election.

The brief was filed one day after Judge Simpson informed the parties to the case that, despite evidence that there was no conceivable means by which the Commonwealth could supply all of the otherwise eligible voters with the requisite Photo IDs now needed to vote under the new law before the Nov. 6 election, he was inclined to enjoin only that portion of the Photo ID law's provisional ballot section that contains disenfranchising language.

Petitioners contend not only that such an injunction would defy the mandate laid down by the Supreme Court when it vacated Judge Simpson's previous order earlier this month, denying their request for a preliminary injunction, but that it would amount to an "inadequate remedy" that would create "a bifurcated system" that would entail a "naked disenfranchisement" of untold numbers of previously-eligible voters.

From the content of the brief, it is clear that unless Judge Simpson issues a full preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the Photo ID law with respect to the Nov. 6 election, this case will be headed back to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court once again, just over 30 days before the Presidential Election...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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CO Sec. of State, local County Clerk both say it's perfectly legal...
By Brad Friedman on 9/25/2012 9:32am PT  

Over the weekend, this disturbing video of a voter registration worker at a Safeway grocery story in El Paso County, Colorado went somewhat viral...

The short video shows a young woman attempting to register voters outside the grocery store, but asking first: "I'm polling people. Would you vote for Romney or Obama?"

When the unidentified woman shooting the video tells the young lady she thought she was registering people to vote, the registration worker admits she is. The woman asks who she works for, and the young lady admits, "I'm actually trying to register voters for a particular party, because...we're out here in support of Romney, actually."

Then the woman asks her who is paying her for this work and the young lady, after a moment's pause, says, "We're working for the county clerk's office."

The woman is, understandably, aghast at the registration worker's response and asks again incredulously, "You're working for the county clerk's office?!"

"I believe so. Yes," replies the worker, shortly before the video ends.

As it turns out, the registration worker was not working for the El Paso County Clerk's office, according to responses sent to The BRAD BLOG by the CO Secretary of State's office as well as the El Paso County Clerk. Instead, she was a paid employee of the state Republican Committee, as confirmed by the local GOP Chairman. And, incredibly enough, both the Sec. of State and County Clerk, both Republicans, assert that what the registration worker is seen doing in the video, screening out potential voters based on who they might vote for, is absolutely legal in the state of Colorado...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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ALSO: New hearings underway this week on GOP polling place Photo ID restriction laws in SC and PA...
By Brad Friedman on 9/24/2012 12:07pm PT  

According to a new poll out today, voters in Minnesota may be getting wise to the state Republicans' scheme to suppress the votes of minorities, the elderly, students and the poor, all of whom have the annoying habit of voting in favor of Democrats.

After MN's Democratic Governor Mark Dayton vetoed a law passed by Republicans in the legislature last year that would have required state-issued Photo ID for voters at the polling place before they were allowed to cast their vote, the Republicans decided to bypass the Governor and take the issue straight to the voters.

Without a single Democratic vote, and opposed by the state's chief election official, Sec. of State Mark Ritchie (D), GOP members of the legislature voted to put the issue up for a Constitutional Amendment referendum on the ballot this November.

While the wording of the ballot question itself was challenged by the League of Women Voters and other voting rights groups who charged that the language chosen for the ballot was purposely deceptive and failed to detail the real effects of the Amendment, at the time we first wrote about the matter in July, our legal analyst Ernie Canning noted that, if the referendum was allowed on the ballot, there was a very real chance that it might be supported by voters who, he said, have been "utterly deceived [in the] court of public opinion" about the need for such a restriction.

Citing a May 2011 poll of Minnesotans by the Star Tribune, Canning noted that a whopping 80%, at the time, supported the adoption of photo ID restrictions in the state.

The bad news is that, despite some skepticism displayed during the recent MN Supreme Court hearing about the ballot question (as well as the legalities of such a Constitutional Amendment itself, which was not at issue during the case heard by the court, whose justices are all appointees of former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty), the court eventually decided to allow the initiative to remain on the ballot this November as written.

The good news, on the other hand, is that, following an uptick in mainstream media coverage of the issue over the past several months, while a slim majority in the state still favor the amendment, support appears to be nose-diving, at least among Democrats and independents, according to a new survey by the Star Tribune...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Rollback of existing voting rights presents significant legal issues...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/24/2012 6:35am PT  

The veteran's advocacy group, VoteVets.org filed an amicus curiae brief [PDF] last Wednesday in support of U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus' recent order compelling Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) to restore Early Voting for all registered Ohio voters during the three days immediately preceding the Nov. 6, 2012 election.

The order came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Obama Campaign challenging the Buckeye State Republicans attempt to restrict voting in that period to all but active duty military. The Romney Campaign supported the Republican attempt to restrict the voting rights that had previously been shared by all state residents.

In their brief, VoteVets argues that Husted's directive adversely affects the voting rights of Ohio's more than 900,000 veterans, including more than 90,000 disabled veterans, many of whom are incapable of standing in long lines on Election Day.

The brief also alleges that the Republicans' new restrictions on Early Voting, for all but active duty military in the Buckeye State during those three days, could also arbitrarily deprive many active members of the armed forces of their right to cast an early in-person absentee ballot as well. This can occur, says the group, because Husted left the decision whether "to open those three days for in-person voting by [active military] voters...[to] the discretion of the individual county boards of elections."

The point also raises another salient legal issue, not fully considered by many of the Election Law experts who have weighed in on both the specific and broader implications of the Secretary of State's pending, expedited appeal of Judge Economus' recent decision to restore those three days of Early Voting for all...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2012 3:11pm PT  

It seems it was a fitting end to a horrible week for the Romney/Ryan team. As MoveOn.org notes, the seniors at Paul Ryan's AARP speech today booed him "over and over again"...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2012 6:35am PT  

Sarah Silverman does it again! Hilarious. Informative. And definitely NOT safe for work!...

More resources available here: LetMyPeopleVote2012.com

(Here's another polling place Photo ID law related video published this week. I'm in that one...though it's not nearly as funny.)

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Judge ordered to review if GOP voting restriction can be lawfully implemented as written, and without disenfranchising voters; else it must be blocked
Dissenters: Ruling will 'allow chaos to beget chaos'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/18/2012 2:15pm PT  

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in a 4 to 2 decision this afternoon, has vacated a Commonwealth Court's earlier ruling, which had denied a temporary injunction on the state GOP's polling place Photo ID restriction law. Rather than issuing their own injunction, they have has sent the matter back to the lower court for review.

According to the high court's 7-page order [PDF] issued today, if the lower court finds that the state is unable to implement "liberal access" to the supposedly free Photo IDs to be issued by the state, as dictated by the General Assembly's requirements detailed in the statute itself, "or if the Commonwealth Court is not still convinced in its predictive judgment that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the Commonwealth’s implementation of a voter identification requirement for purposes of the upcoming election, that court is obliged to enter a preliminary injunction."

We'll try to unpack that for you in a moment. As well, there were two scathing dissents to today's ruling, both highly critical of the majority for not ending the ongoing "chaos" immediately, instead of remanding it for another round to the lower court. But, in general, and depending on how Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, a Republican, reviews the case as ordered, this is may be good news for voters in the Keystone State.

"It's certainly a very positive step in the right direction in that the court recognizes that the state does not make adequate provision for people to get the ID that they would need to vote," said David Gersch, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs challenging the law's state constitutionality, according to CBS. "In addition, there is a practical problem with getting the ID to people in the short time available."

The case, Applewhite v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania [PDF], was originally filed in May by the ACLU, the PA League of Women Voters, and other civil rights organizations on behalf of 92-year old Viviette Applewhite and 10 other petitioners who were facing potential disenfranchisement under the new law, along with hundreds of thousands of other legally registered and otherwise eligible voters in the state. Before the trial even began, the Commonwealth admitted that they were unaware of a single instance of polling place impersonation --- the only type of voter fraud that can possibly be deterred by their polling place Photo ID restrictions --- in the history of the state.

Last Thursday, during their hearing in Philadelphia, the PA Supremes indicated they had some skepticism about the law, as we detailed here. The court was reviewing an appeal by the plaintiffs filed last week after the Commonwealth Court had stunned many of those following the case, including the plaintiffs who had predicted a "slam-dunk" win, by upholding the law last month and refusing to grant a preliminary injunction in advance of the November Presidential election.

But now Judge Simpson will have another crack at deciding the case, as the high court has punted it back to him. This time, however, he has been ordered by the high court to issue a preliminary injunction on the law if he cannot determine that the state is able to meet two very specific conditions...

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They also hope voters have forgotten what actually happened during the Badger State's recent recall elections...
By Brad Friedman on 9/17/2012 2:06pm PT  

As we noted late last Friday, as the news was just breaking, a WI judge has overturned Republican Gov. Scott Walker's controversial anti-union law which had taken away most collective bargaining rights from most citizens who are employed as public workers in the state. In his ruling, Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas found the law to be in violation of both the state and U.S. Constitution and is, barring overturn by appeal at the state Supreme Court, now "null and void."

As is expected in such cases by now, rather than critiquing the ruling itself, Walker immediately attempted to smear the Dane County Judge who issued it as a "liberal activist judge." Nothing new there. When Republicans don't have their way in court, it's always due to "liberal activist judges," even when the courts are not quite activist enough for their tastes in other instances (see their fury after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn "ObamaCare," for instance).

But there was another interesting response to the ruling from Walker and his fellow partisans following the ruling on Friday, which seems to suggest they haven't a clue about how the court system works, how the U.S. Constitution is supposed to work, or even how representative democracy works. Either that, or they simply don't care and feel it's just more important to continue scamming their gullible constituencies then it is to be honest about what actually happened on Friday.

Making matters worse though, not only are they wrong about matters of how democracy and the court system works, they are also wrong on their facts as well, even if they hope nobody will notice...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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