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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Erick Erickson's Global Warming Denialist Tantrum
Latest barometer of denialist desperation: The rightwing 'thought leader', as usual, is wrong on the facts and science, so he's just taking his ball and going home...
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'Green News Report' 8/28/14
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Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
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Siegelman Judge, Arrested For Beating His Wife, May Avoid Prosecution Altogether
U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller checks in for 'treatment', may be able to duck prosecution...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring GOP Photo ID voting restrictions in WI? We'll catch you up quickly...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
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Ryan Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 hopeful 'charms' elderly voters in FL, by ignoring them...
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'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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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
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DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
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Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2012 11:28am PT  

Our own crack legal analyst Ernie Canning pulls together many of the strands we've been reporting here, for many months, on the Wisconsin GOP's attempt to dismantle voting rights in their state in advance of both the 2012 Presidential Election and, perhaps more importantly, before the upcoming recall elections of Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four Republican state Senators.

It's all a part of the continuing "War for Wisconsin" which we've been covering in great detail here at The BRAD BLOG for quite a while.

If you've had any trouble keeping up, or missed any of the thrilling chapters in the state Republicans' if-ya-can't-beat-'em-disenfranchise-'em, take-no-prisoners assault on the voting rights of legal voters, Ernie puts it all together and brings you right up to date in an interview today by OpEdNews' Joan Brunwasser...

* * *

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). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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How can we trust their reporting as unbiased and neutral given their opposition to recall of the Republican Governor?...
By Brad Friedman on 3/26/2012 7:03pm PT  

Out of scores of journalists who work for the Gannett Wisconsin Media-owned Green Bay Press-Gazette, just seven were willing to offer their personal, non-business related support for a recall of Wisconsin's controversial Gov. Scott Walker. They are now being disciplined.

The rest, the vast majority of Press-Gazette employees, all cast a vote for their support of the Republican Walker's fitness to complete his term as governor by refusing to sign the petition for his recall.

How can we now trust them to report without bias on the Walker story they are tasked with covering in a neutral fashion?!

Despite the clear and unethical conflict of interest demonstrated by their support for Walker --- for which the Governor is almost certainly grateful --- those journalist are somehow still expected to cover the Democratic Party and union-supported political challenges against him and his administration in an impartial manner.

Clearly, that is impossible. At least according to an editorial published last night by Kevin Corrado, the president and publisher of the Green Bay Press-Gazette...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 3/25/2012 6:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In Wisconsin, two Dane County Circuit Court judges, David Flanagan and Richard Niess both issued injunctions against the state GOP's polling place photo ID restriction ("Act 23") --- Flanagan's temporary, Niess' permanent --- after finding that the law was in direct violation of the WI state constitution's guaranteed right to vote.

Immediately after the first of those two injunctions, issued by Judge Flanagan in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker, the WI GOP filed an ethics complaint with the WI Judicial Commission, alleging that the judge had violated the WI Code of Judicial Conduct because he had signed a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R) and failed to disclose that fact before issuing his ruling.

However, when Flanagan's temporary injunction was promptly followed not only by Neiss' permanent injunction one week later, but by a subsequent refusal by an intermediate WI appellate court to stay the temporary injunction, the hard-right, operating under another right-wing billionaire front group, the Landmark Legal Foundation, filed ethics complaints against 29 WI judges who also signed recall petitions.

If you can't beat 'em, hit 'em with ethics violations complaints...

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

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Will a criminal probe undo the GOP Guv even before a recall?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/19/2012 12:55pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

What is it with Republicans and residency laws? Recently, in covering the conviction of Indiana's Republican Secretary of State Charlie White for six felonies, including three counts of felony voter fraud, Brad Friedman listed the growing number of high-level Republicans, including Mitt Romney, who may have committed voter fraud by casting ballots as registered voters from residences where they did not reside.

Now we find a little-noticed Feb. 23 report from Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) which reveals that criminal defense attorney Frank Gimbel filed a motion for change of venue --- from Milwaukee County to Columbia County --- in the criminal case pending against his client, Kelly M. Rindfleisch. Rindfleisch served as Scott Walker's Deputy Chief of Staff when Walker was the Milwaukee County Chief Executive and is one of four top deputies to have been indicted, so far, as part of Milwaukee County prosecutors' long-running "Joe Doe" investigation.

In his motion, Gimbel alleges Rindfleisch, "didn't live in Milwaukee County when the misconduct allegedly took place," according to WPR.

In the bargain, as a comparison of Gimbel's motion to the allegations contained in the 51-page criminal complaint [PDF] (the "Rindfleisch complaint") against her suggests, Gimbel may have implicated Rindfleisch and Walker in a criminal conspiracy to violate the residency requirement for Milwaukee County employment. That apparent violation appears to have occurred as part of the broader scheme alleged by prosecutors to misuse that office to gain a political advantage for Walker and other GOP candidates during the 2010 campaign...

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

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Rulings could have major impact on looming recall elections...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/17/2012 6:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Friday, an intermediate Wisconsin appellate court denied a request made by WI Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R), on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker's administration, to stay an order issued earlier this month by a Dane County Circuit Court that temporarily suspended the state GOP's polling place Photo ID law.

In Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker --- the first of two cases within the past two weeks to result in an injunction on the voting restrictions, known as "Act 23," enacted by a Republican-majority last year --- Judge David Flanagan temporarily enjoined [PDF] enforcement of the law on the grounds that it was in violation of the WI Constitution's guaranteed right to vote.

As of now, that injunction will still stand. In the bargain, local election officials are now seeking to comply with Judge Flanagan's order, so that Photo ID will not be required at the polls in the statewide April primary elections, upcoming recall elections scheduled for May and June, or for the 2012 general election this November.

Unless the denial of a stay is promptly reversed by the partisan Republican majority on the WI Supreme Court, the ruling could have an immediate adverse impact on the ability of the state's controversial Governor, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and the Republican state Senators facing upcoming recall elections to retain office...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2012 2:23pm PT  

State Sen. Pam Galloway --- one of four Wisconsin Senate Republicans scheduled to face upcoming recall elections in the still-redounding blowback from the state GOP's assault on collective bargaining rights last year --- has announced her resignation today.

The result is that GOP's 17-16 majority over Democrats in the chamber prior to today (it had been a 19-14 majority until the first round of recall elections last year) is now gone.

For the moment, the chamber is now evenly split at 16-16. The GOP has lost sole control of the chamber.

Galloway is citing family health issues as the reason for her surprise resignation today. According to TPM's Eric Kleefeld, "Galloway won her Senate seat by a five-point margin in the 2010 Republican wave, defeating the incumbent state Senate Majority Leader in the traditionally Democratic Wausau district." She had been scheduled to face Assistant state Assembly Minority Leader Donna Seidel in the upcoming recall.

As per WI recall rules, the contest for her seat, the three other Senators and the offices of Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, will move forward as planned. The GOP will be allowed to replace Galloway on the ballot.

The dates for those elections are now set for May 8th and June 5th. The first date will be a recall primary for those races in which there is a contested nomination, otherwise that will be the actual recall election for that seat. The second date would then be the actual recall elections. As the race for the nomination to take on Walker himself is currently being contested by several Democrats, that historic election will be held on June 5th --- coincidentally, the same day as the California Presidential primary elections.

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Finds registered Hispanic voters anywhere from 46% to 120% more likely than non-Hispanics to lack state-issued ID needed to vote under the new law...
By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2012 8:02pm PT  

The good news for voters, of late, keeps coming --- at least against the title wave of GOP voter suppression laws instituted around the country by Republicans since taking over legislatures and executive branches in 2010.

In addition to last week's temporary injunction of the Wisconsin's GOP polling place Photo ID restriction, and today's permanent injunction of the same law by a second judge in a separate complaint (both judges found the law in strict violation of the state Constitution's ironclad guarantee of the right to vote), today also saw the U.S. Dept. of Justice blocking a similarly disenfranchising Photo ID restriction enacted last year by Texas Republicans.

Currently, according to data supplied to the DoJ by the state of TX, more than 600,000 legally registered voters do not possess the type of ID that would be required to vote under the law passed last year, as previously set to take effect before this year's Presidential Election.

But it is the discriminatory effect of the new law which led the DoJ to nix the new changes to TX' voting laws.

Finding that the state's own statistics reveal legally registered Hispanic voters will be disproportionately disenfranchised by the TX law --- by anywhere from 46% to 120% over non-Hispanics, depending upon which set of a data submitted by TX is used for the analysis --- the DoJ rejected the statute under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. That section of the federal law requires preclearance for new election laws in certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination. Texas is one of those covered jurisdiction.

Today, the DoJ objected to the new law after determining that the state had not met it's "burden of showing that a submitted change [to an election law] has neither a discriminatory purpose nor a discriminatory effect"...

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

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Republicans also face setback on similarly disenfranchising law in TX, as DoJ files Voting Rights Act objection...
By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2012 4:04pm PT  

In an unambiguous finding stating that "the legislature and governor have exceeded their constitutional authority" and that "voter fraud is no more poisonous to our democracy than voter suppression," a second Dane County Circuit court in less than a week, has determined that the Wisconsin GOP's polling place Photo ID restriction on voters is in strict violation of the state Constitution.

Today, in his 12-page ruling on the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess found that "Act 23," the new law which strips voters of their right to vote unless they are able to produce a state-issued Photo ID at the polling place violates the WI Constitution's Article III which guarantees the right to vote to all state residents who are 18 and over (Section 1) other than in cases where the legislature may place restrictions on convicted felons and those adjudicated to be incompetent (Section 2).

Niess has issued a permanent injunction on the law today, in a complaint filed last October by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin arguing that legally registered voters would be unconstitutionally barred from exercising their guaranteed right to vote under the Republican's new restrictive law.

"The motion documents reveal no disputed issue of material fact requiring further evidentiary proceedings. [The plaintiffs] present a purely legal issue ripe for decision," Niess declared in his ruling, stating that Article III of the state Constitution "is unambiguous, and means exactly what it says."

Last week, in response to a complaint filed the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP, another Dane County Circuit Court Judge, Richard Flanagan, also ruled "Act 23" to be unconstitutional on a similar basis. He had issued a temporary injunction on the law in that case, in advance of the state's April primary elections. A trial is currently scheduled to begin on that complaint next month.

In response to both rulings now, the Republican State Attorney General has vowed to appeal, though both his legal and political basis for doing so may be quickly fading with today's second, nearly-identical finding from a second court.

There are also two complaints pending on a federal basis against the same Republican law in Wisconsin. In none of them has the GOP so far been able to demonstrate a case of voter fraud which might have been prevented by the new law. On the other hand, opponents have detailed a mountain of fact-based evidence demonstrating that otherwise legal voters will ultimately be disenfranchised if the law is allowed to take full effect in advance of this year's Presidential election, and as the state gears up for a new round of recall elections meant to unseat the very Republicans responsible for creating the state's new barrier to voting...

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

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The Wisconsin Governor's creation of a 'legal defense fund' suggests as much...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/11/2012 9:13pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Wisconsin's embattled Governor Scott Walker (R) will almost certainly face a recall election soon, but he is not - repeat - not a target of an ongoing criminal investigation in Milwaukee County...even though last month he hired two criminal defense attorneys to represent him and, on Friday, he announced the creation of an official legal defense fund, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Daniel Bice.

The no-uncertain-terms denial about his status in the criminal probe comes from Walker spokeswoman Ciara Matthews who took pains to note on Friday, as the creation of his legal defense fund was announced: "We reiterate that Gov. Walker has been told that he is not a target of this investigation."

On the other hand, state law only allows for such funds to be created under certain circumstances. Bice notes that according to the state's Government Accountability Board [PDF], "Wisconsin Statutes permit a state government official who is being investigated for or charged with a violation of campaign finance laws or prohibited election practices to establish a 'legal defense fund' for expenditures supporting or defending the candidate while that person is being investigated for, or charged with, or convicted of a violation of those chapters."

So who is telling the truth? There's at least one person who may have an inside track to the Milwaukee prosecutors' long-time investigation, in which four top officials of Walker's have already been snagged, and that insider suggests Walker is likely in trouble...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2012 1:33pm PT  

Last night, Rachel Maddow ran an update on the GOP War on Voting. Her report included a number of items we've covered here recently --- such as the protest by former U.S. Marine Tim Thompson who refused to show a Photo ID when trying to vote under TN's new voter suppression law on Tuesday, the Wisconsin court ruling temporarily blocking the state's Photo ID restrictions after finding it likely violates the WI Constitution's "right to vote" clause.

Here's Maddow's full report...


Maddow also covers several stories that we haven't been able to cover at The BRAD BLOG yet. Among them, the new Photo ID restriction law that was passed yesterday in the Pennsylvania Senate and is likely to become law, if not stopped somehow, this November. As Pennsylvania is not one of the "covered jurisdictions" subject to preclearance of new election laws by Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act, it would be another excellent candidate, like the one in Wisconsin, for challenge by the DoJ under Section 2 of that act, as our own legal analyst Ernie Canning persuasively argued recently.

Another story in Maddow's otherwise excellent report, however, is the one about the 86-year old WWII Vet in Ohio who was unable to vote on a normal ballot Tuesday, because his Veteran's ID didn't have his address on it. According to the The Plain Dealer's coverage:

“My beef is that I had to pay a driver to take me up there because I don’t walk so well and have to use this cane and now I can’t even vote,” said Paul Carroll, 86, who has lived in Aurora nearly 40 years, running his own business, Carroll Tire, until 1975.

“I had to stop driving, but I got the photo ID from the Veterans Affairs instead, just a month or so ago. You would think that would count for something. I went to war for this country, but now I can’t vote in this country.”

It's a horrible story, but on this one, Maddow appears to have been in slight error in her coverage...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2012 8:09pm PT  

After a month off for KPFK's latest fund drive, The BradCast was finally back today in its normal Wednesday 3pm slot on Pacifica Radio's L.A. affiliate (and on other fine networks as well.)

On today's show I was joined by Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net to discuss the madness of Obama's policies for targeting U.S. citizens as "terrorists" without due process, as discussed by AG Eric Holder earlier this week; a Green News Report segment with a major audio glitch and Desi Doyen live in studio; PLUS: the story of IN Sec. of State Charlie White getting off virtually scot-free for three counts of felony voter fraud, the former U.S. Marine who pushed back against the GOP's polling place Photo ID restrictions in TN this week, the good news out of WI concerning that state GOP's own attempt to suppress Democratic-leaning voters and MUCH MORE! Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online right here [appx 58 mins]...

P.S. I don't always get to post archive for The BradCast here, but you can subscribe to the RSS feed for free right here, or otherwise check the KPFK archive page for the show right here.

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Judge issues temporary injunction; Describes law as 'unconstitutional,' 'restrictive,' 'extremely broad and largely needless'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2012 7:50pm PT  

Great news for voters today in Wisconsin, via Project Vote...

Wisconsin voters will not need to show ID to vote in the April 3 primary and local general election, thanks to a Dane County judge who granted a temporary injunction against the new law today.

Circuit Judge David Flanagan called the voter ID measure “the single most restrictive voter eligibility law” in the nation, according to the Associated Press.

“The NAACP’s Milwaukee branch and immigration rights group Voces de la Frontera sued over the law last year. A trial on whether to grant a permanent injunction is scheduled for April 16,” AP reports.

The groups asserted that more than 220,000 eligible voters would be unable to prove identity to vote under the new law.

“The scope of the impairment has been shown to be serious, extremely broad and largely needless,” Flanagan wrote in his court order. “There is no doubt that the plaintiffs have shown a very substantial likelihood of success on the merits.”

The state is expected to appeal the decision.

“It’s a solid victory for voting rights and all voters in the state of Wisconsin,” said Richard Saks, attorney for the NAACP. “It’s a win for the hundreds of thousands who have difficulty or find it impossible to get voter ID under Act. 23,” Saks said.

In granting the temporary injunction, Flanagan's 11-page order [PDF] "concludes that the plaintiffs have demonstrated the probability of success as well as the likelihood of irreperable harm," in their original complaint which is set for trial beginning next month. The case, Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Scott Walker, is based solely on the argument that Act 23 is in violation of the WI state constitution. Flanagan's ruling is grounded in a fundamentally conservative interpretation of the state constitution's guaranteed right to vote, and on historic precendents where the state Supreme Court has decided in favor of that right over legislative laws affecting that right to the disadvantage of the voter.

Today's ruling is the first judicial blow against the vote suppressing law passed by Republicans in the wake of their 2010 electoral victory in the Badger State. There are now at least four different legal complaints filed against Wisconsin's Act 23 challenging both the state and federal Constitutionality of the law. The most recent suit was filed late last month, and detailed by our own Ernest Canning who also calls for the U.S. Dept. of Justice to intervene in the case in order to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act in Wisconsin, on the basis of racial discrimination.

Late last year the ACLU filed a 54-page federal class action complaint on behalf of some 17 named plaintiffs, including elderly, student, minority and even veteran voters, all of whom may otherwise be unable to cast their once-legal vote under the state's new law passed by its GOP legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. Scott Walker in 2011.

The lead plaintiff in that case, 86-year old Ruthelle Frank, is disabled and was born at home. She never had a birth certificate. Though she's been legally voting in every election since 1948 and is an elected member of the Brokaw Village Board, she may have to pay more than $200 in order to have a birth certificate created and typos in her name, as recorded by the state registrar, corrected before she can receive the "free" state-issued Photo ID that would allow her to vote under the new law.

Even younger, more able-bodied voters have had problems jumping through some of the hoops required to obtain a so-called "free" ID in Wisconsin, as documented on video tape last summer by a woman attempting to help her son obtain one from the state DMV.

In a small primary in the state late last month, the first full implementation of the statute, a number of voters were reportedly denied their right to vote --- at polling places where they had legally voted for years prior --- after they were unable to present Photo ID which met the state's new draconian restrictions. For now, at least for the upcoming April primary in Wisconsin, those restrictions will mercifully be on hold.

* * *

UPDATE: Flanagan's ruling was extremely powerful and likely very difficult to rebut, short of an out-and-out activist ruling by the Right-leaning state Supreme Court. (They've done it before, so I wouldn't put it past them.) I've posted a few additional snippets from Flanagan's must-read decision in comments below. Our legal analyst Ernest Canning, who has been closely covering the WI challenges to Act 23, has also now rung in with a few more thoughts on Flanagan's decision there as well.

* * *
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). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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'I took the oath to prevent these kinds of laws'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2012 11:48am PT  

55-year old former U.S. Marine Tim Thompson was turned away from the polls today, Super Tuesday 2012, in the state of Tennessee, after refusing to present a photo ID before voting, as required by a new law recently passed by Republicans.

Thompson was documented by videographers attempting to cast his vote under the new polling place Photo ID restrictions instituted by TN's Republican-majority legislature and signed into law last year by the state's Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

The former Lance Corporal, who left the service in 1978, has lived in Nashville since 2004 when he first cast his vote at the same precinct where he was turned away today. In an act of protest, planned in advance and video-taped by a number of media outlets, Thompson refused to show any more than the voter registration card he has previously used for voting in the state.

Video of the confrontation that ensued is posted below.

"This is my voter registration card," Thompson said as he challenged the poll supervisor. "I've used this for 37 years. This was good enough for my father. This was good enough for my grandfather, and I refuse to show you a picture ID"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2012 3:12pm PT  

Late on Friday, the U.S. Dept. of Justice filed an objection in Washington D.C. federal court to new laws limiting voting and voter registration rights in the state of Florida. TPM's Ryan Reilly broke the news just before midnight last night.

The DoJ is said to be calling for a trial in the D.C. court, where the state of Florida had previously filed suit in order to avoid the federal "preclearance" process under the Voting Rights Process for its new restrictive election laws. The new laws institute harsh penalties for third-party voter registration organizations and individuals who fail to turn in new voter registration forms to elections officials within 48 hours of them being completed. The statute would also cut early voting hours nearly in half.

The new voter registration restrictions, passed by Republicans in the state following the 2010 election, has led groups like the non-partisan Florida League of Women Voters, which had been registering new voters in the state for some 70 years, to cancel their registration program citing stiff new penalties which, they say, put the organization and its registration workers at great legal risk. Both the Florida LWV and Rock the Vote, which focuses on voter registration for young voters, have previously filed their own lawsuit challenging the Constitutionality of the new voter registration laws in the state of Florida.

Over the past several months, a number of high-school teachers, incredibly enough, have been charged under the new law for registering their own students to vote. Last November, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow covered the topic in an interview with the Supervisor of Elections of Volusia County, FL, who, though she is a Republican, said she felt "sick to her stomach" after being forced to turn in one of those teachers to law enforcement officials.

On Thursday night, Comedy Central's The Colbert Report ran a somewhat more amusing, if equally disturbing, take on the issue, focusing on one of the teacher's snagged by Florida law enforcement for "voter registration fraud" under the draconian new restrictions...

Section 5 the Voting Rights Act (VRA), requires certain jurisdictions, including parts or all of 16 different states with a history of racial discrimination, to receive "preclearance" from the DoJ for all new election-related laws, or otherwise receive approval for the new laws from the federal district court in D.C. During the DoJ preclearance process for Florida's new laws, the agency requested more information about them from the state, which includes five difference "covered" counties. Instead of responding, Florida decided to avoid DoJ judgment all together by taking their case directly to the D.C. court instead.

According to TPM's Reilly, the DoJ stated in their filing in that same court last night...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 2/29/2012 3:35pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

Last September's hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights established that polling place photo ID restriction laws have nothing to do with eliminating "voter fraud."

They are, instead, part of what Judith Browne Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, described at the time as the "largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era" --- part of the partisan, multi-state effort by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-fueled GOP exercise in voter suppression. Her testimony established, yet again, that such laws have a disparate impact upon minorities, the poor, the elderly and students (all of whom happen to have the unfortunate tendency of voting Democratic).

Despite the national nature of this coordinated, well-documented and well-funded assault on minority voting rights, so far the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has confined its legal response to such newly-enacted laws to only the small number of "covered" jurisdictions, for example, South Carolina, that are subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). That section of the law requires federal preclearance for new election-related laws in those "covered" jurisdictions, since they each have demonstrated a long history of racial discrimination.

The narrow action taken by the DoJ to date, as based only on Section 5 of the VRA, could all change if they took the time to study the content of the new complaint, Jones v. Deininger [PDF], as filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The complaint alleges that Wisconsin's new polling place photo ID law ("Act 23") "is a voter suppression law that burdens African-American and Latino voters most heavily [which]...results in them having 'less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice,' and, thereby, constitutes a denial and abridgment of their right to vote in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act."

The complaint in Jones, which was signed by attorney Charles T. Curtis, Jr. of Arnold & Porter, LLP, seeks to enjoin the implementation of Wisconsin's Act 23 and a declaration that it violates Section 2 of the VRA. When asked whether he contemplates seeking a preliminary injunction on the new law prior to the next election, Curtis was only able to tell The BRAD BLOG at this time that they "want to move the case as quickly as the Court will allow, and plan to request a pretrial conference to discuss motion and briefing schedules."

The additional question remains, however, will the U.S. DoJ defend federal law by opting to join this lawsuit as a plaintiff?...

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