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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, September 1, 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...
Video Captures GA Family Disowning, Assaulting 20-Year Old Gay Son
But there is a "happy" ending, of sorts, to this heartbreaking and disturbing story...
'Green News Report' 8/28/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
BP refinery explodes. Again.; UN report warns of 'irreversible' warming; Fines for oil, chem spills; 22% of world elec. is now green; PLUS: People's Climate March coming to NYC...
Previous GNRs: 8/26/14 - 8/21/14 - Archives...
Faking the Ferguson Docs:
KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad interviews open records advocate Charlie Grapski on his evidence that Ferguson and St. Louis County police are illegally withholding evidence in the killing of Michael Brown; Plus MUCH more...
Records Requests Suggest Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Involved in Cover-Up
How else to explain the missing details and required documentation of Officer Darren Wilson's killing of Michael Brown?...
'Green News Report' 8/26/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Napa earthquake is a warning for CA's nuke plants; Another coal plant bites the dust; Cutting emissions will save $$$; PLUS: Fighting drought with a 'salmon cannon'...Yep...
Previous GNRs: 8/21/14 - 8/19/14 - Archives...
Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
Trouble keeping up with all the court cases barring, then allowing, then barring the GOP's Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin? Let us catch you up quickly with the latest...
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...
Obama Orders Review of Police Militarization Program
In response to bi-partisan calls for reform and disturbing display by militarized local police in Ferguson, MO, the President takes aim at controversial Pentagon program...
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...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
Is this another 'oops' moment from the Repub TX Governor and 2016 hopeful? Or something else entirely?...
'Green News Report' 8/21/14
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; Solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
Rep. Hank Johnson on Ferguson and Demilitarizing the Police: KPFK 'BradCast'
The Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district joins Bradto discuss his new bill...
Republicans Call Ferguson Voter Registration 'Disgusting'
Rightwingers decry effort 'to register Democratic voters' following the killing of Michael Brown...
Seriously, Ferguson Police?
The front page of the Post-Dispatch reminds again how ridiculous the era of post-9/11 Wars has become; Plus: another comparison to the Bundy Bunch...
'Green News Report' 8/19/14
OR nixes coal export facility; July 2014 4th hottest; Fracking industry illegally using diesel, threatening water; PLUS GOP officials secretly accept climate science...
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
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'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
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

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...


By Ernest A. Canning on 9/23/2011 7:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

A nearly two-hour hearing in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights earlier this month (full video available here), carefully examined the partisan, multi-state effort by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-fueled GOP effort to enact new state voting laws across the country.

The coordinated, nationwide GOP voter suppression effort was aptly described by Judith Browne Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, and a witness in the second three-member panel, as "the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era."

"Our country has not seen such widespread attempts to disenfranchise voters as we have seen this year in more than a century. Inclusive democracy is under attack," she testified, while Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) described the "brazen" GOP attempts to undermine the right to vote.

Subcommittee Chair and Senate Majority Whip, Dick Durbin (D-IL) broke the new state voting laws into three major categories, and the discussions of each are worth covering here over two different articles. In Part 1 here, we'll cover the first category: Polling place Photo ID laws restricting the ability of lawfully registered voters to cast their ballot on Election Day. The hearing produced several remarkable face-offs, including between Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and long-time GOP "voter fraud" front man Hans von Spakovsky (cue James Bond villain music), as detailed below.

In Part 2, we will cover the discussion of the other two categories at the hearing --- draconian new restrictions on voter registration, and laws which significantly reduce early voting periods --- plus a very troubling event that "reactionaries" have planned for the 2012 election, according to Dianis' testimony [UPDATE: Part 2 is now posted here]...

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

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State AG vows to litigate 'up to U.S. Supreme Court'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/2/2011 8:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

In an Aug. 29, 2011 letter, T. Christian Herren, Jr., Chief of the Obama DOJ's Civil Rights Division, not only demanded that South Carolina, within 60 days, provide additional information about its recently enacted polling place photo ID restriction law, but stated that if SC failed to provide a timely "response...the [U.S.] Attorney General may object to the proposed changes consistent with the burden of proof placed upon the submitting authority."

Herren noted that SC has the "burden of demonstrating" that the new polling place photo ID law was neither enacted "for a discriminatory purpose nor will have a retrogressive effect."

SC's Republican Attorney General, Alan Wilson, in an apparent recognition that pre-clearance is likely to be denied, told those in attendance at a GOP fundraiser that he had "no faith" that the DOJ "will do the right thing." He vowed to litigate the matter "up to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary."

As The BRAD BLOG previously reported, on Aug. 5 the ACLU submitted a 15-page letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seeking a denial of pre-clearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of South Carolina’s polling place photo ID restriction law. The letter argues that proponents’ unsubstantiated claims of "voter fraud" were but a pretext for unlawful discrimination and that statistics suggest that the new law would operate as an illegal poll tax, especially for the disproportionate number of African Americans who live below the federal poverty level in the state.

Last Friday, SC's Senate Democrats weighed in as well, asking the DOJ to deny pre-clearance for what they contend is the nation's harshest polling place ID restrictions, which could potentially disenfranchise, for example, someone whose driver's license has been suspended.

While denial of pre-clearance due to the retrogressive effect of photo ID restrictions in SC would be a positive step, it will not serve to protect democracy and the sanctity of the vote in other jurisdictions not subject to pre-clearance under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As described by John Nichols in The Nation (see video below), and again by Ari Berman in Rolling Stone --- as we detailed yesterday --- state-after-state across the nation has come under a well-coordinated assault by the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and GOP legislators bent on rigging electoral outcome as part of their war on the middle class...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2011 10:43pm PT  

I was joined today by The Nation's Ari Berman on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show to discuss his new article today in Rolling Stone on "The GOP War on Voting". See my report on his article from earlier in the day right here.

This was an important discussion about an important article about one of the most important issues to directly effect the outcome of virtually every election in the nation in 2012. None of that, apparently, given what the rest of the MSM decided to cover today, is any where near as important as whether John Boehner will allow the President to speak to a joint session of Congress on Sept 7th or or whether it'll have to be on Sept 8th, and whether Christine O'Donnell or Sarah Palin will appear at a "Tea Party" event this weekend in Iowa.

And you wonder why we're in the mess we're in.

My conversation on "The GOP War on Voting" with Ari Berman today follows...

Download MP3 or listen online here [appx 27 mins]...

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New Republican-passed voting restrictions for 2012 lead experts to warn there could be 'chaos in a dozen states as voters find themselves barred from the polls'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2011 12:21pm PT  

[NOTE: Ari Berman, author of the article discussed below, joined me on my KPFK/Pacifica Radio show today. That interview is now posted here. - BF]

* * *

While readers of The BRAD BLOG may be familiar with many of the items covered in Ari Berman's fine new article "The GOP War on Voting" at Rolling Stone today (and in its Sept 15, 2011 issue on newsstands), it's great to have a summary of all of the latest state-based assaults on voting rights instituted to date, in the wake of last year's Republican wave election, all in one place.

Berman covers all of these and more in his piece on the "unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008," described by one civil rights advocate as "the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century"...

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

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Can case receive fair hearing before WI's partisan Supreme Court?
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/24/2011 11:13am PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

The League of Women Voters in Wisconsin announced it will file a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court charging that the Badger State's newly-enacted polling place photo ID restriction law violates the state's Constitution.

From a strictly legal perspective, the decision by the League's attorney Lester Pines to challenge the new photo ID law pursuant to the state's Constitution is significant.

Under Equal Protection analysis, any impartial jurist would readily understand that the statute does not meet the heightened scrutiny that accompanies the fact that, under the WI Constitution, voting is deemed a "fundamental right."

While certain exclusions are allowed in the Constitution, such as laws which exclude felons or those whom the state deems "mentally incompetent," the language explicitly notes that "every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident" of Wisconsin may cast a vote.

But therein lies the rub. Absent the removal of Justice David Prosser in connection with the allegations that he choked Justice Ann Walsh-Bradley, as is currently being investigated by a special prosecutor, the League's constitutional challenge will run smack dab into a WI Supreme Court that sports a 4-3 majority of partisan ideologues in robes...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 8/7/2011 7:44pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Last Friday, Aug. 5, in a 15-page letter [PDF], the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked the U.S. Department of Justice to deny pre-clearance of South Carolina's photo ID law, as signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley (R), pursuant to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Pre-clearance must be denied if the law was enacted for a discriminatory purpose or if it has "the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color."

As the Voting Rights Act of 1965 addressed specific barriers to voting that had been enacted by the Jim Crow South, the ACLU letter, of necessity, focuses upon the disproportionate impact upon South Carolina's African-American electorate who are amongst the 178,175 registered South Carolina voters who do not possess the forms of photo identification required by the state's new polling place Photo ID restriction law. However, the ACLU's discussion of pretextual justifications for the Palmetto State's new law exposes a GOP intent to suppress the vote on the basis of class as well as race not only in South Carolina but in the spate of similar photo ID laws that are being pushed in state after state by the GOP, and supported by their paid partisan shills in the right-wing media...

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

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Latest Rightwing propagandist paid to make stuff up about ACORN to bolster GOP voter suppression laws...
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2011 8:39am PT  

Matthew Vadum will lie about anything he needs to in order to collect his wingnut welfare paychecks apparently. American values such as democracy be damned. It's partisan politics (and paychecks) at all costs.

Vadum has, of late, taken over from the disgraced Bush/Cheney general counsel turned fake "voting rights advocate" Thor Hearne of the fake "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), and the disgraced liar John Fund of the Wall Street Journal as the moment's GOP master of media misinformation meant to confuse the public about polling place Photo ID restriction laws passed by the GOP in statehouses around the country over the past few months in order to suppress the legal Democratic-leaning vote in advance of 2012.

Like Hearne and Fund before him, he's very good at his job. He's very aggressive. And there is little he is unwilling to blatantly, if cleverly, lie about to fool his gullible constituency.

Vadum's latest misinformative article, as published by Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller and, predictably, echoed around the intellectually dishonest and incurious wingnut blogosphere last week, picks up where his recently published propaganda book about ACORN leaves off.

That book, which he was kind enough to send us a copy of recently, is pitched on its cover and its publicity sheet as an exposé uncovering the truth behind the former four-decade old community organization who he describes as "Ballot Box Stuffers," "Urban Terrorists," and "Gangsters."

That his silly book fails to detail even a single ballot box "stuffed" by ACORN is little surprise. There exists no actual evidence, after all, of any illegal vote ever having been cast by any voter who was improperly registered by an ACORN worker. But this is all politics as usual to partisans like Vadum. So preposterous propaganda meant to directly undermine American democracy is merely all in a days work for dudes like him.

The same disingenuous "voter fraud" sleight-of-hand used in his book is once again recycled in his latest "news" article. Like his book, the article is meant to do little more than dishonestly reinforce support for reprehensible voter suppression laws that offer an advantage to Republicans at the ballot box. As Vadum knows, it's far easier for Republicans to "win" elections by keeping their opposition from being able to cast their legal votes --- and certainly easier than risking jail time by gaming electronic voting systems --- than it would be to actually garner popular support for their actual agenda. That's the game for which Vadum gets paid.

He's a rather silly man, and its child's play, naturally, to demonstrate, using his own words --- as we've been doing similarly for years with now-disgraced 'voter fraud' fraudsters like Hearne and Fund --- how Vadum knowingly lies to his constituency. But we guess it's necessary to do it one more time here with Vadum, if only to place it on the Internet record to help those who don't know about him or his pernicious scam, and how it's meant to mislead otherwise good folks with clever "voter fraud" rhetoric that represents the problem as something far different than what it actually is....

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/27/2011 6:10pm PT  

On my Pacifica Radio show today on KPFK in Los Angeles, I discussed yesterday's report at The BRAD BLOG concerning the woman who was forced to jump ridiculous hoops while trying to help her son get Photo ID at the Wisconsin DMV in the wake of the new GOP voter suppression law there which institutes polling place Photo ID restrictions before legal voters are allowed to cast their legal vote.

By the way, I spoke to the woman today --- who'd like to be identified only as Nicole --- and she made clear that her video was not secretly taped (as, for example, James O'Keefe's ACORN hoax tapes were). Her video camera was on the table and in plain sight the whole time, she told me.

As seen (and heard) in her video tape, during the process of trying to get the Photo ID for free at the DMV, as allowed by the new statute, the son's bank statements were rifled through, and questioned as to whether they showed enough "activity" on them. Also, they were almost charged $28 for the "free" ID, which brought up questions as to why the WI DMV policy is to charge applicants, unless they know to "request" the ID for no charge.

I also took the opportunity during the show to offer a bit more background context, including a 1980 sound clip from Paul Weyrich, one of the "conservative" movement godfathers, during which he calls for fewer people to be allowed to vote. "Quite candidly," he said to the convention of Baptist ministers where Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell also spoke, "our leverage in elections goes up when the voting populace goes down."

That's what all of this is about. He says it quite plainly in the video tape.

Weyrich went on to found the non-profit American Legislative Exchange Counsel (ALEC), the group of Rightwingers said to be responsible for writing the polling place Photo ID restriction laws being passed by Republicans now in state after state. I also share some hard stats on who will actually be affected by these laws (and who will not.) And, for good measure, I tossed in some Stephen Colbert speaking about Photo ID and "voter fraud" as well.

Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 28 mins]...

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Bank statement examined for 'activity'; 'Free' ID must be specifically 'requested' by voter, DOT official concedes to BRAD BLOG
DMV Supervisor: 'They shouldn't even be doing any of it'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/26/2011 5:58pm PT  

"This is what voter suppression looks like."

Those are the words on the final title card in the video [embedded below] shot by a Wisconsin woman documenting her experience at the DMV in Madison last week. The video purports to illustrate the ridiculous extra, and invasive, efforts many previously-legal voters in the Badger State will now likely face in order to exercise their right to vote in the state since the passage of the GOP majority's newly enacted voter suppression laws.

In this case, the woman was trying to help her son get a free Photo ID at the DMV, as is his right under the new statutes. At first she was told the charge for the supposedly-free ID would be $28, and that was only after she convinced a clerk that there had been enough "activity" in her son's bank account, as used by the clerk to determine whether or not he actually resided in the state.

And that was for an affluent white resident. If you're a homeless person in WI, as the woman's interview with another clerk in the video suggests, you can pretty much just forget about being able to vote at all under the new law.

An official at the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation confirmed to The BRAD BLOG that those seeking the Photo ID for free must actually know to request it during the application process, as required by the language, she told us, in the new state statute...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/22/2011 1:54pm PT  

Prepping for tonight's Malloy Show, so very quickly, this from Wednesday night's Colbert Report. Can't tell you how nice it is, after so many years, that I'm no longer one of the very few yelling and screaming about this shit...

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By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2011 1:46pm PT  

We were off the grid for much of last week, blissfully ignorant somewhere in the mountains of Arizona, as the first of Wisconsin's series of state Senate recall-related elections took place last Tuesday. Thanks to, quite literally, "fake Democrats" put up by the state Republican Party, the six elections held last Tuesday were forced to be Democratic primary elections, instead of Republican recall elections, as the state GOP hoped to game the system to buy more time before six of their state Senators will be forced to face the real recall elections.

Last week's, largely pointless elections cost the state nearly half a million bucks. Remember that fake "budget emergency" the GOP and Scott Walker claimed as their reason for the need to strip the right of citizens to collectively bargain with the state? Guess the state wasn't in such dire straits after all, since they could afford to blow money on elections meant only to buy Republicans time to stave off the unprecedented recall challenges.

The real recall elections to unseat six Republican state Senators are now scheduled for August, as all six of the real Democrats soundly defeated each of the Republicans' "fake Democrats" in last week's primaries. At least according to Wisconsin's unverified, computer-tabulated results. 5 of the 6 real Dems reportedly received over 60% of the vote against their fake opponents. One received 54%.

Yesterday, there were three more elections in the Badger State. One actual recall election against a Democratic state Senator, and two Republican primaries featuring real GOP candidates vying for the nomination to take on the other two Democratic state Senators facing recall elections scheduled for August.

The Dem facing the recall yesterday handily defeated his Republican challenger, but we'll defer to Daily Kos' David Nir for his smart summary of the computer-reported results...

• SD-30: The first general election of the recalls featured Dem state Sen. Dave Hansen vs. Republican Dave Vanderleest. It was an utter blowout, as expected, with Hansen crushing Vanderleest by a score of 66-34. This takes one defensive hold off the table, meaning that only two more Democrats face recalls. I should also mention that Daily Kos's polling partner, Public Policy Polling, nailed this race — something that's not easy to do in such a lopsided affair — pegging the contest at 62-34 Hansen over the weekend.

SD-12: Kim Simac won the Republican primary over Robert Lussow by a 59-41 spread. Simac is a hard-core movement conservative who writes Tea Party-themed children's books. Lussow didn't have a lot to recommend him either, but most Democrats seem to be pleased that Simac was the victor, given her profile. She'll face state Sen. Jim Holperin, the most vulnerable of the three Democrats up for recall, on Aug. 16.

SD-22: Jonathan Steitz beat Fred Ekornaas for the right to take on Dem state Sen. Bob Wirch by a 66-34 margin. It's hard to say which candidate is "better" for us, as both have their flaws, though some have pointed out that Steitz lives a mile from the Illinois border and works at a Chicago law firm, thus raising questions about his Badger State bonafides. The Steitz-vs.-Wirch contest will also take place on Aug. 16.

If the state Dems are able to pick up just three of the Republican seats, out of the six in contention next month --- without losing either of the two remaining recall elections that the Dems still face --- they'll take the majority back from the Republicans to effectively neuter the hard Right Republican Gov. Scott Walker agenda until he too is likely to be up for his own recall election next year.

In Wisconsin, however, as in all of our states at this point, the wild cards are always the electronic voting systems and access to them. To that end, there are a few more recently-related items of note to make sure you have on your radar. At least two of them involve "our old friend" and transparent democracy's enemy, Kathy Nickolaus, the now-infamous Republican County Clerk of Waukesha County...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2011 11:11am PT  

I'd like to take the opportunity, before we get closer to the 2012 election cycle and things change for the worse in the Buckeye State (and as I prepare to step off the grid, and into the mountains for the bulk of the week), to laud Ohio's new Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted for his willingness to stand up for voters by bucking his party and standing against the polling place Photo ID restrictions the GOP is working to implement in his state.

Husted made his opposition plain in a statement late last month, after attempting to work with the General Assembly in order to craft an acceptable election reform bill [emphasis added]:

“I want to be perfectly clear, when I began working with the General Assembly to improve Ohio’s elections system it was never my intent to reject valid votes. I would rather have no bill than one with a rigid photo identification provision that does little to protect against fraud and excludes legally registered voters' ballots from counting."

As The BRAD BLOG has had to explain far too many times over the years --- as based on empirical academic studies and even hard data from George W. Bush's own Dept. of Justice --- legislation implimented in order to restrict access to the polling place as based, ostensibly, on assertions of the incredibly rare crime of voter impersonation at the polls, is meant to do nothing more than suppress voters --- specifically, minority, urban, elderly, and student (read: Democratic-leaning) ones.

Some 18% of the country's legal electorate in this country do not possess the type of IDs required by these laws, and are likely to be disenfranchised or forced to pay a poll tax in order to exercise their legal right to vote, even though polling place impersonation is almost as rare as unicorns and leprechauns.

To that end, while I suspect we may end up taking various issue with Husted's positions or rulings in the future on related matters as the 2012 Presidential election looms in the always contentious state of Ohio, we'd just like to go on record for the moment here, to congratulate him for his intellectually honest stand on behalf of the voters of his state on this particular issue.

Thank you, sir.

P.S. Here's a slightly --- but only slightly --- more cynical take on the above.

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Former President slams 'disciplined, passionate, determined effort by GOP to keep most of you from voting next time'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/7/2011 5:28pm PT  

Yesterday...

PRESIDENT CLINTON: I can’t help thinking, since we just celebrated the Fourth of July and we’re supposed to be a country dedicated to liberty, that one of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time. There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the other Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.

Getting rid of same-day registration. Some states getting rid of all advanced voting. Governor of Florida proposed to reverse his Republican predecessor’s signing of a bill that gave people the right to vote when they got out of prison and they’d finished they’re [sic] probation period, even if they didn’t have a pardon—that’s one of the most important things we can do. Why should we disenfranchise people forever once they pay their price? Cause most of them in Florida were African Americans and Hispanics and would tend to vote for Democrats, that’s why.

Why do we want to get rid of same day registration? Why has New Hampshire made it almost impossible for college students who come from other states but live in New Hampshire most of the year to vote there? Why is all this going on? This is not rocket science. They are trying to make the 2012 electorate look more like the 2010 electorate than the 2008 electorate.

Happily, since we're on the road, we'll associate with Think Progress' Ian Millhiser today who offers more background news on this and the GOP's War on Voting, in which he accurately concludes: "It’s much easier for the GOP to win the game, after all, if they can make it impossible for the other team’s players to even take the field."

[Hat-tip Blue Girl.]

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By Brad Friedman on 6/24/2011 1:15pm PT  

As a new report from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) [PDF] is released today, documenting a rapid rise in U.S. Islamophobia and asserting that anti-Muslim rhetoric in this country has doubled between 2009 and 2010 for some odd reason, I'm reminded of one of my favorite calls from the past week sitting in as guest host of the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show on radio.

"Josh", a Right-leaning caller from Madison, WI and a self-identified "civil" and "very fair" person was incredulous that Wisconsin's new voter-suppressing polling place Photo ID restrictions would actually disenfranchise any voters, since they would have a year, he said, to get themselves one if they didn't already have one.

Most telling, though, was the way "Josh" --- a seemingly nice guy, but one who has been used and abused by the folks on the Right who are playing him for an idiot --- began his call explaining what a fair person he was because, as he informed me, he "used to have a Muslim co-worker" with whom he was able to "sit and talk". They even "used to be able to debate" without, presumably, the Muslim co-worker trying to blow him up or, I guess, vice versa!

Here's my amusing/distressing conversation with "Josh" from the Tuesday, June 21 Mike Malloy Show. [Appx 4.5 mins]...

Sigh...

* * *

By the way, here's some information on those 80- and 90-year old nuns turned away from the polling place in 2008 for lack of Photo ID, as I mentioned in reply to "Josh" during the call. And here are the remarkable hoops those nuns, and everybody else in Indiana, must now jump through in order to keep their vote from being completely thrown out if they don't happen to have an Indiana-issued Photo ID on Election Day.

Ironic, all of that, particularly in light of Charlie White, Indiana's new Republican Sec. of State (charged with overseeing the state's election laws), who is currently facing 7 felony indictments, 3 of them for voter fraud, which, curiously enough, were not detected or deterred by Indiana's draconian, voter-suppressing, polling place Photo ID restrictions. But, I guess, he's not a 90-year old nun, a student, or a WWII veteran.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2011 3:47pm PT  

More from the toon's artist, Joel Pett:

Republicans made huge gains in the 2010 elections, promising to improve the economy. Isn’t it funny that the economy is now going back down? What isn’t funny is that 33 states — all with Republican controlled legislatures — have passed laws that make it more difficult to vote.

How can you tell that these laws are politically motivated? Well, in Texas, you can use a concealed handgun permit to identify yourself to vote, but you can’t use a student ID. And in Florida, they also restricted efforts by the League of Women Voters to register new voters. Proponents say the new laws are necessary to prevent voter fraud, but election law experts say that there is little evidence of voter fraud in US elections.

ReddIt this story!



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