Say it, don't spray it! Am I right, Mike Huckabee?!
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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...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
Say it, don't spray it! Am I right, Mike Huckabee?!
Last week we wrote about Venango County, PA's landmark independent forensic audit of their 100% unverifiable ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting machines. The heavily-Republican county will be moving to paper ballots this November, as their systems are now being examined by computer scientists from Carnegie Mellon University following what Marybeth Kuznik of the non-partisan Election Integrity group VotePA.us described to us as "numerous reports of vote-flipping, candidates missing from screens, write-ins missing, and high undervote rates in their May 17 Primary."
In our coverage last week, we highlighted the comments of Venango's Republican Election Director Craig Adams who asked at a presser, as the examination finally got underway following months of legal wrangling and opposition, "What is a vote worth?"
"If the vote is counted it is priceless," he continued. "If it is not counted, I don't care what it costs. Let's get a right."
On Friday night, as I was guest hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show last week, Adams was kind enough to call in to the show. [Audio posted below.] We didn't know we'd hear from him, but when he called in I was delighted to take his call, as he had more information to share on what had led to his Election Board --- currently comprised of two Republicans and one Democrat --- fighting together to move to paper ballots, and to see their machines independently examined.
"It started with an election in 2008 when the machines were basically showing a large number of undervotes," he explained. "And then there were candidates for positions in the county and they had zero votes, but there was like 250 or 260 undervotes..."
"Wait a minute," I interrupted. "There were people who had zero votes on the ballot? Is that normal?," I asked.
"No. No, it is not normal," he responded bluntly. "And so, ya know, that was a red flag"...
This story is heart breaking, appalling, and just the first of many similar that we're likely to hear as new voter suppression laws, jammed through by Republican legislatures around the country, take effect before next year's 2012 Presidential election cycle.
Dorothy Cooper is a 96-year old African-American woman from Tennessee. Born before women even had the right to vote, she's now been voting religiously for some 70 years without a problem, even before the Voting Rights of 1965 during the the Jim Crow-era in the South. At least until now.
The newly-elected GOP legislature in her state has rammed through a disenfranchising polling-place Photo ID restriction law which has now made it incredibly difficult for Cooper to cast her legal vote, just like some 500,000 legal and largely Democratic-leaning voters in Tennessee.
As Rachel Maddow details below, Cooper has never had a driver's license. So, at 96 years old, she worked to make her way to the DMV in advance of next year's election and presented her birth certificate and all sorts of other identifying documents in order to receive the supposedly "free" state ID she is legally entitled to receive under the new law so that she can once again cast a vote next year.
However, as Cooper has gotten married since birth and her name has thus changed in the bargain, she was denied the ID, as she was unable to find and produce her marriage certificate to prove that she was who she said she was.
Welcome to your 2012 elections in the "world's greatest Democracy"...
Now THIS is what democracy looks like. Some really great news via Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress...
Ohio's new law would have overturned many of the improvements instituted in the Buckeye State by former Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner (D) after she took over from the corrupt J. Kenneth Blackwell (R) and his abhorrent, um, administration of the 2004 Presidential election there.
ThinkProgress' Tanya Somanader summarizes some of the new law's appalling restrictions on voting like this...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
Since taking power in statehouses across the nation in 2010, Republicans have been feverishly implementing new restrictions on democracy in advance of the 2012 Presidential election. A number of those laws, clearly --- and often deceptively --- designed to carve out blatant partisan advantage for the GOP next year, were examined during a recent hearing by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. The video of the hearing on "New State Voting Laws: Barriers to the Ballot" can be viewed here.
This is the second of our two-part analysis of the hearing.
In Part 1, we covered the subcommittee's examination of new polling place photo ID restrictions designed to make it more difficult for lawfully registered (and disproportionately Democratic-leaning) voters to cast their ballots at the precincts on Election Day. That issue --- which included some devastating cross-examination of long-time GOP "voter fraud" front-man Hans Von Spakovsky by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) --- was the first of three categories, as defined by committee chair Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) of new state voting laws covered in the hearings. All of the new voter suppression laws have been recently rammed through Republican-majority statehouses across the country.
In this concluding piece, we will cover the two additional categories examined: laws erecting barriers to the ability of individuals and non-partisan, non-governmental organizations to offer convenient registration for new voters and laws imposing significant reductions on early voting periods. Both are likely to restrict the number of voters able to cast their lawful vote in 2012 and, again, each is likely to disproportionately affect Democratic-leaning voters.
Finally, We'll also touch upon the status of legal challenges to these new laws by democracy proponents and challenges to the Voting Rights Act itself by operatives on the Right. Moreover, it's impossible to look at any of these issues without drawing inferences about what the combination of new laws in all three categories means, particularly in light of the fact that the models for these new laws were drafted by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)...
There are two important late Friday announcements from the newly revived, post-Bush Voting Unit at U.S. Dept. of Justice's Civil Rights Division this afternoon. In both cases, they've raised serious concerns about discrimination by Republican Presidential front-runner Rick Perry's Texas against Hispanic and African-American voters.
Given the Lone Star State's history of discrimination against racial minorities, new laws and regulations which relate to elections and voting must be pre-cleared by the Dept. of Justice before they can be put into effect, as per Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act.
In one finding, the DoJ sees purposeful discrimination against minorities in the state's redistricting plans [PDF] for apportioning both new statehouse districts, as well as four new U.S. House seats being added in the wake of the 2010 census. The new seats are being added due to an increase in the TX population, thanks in no small part, ironically enough, to huge growth in the state's Hispanic population. The DoJ finds the proposed statehouse plan violates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, stating that it "was adopted, at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the Texas House of Representatives."
The TX plan for the U.S. House didn't fare much better (see below), with similar findings that minorities are likely to see a "retrogressive effect" in their ability "to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the United States House of Representatives" under Perry's approved scheme.
Moreover, in a letter that echoes questions recently sent by the DoJ to the state of South Carolina about their new polling place Photo ID restrictions, as The BRAD BLOG detailed earlier this month, the DoJ has a series of questions concerning Texas' new, very similar restrictions. As the law mirrors the one in South Carolina --- and in many of the other states where the GOP has been able to ram through similar voter suppression bills over the past year --- many of the questions from the DoJ to TX also ask about the their plans for notification about the law, and issuance of free IDs to the more than 600,000 otherwise-legally qualified voters who don't currently own state-issued ID that would meet the strict new requirements to cast a vote at the polls on Election Day.
In TX, the DoJ voting unit is curious about how many of those residents who don't have such IDs also happen to have Spanish surnames...
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]...
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...
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]...
[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"...
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...
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...
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....
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.
Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 28 mins]...
"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...
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