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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, August 23, 2014
Ryan Ignores, Dismisses Elderly Voter's Question About His Medicare Cuts
2012 GOP Veep nom and 2016 Presidential hopeful has charming way of winning friends and influencing elderly voters in FL...
Perry Tells NH Businessmen His Felony Indictment Was for a 'Bribery' Charge
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  w/ Brad & Desi
Too much rain in AZ desert; Another toxic spill in Ohio River; New solar breakthrough; Wind energy prices hit all-time low; PLUS: Auto-magically cleaning up Baltimore Harbor...
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  w/ Brad & Desi
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CA Supremes Nix Corporate Personhood 'Advisory Measure' from 2014 Ballot
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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?...

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DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
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Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2013 6:59pm PT  

Norm Ornstein of the very conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI), writes this week at National Journal...

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which eviscerated the Voting Rights Act, is leading to a new era of voter suppression that parallels the pre-1960s era—this time affecting not just African-Americans but also Hispanic-Americans, women, and students, among others.

The reasoning employed by Chief Justice John Roberts in Shelby County—that Section 5 of the act was such a spectacular success that it is no longer necessary—was the equivalent of taking down speed cameras and traffic lights and removing speed limits from a dangerous intersection because they had combined to reduce accidents and traffic deaths.

I won't be surprised if history finds the Shelby County ruling, along with Citizens United, to be right up there in the Dred Scott pantheon of terrible rulings by a U.S. Supreme Court. That both occurred within years of each others on the John Roberts Court speaks volumes --- and does not bode well for whatever may still be to come.

How's that for a scary Halloween night posting?...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2013 10:37pm PT  

If you haven't been able to follow Reagan-appointed federal appellate court judge Richard Posner's stunning disavowal of his landmark 2007 polling place Photo ID law ruling - from admitting he got it wrong a few weeks ago...to unconvincingly unadmitting it this week --- I'd hardly blame ya.

On this week's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio, I tried to help make sense of the Photo ID Posner Coaster, as much as possible, and explain where it leaves the continuing fight against the ramped up GOP voter suppression in this country.

We also covered the criminal charges recently filed against repeat offender Diebold (for what the U.S. Attorney described as "a worldwide pattern of criminal conduct"); the new way that KS and AZ have come up with to keep legal voters from voting; and, with NJ Gov. Chris Christie up for re-election next week and taking a bow for his post-"Superstorm Sandy" performance one year ago this week, it seemed a good time to revisit the secret Koch Brothers audio tapes we revealed in 2011, when Christie was lauded at a secret Koch Brothers meeting in Colorado, where brother David introduced him proudly as "my kind of guy", among other praises sung.

Oh, and Desi Doyen joined us, as usual, for the latest Green News Report and lessons --- learned or otherwise --- one year after "Sandy"...

MP3 Download or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2013 6:05am PT  

[This article now cross-published by The Progressive...]

Okay. Now this is beginning to get completely absurd.

In an article at New Republic headlined "I Did Not 'Recant' on Voter ID Laws'," published Monday, 7th Circuit Appellate Court Judge Richard Posner now claims he hasn't actually disavowed his landmark majority opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board after all!

The record will show, however, the Reagan-appointed judge may have a bit of a faulty --- or, at least, selective --- memory.

The Crawford case is the now-infamous 2007 challenge to Indiana's then new polling place Photo ID restriction law which Posner voted to uphold in a 2 to 1 decision. The law was subsequently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008. It is the only high-profile case to uphold such laws as Constitutional, even though Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the controlling opinion at SCOTUS, now believes dissenting Justice David Souter "got the thing correct."

Despite recent comments by Posner, in both his new book and at HuffPo Live, appearing fairly clearly to suggest he now believes he was wrong about his original decision in the case (which is often incorrectly cited by Republican supporters of such disenfranchising laws); and his expressed belief that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals dissenter Judge Terrence Evans "was right"; and his assertion that such laws are "now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than fraud prevention," Posner now appears to be wobbling back again in his latest response to his own controversy...

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

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Reagan-appointed federal judge's about-face on own landmark vote suppression ruling brings attacks, nationwide reverberations...
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2013 6:05am PT  

[This article now cross-published by Salon...]

Perhaps predictably, the Rightwing is now turning on the otherwise well-respected, Reagan-appointed appellate court judge who recently admitted his majority opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections (2007), the landmark polling place Photo ID restriction law case, "was wrong."

Sergio Munoz at Media Matters details the recent --- and, frankly, absurd --- attacks being leveled against Judge Richard Posner by such outlets as National Review Online and long-time discredited GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters like Hans von Spakovsky.

See Munoz for all the details on the sleazy efforts being put forward by the Right's propaganda machine in their desperate attempt to salvage the only high-profile case they are able to cite that supports --- very meekly --- the disenfranchising Photo ID restriction laws they are trying to enact in state-after-state in order to keep Democratic-leaning voters from casting their otherwise legal votes. That, even though Crawford doesn't even actually say what its GOP advocates pretend that it says. (See our coverage of the DoJ's pending case against the Texas GOP's Photo ID law, to get an idea of how the Lone Star state's own Attorney General Greg Abbott is either lying about Crawford, or simply doesn't understand it. Take your pick.)

But I want to highlight a point or two that I haven't been able to cover previously on all of this, including comments given to The BRAD BLOG by one of the Democratic Party's lead attorneys on the original case, after what he describes as Posner's "stunning" admission.

Also, Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the U.S. Supreme Court's controlling decision in Crawford affirming Posner's lower court ruling, offered noteworthy comments as well recently, when he was asked about Posner's admission. Justice Stevens now offers a similar admission about his own SCOTUS ruling in the case...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/25/2013 6:05am PT  

When Don Yelton, North Carolina Republican Party Executive Committee Member and GOP Precinct Chair of Buncombe County, NC tried to explain to The Daily Show that the state's new polling place Photo ID restriction law wasn't racist at all, things went from bad to worse.

Mind you, the "bad" was when he (actually!) claimed that one of his best friends was black! So...you can only imagine what the "worse" was...

Yeah. Pretty amazing. In an interview with Mountain Xpress after the show aired Wednesday night, Yelton said he was pleased with the way the Daily Show had edited the conversation. "The comments that were made, that I said, I stand behind them. I believe them," he told the paper. "To tell you the truth, there were a lot of things I said that they could’ve made me sound worse than what they put up."

But the Republican Party --- currently fighting in court to support the most restrictive voter suppression law to be passed in the nation since the Jim Crow era --- is not quite as pleased. The Buncombe County GOP said in a statement on Facebook, that "Mr. Yelton’s comments do not reflect the belief or feelings of Buncombe republicans, nor do they mirror any core principle that our party is founded upon."

And, late Thursday, as Prachi Gupta at Salon reports, despite initially standing behind his comments, Yelton has now stepped down as the GOP precinct chair in Buncombe County:

Speaking to Pete Kaliner, host of "The Pete Kaliner Show" on WWNC 570 AM, Yelton has officially resigned from his position as precinct chair within the Buncombe County Republican Party.

Nathan West, Communications Director of the Buncombe County GOP, told Salon over the phone that he is worried about the "artificial damage" Yelton has caused the party.

Um, artificial damage?

Gawker reports that Yelton has now also stepped down from his state Republican Party leadership position as well. Moral for Republicans: It's okay to think it and pass laws based on it, just don't say it out loud, please and thanks, and certainly not in front of a TV camera!

* * *

UPDATE: Yelton has a new story. He now says The Daily Show took him out of context (in contrast to what he said previously, as seen above), then goes on to use the n-word to defend himself and calls his local Republican Party "gutless" because says they could have "turn[ed the interview] into a positive" by using it to show they accept all points of view. Seriously. See TPM for more...

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system --- now in our TENTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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UPDATED with response to election law professor Rick Hasen's critique...
By Brad Friedman on 10/16/2013 2:54pm PT  

[This article now cross-published by The Progressive...]

This story just keeps getting more insane.

We recently told you --- at The BRAD BLOG and at Salon --- about Judge Richard Posner's remarkable disavowal of his own majority opinion in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals case that became the basis for the U.S. Supreme Court's 2008 approval of the Republican implementation of polling place Photo ID restriction laws.

Though it's the only court case of note that Republicans are able to cite in claiming the "constitutionality" of such laws, last week, during an interview with HuffPo Live, Posner recanted the opinion he wrote in the case. He claimed that he "did not have enough information...about the abuse of voter identification laws," to make a better decision in 2007's Crawford v. Marion County Election Board. If he had, he said, the Indiana case "would have been decided differently."

Of course, at the same time, he noted that the dissenting judge in the case seems to have had no trouble ruling correctly at all. Judge Terence T. Evans blasted at the beginning of his dissent in the case [PDF]: "Let’s not beat around the bush: The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic."

Evans "was right", Posner now admits, and his own decision was wrong. Apparently, Evans somehow did have the information needed to decide the same case correctly, even if Posner now claims that he, personally, did not for some reason.

Today, the New York Times finally decided to cover Posner's admission, and they add at least one more head-spinning element to all of this...

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

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7th circuit's Posner admits 'did not have enough information' at time to judge landmark vote suppression case correctly...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2013 3:16pm PT  

[This is article now been cross-published by Salon...]

This is nothing less than remarkable. The 7th circuit court judge who wrote the majority opinion in the landmark Crawford v. Marion County Election Board case, has now admitted he got it wrong!

"I think we did not have enough information," Judge Richard Posner said in remarks at HuffPo Live today. "If the lawyers had provided us with a lot of information about the abuse of voter identification laws, this case would have been decided differently."

Crawford is the Indiana polling place Photo ID restriction case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court where it was upheld in 2008. It is the case cited, usually inaccurately, by Republican advocates of such restrictions, who argue that such disenfranchising laws are not in violation of the U.S. Constitution. For example, it is the case cited (inaccurately) by TX Attorney General Greg Abbott, in his argument against the U.S. Dept. of Justice's current lawsuit attempting to block the Lone Star State's most recent attempt to institute that voting restriction at their polling places. "The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws do not suppress legal votes," Abbott said misleadingly in response to the DoJ's suit, as explained in detail last month by BRAD BLOG legal analyst Ernest Canning.

But, setting aside the misuse of SCOTUS' very limited ruling on Crawford, the remarkable news today comes via UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen, who transcribes remarks made today by Judge Richard Posner, author of the original 7th circuit majority opinion in Crawford, now completely recanting his original opinion on the case!

Read this from Hasen. It's amazing...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2013 6:32pm PT  

From AP this week...

Critics of a Kansas law requiring new voters to provide proof of their U.S. citizenship when registering urged legislators Tuesday to repeal the policy during their special session, but such an effort immediately stalled.

About 100 people gathered at the Statehouse for a rally sponsored by KanVote, a Wichita-based group that opposed the law, which took effect in January. The NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and Equality Kansas, the state's leading gay-rights organization, also called publicly for the law's repeal.

The law took effect in January, backed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach and fellow Republicans, who view it as a way to prevent non-citizens from voting improperly. But more than 15,000 legal Kansas residents' voter registrations are on hold because they have yet to provide proper documents, meaning they can't legally vote.

Wow. 15,000 legal voters stopped from voting. Kansas must have a terrible problem with non-citizens voting! After all, that's all the state's Republican Sec. of State Kobach (who also wrote Arizona's "Papers Please" law) ran on in 2010: stopping "voter fraud"! In fact, his own personal website warns even today: "In Kansas, the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive."

"Pervasive"? Really? So, how many cases of non-citizens voting has he turned up in the two and half years since being elected as Secretary of State?...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 9/4/2013 8:13pm PT  

The bulk of today's BradCast on KPFK/Pacifica Radio was focused on the mess that is Obama's Syria policy.

Aside from tons of callers (I'm tired of "experts" and "pundits", wanted to hear from actual people), and one of the most perfect "bloopers" ever (a brilliantly incorrect sound cue played, in the first part of the show, by the engineer who was in today instead of our usual one), we also spent a few minutes with anti-war activist and author (and occasional BRAD BLOG guest blogger) David Swanson on what he would recommend, in lieu of military strikes, for accountability for the use of chemical weapons. His main response to that question: Get thee to the Hague and file war crimes charges, if that's the case the U.S. is making against Syria!

Lots of interesting perspectives on today's show, almost all of which vary tremendously from the nonsense we're hearing from the Congress and the Administration and the establishment media this week. I'd welcome your feedback as well.

We also quickly hit on a few voting issues, such as our good news today on the TX GOP's most-likely-doomed Photo ID law and more...as well as a visit from Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report as usual! Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online below [appx 58 mins]...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/4/2013 6:05am PT  

With Brad Friedman

Greg Abbott, the Lone Star State's Attorney General, made a fool out of himself recently when he issued his public response to a U.S. Dept. of Justice lawsuit challenging the Texas Republicans' new polling place Photo ID law as a violation of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and of the U.S. Constitution.

The "facts" he publicly offered in the law's defense were wholly misleading and, worse, plainly inaccurate. But if Abbott thought that was embarrassing, he may have no idea what he's in store for when he actually shows up in a court of law, seeking to defend the Photo ID law which Texas Republicans enacted in 2011 as part of a desperate attempt to cling to power.

Rapidly shifting voter demographics are quickly working against the Lone Star Republican Party. The numbers are leading them into a panic over an ever-increasing minority population and rising voting rates to go with it. So they have been, since 2005, attempting to squelch the inevitable by trying to tamp down minority turnout any way possible. But Texas Republicans are not only in a battle with demographics. The key facts about the Lone Star State's Photo ID restrictions --- as already determined in a court of law --- are not on their side either.

In both United States v. Texas, the DoJ's newly filed legal challenge to the Texas Photo ID restriction law, and in Veasey v. Perry, a separate federal lawsuit filed by Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) and later joined by Dallas County, the plaintiffs not only set forth allegations but facts already found to be true last year by a unanimous three-judge U.S. District Court panel.

Those already established facts reveal that the state's Photo ID law (SB 14) violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because it imposes unreasonable, and often impossible, burdens upon the right of the poor to vote that would likely result in disenfranchisement. The three judge panel further found, via "undisputed record evidence", as they described it, that a disproportionate percentage of poor Texans who would be subject to such disenfranchisement are Hispanic and African-American.

At the time, however, despite establishing those uncontested facts, those Constitutional concerns were not the basis of the case in front of the federal court in question. But they are now.

Given the Lone Star State's acknowledgment during the previous litigation that it could not contest the facts already on record, the Texas Republicans' gambit to try and turn back time at the polls, or, at least, slow it down as the demographic clock continues to tick against them, is exceedingly unlikely to work. Here's why...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/27/2013 7:26pm PT  

Warren Rojas at Roll Call reported some encouraging news yesterday.

Jason Thigpen, a rookie Republican candidate for the U.S. House in North Carolina, is swimming against the GOP tide. He is describing the state's new voter suppression law --- passed on party lines by a super-majority Republican legislature and signed by the state's new Republican Governor --- for what it is: a "turd" meant to keep legal voters (certain ones, the ones who tend to vote for Democrats) from casting their legal vote.

He's also been able to see through the GOP/Fox "News" smokescreen about the facts in regard to in-person impersonation polling place voter fraud, namely, that it is virtually non-existent.

We've called NC's new law the worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era. But Thigpen, described as a "political newcomer looking to unseat Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC)" in next year's primary, was even far more direct than that...

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

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50 years later, the message remains...And so does this man's sign!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2013 2:42pm PT  

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By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2013 6:05am PT  

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the state of Texas under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The complaint was filed in hopes of blocking the state's polling place Photo ID restriction law, newly re-enacted by TX Attorney General Greg Abbott just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the very heart of the VRA (the Section 4 formula used to determine jurisdictions covered by its Section 5 preclearance requirements for new voting laws) last June.

How did the TX AG respond to the DoJ suit?

Here is the very first line of Abbott's embarrassing website response to it posted yesterday...

AUSTIN --- “Just days after the U.S. Department of Justice arrested a Texas woman for illegally voting five times in the same election, the Obama administration is suing to stop Texas’ commonsense voter ID law. The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws do not suppress legal votes, but do help prevent illegal votes. Voter IDs have nothing to do with race and they are free to anyone who needs one.

Ya know what else "Voter IDs have nothing to do with"? The absentee ballot fraud committed by the woman cited by Greg Abbott above in the very first line of his response to the DoJ!

Here (courtesy of Ryan Reilly) is the very first page of the indictment against the woman cited by Abbott as a reason why the state needs their polling place Photo ID restriction law. [Red circle added for TX AGs who may have trouble reading their own legal filings]...

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

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Offer new opportunity for AG Holder to make good on promise to use 'every tool' at his disposal to fight discriminatory voting laws...
UPDATE: DoJ filed suit today, seeking to block TX Photo ID Law...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/22/2013 12:54pm PT  

Last week, civil rights groups filed two lawsuits in a North Carolina U.S. District Court, seeking to block what Brad Friedman aptly described as "the most extreme anti-voter bill passed by any state since the Jim Crow Era."

The Tar Heel State has a sordid history of official discrimination, a history that includes 30 successful challenges to discriminatory voting laws under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) over the past 30 years. Until the recent Republican takeover of the state, NC had become somewhat more progressive in the area of election law, even allowing for same day registration and voting which is lacking in even most of the more progressive states in the union.

Then, everything changed. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed a sweeping new election "reform" bill. The breadth the new law is unprecedented. It targets "nearly every aspect of the voting process," according to one of the new lawsuits. Both complaints allege that the newly minted Voter Information Verification Act ("VIVA" aka HB 589) reflects nothing less than a deliberate, racially-motivated attempt to deprive African-Americans of their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote.

The two federal lawsuits are NAACP v. McCrory [PDF] and League of Women Voters v. North Carolina [PDF].

The League also filed a separate legal challenge in state court, Currie v. North Carolina [PDF]. The state case alleges that VIVA’s polling place Photo ID restrictions violate the NC Constitution, which treats voting as a "fundamental right." (A legal analysis of the state challenge will be covered in a subsequent article).

Earlier this Summer, when the U.S. Supreme Court carved out the very heart of the federal Voting Right Act with their 5 to 4 Shelby County v. Holder decision, they acknowledged that their ruling "in no way affects the permanent nationwide ban on racial discrimination." The controversial decision rejected the formula established by Congress in the VRA's Section 4, used to identify jurisdictions to be covered by the Act's Section 5 requirement for those covered jurisdictions to receive preclearance from the DoJ or a U.S. District Court before enacting any new election-related laws. The SCOTUS decision did not, however, eliminate the right of individuals, civil rights organizations, or the DoJ to file lawsuits seeking to block discriminatory laws under the VRA's Section 2, which bars discrimination in all 50 states.

Therefore, the new federal lawsuits filed in NC do not, and need not, challenge the Shelby County decision. Their factual allegations, however, suggest that Chief Justice John Roberts was in grave error when asserting, on behalf of the Court's right-wing majority, that "the conditions that originally justified [Section 5 preclearance] no longer characterize voting in covered jurisdictions"...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/19/2013 2:35pm PT  

* * *

P.S. Yes, I'm safely out of the mountains and just now beginning to get caught up with --- and make sense of --- the mountains of stuff that I very happily missed over the past week.

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