Guest blogged by Ellen Theisen, Co-Director of VotersUnite.Org
Yesterday I discussed the dangers presented by Rush Holt's Election Reform bill, HR 811, now pending a floor vote in the House. I detailed seven points which, taken as a whole, lead me to believe that the bill does more harm than good.
Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill S. 1487, “The Ballot Integrity Act of 2007,” was introduced on May 24, 2007. Some were expecting it to be a companion to, and improvement on, Holt’s bill, H.R. 811. Far from an improvement, S. 1487 introduces surprising — and disturbing — new provisions.
It includes many of the most troubling points of the Holt bill, but goes even farther in the wrong direction away from what is needed for Electoral Integrity in America, presenting instead a grave danger to our democracy.
The bill systematically dismantles government by the people, and it provides a legal excuse for expanding the disenfranchisement of “distinct communities” such as racial minorities.
(The following excerpt discusses only how S. 1487 functions like a Voting Rights Act in reverse. I've posted a more complete analysis of the bill at VotersUnite.org.)
Historically, racial minorities have been prevented from voting by violence, poll taxes, highly subjective literacy tests, police dogs, and so on. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was landmark legislation to remove such obstacles and clear the path for all voters to have a voice in elections.
A shameful provision in S. 1487 functions as a Voting Rights Act in reverse. “They” (historically disenfranchised communities) would get to vote, but the bill allows for the future massive loss of “their” voices through machine malfunction or other means, while limiting the vote loss that would be acceptable in jurisdictions where “they” aren’t as predominant....