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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, November 23, 2014
GOP House Intel Committee Findings Debunk GOP BENGHAZI! 'Scandal'
Final report released quietly before holiday weekend and before eighth Republican BENGHAZI! committee set to convene...
Monster Energy Drink Not Just Crappy, Also the Work of Satan!
The indisputable video proof is now here!...
'Green News Report' 11/20/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record-breaking storm breaks Buffalo; October 2014 hottest October on record; Sorry, Repubs: China to cap coal use by 2020; PLUS: Obama doubles down on climate foreign policy...
Previous GNRs: 11/18/14 - 11/13/14 - Archives...
Extreme Weather? What Extreme Weather?
Yes, scientists have been warning us about this for years. And, yes, the record breaking storm in Buffalo is tied to global warming...
We're #26! Harvard 'Electoral Integrity' Report Dings U.S.
'World's Greatest Democracy' rated worst among Western nations; Ranked just below Micronesia, just above Mexico in overall list...
Gag Order Won't Ensure Impartial Jury in Trial of 'Dark Lord of Coal Country'
WV's criminally indicted coal boss and U.S. Chamber of Comm. director Don Blankeship presents challenge for federal prosecutors...
Oxford English Dictionary's 2014 Word of the Year: 'Vape'
That small point likely underscores some very encouraging news for the health of the world...
'Green News Report' 11/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
US Senate fails to approve Keystone XL; Can Congress override the Prez next year?; Native Americans: KXL is 'an act of war'; PLUS: Accountability for 'The Dark Lord of Coal'...
Previous GNRs: 11/13/14 - 11/11/14 - Archives...
Sanders on Colbert: Midterms a Vote Against Both Parties
For those mad at us for asserting 'not voting IS a vote', look who just said the same thing...
Exclusive: St. Louis County Was Warned Before Election Paper Ballots Would Run Out
Email obtained by BRAD BLOG reveals County's top election official ignored warnings from election experts, leading to shortages...
Not Voting IS a Vote
Stop blaming those who didn't turn out. Americans did vote. By not turning out, they voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole. It may have been a dumb vote, but it was a landslide...
Stephen Colbert is Really REALLY Funny
This segment makes clear once again that it's very very sad The Colbert Report is soon going away...
'Green News Report' 11/13/14
Historic US-China agreement that GOP said couldn't be done; New hope for int'l treaty; Repub freak out; Scientists say deal not enough, but good start...
Crucial Moment for FCC & 'Net Neutrality'
Will the Democratic majority commissioners support the President's clarion call and thwart GOP opposition to an open Internet?...
Brad on Hartmann TV: Election 2014 Mess
On thousands of 'missing' votes in Wisconsin, on Nate Silver and polls vs. 'results', on Rightwing 'True the Vote' voter fraud fraudsters, and on much more...
'Green News Report' 11/11/14
'Science has spoken': Final UN report - bad, good & room for hope; PLUS: Margaret Thatcher's historic climate change speech - when conservatives accepted science ...
IN MEMORIAM: Tomas Young, 1979-2014
On Veterans Day, America added another casualty from the War on Iraq -- one who, after first meeting and interviewing him in 2005, we will never forget...
Early Data Suggests TX GOP Photo ID Restrictions 'Worked'
Provisional ballots doubled, turnout down by more 1/4 million votes, despite larger population, contested gov's race and increased voter registration...
WI Scanner Fails To Tally Thousands of Votes in 'Citizens United' Referendum
'Programming error' blamed for paper ballot tabulator recording just 16 of 5,350 votes in city of Stoughton, WI...
The Results Were Skewed Toward Republicans: A Response to Nate Silver
The statistics guru unhelpfully explains away mid-term's surprising outcome by presuming pre-election polling was wrong and unverified election results were all correct...
'True the Vote' Group Fails to Find 'Voter Fraud' (Again)
Laughingstock RW org's 'army' of monitors and smart phone app uncover just 18 benign 'irregularities', 0 cases of polling place impersonation...
'Green News Report' 11/6/14
Election 2014-pocalypse: Republican hegemonic hellscape!; Climate deniers now in charge; PLUS: At least one note of very good environmental election news...
About Last Night: KPFK 'BradCast'
Guest Matthew Segal of OurTime.org joins Brad to discuss whether young voters are to blame for Tuesday's election results and, if not them, then who...or what...
Reuters: Voting Probs Around Nation, 2,000 Missing Election Judges in Chicago
Wire service summarizes machine probs, Photo ID vote suppression and a really strange story out of Chicago...
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...


Judge Fuller's attorney again downplays first wife's allegations of domestic violence, substance abuse as 'rhetorical questions'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2014 2:19pm PT  

It's been a very busy few weeks here of late, just trying to keep up with all of the roller coaster court rulings (here's the latest, and its not good), thanks to GOP voter suppression laws around the country. (Your donations to our efforts in that regard help a great deal --- thank you and please!)

So, with a very few minutes pause in the voter suppression action on Friday morning, we were finally able to catch you all up with the latest in the Judge Mark Fuller wife-beating case on Friday.

Naturally, no sooner did we do so, when a few more noteworthy events happened in the case...

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

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-> Stand-alone video of the 911 AUDIO from Fuller's second wife Kelli
PLUS: Still-imprisoned Gov. Don Siegelman, another victim of Fuller's perfidy, finally comments on reports of federal judge's repeated domestic abuse...
By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2014 6:02am PT  

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

Recently, the attorney for U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller (Middle District of Alabama) described the incident where the federal judge was arrested and charged for beating his second wife bloody in an Atlanta hotel room in early August as overblown.

This week, his attorney went further in describing allegations that Fuller similarly beat his first wife as little more than "nonsense" and "gossip".

Also this week, Fuller's most famous "victim", former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (D), has finally spoken out about the entire sordid business.

Fuller's Alabama attorney Barry Ragsdale says that it was only after the release of a video showing an NFL superstar knocking out his then-fiancée in a hotel elevator in Atlantic City that people began to care in the least about a federal judge who, according to the police, repeatedly struck and kicked his second wife Kelli and dragged her around the hotel room by her hair.

"It got caught up in the Ray Rice and NFL scandals, and it's gotten lumped into a category of domestic violence that I don't think it belongs in," Ragsdale said in his attempt to marginalize the incident on behalf of his client, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. "There was not a beating, kicking or slapping in this instance," he says.

Really? Is that the case? Well, aside from the wife, the police and the evidence at the scene suggesting otherwise, let's review the audio from Kelli Fuller's 911 call again to help determine if Ragsdale's claim is credible.

Since the audio, as we originally posted it here last month, was buried inside of a longer video segment from Chris Hayes' MSNBC show, we've taken the liberty to pull out just the audio from the call itself, as played on MSNBC, to put it into its own standalone video for easy reference. Here ya go...

Really, Mr. Ragsdale? No "beating, kicking or slapping in this instance"? The 911 audio evidence strongly suggests otherwise, as did the lacerations and bruises reportedly found on Kelli Fuller's face and legs, the hair found on the floor in the room, and the blood discovered in the bathroom when police responded at the Ritz-Carlton.

We wonder if Fuller, a 2002 George W. Bush lifetime appointee to the federal bench (unless he resigns or is impeached by Congress) with a record for failing to recuse himself when presiding over trials of political opponents, would be impressed with the audio evidence from the 911 call and the testimony of police if it was presented in his court room.

In any event, Ragsdale went on to describe the reaction from the public and the calls for the federal Judge's resignation and/or impeachment from the entire Alabama Congressional delegation (including both of the state's U.S. Senators and all five Congressmen and women), the state's Governor, senior federal judges, and all sorts of newspapers from Alabama (here, here and here) to Washington D.C. as merely "overblown"...

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Case against GOP Photo ID voting law in Lone Star State is very different than recent cases before the Court, plaintiffs argue
UPDATE: Texas responds, blames 'emergency' on plaintiffs' rush to have case tried before the election...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/16/2014 1:09pm PT  

Attorneys for U.S. Congressman Mark Veasey (D-TX) and other plaintiffs have filed an Emergency Application[PDF] with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to restore a lower court ruling that struck down the law last week as intentionally discriminatory and an unconstitutional poll tax. That initial U.S. District Court ruling was subsequently stayed by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week.

Veasey's application was followed by the filing of another Emergency Application [PDF] by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ). Both were filed with Justice Antonin Scalia who oversees the 5th Circuit. Scalia has instructed the DoJ to respond by 5p ET on Thursday.

Both applications to SCOTUS were filed in the case of Veasey v. Perry in which a U.S. District Court, after a full trial on the merits, imposed a permanent injunction, preventing the State of Texas from implementing the nation's strictest photo ID law, Senate Bill 14 (SB 14).

The District Court determined that, if implemented, SB 14 could disenfranchise more than 600,000 registered Texas voters who are disproportionately black and Hispanic. The District Court not only ruled that SB 14 violated the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax, but expressly found that it was passed as the result of deliberate and willful racial discrimination.

The emergency petitions ask that the Supreme Court lift the U.S. 5th Circuit's 11th hour stay of the injunction so as to prevent electoral chaos and confusion in the rapidly approaching November election. In the first petition, the Veasey plaintiffs argue that what the 5th Circuit did in this case --- stay a permanent injunction that was issued on the basis of a District Court finding of intentional discrimination after a full trial on the merits --- was "virtually unheard of" in the annals of American jurisprudence.

Plaintiffs contend that the 5th Circuit misapplied a leading Supreme Court case, Purcell v. Gonzalez [PDF] (2006) pertaining to the issuance of injunctions on the eve of a pending election. That case does not, as the 5th Circuit ruled, mandate a per se rule that always precludes changing a law immediately prior to an election. The DoJ contends that no such per se "rule exists, and the court of appeals clearly and demonstrably erred in failing to apply the established stay factors."

Instead, plaintiffs forcefully argue, "The Purcell principle", mandates that an appellate court give deference to the factual findings of the District Court. The 5th Circuit, they add, erred by ignoring the requirement of Purcell that Texas prove it would likely succeed on an appeal. The 5th Circuit also erred, they say, because it failed to balance the state's allegations about possible confusion that might ensue from implementing pre-SB 14 law against the "actual" confusion, chaos and mass disenfranchisement that the District Court, based upon uncontested evidence, concluded would occur if SB 14 is enforced in the November 4th election (early voting begins in TX on October 20th).

"Imagine that a state passed a law, six months before an election, stating that 'Negroes cannot vote,'" the plaintiffs write. "It would be ludicrous for an appellate court to turn around and stay that injunction because of some per se rule that election laws can never change immediately prior to elections"...

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

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Making shit up about alien invasions of one form or another is a long family tradition for the Republican U.S. Congressmen from CA...
By Brad Friedman on 10/10/2014 1:57pm PT  

California Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R) is in the middle of an amusing kerfuffle after claiming that he was told by unnamed U.S. Border Patrol agents that "ISIS is coming across the southern border," and will soon be "bombing American cities [after] coming across from Mexico." Most disturbing, he also said that while several of the Islamic terrorists had already been nabbed by federal agents, more have most likely slipped through and are amongst us even now!

"I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas," the Congressman told a dubious Greta Van Susteren on Fox "News" earlier this week. Though those 10, luckily, were taken into custody, Hunter added, "you know there's going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the Border Patrol."

The Dept. of Homeland Security, however, has denied the claim, calling it "categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground." The Mexican Embassy has similarly disputed it. Politifact investigated the matter, before describing it as "incorrect and ridiculous" and rating it a "Pants on Fire" lie. And now other Republicans are being forced to grapple with how and whether to back up their colleague or not.

Nonetheless, Hunter Jr. is sticking by his alarming claim.

But this is hardly the first time a California Congressman named Duncan Hunter went on record, on television, during the heat of a campaign to simply make shit up about scary aliens sneaking across the border to come into our country and undermine our very way of life.

As The BRAD BLOG highlighted in 2007, Hunter Jr.'s father, now-retired Rep. Duncan Hunter Sr. --- who held the same Congressional seat his son holds now --- offered a similarly outrageous and apparently bald-faced lie while pretending to run for President that year.

Then, as now, Republicans were in the middle of attempting to enact disenfranchising Photo ID voting restrictions in the lead up to the election, akin to the very same ones blocked by the Supreme Court in WI and struck down as discriminatory and an "unconstitutional poll tax" by a federal judge in TX last night.

During a PBS-sponsored Republican Presidential debate that year, in response to a panelist's question, Hunter the Elder offered a blatant whopper about non-citizens "being round up [and] herded into the polls" to vote, claiming, with no apparent evidence to back him up whatsoever, that "we've seen that in California" in past elections.

Like Boy Hunter's recent claim on Fox "News", Father Hunter's response to debate moderator, Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker, appears to have been simply made up out of (nearly) whole cloth...

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Supremes grant last minute reprieve to Badger State democracy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/9/2014 8:56pm PT  

In a late 6 to 3 ruling, just weeks before Election Day, and coming just minutes after the release of very good news in regard to a similar law in Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court has now blocked Wisconsin's Photo ID voting law for this November's election.

A 1-page order [PDF] vacates a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals stay of the U.S. District Court’s permanent injunction that had, until blocked by the Appeals court, prevented Wisconsin from enforcing its Republican-enacted photo ID law.

SCOTUS has now restored the right of some 300,000 duly registered Badger State voters to take part in the November 4, 2014 election. Many of those lawfully registered voters would have lost that right, simply because they lacked a narrow form of a state-approved photo ID.

According to the District Court Judge Lynn Adelman's April ruling after the trial, it was "absolutely clear," based on evidence and expert testimony, that Wisconsin's law would have "prevent[ed] more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."

Thursday's SCOTUS order is likely to come as a disappointment to WI's Republican Gov. Scott Walker who has regarded the Photo ID law as a top priority in advance of his "toss up" re-election contest against Democratic challenger Mary Burke. Though 300,000 registered voters --- 10% of the electorate in WI --- might have been disenfranchised by the law, but for tonight's ruling by the Supremes, Walker was named the winner of his initial 2010 election by just under 125,000 votes...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2014 1:20pm PT  

If you didn't make it through our detailed rant on how factually wrong, from top to bottom, rightwing Judge Frank Easterbrook of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal was in his "horrendous" ruling on Wisconsin's GOP Photo ID voting law (now pending an emergency ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court), the ACLU focused in a press release on the same thing we did --- but in a much shorter version.

Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, said in a statement issued after the ruling: "Permitting this law to go into effect so close to the election is fueling voter confusion and election chaos in Wisconsin, particularly for the many voters who have already cast their ballots. Voters deserve a fair shake, and this last-minute disruption changes the rules of the game in an election that is already underway, and risks locking out thousands of voters."

Then, the ACLU offered this pithy bullet point --- which summarizes our long article (taking apart each of these false claims one by one) --- to underscore the "factual inaccuracies in the appeals panel's ruling":

The Seventh Circuit also could not fathom that so many registered Wisconsin voters lack a photo ID "in a world in which photo ID is essential to board an airplane, . . . pick up a prescription at a pharmacy, open a bank account or cash a check at a currency exchange, buy a gun, or enter a courthouse to serve as a juror or watch the argument of this appeal." Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong again. Wisconsin fliers, patients, bank customers, gun owners, and court watchers do not need photo IDs. Only Wisconsin voters.

Yup. More than 300,000 registered voters in the state --- nearly 10% of the registered electorate --- as determined during the full trial on the merits of the case in the U.S. District Court. That trial resulted in the law being struck down as both unconstitutional and in violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.

Until that ruling was overturned by a 5 to 5 decision by the 7th Circuit, later justified by the Federalist Society's Judge Easterbrook's "horrendous" ruling earlier this week.

And, remember, Republican Governor Scott Walker, who is in a "toss up" re-election contest against Democratic challenger Mary Burke this year, was named the winner of his original 2010 election by just 124,638 votes. That margin is less than half of the number of legally registered voters in the state who are now unlikely to be able to cast a vote at all in this year's election, unless SCOTUS tosses out the ridiculous, falsehood-riddled ruling of the 7th Circuit.

Given the SCOTUS decisions this week in NC and last week in OH, that possibility seems to be growing dimmer by the hour.

Nice to have friends in high places who are willing to just make shit up though, eh Governor?

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By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2014 6:05am PT  

KPFK/Pacifica Radio is on fund drive of late, but with all the breaking election news this week, I couldn't stand to not do a fresh BradCast for my syndicated network affiliates who deserve better than a "Best Of" on a week like this one, as Election Day draws near.

So, since it appears this year's election is likely to be decided in the courts, before we even get to Election Day, here's our non-KPFK "Special Election Coverage Edition" for the affiliates and for you, as produced here at The BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters, rather than at the radio station as it is usually done.

No guests, no callers, just me, lots of information and rants, and an occasionally thought or question from my producer Desi Doyen. Given all of that, and the news this week and last (particularly from SCOTUS), the result may be somewhere between a radio broadcast and a primal scream. But many of my shows seem to amount to that these days.

We covered, among other things, the new GAO report confirming Photo ID voting restrictions depress turnout of African-American and younger voters; SCOTUS overturning appellate courts to allow GOP voter suppression laws in NC and in OH, with a decision on WI's voter suppression law not far behind (thanks to the federal judge who lied about it); Federal court striking down VA's gerrymandered Congressional map (for now); the GOP Attorney General candidate in AR caught committing voter fraud and, a lot of unusually good (and very welcome!) news in our latest Green News Report!

Buckle up, and enjoy! (And please consider donating below to our efforts! Your help is very much needed right now!)

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Dems use report to correctly cite need to fix part of Voting Rights Act broken by SCOTUS, but here's what they also aren't telling you...
By Brad Friedman on 10/8/2014 2:40pm PT  

A new 206-page report from by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office [PDF] finds that Republican-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction laws in states such as Kansas and Tennessee resulted in lowered voter turnout among African-Americans as well as younger and recently-registered voters.

The study will likely serve as yet more important evidence to rebut the disingenuous, cherry-picked claims by Republicans over the years that Photo ID voting restrictions do not affect minority participation.

As The Hill reports today...

Voter ID laws helped contribute to lower voter turnout in Kansas and Tennessee in 2012, according a new study by the Government Accountability Office.

Congress's research arm blamed the two states' laws requiring that voters show identification on a dip in turnout in 2012 - about 2 percentage points in Kansas and between 2.2 and 3.2 percentage points in Tennessee. Those declines were greater among younger and African-American voters, when compared to turnout in other states.
...
"This new analysis from GAO reaffirms what many in Congress already know: Threats to the right to vote still exist," [Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)] said in a statement. "That is why Congress must act to restore the fundamental protections of the Voting Rights Act that have been gutted by the Supreme Court."

The report, according to Leahy's full statement, "also found scant evidence of voter fraud that the new laws that ostensibly are designed to discourage."

I'm on a number of deadlines today, so haven't gotten to peruse the actual report yet, but let me note a quick point or two, based on The Hill's reporting on the GAO study, which was requested by Democratic Senators Leahy (VT), Durbin (IL), Schumer (NY), Nelson (FL) and independent Sanders (VT), all of whom are co-sponsoring legislation to fix the part of the Voting Rights Act that the U.S. Supreme Court gutted last year in its notorious 5-4 decision...

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Election law expert describes ruling in advance of SCOTUS decision as 'Horrendous'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2014 7:59pm PT  

Let me say this up front, so you don't miss it this time: No, a Photo ID is not required to board an airplane. Period.

Last week, the ACLU filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of having the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling --- which overturned a lower court's injunction on Wisconsin's new Photo ID voting restriction --- stayed in advance of next month's election.

Today (Monday) a rather remarkable new opinion was issued by the 7th Circuit which seems designed to serve as a last-minute assist to the Republican defendants in Wisconsin in their response to the ACLU appeal, as Justice Elena Kagan has required the state's response no later than 5pm on Tuesday. The ruling is littered with blatant falsehoods.

To recap very briefly, how we got to this point, and the astonishing claims in the 7th Circuit's opinion today: the GOP law requiring very specific types of state-issued Photo IDs for voting in Wisconsin was struck down earlier this year after it was found, by U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman, to be both a violation of the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. His thorough, 70-page ruling [PDF] found that some 300,000 legally registered voters in Wisconsin (nearly 10% of them) lacked the specific type of Photo ID that would now be needed vote under the new restriction. Adelman also determined that the law amounts to a "unique burden [which] disproportionately impacts Black and Latino voters" (who just happen to lean towards Democratic candidates), and that the new restriction on voting would "prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."

In mid-September, on appeal, a panel of three Republican-appointed judges on the 7th Circuit tossed out Adelman's permanent injunction with little comment. Amidst ensuing "electoral chaos", as election officials and voters in the state scrambled to make sense of the stunning last minute change to the law, just weeks before the mid-term election, the ACLU appealed for a rehearing before the full 7th Circuit. That hearing resulted in a deadlocked 5 to 5 vote by the judges (one seat on the court has been vacant since 2010), which meant that the partisan 3-judge panel's ruling, restoring the Photo ID restriction after it had been struck down by the lower court, now remains in place.

That brings us to the ACLU's emergency appeal to SCOTUS last week, and Monday's remarkable new opinion issued by the 7th Circuit at the last minute, clearly made to justify the original opinion issued last week which seems to have otherwise landed with a thud. (The court had attempted to compare a "need" to restore new voting restrictions at the last minute to the U.S. Supreme Court's stay placed on the overturning of same-sex marriage bans in several states last year. The dissenters called the court's legal theories "brazen", "shocking" and on its central thesis comparing the WI law to a 2008 landmark case in Indiana, "dead wrong.")

University of California-Irvine's election law professor Rick Hasen described the new opinion issued on Monday as "a nice assist from the 7th Circuit panel to the state of Wisconsin," just in time for the SCOTUS deadline.

In a more detailed follow-up item, however, Hasen, who is usually quite conservative when it comes to concerns about Photo ID voting restrictions, went somewhat ballistic. He uncharacteristically upbraided the 7th Circuit's newly issued ruling --- apparently written by the very rightwing Federalist Society member Judge Frank Easterbrook --- as "Horrendous".

"I rarely just rant in my blog posts," he tweeted, along with a link to his follow-up, "But Judge Easterbrook caused me to blow a gasket."

I know the feeling. I felt the exact same way while reading the new opinion today, particularly the part in which the court offers blatant --- and long-ago debunked --- falsehoods about where and when they claim Photo ID to be "essential", such as when boarding an airplane.

Trouble is, that is a blatant lie. A Photo ID is absolutely not required to board an airplane, no matter how many times proponents of these sorts of laws repeat the false claim. And it's simply remarkable that such a lie (and others akin to it) would be included in a last-minute opinion meant to justify an Appellate Court ruling that is about to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court...

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

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Case is larger than Wisconsin, presenting a moment of truth for American democracy and at least two Justices on the high court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/2/2014 6:06pm PT  

On Thursday morning, the ACLU filed an Emergency Application to Vacate [PDF] with the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate a Sept. 14, 2014 stay of a U.S. District Court ruling that had, before the stay, permanently blocked enforcement of a Republican-enacted, Wisconsin photo ID voting law.

The civil rights organization argues that the emergency ruling is needed to prevent mass disenfranchisement and electoral chaos during the upcoming Nov. 4 election. It asks that the Court "leave that injunction in force pending the Seventh Circuit's issuance of a decision on the merits."

As the District Court judge had found, before his decision was overturned by a partisan ruling at the Appellate Court level, Wisconsin's attempted restriction on the voting rights of legally registered voters poses a real and present danger that some 10% of the Badger State's duly registered electorate will likely be prevented from voting in the rapidly approaching November 4 election.

The District Court's injunction had been stayed as a result of a deadlocked court, in which five bipartisan members of the ten-judge U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal described in a Sept. 29 Opinion [PDF] as a "brazen" and "shocking" disregard of both precedent and the right of the minority to vote. That "shocking" position had been advanced by the attorneys representing Republican Gov. Scott Walker and first accepted by an all-GOP, three-judge panel that had issued an extraordinary, 11th hour decision to vacate the lower court's injunction.

The case now poses an enormous test for at least two key Justices on the high court. Will Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy adhere to the very principles they signed on to when they joined the plurality opinion authored by former Justice John Paul Stevens in the landmark 2008 SCOTUS decision in Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections? That case upheld Indiana's Photo ID law against a "facial" challenge solely because, in the words of the plurality opinion, there was no evidence before the court at the time to prove anyone would be disenfranchised or that their right to vote would be unduly burdened by the law.

In signing onto Steven's lead opinion, both Roberts and Kennedy agreed that election laws, including photo ID voting restrictions, are subject to the Anderson/Burdick test. That test mandates that courts, on a case-by-case basis, measure a law's potential damage to voters' right to vote against the specific claims made by the state as to why such additional burdens and restrictions are necessary. Given that the state has offered no legitimate reason for potentially disenfranchising as much as 10% of Wisconsin's lawfully registered voters, Roberts and Kennedy cannot refuse to lift the stay without a total abandonment of principle...

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While concerned about intimidation, court permits expansion of voter challengers, reduction of early voting in 2014 election; But also offers important interpretation of Voting Rights Act provision
UPDATE: North Carolina requests stay at U.S. Supreme Court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/2/2014 10:22am PT  

A bit of encouraging voting news came out of North Carolina on Wednesday, believe it or not. We'll see how long it lasts.

By way of a 2-1 decision and a lengthy Opinion [PDF] on Wednesday, a three-judge panel on the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeal ordered U.S. District Court Judge Thomas J. Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent the State of North Carolina from implementing two provisions of a sweeping election "reform" bill.

The court sharply criticized the lower court's ruling that previously allowed the law to move forward as is, despite the likelihood of a disproportionate effect on minority voters in the Tar Heel State.

The BRAD BLOG described the bill in question, when it was passed by the GOP legislature last year, as "the nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era." The law includes virtually every restriction on voting --- shortening early voting hours, ending same-day registration, implementation of disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions and much more --- ever attempted by Republicans across the country over the past decade. The legislation was, quite literally, rammed through the state's Republican-controlled legislature, with no period for public comment or debate, just one day after a sharply-divided U.S. Supreme Court gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act in the Summer of 2013.

The majority opinion at the 4th Circuit was highly critical of Schroeder's analysis in the case. They described it as "flawed," containing "grave errors" and "plainly wrong" on the law. The court found that the District Court judge abused his discretion in refusing to issue a preliminary injunction that would prevent implementation of two provisions of the state's H.B. 589.

In their decision, the three-judge panel's majority also offered significant interpretations of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), that, if ultimately upheld, could minimize the damage wrought by the gutting of Section 5 by the U.S. Supreme Court last year...

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WARNING: Amount of irony in this story may lead to head explosion...
By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2014 5:03pm PT  

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

UC Irvine law professor Rick Hasen says this development, which he describes as coming from the "Irony Dept", is just "too delicious".

Leslie Rutledge, the Republican candidate for Attorney General in Arkansas, has been discovered to have been registered to vote in multiple states in addition to Arkansas, and even voted by absentee ballot in Arkansas' general election in November of 2008 --- after she had registered to vote in Washington D.C. [PDF] in July of the same year.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Rutledge has now been removed from Arkansas' voting rolls by the Pulaski County Clerk, after he confirmed that she was registered to vote in D.C., and possibly Virginia. The removal from the rolls may also lead to her ineligibility to be elected to office.

Rutledge's Arkansas absentee ballot request form for the 2008 general election is here [PDF]. And, indeed, her subsequent voter registration form from Virginia is here [PDF].

"For the AG candidate of the party who likes to scream about voter fraud to be registered in two (or three) places at once is ironic and amusing on its own," writes Matt Campbell of Arkansas' "Blue Hog Report", which was on this story from the jump.

"However, the bigger implication is Article 19, section 3, of the Arkansas Constitution," he adds, which states: "No persons shall be elected to, or appointed to fill a vacancy in, any office who does not possess the qualifications of an elector." If Rutledge is not registered in Arkansas, she no longer "possess[es] the qualifications of an elector."

But, believe it or not, none of that is the actual ironic part that Hasen was referring to in his piece on this today. Yes, it gets even more ironic!...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/30/2014 11:26am PT  

Last night on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture TV show...

If you missed either of the stories mentioned above at The BRAD BLOG, our coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court allowing GOP voting restrictions to move forward in OH is here, and our disturbing coverage of longtime GOP operative Nathan Sproul's threat to take legal action against us for reporting accurately on his involvement in the 2012 GOP Voter Registration Scandal (and other similar scandals going back to 2004) is here.

And, again, we totally thank you in advance for any financial support you can offer to help us keep going. Monthly subscriptions are particularly appreciated. We did not receive $10 million from the Republican Party (or any party) as Sproul has over the past decade. You are our only support. Please take 30 seconds to use the table below to help us continue our work. We need your support now more than ever...

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Vacant seat on court since 2010 likely made the difference; Ruling, unless overturned, could result in re-election victory for Walker; Emergency petition to U.S. Supreme Court likely...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/29/2014 6:02am PT  

With just weeks to go before mid-term elections and a "too close to call" Gubernatorial contest, disenfranchisement and electoral chaos in Scott Walker's Wisconsin reign supreme. And only the U.S. Supreme Court may now be able to do anything about it.

In a 5 to 5 ruling, an evenly divided, en banc U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal has issued a Cursory Order [PDF], summarily denying an ACLU Petition for an Emergency Rehearing to put the brakes back on the state Republicans' Photo ID voting restriction in advance of the November election.

The ACLU petition followed on the recent extraordinary ruling by three Republican appointees to the federal bench that had vacated a permanent federal court injunction of the law. That injunction, until it was lifted by the three-judge 7th Circuit panel just weeks ago, prevented Wisconsin from enforcing a Photo ID voting law which a U.S. District Court judge had found would likely result in the disenfranchisement of up to 300,000 perfectly lawful registered voters who lack the now-requisite, state approved photo IDs.

As we recently reported, the ACLU, in its emergency petition, argued that it will be virtually impossible for the Badger state's Department of Motor Vehicles to process the number of official state photo IDs that would be required to insure that every lawfully registered voter who desires to vote would get the opportunity to vote in the upcoming Nov. 4 election. Moreover, thousands of absentee ballots that had already been mailed prior to the 7th Circuit panel's lifting of the injunction may not be counted since they did not include notice of the new rules requiring that they must be accompanied with copy of the voter's photo ID.

Following the 5 to 5 decision of the full 7th Circuit (one seat remains vacant, more on that below), the ACLU and other plaintiffs' only recourse for now will be an emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court. Given the deadlock by the 7th Circuit and reasoning applied not only by the original U.S. District Court Judge in this case, and also by a 6th Circuit panel in an Ohio early voting case, as well as by six (6) of the (9) U.S. Supreme Court Justices who took part in a landmark 2008 Photo ID decision --- all decisions which were inconsistent with the reasoning applied by the three-judge 7th Circuit panel in the Wisconsin case, which has now been essentially upheld --- a challenge at the U.S. Supreme Court has at least a reasonable prospect of success.

If you're confused, read on. We'll help you make sense of this...

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Repubs file 'Emergency Petition for Rehearing' before full court...
By Ernest A. Canning on 9/26/2014 7:48am PT  

Yes, Ohio Republicans are still barred from limiting the early voting period and still required to restore the days and hours they had, yet again, tried to cut off. At least they are barred, again, for now.

On Wednesday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal issued a 50-page ruling [PDF] in which it upheld a lower court's preliminary injunction from three weeks ago that prevented Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State John Husted from implementing a Feb. 19, 2014 GOP-engineered statute, and his own further Directive, which would have drastically reduced the number of early voting days and hours and eliminated same-day registration and voting during the first five days of a previously established 35-day period of early voting in the Buckeye State.

Reflecting the fact that he anticipated an adverse ruling, Ohio's Republican Attorney General Michael DeWine filed an Emergency Appeal for a Rehearing [PDF] by the full 6th Circuit, on the very same day the three-judge panel handed down their decision. His appeal presents essentially the same arguments that have now, repeatedly, been rejected by the courts, first in a 2012 case, Obama for America v. Husted, and now, again, in Ohio State Conference of the NAACP v. Husted...

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