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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, November 25, 2015
'Green News Report' 11/24/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Carbon tax coming to Alberta tar sands; Obama: Paris conf must proceed; Senate Repubs to monkeywrench int'l agreement; PLUS: FDA okays GMO salmon for humans...
Previous GNRs: 11/19/15 - 11/17/15 - Archives...
Sunday 'This Means War' Toons
PDiddie's must-see collection of the past shameful week's best -- and most dead-on and occassionally horrifying -- toons...
ISIS Wins in US House; Plus: TPP, NAFTA and the Return of KXL?: 'BradCast' 11/19/15
With guest David Dayen of Salon, Fiscal Times, The Intercept, et al...
'Green News Report' 11/19/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
House GOP's war against climate scientists; October 2015 was hottest on record; Fossil fuel subsidies at $500B/year; UK phases out coal; PLUS: Canada kills another tar sands pipeline...
Previous GNRs: 11/17/15 - 11/12/15 - Archives...
Home of the Brave:
'BradCast' 11/18/15
GOP Governors and Presidential candidates help ISIS dreams come true by turning against refugees from war-torn Syria, as some Americans follow their lead by turning against fellow citizens after the Paris attacks...
How NOT to Respond to the Paris Terror Attacks: 'BradCast' 11/17/15
Anti-war author David Swanson on how we got here, how the media and politicians continue to make it worse, and what we must do instead...
'Green News Report' 11/17/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Climate gets short shrift in 2nd Dem Debate; Yes, climate change is a NatSec threat; Intn'l climate talks in Paris after attacks; PLUS: NY's Cuomo vetoes major NatGas project...
Previous GNRs: 11/12/15 - 11/10/15 - Archives...
A Word About Paris; Coverage of CBS' Dem Debate in Iowa: 'BradCast' 11/16/15
Salon's Heather Digby Parton and longtime GOPer Fred Karger on the debate the DNC didn't want you to watch...
Sunday Somewhat Horrible Toons
PDiddie's round-up of a number of smart toons in the wake of the horrific terror attacks in Paris...
'Very Similar, If Not Identical': DoJ's Big Tobacco Prosecutor on Case Against ExxonMobil: 'BradCast' 11/12/15
Attorney Sharon Eubanks on RICO, conspiracy and the big lies of Big Tobacco and Big Oil...
'Green News Report' 11/12/15
2016 Republican and Democratic Presidential candidates talk climate, energy, and the path forward in GOP Debate and Dem Forum...
Decoding and Debunking Fox Biz Channel's GOP Debate: 'BradCast' 11/11/15
Smartest post-debate analysis anywhere! With journalists Heather Digby Parton and David Dayen...
Impossible Results for OH Pot Measure?: 'BradCast' 11/10/15
Screenshots suggest disappearing 'Yes' votes; OH SoS offers us explanation. PLUS: Calls for KY hand-count...
'Green News Report' 11/10/15
Obama rejects KXL; Big Coal caught lying about climate change; ExxonMobil facing probe; PLUS: 2nd cyclone for Yemen & Sea World responds to critics...
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...
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...

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...

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...

The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

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...

The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

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...

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...

State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...

By Brad Friedman on 10/31/2014 5:41pm PT  

Just so you don't miss this part, since it's at the very bottom of the letter, let's run it up top and add a red arrow to it:

That's from the letter included inside of this very scary envelope being sent to Kentucky voters (at least some of them) by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R), in his sleazy re-election campaign against challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes (D):

Click the graphic above to enlarge and see the whole thing. The letter sent inside the scary envelope, as published by Sahil Kapur at TPM today, follows below (and is also enlargable by clicking)...

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50k 'missing' registrations in GA; Millions of voters threatened by GOP database scheme; That 'non-citizen' voter 'study' at WaPo...
By Brad Friedman on 10/30/2014 9:04pm PT  

The pace of GOP voter suppression stories and scams is now cascading in faster than we're able to fully check out or report in detail. So, for now, here are a few very important stories that are likely to become even more relevant in the coming days, even as we've only time for quick coverage here at the moment...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/30/2014 4:04pm PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 'Sit down and shut up!': Superstorm Sandy recovery stalled, 2 years later; The Weather Channel repudiates its climate change-denying co-founder; PLUS: 'It's not too late': the stark yet hopeful message in the UN's final climate science report... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...


Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Toxic chemicals skyrocket near fracking sites; Solar energy to hit grid parity in U.S. by 2016; Libertarian 'think tank' sues White House over climate change video; Did Nuclear Regulatory Commission secretly alter earthquake standards?; Nuclear industry failing to address climate change; Monsanto targeting Millennials; Hope fades for trapped coal miners; CA: electric car chargers mandated for new construction ... PLUS: The Red Cross' Secret Disaster: Superstorm Sandy response was definitely not a success ... and much, MUCH more! ...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 10/30/2014 9:35am PT  

The Politicus USA headline typified MSM coverage of what Brad Friedman often refers to as the "horse race" --- "Democrats Surge As Michelle Nunn Leads Georgia Senate Race In Third Straight Poll."

For The BRAD BLOG, and for a good many election integrity advocates and computer scientists, that narrow focus ignores "the track conditions," which, in Georgia entails the continued use of touchscreen voting systems courtesy of a 2009 determination by the Georgia Supreme Court that "unverifiable elections are just fine."

Where horse race coverage focuses exclusively on the here and now, this site feels it helpful to look back a dozen years to what took place in Georgia shortly after Democratic Secretary of State Cathy Cox signed a May 2002 contract with what was then known as Diebold Election Systems Inc....

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By Brad Friedman on 10/29/2014 8:50pm PT  

With the latest KPFK/Pacifica Radio fund drive behind us, it was great to be back on the air live today with The BradCast!

Just in time for Election Day next week, we got everybody up to date on all of the terrible SCOTUS rulings in regard to GOP voter suppression from over the past several weeks --- in OH, NC, WI and TX (and an important Photo ID ruling by the state Supreme Court in AR) --- for those who may have missed our coverage during the fund drive. Now it's up to the voters to try like hell not to be disenfranchised, particularly in TX, where it won't be easy this year.

Plus, our musical tribute to touch-screen vote-flipping now taking place all over the country --- yet again! And, the latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen as the future of climate change is on next Tuesday's ballot.


Download MP3 or listen online below...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
Climate change on the ballot.
By Desi Doyen on 10/28/2014 3:34pm PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Climate Change and Election 2014: High stakes on energy, the environment, and global warming ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...


Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Australia breaks heat records - again; BP oil spill left big oily 'bathtub ring' on seafloor; Shell wants 5 more years to drill in the Arctic; How can we get power to the poor without frying the planet?; More storms mean more sewage overflows in Wisconsin; Japan town votes to re-start nuclear plants; Amid CA drought, bruising battle over water ... PLUS: U.N. climate change draft report warns risks of 'irreversible' damage... and much, MUCH more! ...

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State's chief election official stands to benefit from unlawful new process in re-election bid against Dem Maggie Toulouse Oliver...
By Brad Friedman on 10/28/2014 6:05am PT  

No doubt this is precisely the sort of thing that Chris Christie, New Jersey's governor, chair of the Republican Governors Association and 2016 Republican Presidential hopeful, was talking about last week when discussing the need for Republicans to be in charge of the "voting mechanisms" in 2016.

New Mexico, certain to be a key swing state once again in the 2016 Presidential election, currently has both a Republican Governor, the popular Susana Martinez, and a Republican Secretary of State, Dianna Duran. Both are up for re-election this year. Duran is in a neck-and-neck race against her Democratic opponent Maggie Toulouse Oliver.

Duran is one of those GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters who likes to pretend there is a massive epidemic of voter fraud that needs correcting via polling place Photo ID restrictions, even though such measures prevent far more legal (largely Democratic-leaning) votes from being cast than fraudulent ones --- and even though she's been able to find next to none since taking office four years ago.

At the same time, Duran appears to be slow-walking thousands of perfectly legal new voter registrations from being processed by the state Motor Vehicle Department (MVD), despite a 2010 court order issued after a settlement with the federal government requiring New Mexico to comply with the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, the so-called "Motor Voter" law.

On Monday, the Santa Fe New Mexican offered this distressing report from Brian Sweeney, a state voter, or, at least, someone who has been trying to be one for months without success...

When I moved to Santa Fe this summer, one of the first things I did was apply for a New Mexico driver's license. At the same time, I registered to vote using a paper form. This week, I learned from the secretary of state's registration information website that my voter registration was never processed. I received no notification of any problems with my registration.

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

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U.S. Veterans' Affairs ID CAN be used for voting in TX this year...
By Brad Friedman on 10/22/2014 2:35pm PT  

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

Well, it is still very likely that some 600,000 legally registered voters in Texas will find themselves unable to vote at the polls this year in the Lone Star State, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's horrible weekend order leaving the state GOP's Photo ID voting law in place for now, pending the state's appeal to the ruling of a lower court earlier this month which found the law to be intentionally discriminatory and an "unconstitutional poll tax".

But at least the record on that law for now, as described in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's sharp pre-dawn dissent issued Saturday morning (joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan) is now accurately reflected at the U.S. Supreme Court, thanks, in part, to The BRAD BLOG's questions about what appeared to be an error in her opinion.

Ginsburg had originally stated in her otherwise on-point dissent (which the 81-year old Justice literally stayed up all night working on, before releasing it at 5am ET on Saturday morning!) that Texas will not "accept photo ID cards issued by the U. S. Department of Veterans' Affairs" for voting this year.

The "good" news is, that assertion does not appear to be true, and Ginsburg, following a chain of events spurred by our background inquiry, has now corrected the record in her official opinion published by the Court.

Here's what happened...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/21/2014 3:37pm PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Republican candidates continue to dodge the climate change question; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes lung cancer; 'Significant' oil spill in Louisiana bayou; 2014 on track to be hottest year on record; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell Oil... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...


CORRECTION: Today's episode of the GNR incorrectly identifies Rep. John Yarmuth (D) as a U.S. Congressman from West Virginia. In fact, he represents Kentucky. We apologize for the error!

Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Republicans: "I am not a scientist" on climate change, but let me advise you on Ebola; Rooftop solar: utilities must adapt or die; Extinction watch: only 6 white rhinos left; Zombie glacier surprises glaciologists; Oceans to lose $1 trillion in value due to acidification; New Method factory will be world's largest rooftop farm... PLUS: A Man For All Seasons: Remembering Rick Piltz, Climate Science Whistleblower... and much, MUCH more! ...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/20/2014 5:11pm PT  

...They can probably save money on signage by just changing the dates on some of the old signs...

I had tweeted over the weekend...

To which @TexasTruthSerum replied with the photo above and the comment...

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Despite uncontested findings of purposeful discrimination in the GOP law, strict new Photo ID restrictions allowed to take effect...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/18/2014 2:52pm PT  

- with Brad Friedman

As the plaintiffs in the otherwise successful challenge to Texas Republicans' polling place Photo ID restriction law pointed out during their emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week --- after an appeals court panel had temporarily stayed a lower court's determination that the law was discriminatory and thus, stricken down --- it was the High Court itself which, when it gutted a central provision of the Voting Rights Act last year, promised there were other provisions still standing in the landmark VRA that could adequately be used to prevent discriminatory voting laws in all 50 states.

"Our decision in no way affects the permanent, nationwide ban on racial discrimination in voting found in [Section] 2" of the Voting Rights Act, the John Roberts Supreme Court majority declared at the time. Apparently they were just kidding.

As the plaintiffs in the case persuasively argued in a filing at the court on Friday, "If voters cannot be protected after findings --- including a finding of intentional racial discrimination --- and a permanent injunction in a case where there was a year of discovery, nine days of trial, and an exhaustive, comprehensive District Court opinion, then when will they be?"

The answer to that question came back from the Court in the form of a pre-dawn order [PDF] issued Saturday morning upholding the appellate court's ruling that, even though the law, SB 14, is discriminatory, as found by the lower court after a full trial on the merits, the Photo ID restrictions that are likely to disenfranchise some 600,000 legally registered and disproportionately minority voters in the Lone Star State will be back in effect for this November's mid-term elections.

The trial earlier this year, challenging the law under both the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act --- the section that SCOTUS had previously announced was more than adequate to protect voters --- determined that the Texas law "creates an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, has an impermissible discriminatory effect against Hispanics and African-Americans, and was imposed with an unconstitutional discriminatory purpose." U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos also found in her 147-page ruling, that "SB 14 constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."

Texas had already required ID for every single polling place voter in the state from 2003 to 2013, and even though state Republicans' even more extreme version of Photo ID restrictions on voting instituted by SB 14 had already been found racially discriminatory by the U.S. Dept. of Justice and again by a U.S. District Court in D.C. based on data supplied by the state of Texas itself, and now, once again, found both discriminatory and unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court in Texas after a full trial, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an appellate court stay issued this week on the basis that the lower court's ruling came just too close to the election to change the rules at this point.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeal had reasoned that it was better for all 600,000+ voters to face potential disenfranchisement under the racially-motivated law, rather than just a few who might face a poll worker that didn't receive adequate notice that the more restrictive ID law --- the one allowing concealed weapons permits, but not state-issued Student IDs, the one that doesn't even allow U.S. Government Veterans IDs as proof of identity for voting --- had been approved for use. It appears that a majority of Supreme Court Justices agreed.

Like the appellate court, the SCOTUS majority did not dispute any of the District Court's findings nor explain why those findings did not outweigh the "potential" disruption of the Lone Star State's electoral apparatus on the eve of an election. Its cursory order, however, leaves no room for doubt that the Court has expanded what is known as "the Purcell principle" so that, no matter how egregious the law in question, no matter the evidence establishing deliberate racial discrimination and widespread disenfranchisement, the Court will apply a per se rule that an injunction barring the illegal disenfranchisement of voters will be stayed if it is issued in close proximity to the start of an election.

While the SCOTUS majority failed to offer a written opinion to explain their decision to allow massive disenfranchisement in Texas this year, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing on behalf of herself and Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, provided a tightly written dissent offering documented facts and uncontested evidence to support her opinion that the Supreme Court should have vacated the 5th Circuit's last minute stay of the lower court ruling...

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

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 10/16/2014 3:36pm PT  


IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Rep. Paul Ryan backs away - sort of - from outright climate science denial; Have we reached peak climate change denial?; Turns out natural gas isn't a bridge fuel to a low-emissions future; PLUS: Did a U.S. defense contractor really invent a compact nuclear fusion reactor? Separating fact from fiction... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...


Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Appalachian transition: coalfield residents must help themselves to diversify; Green groups sue over EPA GMO pesticide approval; Hanford nuclear workers reveal shoddy practices; Fact and fiction on the Arctic methane bomb; Risks of cheap water; Los Angeles mayor orders water cuts of 20% amid historic drought; Can Africa bypass the pollution phase of development?; Russian natgas shutdown would not hurt Europe; Autism again linked to air pollution ... PLUS: In Wisconsin, Dark Money Got A Mining Company What It Wanted... and much, MUCH more! ...

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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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By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2014 11:15pm PT  

Well, KPFK/Pacifica Radio is still on fund drive this week, but there is just too much going on to not do a new BradCast for my network affiliate stations and for you.

So, instead of live from the KPFK studios this week, we are once again "live" from BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters once again for this week's show. (If you heard last week's episode/primal scream, you'll be happy to know that the news this week is considerably more encouraging!)

Having trouble keeping up with the very latest on all of the on again/off again GOP voter suppression laws across the country just over two weeks before Election Day? Me too! So, if you missed any of our roller coaster coverage here at the blog, on all the fine messes over the past week or so, I try to get you all caught up on what you need to know about the latest in the court battles over the unconstitutional Republican Photo ID voting restrictions in Wisconsin, Arkansas and Texas...and on the one devastating appellate court opinion that might ultimately kill them all once and for all.

Buckle up (and please feel free to drop something in the BRAD BLOG Tip Jar while you're listening!)...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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Restrictive law, one of nation's strictest, approved by Republicans after veto by Dem Governor, struck down before mid-term election...
By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2014 3:16pm PT  

Good news for voting and democracy fans once again today...

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) --- Arkansas' highest court on Wednesday struck down a state law that requires voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, ruling the requirement unconstitutional just days before early voting begins for the Nov. 4 election.

In a decision that could have major implications in the state's election, the state Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that determined the law unconstitutionally added a requirement for voting.

The high court noted that the Arkansas Constitution lists specific requirements to vote: that a person be a citizen of both the U.S. and Arkansas, be at least 18 years old, and be lawfully registered. Anything beyond that amounts to a new requirement and is therefore unconstitutional, the court ruled.

"These four qualifications set forth in our state's constitution simply do not include any proof-of-identity requirement," the ruling said.

AP didn't note as much, but the court's ruling was unanimous.

Michael Li of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program said in a statement following today's ruling, that it was "an important victory for the many lifelong Arkansas voters who would have been disenfranchised by one of the strictest photo ID laws in the country." He added: "Today's decision reaffirms that when it comes to voting, the Arkansas Constitution is steadfast in protecting voters."

Earlier this year a state judge declared the law "null and void" after finding in two separate court cases that it violated the state's strict protections of the right to vote. Several weeks later, the state Supreme Court nixed the judge's ruling, but failed to rule, at the time, on the state constitutionality of the law. Now they have.

The Photo ID voting restriction in Arkansas was passed in the state legislature after Republicans took over both chambers in 2013 for the first time since Reconstruction. The bill was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, but the veto was subsequently overridden by the Republican legislature. As recently noted in a devastating opinion on the Photo ID law in WI (which is currently blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court) written by conservative icon Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, other than in Arkansas, every single strict Photo ID restriction that has been passed over the last several years has been in states where Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature, as well as the Governor's mansion.

As we reported in April, the Arkansas law, Act 595 [PDF], went even further than most similar laws being enacted by Republicans around the country. It requires a photocopied ID to be included with absentee ballots, as well as when voting in person. Notably, however, it does not require strict Photo ID for absentee voters. When voting by absentee ballot, the law allowed, in addition to state-issued Photo ID, for the use of "a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter."

Those allowances would not have been granted to in-person voters under the GOP voting restriction, despite the fact that absentee ballot fraud is far more prevalent than the virtually non-existent cases of polling place impersonation.

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