I was on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture last night to discuss the latest proposed GOP scheme, this one out of Pennsylvania, to rig the Electoral College to their advantage...
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NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
I was on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture last night to discuss the latest proposed GOP scheme, this one out of Pennsylvania, to rig the Electoral College to their advantage...
"I didn't leave the Republican Party, it left me." – Former FL Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, 9/6/2012
"Anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee should have their head examined." - Rep. Peter King (R-NY), 1/2/2013.
In the wake of the Jan. 1, 2013 decision by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to postpone a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief until after the 113th Congress was sworn in, NY Rep. Peter King's sense of betrayal, which he described as "a knife in the back" in a remarkable floor speech, is understandable, but his proposed remedy is woefully deficient.
The only way that Republicans in an entire region of the country --- the Northeast --- can achieve meaningful representation in the 113th Congress may be by way of a massive party switch. The increasingly rare breed of "moderate House Republicans" may soon only be left with the choice of emulating the late Sen. Arlen Specter's 2009 party switch, by either becoming Democrats or by becoming independents who will caucus with the Democrats.
Of course, that didn't work out terribly well for Specter either...
Why isn't the FBI or the Justice Department investigating the "widespread voter fraud" that a number of Rightwingers are claiming enabled Barack Obama to win the 2012 election?
The simplest answer is that there is nothing to investigate --- at least no evidence to suggest as much at this time. Lacking such evidence, such fishing expeditions are a waste of taxpayer money, particularly when the evidence of "fraud" forwarded by Republicans to date is easily dispatched with little more than a Google search and a few clicks of the mouse.
All existing evidence suggests that President Obama soundly defeated Mitt Romney by an electoral vote margin of 332-206, and a popular vote margin of 50.9-47.4 percent. Yet, the myth that "widespread voter fraud" swung the election for Obama continues to persist on Rightwing web sites and blogs. These myths are usually divorced from the facts altogether or grounded in baseless speculation.
Let's take a look at four of the most popular myths currently being trumpeted by the Rightwingers...
A little more than four months ago, when The BRAD BLOG first covered the ACLU's legal challenge to the deceptive ballot language that the MN GOP state legislature had used to describe its polling place Photo ID restriction initiative on the November 6 ballot, we expressed the concern that the legal challenge might succeed before the MN Supreme Court, yet fail in the court of public opinion. At the time public opinion polls revealed that 80% of Minnesota voters favored the amendment. We were wrong on both counts.
In August, a divided MN Supreme Court rejected the ACLU's challenge to the language used in the ballot question. By late September, the once popular "Photo ID needed to stop voter fraud" scam had become well enough debunked by so many that, as we we noted at the time, support for the misleading measure in the Land of 10,000 Lakes had "cratered" in public opinion polls there. And, finally, yesterday, MN voters reportedly rejected the Photo ID amendment by a decisive margin of 54% to 46%.
In our original coverage, we cited Mark Twain's famous quip that "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes," and the pervasive failure of the mainstream media to expose the truth about the GOP's "Big Lie" about pretend "voter fraud." But we had underestimated the extent to which legal challenges to Photo ID and other forms of GOP voter suppression, especially in Pennsylvania, would compel MSM coverage and educate the public...
[Now UPDATED at bottom with comment from Philadelphia's election chief, City Commissioner Stephanie Singer .]
Okay, this one is quite troubling. It's being reported that long time voters in Philadelphia have been showing up to vote today, only to find out that they are not on the voting rolls anymore at all.
In the bargain, "large numbers" of voters are being forced to vote on provisional ballots which may, or may not be counted later.
This is beyond the reports we've seen all day of voters being forced to vote provisionally after inaccurate instructions that they must have a Photo ID to vote. These are long time voters, who have voted for many years in the same place, simply missing from the rolls.
Does this indicate a larger problem than we can even know about yet in Pennsylvania? Here's the details...
This seems to be the first official video of touch-screen vote-flipping 2012, reportedly captured today in Pennsylvania, where elected officials so disrespect their own voters that they still force almost all of them to vote on these 100% unverifiable systems...
Congrats, and thank you to the voter who was wise enough to capture the problem on his video cell phone! He described the problem this way on the YouTube page where the video was posted:
Of course, this same sort of thing has happened every single election since 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting was forced on Americans ten years ago or so, but when it was first heavily reported by Democrats as having happened in 2004 all across the country, Republicans (and elections officials of all parties) called them "conspiracy theorists" and sore losers. Here's just a couple of examples caught on video from 2008. I've even written an entire chapter for Sonoma University's Project Censored book, Censored 2010, about the largely unreported nationwide vote-flipping epidemic during the 2008 election.
This year, it's been the Republicans who have finally decided, wisely, to be concerned about it. Last week, the GOP sent a letter [PDF] to top election officials in six different states, offering bad advice to them about what they should do, after a few unconfirmed complaints of touch-screen votes flipping from Romney to Obama were reported.
We briefly reported on the matter a few days ago this way:
Fortunately, it's being reported that the machine seen above has been taken out of service, rather than re-calibrated as so often happens, and as the GOP stupidly requested be done in such instances.
[Update: Mother Jones is now reporting that PA Dept of State officials are saying "they recalibrated the machine, did a test run, and put it back online." That's the dumbest thing they could do. Wonder who "fixed" it?]
All of that said, last night we offered several tips for voting today in ways that might help maximize the chances of your vote being counted and counted accurately. We included these quick tips on WHAT TO DO IF YOUR VOTE FLIPS ON A TOUCH-SCREEN MACHINE:
[This article cross-posted by Salon...]
Since both before Superstorm Sandy hit, and after, we've been reporting on concerns in states where voters are forced to vote on electronic voting systems on Election Day and, thus, could be kept from being able to cast a vote at all in this Tuesday's Presidential Election should power be unavailable at polling sites.
We've noted that voters simply cannot cast a vote at all on such systems when the power is out, and that it's just one more reason why no American should ever be forced to vote on the 100% unverifiable voting systems, incredibly, still in use across most of states such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and parts of Ohio which were all hit hard by the storm, along with New York, Connecticut and elsewhere.
We've got a bit of good news to report today, for some of the voters whose ability to vote at all has been imperiled by this inexcusable, completely foreseeable failure by public officials who have long ago been warned about this possibility and yet refused to do the sensible thing and move to a verifiable paper ballot system to avoid it.
The news is more encouraging in states like NY and CT, where officials respect voters enough to allow them all to vote on paper ballots, even when natural disasters haven't struck...
We're still having trouble, of late, keeping up with all the chicanery, dirty tricks and skullduggery now rolling across the country. So here, once again is our very quick take on just some of the most noteworthy items over the past few days that you'll want to keep in mind as we creep towards Election Day next Tuesday...
• CBS Radio Affiliate in PA Inaccurate Says Photo ID Needed To Vote: "CBS Pittsburgh radio station KDKA...is running an ad claiming that voters will need photo identification to go to the polls on November 6th, despite the fact that while voters may be asked to show ID, it is not required to vote. The ad aired on October 26," despite the fact that it's been almost a month since the PA courts determined that no Photo ID will be necessary to vote this year in the Keystone State. The ad says: "The Voter ID law was just recently signed by the governor ... You're not going to be allowed to vote unless you present an acceptable photo identification. Get to a PennDOT licensing center and get a photo ID at the drivers' license center." The ad is completely inaccurate.
• Broward County, FL Early Votes Disappearing?: Just one of the many reasons we advise against early voting, unless it's absolutely necessary: "An analysis of the unofficial totals by early voting location on the Broward Supervisor of Elections website from Saturday, compared to the tallies posted on Sunday, shows that in one location, the E. Pat Larkins Community Center, located on Martin Luther King Blvd. in Pompano Beach, the revised totals showed 1,003 fewer votes. The initial tally reported from the polling place in the heavily black neighborhood showed 2,945 votes, but the revised tally was 1,401. Across the 17 Broward polling locations, 15 saw their vote totals revised, mostly by minute amounts of between 1 and 7 votes. But the three more significant changes, including the addition of 398 votes in Tamarac (a racially mixed community) and adding 99 votes to the totals from Pompano Beach City Hall, whose demographic is majority white." ... Political consultant David Brown, who is working for three Broward candidates, "said that when he inquired about the numbers, he was told by the elections office that the changes had resulted from a 'computer glitch.'"
• Loophole in FL Law May Disenfranchise Absentee Voters: Not sure this is necessarily in the "War on Democracy" category, but Michael C. Herron and Daniel A. Smith have found a very interesting, if troubling, quirk in FL law that could result in legal voters being disenfranchised if they cast their absentee ballot and then move to a different county and re-register there before Election Day. Best to read their take to fully appreciate it, though it makes us wonder how many other states around the country have a similar loophole in their absentee ballot and registration laws and how many voters could actually be affected by such a loophole.
• Romney Campaign Training WI Poll Watchers to Lie: "One blatant falsehood occurs on page 5 of the training packet, which informed poll watchers that any 'person [who] has been convicted of treason, a felony, or bribery' isn't eligible to vote. This is not true." ... "The training also encouraged volunteers to deceive election workers and the public about who they were associated with. On page 3 of the packet, Romney poll workers were instructed to hide their affiliation with the campaign and told to sign in at the polls as a 'concerned citizen' instead." After the story was published, "the Romney campaign's schedule of poll watcher trainings was changed to private."
Update: Romney Poll Watchers also being mis-trained in Iowa, being told that Photo ID is required to vote there. It isn't.
• Keep an Eye on Colorado: So recommends Bev Harris of Black Box Voting, and for very good reason. Not only is CO a key battleground this year, said to be a virtual tie in most of the polls, but "Colorado election integrity and transparency is now officially out the window, with a series of corruption protection rules and new laws." Among those laws? Ballots that can be tied back to the voter; A new law that makes ballots and other election materials no longer public records, at least not before 45 days after an election; Extreme Tea Party Rightwing Sec. of State Scott Gessler's new rules that "remove requirements for continuous video surveillance" under the guise of "cost-saving"; the reduction in the number of so-called tamper-evident seals on voting machines; and more...
• GOP Says Votes Flipping From Romney to Obama on Touch-screens in 6 States [PDF]: We've only seen a few reports of this, but don't necessarily doubt it. While, historically, most touch-screen votes flip away from Ds, we've seen reports of them flipping to Ds on a few occasions as well. Either way, these systems are 100% unverifiable (with or without a so-called paper trail print out, as some have) and should never be used in any American election. The GOP has sent their letter to Secretaries of State in NV, OH, KS, MO and CO, and the Executive Dir. of the Election Board in NC. Three of those folks are Ds, three are Rs. The letter requests that they "Make arrangements for additional technicians on Election Day in case of increased calibration problems." Of course, when machines flip votes, they should be taken out of service, not re-calibrated when they are in "Election Mode" and most sensitive to manipulation. The letter also foolishly asks for signs to be posted warning voters to "double-check that the voting machine properly recorded their vote", which is, with these sorts of machines, scientifically impossible.
• Legal Voters With Library Cards Forced to Vote Provisionally in Shelby County (Memphis), TN: "A Shelby County election official said voters who are showing up at polls with only a Memphis library card as their photo identification are being given provisional ballots. ... Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Robert Meyers said Monday that he's working to find out how many voters have been given provisional ballots after showing their Memphis library card during early voting ahead of the November 6 election. ... The state Court of Appeals ruled [last] Thursday that a new law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls is constitutional but also said the library card qualifies as a government-issued photo ID. State election officials filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court on Friday, arguing that the Memphis library ID should not be allowed because it wasn't issued by state government." This Thursday, the Supremes decided that library cards may be used as voting ID, but will review the case in full after the election.
• Funder of Those Voter Suppression Billboards in WI and OH Identified: Last week, we told you about those "Voter Fraud" billboards placed throughout minority neighborhoods in OH in WI, by an unnamed family foundation, and that Clear Channel finally agreed to take them down. This week, the folks at theGrio and One Wisconsin Now figured out who paid for them. You'll be shocked to learn it was a Rightwing hedge fund manager who says he was only try to perform a "public service because voter fraud - whether by Republicans or Democrats - undermines our democratic process." He failed to explain why his "public service" billboards only appeared in minority neighborhoods.
One Wisconsin Now notes that "In 2010, [Reince] Priebus [who is from Wisconsin, but is now the RNC Chairman] was cited by name, in an aborted voter caging plot targeting minorities and college students involving the Republican Party of Wisconsin, Americans for Prosperity and Wisconsin's Tea Party leaders, including documents that referenced 'billboards' as part of the scheme multiple times. ... That this anti-American garbage is turning up in other states now that Priebus is running the RNC is of no surprise to us in Wisconsin given his career of scheming to deny legal voters their right to the franchise."
[This article was cross-published by Salon.]
With just 5 days to go until the nation holds its next Presidential Election, power remains out in large swaths of the Eastern Seaboard, according to Google Maps' special Hurricane Sandy power outage map.
The outages persist in a number of states which force the majority of their voters to use 100% unverifiable electronic voting machines to cast their votes at the polls on Election Day. If power is out at the polling place on Election Day in those states, voters may not be able to cast their vote at all.
As we warned before Sandy barreled ashore earlier this week, the ability of voters to vote at all --- presuming polling places are not flooded and voters are able to get to them --- is imperiled by states such as Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and even Ohio, all of which force all, or some of their voters to vote on systems which simply do not work if they do not have power.
While most of those states require a small percentage of emergency paper ballots be made available at the precincts, that number is unlikely to be enough in the event that voting machines are unavailable all day at the polls on November 6th. Moreover, battery backups on the electronic touch-screen systems are unreliable at best and, even when working, can only be counted on for a small number of hours.
In Pennsylvania, for example, as noted yesterday by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "In case of power loss, local election officials are encouraged to keep enough paper ballots on hand for 20 and 25 percent of their registered voters."
While the PA Dept. of State claimed in the same report that voting machines can run on backup batteries "about six hours," a Lehigh County, PA election official offers a more realistic assessment, noting their touch-screen system backup batteries last just 2 and a half hours at best.
The BRAD BLOG has long warned that power loss on Election Day is just another, among a myriad of reasons why forcing voters to use such systems is insane and extraordinarily disrespectful to the electorate in such jurisdictions. Other reasons why these type of voting systems should never be used: They are 100% unverifiable in every case (whether they include a so-called "Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail" or not, as some do) and computer scientists and security experts have long warned, in virtually every instance where these type of systems have been examined over the past decade, that they are both prone to failure and easily manipulated, by both election insiders and hackers alike, in ways that are unlikely to ever be detected.
At The Nation today, Ari Berman notes that "Thanks to a wave of new voting restrictions passed by Republicans, the 2012 election was already shaping up to be pretty chaotic before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, which left 8.2 million households without power in 15 states and the District of Columbia."
He then goes on to detail some of the worst hotspots for concern...
This item is less reassuring than it appears at first, once one pays attention to the details. Philadelphia Inquirer reporting...
Gov. Corbett [R] announced Monday night that he was extending the deadline for voters to request absentee ballots - originally 5 p.m. Tuesday - by up to two days, depending on how many days county offices were forced to close because of the storm.
That will give registered voters in Philadelphia, where offices were to be closed Monday and Tuesday, until Thursday at 5 p.m. to show up in person at county election offices, fill out an absentee ballot request, mark the ballot, and vote on the spot. The new deadline would be Wednesday for government offices closed only one day.
It will be too late to use that extended deadline to send an absentee ballot through the mail, because Corbett said he was not extending the Friday deadline for completed absentee ballots to arrive at county election offices.
Any use of the mail could be problematic because the storm has curtailed mail service in Philadelphia and the suburbs. Further cutbacks are likely throughout the state, depending on the course of the storm the remainder of the week.
The article was called to our attention on Twitter by MN's Sec. of State Mark Ritchie who asks: "Maybe other states will follow" in extending their absentee deadlines? But, again, please note that extended deadline only works for those showing up in person to cast their absentee ballot.
And then the Inquirer article also adds this troubling tidbit...
[This article was cross-posted by Salon...]
"History is being written as an extreme weather event continues to unfold, one which will occupy a place in the annals of weather history as one of the most extraordinary to have affected the United States," the Weather Channel's Senior Meteorologist Stu Ostro is warning. "This is an extraordinary situation, and I am not prone to hyperbole."
The National Weather Service has been telling us over the past several days that the serious impact of the super storm which is Hurricane Sandy is not to be underestimated. But there is another concern that has been keeping me awake over the past week or so.
NBC's Al Roker spelled out that concern briefly on Sunday's Meet the Press, explaining what I've been worrying about since it became clear that the storm could have serious ramifications on Election Day.
I'm not talking about the political ramifications about its effect on planned campaign events between now and Election Day, on Early Voting turnout, or even how it's handled by President Obama and FEMA, etc. I'm talking about the serious question of whether voters will be able to vote on Election Day at all, particularly in states which force voters to use electronic voting systems at the precincts.
"We expect massive power outages throughout the area," Roker told NBC's David Gregory (before Gregory hurried to ignore the comment entirely.) "As the system moves on shore it's going to be a long term effect. It's going to last for about 72 hours. And so we're talking about people who could be without power for at least 10 days. That, as you know, will take it right into Election Day. So what will people do if they can't get to the voting booth, or the voting booths don't have power?"
Good question, Al. And one we've warned about here for a number of years.
There are about a half a dozen states (listed below) directly in harm's way where voters are forced to use 100% unverifiable electronic voting systems on Election Day. In those locations, unless they have enough emergency paper ballots printed up to accommodate the entire electorate at precincts where power remains disrupted on Election Day, there could be very serious and unprecedented problems...
President Barack Obama may have voted for Mitt Romney yesterday when he cast his Early Vote at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Chicago's 4th Ward. Nobody knows for sure. Even him.
He cast his vote on a 100% unverifiable touch-screen e-voting system made by Sequoia Voting Systems (which is now owned by a Canadian firm named Dominion Voting.) It is scientifically impossible to ever know if his vote was recorded accurately, as per his itent, or not on that type of voting system.
"I can't tell you who I voted for," the President joked, as noted by our colleague Mark Crispin Miller in a short blog item today wryly headlined "Obama votes for Romney". The President's joke may not have been nearly as funny as he had intended it.
We confirmed with the Chicago Board of Elections that Early Voters in the Windy City must do so on the oft-failed, incredibly-vulnerable, and easily-hacked (see below for details) Sequoia AVC Edge touch-screen voting system which is still used according to VerifiedVoting.org's database for Early, Disabled-Accessible or Standard polling place voting in some 234 jurisdictions across all or part of some 13 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
On Election Day, the Board's Communication Director told The BRAD BLOG, voters are allowed to vote on their choice of either paper ballots (also tallied by Sequoia's incredibly faulty computer tabulators --- the same ones which announced losing candidates as "winners" in 3 different elections in Palm Beach County, FL earlier this year) or Sequoia's 100% unverifiable AVC Edge touch-screens.
The Intellectual Property of those Sequoia systems is still a proprietary trade secret owned by a Venezuelan firm named Smartmatic, which has been tied to the country's long-time President Hugo Chavez. That point was lied about by Sequoia's then CEO Jack Blaine when he was asked directly about it by a Chicago Alderman some years ago, as The BRAD BLOG detailed exclusively back in 2008.
Sequoia has since been purchased by the Canadian firm Dominion Voting, which also subsequently lied about the company's Intellectual Property being owned by the Chavez-tied company when they announced their takeover of Sequoia in 2010. Dominion confirmed as much when we called them on it after their announcement. And, yes, we are still the only ones to have reported that as well.
A few other quick points of note which should deeply concern every voter in the nation --- of any party, or none at all --- about the 100% unverifiable Sequoia touch-screen voting systems that the President foolishly entrusted yesterday to accurately record his vote...
These are now coming in too quickly for us to cover 'em all in detail. But let's see if we can try and help get a few more eyeballs on at least some of the most noteworthy, with more in-depth coverage to come as/if time allows...
• DoJ Monitoring Early Voting in TX: "The Justice Department announced today that it will monitor portions of the early voting period for the Nov. 6, 2012, general election in Dallas and Harris Counties, Texas, to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965."
• UN Monitoring U.S. Precincts on Election Day: In March, we noted that the NAACP requested U.N. monitors to observe the U.S. election, based on concerns about disenfranchisement by GOP polling place Photo ID restrictions and other voter suppression tactics. Now they're getting them. "The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will deploy 44 observers from its human rights office around the country on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places. It's part of a broader observation mission that will send out an additional 80 to 90 members of parliament from nearly 30 countries."
Oddly, Republican-funded "non-partisan" group "True The Vote", which claims to be monitoring polling places to prevent fraud (but appears to be there to challenge legitimate voters, intimidate them and cause havoc instead), is against the idea. If they wanted to prevent fraud wouldn't they say the more observers the better?
• "Voter Fraud" Billboards Coming Down: After they've already been up in minority neighborhoods for two weeks..."Clear Channel Outdoor will remove 30 billboards across the city that drew complaints of racism and intimidation with their message of "Voter fraud is a felony," the company said Saturday night." Clear Channel also says it'll donate "10 other billboards that will have messages to counter the offending ones." They'll read "Voting Is a Right. Not a Crime!" See Jamil Smith's take on why the billboards, placed in minority areas, were so disturbing.
• OH SoS Says Order to Restore Early Voting "Un-American" - Yes, that's what Republican Sec. of State Jon Husted, vying to become the J. Kenneth Blackwell for 2012, actually said during his keynote speech at an election law symposium at University of Toledo on Friday. Apparently the remarks were not well received by the actual Election Law experts on hand. See our summary of Husted unsuccessful, "Un-American" attempt to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to help him keep legal voters from voting right here.
• State Ads Causing Confusion in PA Following Photo ID Ruling: As we predicted when the Republican Commonwealth Court Judge's ruling was issued, confusion is now reigning in PA. The ruling barred the GOP's polling place Photo ID requirement (this November, anyway), but decided that poll workers could ask for it anyway. Moreover, the Judge refused to enjoin the part of the law that allocates millions in tax-payer dollars to "voter education" about the Photo ID law. "That critical detail in Simpson’s opinion — that photo ID is not required in this election — has been lost in much of the $5 million advertising campaign by the Pennsylvania Department of State, voters rights advocates charge. On buses, an ad displays a photo ID with 'SHOW IT' in big block lettering. In smaller type, it says photo ID is not mandatory. Moreover, state officials acknowledge that it was not until Tuesday, a full two weeks after the court opinion, that the last of the pre-decision billboards announcing photo ID as a requirement came down."
"Late Friday, the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization, filed a petition asking [Commonwealth Court Judge Robert] Simpson to order Pennsylvania officials to cease advertising and distributing information about the photo ID requirement."
We currently have a premium offer for signed copies of investigative journalist Greg Palast's new best-seller Billionaires and Ballot Bandits and his "Election Files" DVD, including his BBC reports on fraudulent U.S. elections in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Details on that limited time offer right here...
I had a lot to pack in to about 4 minutes on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture TV show last night, but I did my best, including a tasty new morsel on Florida's criminal investigation into the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal that I was able to obtain just before air, and which I haven't yet broken elsewhere...
As referenced in the video above:
By the way, while I try to include the following tag below when posting our Election Integrity stories, I usually get few takers. Your support this time of year is crucial, as I simply don't have much time for fund raising at all, or even for selling stories elsewhere (which sometimes helps to cover some of the expenses we have here). I'd rather be reporting, than fund raising, especially now. So anything you can do to hit the tip jar below is greatly appreciated! I do hate asking, but I have to. So my great thanks in advance!
Today, democracy in Pennsylvania was granted a reprieve. For now. Of a sort.
In response to a recent state Supreme Court remand, unanimously voiding his previous August ruling, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, a Republican, issued his new ruling [PDF] today on the state GOP's polling place Photo ID restriction law.
He enjoined just a part of the law, but it effectively strikes down the most onerous provision of it --- but only for this November's Presidential election. There were also a number of troubling caveats with what he left in place, rather than striking down the entire statute as the petitioners had sought.
There has been some confused and confusing reporting on the ruling today. Here is where --- barring any additional court challenges --- the law stands at this moment, just over one month from Election Day...
Hopefully that clarifies the key points of today's ruling, which is being misreported in some quarters.
Also of note, the court refused to enjoin the Commonwealth's tax-payer funded $5 million ad campaign, as written into the statute for the purposes of "educating" the public about the polling place Photo ID requirement (even though it no longer practically applies for this election.)
Given that, and given that poll workers may still ask for ID this November, and given that the Photo ID requirements, barring more legal challenges, will be allowed to take effect next year, it is almost guaranteed that confusion will reign in parts of Pennsylvania this year. On the upside, the 1.6 million otherwise-eligible voters who it was feared could be disenfranchised, will at least be allowed to vote in this year's Presidential election, presuming they can navigate all of the confusion left in place by Judge Simpson.
Contrary to the claim made by GOP "voter fraud" fraudster, Hans Van Spakovsky, the court did not rule on the constitutionality of PA's Photo ID statute. A ruling on that aspect of the law will not be made until after the case proceeds to a trial, following the election, on the plaintiff's request for a permanent injunction.
Tonight, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow also discussed the confusion likely to be brought by the state's continuing ad campaign along with the other vagueries allowed to continue by Judge Simpson's ruling today...
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