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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, May 30, 2015
TPP Secrets and Roads to Nowhere: 'BradCast' 5/29/15
Obama calls the TPP trade pact the 'most progressive ever'. Many Dems disagree. Who's right? Who knows? It's all a secret. Plus: NWF's Miles Grant on the 'new roads' scam...
HASTERT INDICTED ON CRIMINAL CHARGES
Flashback to BRAD BLOG coverage of blackmail, bribery allegations from years past, as former GOP House Speaker charged with paying $3.5m to cover up 'prior misconduct'...
Montana's Fight to Save U.S. Elections: 'BradCast' 5/28/15
MT's Commissioner of Political Practices discusses his disturbing court battle that may rock elections across the country; Nebraska does the right thing again; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/28/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deadly deluges in TX, OK; Deadly heat in India; Heat-driven fires shut down tar sands oil in Canada; Farmers concede in CA drought; PLUS: Obama protects drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 5/21/15 - 5/19/15 - Archives...
On 'White Fragility' and On Smearing Bernie Sanders: 'BradCast' 5/27/15
Journalist Austin Squire on privileged white males' tenous grip on power. Plus: The MSM continues to marginalize Sanders, even after his huge kickoff rally this week...
Roads to Nowhere: Do Voters Really Want New Ones?
Voters keep rejecting increased taxes for new and improved roads. Environmental reporter Miles Grant wonders if there's a reason above and beyond aversion to increased gas taxes...
Oil, Toil, Flooding & Trouble: 'BradCast' 5/26/15
Science Editor Andrew Freedman on deadly TX, OK flooding; Good news out of Ireland; A 'GyroCopter Guy' update; PLUS: Our report from the Santa Barbara oil spill...
Memorial Day Weekend Toons We'd Love to Forget
Arctic drilling; Texas 'justice'; Hillary Inc.; Iraq 'whoppers' continued and more in PDiddie's latest collection...
Gov. Don Siegelman's Son on Father's Case; 'Bin Laden's Bookshelf': 'BradCast' 5/22/15
GUEST: Joseph Siegelman; Plus: Was al-Qaeda hoping to hack a US election?...
'Bin Laden's Bookshelf' Contained Classic Book on Hacking Computer Elections
Reading material said to have been on the al-Qaeda leader's shelf when he was killed may not be a surprise to BRAD BLOG readers...
GOP State Sen. on Nebraska's 'Veto Proof' Death Penalty Ban: 'BradCast' 5/21/15
Guest: State Sen. Al Davis (R); Plus: Siegelman appeal denied; Jeb still rewriting Iraq history; Goodbye, Dave; MORE...
'Green News Report' 5/21/15
  w/ Brad & Desi
Major oil spill off CA coast; New settlement in 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill; Fossil fuels subsidized $5 TRILLION/year; PLUS: Obama to Coast Guard cadets: climate threatens NatSec...
Previous GNRs: 5/19/15 - 5/14/15 - Archives...
BREAKING: Appeals Court Denies Siegelman Retrial
AL's former Dem Governor's request denied. He remains in federal prison as Repubs who orchestrated 'political prosecution' (including 'wife-beating' Judge Mark Fuller) remain free...
Walker, Christie, GOP, FCC, Untethered From Reality: 'BradCast' 5/20/15
Facts and reality matter; Journalist turned media-activist Sue Wilson helps explain...
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) on Obama's Executive Order to Demilitarize the Police: 'BradCast' 5/19/15
Plus: A spate of new voting laws, good and bad, around the country...
'Green News Report' 5/19/15
'Paddle in Seattle' to stop Shell's Arctic drilling; Study finds new emmissions rules will save lives...so GOP blocking them; PLUS: Indigenous tribe nixes natgas billions...
Walker and GOP Turn 1st Amndmnt On Head
The FCC's blow to free speech rights you probably never heard about, and how, if Walker and Republicans have their way, it may soon get even worse...
People v. Shell in Seattle; Truth v. Iraq Lies on Fox: 'BradCast' 5/18/15
Guest: Seattle Councilman Mike O'Brien; Now Rubio trips over Iraq; TX shootout; Antarctica ice shelf disappearing...
The 'Br'er Rabbit Strategy' To Fend Off A Sanders-Led Democratic Revolution
Wall Street and MSM say they fear Sanders could 'pull Hillary to left'. But is there more to their strategy?...
Sunday Toons: Off the Rails
From the TPP to tragedy in Philly to GOP 2016ers on Iraq to drilling in the Arctic and marriage equality in TX, common sense continues to be derailed...
Learning From History & GOP Rewriting Iraq's: 'BradCast' 5/15/15
Guest: Journalist Peter Dykstra, formerly of CNN, on how enviros should learn from the past; GOP 2016ers trying to rewrite Iraq...
Texas Republicans Hoping to Block Even More Legit Voters With New ID Scheme
New law, if adopted by state, would take already unconstitional Photo ID voting restrictions to new level...
NSA Spying & 'USA Freedom Act'; Jeb Between Iraq, Hard Place: 'BradCast' 5/14/15
Guest: Marcy Wheeler; Plus: Feingold's back! OH GOP still suppressing voters; 600th GNR...
'Green News Report' 5/14/15
OUR 600th EPISODE! - Hours after Amtrak crash, GOP votes to cut Amtrak budget; FBI spied on KXL protesters; PLUS: Hawaii to be 1st in nation to go 100% renewable...
CIA Drugging of 9/11 Detainees? & Jeb Too Dumb to Run: 'BradCast' 5/13/15
VICE News' investigative reporter Jason Leopold on his new exclusive CIA documents; MORE...
Dems: 'No' to Obama on TPP
'BradCast' 5/12/15
Salon's David Dayen joins us to discuss Dems' refusal to go along with Obama (for now); Plus: 1st election lawsuit of 2016; Jeb on Iraq, Allen West on 'Sharia Law'...
NY Nuke Plant Fire, Oil Spill; Vanishing NC Voter Registrations: 'BradCast' 5/11/15
Guests: Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen; 'DocDawg' of Daily Kos...
Bernie Who? 'Meet the Press' Ignores Sanders
Media watchdog documents NBC's Chuck Todd snubbing Sanders' entry into 2016 Presidential primary, while covering GOP also-rans dozens of times...
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...


By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2015 12:22pm PT  

The polling place Photo ID voting restriction enacted by Republicans in Texas has been repeatedly found in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Most recently, late last year, a federal judge found, after a full trial on the merits of the law, that the restrictive statute "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 went on to note in her 147-page ruling [PDF] that the law also "constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."

Based on evidence from the state examined at trial, the law could serve to disenfranchise as many as 600,000 already legally registered voters in the state, not to mention more than a million eligible voters in Texas over all.

Naturally, Texas Republicans who currently run the state are appealing that ruling. Not because they have been able to demonstrate any actual "voter fraud" that might have been deterred by their restrictions, but because, with rapidly changing voter demographics in the Lone Star State, keeping legal voters (specifically, those that tend to lean towards Democrats) from being able to cast their otherwise legal vote has become a top priority for the GOP if they hope to keep their stranglehold on political power there in coming decades.

With all of that in mind --- including the existing law having been found in violation of both federal law and the U.S. Constitution --- state Republicans are hoping to make the law even more restrictive, and last week in the state House, the GOP passed another law to make it even more difficult for certain people to vote...

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

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Some, but not all, attempted GOP cutbacks to Early Voting nixed...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2015 12:35pm PT  

A deal announced today by Ohio's Secretary of State may help avoid some of the legal nightmares that plagued the Buckeye State's 2014 elections. While the legal settlement [PDF] restores some of the early voting access Republicans have been attempted, for years, to impose, it also leaves other rollbacks to voting reforms passed after the state's 2004 Presidential nightmare in place.

MSNBC's Zach Roth explains the agreement between Ohio's Republican Sec. of State and the ACLU, which had sued on behalf of the Ohio NAACP and League of Women Voters last year to block new GOP cuts to polling place access:

The deal, announced Friday morning between Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, and the ACLU, undoes some but not all of the damage to voting access caused by last year's cuts. It restores one day of Sunday voting and adds weekday evening hours, but lets stand the elimination of a week when Ohioans had been able to register and vote all in one day.

Both sides hailed the new agreement --- hopefully ending a years-long, roller-coaster legal battle --- as a victory for voters, though Roth added on Twitter that the deal, overall, seemed to be more of a victory for the GOP than for voting rights advocates. Elections expert Daniel Smith is a bit more optimistic about it today, noting that it's "a much bigger deal to have extended hours" and Sunday "Souls to the Polls" voting restored, even as the ACLU, for its part, concedes the settlement is "far from perfect"...

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

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GUESTS: Estee Chandler; Ernest Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2015 2:35pm PT  

Was Netanyahu/Likud's win last week in Israel the best possible outcome for Palestinians? While it seems counter-intuitive at first blush, some who follow Israeli/Palestinian politics very closely say it was.

My guest on this week's Pacifica Radio BradCast, Estee Chandler of JewishVoiceForPeace.org and the producer/co-host of KPFK's Middle East in Focus program believes that is the case and tells me why. She offers a different (and very welcome) perspective than the Right/Left (and now, sadly, Republican/Democratic) narrative we've heard so much of from most of the media since last week's election.

Also, BRAD BLOG's legal analyst Ernie Canning joins me to discuss the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear the WI Photo ID voting case and what that means for voting across the country in 2016, as well as the error the CA Supreme Court seems to have made when they removed Prop 49 (the "Overturn Citizens United" initiative) from the 2014 ballot last year.

Plus, Ted Cruz' astoundingly ingenious if extraordinary cynical remark the day after he declared his intention to seek the 2016 GOP nomination for President; OH tries a new voter suppression tactic; another predictable Internet Voting failure in Australia; Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report and MUCH MORE!...

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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'DHS may have been the easy one': Much more legislative brinksmanship, chaos ahead as critical funding deadlines loom for GOP Congress...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2015 2:43pm PT  

In his "Morning Plum" round-up today at Washington Post, Greg Sargent's collection of items on legislative priorities in the new Congress reads more like a warning than anything else. Buckle up. The serious dysfunction in the Republican House and Senate is only going to get very bad before it gets better.

His opening item details the improbability of the Voting Rights Act, broken in 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court, being fixed by the Republican majority in both houses any time soon. Indeed, as The Nation's Ari Berman tweets today, even on the heels of the weekend's 50th anniversary commemoration of the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights in Selma, AL, just 10 House Republicans currently support the Republican-authored bill to restore the VRA.

"There's no incentive for House Republicans to act" on it, observes Sargent. That's true, in so much as, ya know, simply doing the right thing would otherwise provide incentive to at least some lawmakers.

Similarly, Sargent notes, it seems unlikely that Republicans will be able to make much progress on immigration reform, a long-promised, so-called GOP version of health care reform, or even on their own legislative priorities, such as tax reform or trade deals, given the necessity of having to deal with Democrats to get almost anything passed in the Senate and a Democratic President who is disinclined to gut programs that "Tea Party" Republicans tend to poison their own legislation with.

But, following last week's predictable GOP brinksmanship on funding for the Dept. of Homeland Security, Sargent cites Ashley Parker at the New York Times and her round up of the long list of must-pass spending bills that are coming due soon with hard deadlines and a likelihood --- some might say certainty, at this point --- that much more governing-by-brinksmanship lies in our near future. All of that, it seems, is all but certain to take up any time that might have been used to pass bills meant to, ya know, actually help the American people...

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

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FULL TRANSCRIPT OF STIRRING SPEECH NOW POSTED...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2015 1:55pm PT  

President Barack Obama offered a stirring speech this afternoon at the entrance to the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March in Selma, Alabama in 1965.

The brutal police violence brought against courageous, peaceful marchers that day, and the subsequent peaceful marches that followed it, led directly to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, widely regarded as one of the most important pieces of legislation in our nation's history.

The transcript of Obama's speech today is posted in full below. But, here is the portion of his remarks calling for the restoration of the VRA which was renewed for 25 years in 2006 by George W. Bush (one of very few Republican officials in attendance today), but then gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013...

And with effort, we can protect the foundation stone of our democracy for which so many marched across this bridge — and that is the right to vote. Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood and sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened, its future subject to partisan rancor.

How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic effort. President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President Bush signed its renewal when he was in office. One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects. If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.

Of course, our democracy is not the task of Congress alone, or the courts alone, or the President alone. If every new voter suppression law was struck down today, we'd still have one of the lowest voting rates among free peoples. Fifty years ago, registering to vote here in Selma and much of the South meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap. It meant risking your dignity, and sometimes, your life. What is our excuse today for not voting? How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought? How do we so fully give away our power, our voice, in shaping America's future?

* * *

The complete transcript of Obama's prepared 3/7/2015 speech commemorating the sacrifices of the 3/7/1965 Bloody Sunday March, along with many other sacrifices in our storied and continuing fight for civil rights in the U.S., follows in full below...

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

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Court's decision on whether to hear a challenge to the Wisconsin GOP's 'unconstitutional' voting restriction is a moment of truth for democracy...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/6/2015 2:03pm PT  

As we find ourselves smack dab on the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama, there are some key decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, coming very soon, which may well determine whether millions of otherwise lawfully registered and disproportionately Democratic-leaning African-American and Hispanic voters will be prevented from voting in the 2016 elections.

The decision that emerges from the Supreme Court's March 20, 2015 Conference in the Wisconsin polling place photo ID case, Frank v. Walker, could well be dispositive in that regard. It also may be the last chance to avoid the legal chaos that plagued the 2014 elections, during which similar voting restrictions, in state-after-state, were implemented, struck down, restored, or, with respect to Wisconsin, blocked again. Where, last year, the Court's eleventh hour decisions preserved the right to vote in Wisconsin, that same Supreme Court, on the eve of the 2014 mid-term, eliminated the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of predominantly African-American and Hispanic voters in Texas and North Carolina. The failure of the Supreme Court to take up the issue now could produce an even darker cloud of doubt over the integrity and legitimacy of the 2016 Presidential Election.

The immediate issue now before the Court is not whether SCOTUS agrees with a U.S. District Court judge and half the judges on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal that WI's law (aka Act 23) is both unconstitutional and violative of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. As those judge found, Act 23, if implemented in the Badger State, could disenfranchise more than 300,000 lawfully registered Wisconsin voters.

Rather, the immediate issue at the March 20 Conference is whether the Supremes will grant an ACLU petition for a writ of certiorari (aka "cert petition") and schedule oral arguments on the Constitutionality of the Republican-enacted law. Or whether, as urged by the attorneys representing WI's Republican Governor Scott Walker, the Court will defer its decision until similar legal challenges to strict photo ID laws in other states, such as North Carolina and Texas, wind their way through the trial and appellate courts.

In other words, do they hear the Wisconsin case now, as urged by the ACLU and other voting rights advocates? Or do they wait to combine the matter with several other challenges to substantively identical voting restrictions implemented by Republicans in other states, as urged by one of the men who stands to benefit from delaying such a decision as long as possible?

That decision whether to hear the case now, rather than later, may well have a huge impact on who will serve as the next President of the United States...

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

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By Ernest A. Canning on 1/5/2015 7:05am PT  

- with Brad Friedman

[An earlier version of this article was originally published by Truthout...]

Both election integrity advocates and dissembling GOP proponents of Photo ID voting restrictions were taken by surprise in late 2013 when 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard A. Posner said, during an interview with HuffPo Live, that the landmark 2008 Supreme Court decision on the matter "would have been decided differently" if the Court had known then "about the abuse of voter identification laws."

That, in and of itself, was a remarkable turn of events. What was ultimately to come was even more so.

Crawford v. Marion County Election Board is the case which Republican proponents of strict Photo ID voting laws now (incorrectly and often disingenuously) cite as giving them carte blanche to enact similar laws in other states, irrespective of the extent to which photo ID laws serve to disenfranchise demographic groups --- minorities, students, the poor, women --- that all tend to vote for Democrats.

Posner is not just any judge. He is a renowned legal scholar and Reagan appointee to the federal bench, who has served on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeal since 1981. More importantly here, Posner was the author of the 7th Circuit's opinion in Crawford. In that case, Posner rejected an allegation that Indiana's polling place photo ID restriction was unconstitutional. That decision was affirmed at the time by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Posner, who is, as Yale Law Professor Fred Shapiro notes, the most cited jurist of the 20th Century, was not alone in his view in 2013 year that Crawford "would have been decided differently" if the Court knew then what it knows now.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the author of the plurality opinion in Crawford --- an opinion that was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy --- told the Wall Street Journal following Posner's remarks at the time, that he "always thought that [dissenting Justice] David Souter got the thing correct, but my own problem with the case was that I didn't think the record [before the Court in 2008] supported everything he said in his opinion." Souter would have struck down the Indiana law as unconstitutional because, as he argued at the time, it "threatens to impose nontrivial burdens" upon the right to vote.

Joined by four other 7th Circuit jurists last October, Posner penned an extraordinarily powerful and compelling dissent [PDF] in Wisconsin's photo ID voting case. The previously missing evidence is now in, as the judge meticulously detailed in the opinion. GOP claims that photo ID restrictions are needed to combat "voter fraud", he wrote, are "a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government"...

There is only one motivation for imposing burdens on voting that are ostensibly designed to discourage voter-impersonation fraud, if there is no actual danger of such fraud, and that is to discourage voting by persons likely to vote against the party responsible for imposing the burdens.

Posner's carefully crafted dissent does more than establish why the U.S. Supreme Court should ultimately sustain the District Court's finding that Wisconsin's photo ID law is both unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act --- a finding later echoed by a federal District Court in Texas as well. Posner's dissent obliterates the factual premise that had served as a pillar upon which his, and subsequently the Supreme Court's, decisions in Crawford were based.

Polling place photo ID laws do not promote voter confidence in the integrity of elections, as Posner and the Crawford Supreme Court plurality had erroneously assumed. The assertion that they do was a "mistake" --- Posner's mistake! --- and he now admits as much, with the support of devastating new data from recent studies to back him up.

His powerful dissent amounts to more than just a response to the Wisconsin GOP's new Photo ID voting law. It is an elegant plea that the U.S. Supreme Court finally right a grievous wrong that he was personally responsible for. Posner presents an astonishing, air-tight case for ruling that all "strict Photo ID laws," which, as he demonstrates, have only been enacted in states sporting GOP-controlled legislatures, must now be struck-down as unconstitutional...

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

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Mind-boggling response to BRAD BLOG: 'No correction warranted'...
By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2014 2:19pm PT  

A few weeks ago, Francis Barry, whose bio identifies him as having "previously served as Director of Public Affairs and Chief Speechwriter for New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg," had a piece published by Bloomberg View (the op-ed arm of the Bloomberg News outlet), portending to examine whether Photo ID voting laws had an adverse effect on turnout this year.

Specifically, as the very first paragraph of his piece explained, Barry claims to have been looking at whether "voter identification laws suppress turnout" since, as he opined in the same graf, "Liberals" argue "not all citizens have the type of ID that many states now require at the polls."

The piece, headlined "Quit Blaming Low Turnout on Voter ID", went out of its way to make the case that such laws had nothing to do with turnout this year, as some states with such laws even saw higher turnout than others without them. While one could attempt to make such an argument, in this case, unfortunately, Barry used extraordinarily deceptive data and moving goal posts in order to do so, as detailed in the emails (posted below) between me, him and one of his editors.

The main trick he employed was an apples to oranges comparison of turnout rates in "21 states that had a competitive gubernatorial or Senate race", where, he misleadingly claimed, "Fourteen of the 21 states had a voter ID requirement in place, while seven didn't".

But here's the thing. Barry deceptively swapped the type of very specific Photo ID laws cited in his first paragraph, with very non-restrictive ID laws that are in use without objection in many states.

When I explained all of this in detail to him and his editors via email (all posted below), the response I received back was, as I noted, "mind-boggling, to be frank"...

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

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State Republicans' attempt to delay next summer's trial described as 'unsupportable', 'disingenuous'...
UPDATE: Court Denies Motion to Delay Trial...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/5/2014 2:03pm PT  

North Carolina Republicans are now seeking to delay the full federal trial challenging their massive election reform law, which has been described as the worst-in-the-nation and as a "monster" voter suppression law.

The tactic threatens to, once again, undermine any ruling by the court, should it be made too close to the state's 2016 elections. The trial in the case had previously been set, according to a timetable established in federal court in December of 2013, to take place during the July 2015 trial calendar. State Republicans, however, now argue that a separate state court challenge to one section of its massive voter suppression law, scheduled during the same period next summer, will "severely prejudice" their ability to defend themselves in the federal case which follows it.

Plaintiffs argue in response that the move is "another step in Defendants continued attempts to delay the ultimate resolution of this action."

The attempt to re-schedule comes from the same North Carolina Republicans who, this past October, successfully persuaded the U.S. Supreme Court to stay an appellate court order restoring a number of voter registration and voting provisions that were blocked by the state GOP's law, simply because the court order restoring those voting rights was issued too close to the Nov. 4, 2014 election.

The state's argument at the time was that "Court orders affecting elections...can themselves result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls. As an election draws closer, that risk will increase."

The trial which the state is now attempting to stall is in response to the same federal lawsuit involving legal challenges to the state's Voter Information Verification Act ("VIVA"). This site, and many others, described the legislation as the "nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era," when state Republicans enacted the extraordinarily wide-reaching restrictions on voting and registration in NC within days of the U.S. Supreme Court gutting a key portion of the Voting Rights Act in the summer of 2013...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/22/2014 1:39pm PT  

It's investigative Election Integrity muckraking in East Coast/West Coast stereo!

My thanks to Thom for inviting me for this week's longer-than-usual panel conversation on his Big Picture TV show, and to Palast for being the inimitably indefatigable Greg Palast!

Lively discussion includes everything from the secret GOP Crosscheck program to Greg's assertion that it cost Democrats several key U.S. Senate races to the U.S. now ranked 26th in electoral integrity among world democracies (last among Western nations) to the Republicans' long hard fight to return to Jim Crowism in TX and beyond...

[Thanks to Palast's office for stitching both segments together in one easy-to-watch clip! I've replaced the original embed with that version above.]

* * *
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Early data suggest new 'discriminatory', 'unconstitutional' Republican voting restriction seems to have worked well for them...
By Brad Friedman on 11/10/2014 2:58pm PT  

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

Despite a larger population and a contested race for an open gubernatorial seat, turnout in the state of Texas was reportedly down this year, as compared to the last mid-term election in 2010, by more than a quarter of a million votes.

That data point --- a decrease of some 271,000 total voters this year --- is one of several, at least anecdotal early indicators that suggest the Texas GOP's strategy of suppressing the vote this year with polling place Photo ID restrictions seems to have worked.

Since 2003, Texas law had already required every voter to present an ID when voting at the polls in the Lone Star State. But the newer draconian restrictions that have been so controversial were finally in place for a federal general election for the first time this year, after state Republicans have been attempting to enact them since at least 2007.

We've spent quite a bit of time over the past year(s) reporting on the GOP attempt to implement these new polling place Photo ID voting restrictions, with all evidence suggesting that they are meant only to suppress the votes of minorities, students, the poor and other disproportionately Democratic-leaning constituencies.

In virtually every instance that the new, exceedingly restrictive law has come before federal authorities, it has been found plainly discriminatory. The law was struck down in 2012 as a discriminatory violation of the Voting Rights Act by both the U.S. Department of Justice as well as a three-judge federal panel on the D.C. District Court. It was struck down once again this year by a U.S. District Court in Texas after a full trial and a 147-page ruling [PDF] which found the law to be "purposefully discriminatory", an "unconstitutional poll tax", and likely to disenfranchise some 600,000 legally registered Texas voters as well as more than a million eligible voters.

Nonetheless, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed it to stay in place during this year's election, as the Republicans who run the state of Texas appeal the lower court's unambiguous ruling.

In the meantime, early data coming in from Texas suggests the law appears to have had its intended effect...

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By Brad Friedman on 11/7/2014 6:02am PT  

It's been happening for years now. On the day after elections like last Tuesday's, media figures begin navel gazing to figure out how pre-election polls, created by dozens of independent pollsters using dozens of different methodologies, could all find the same thing but turn out to be so wrong once the election results are in.

The presumption is that the results are always right, and if they don't match the pre-election polling, its the polling that must be wrong, as opposed to the election results.

On Wednesday morning, after Tuesday's mid-term election surprise in which Republicans reportedly won handily in race after race despite pre-election polls almost unanimously predicting much closer races or outright Democratic victories, FiveThirtyEight statistics guru Nate Silver declared "The Polls Were Skewed Toward Democrats".

His analysis of aggregated averages from dozens of different pollsters and polls this year found that the performance of Democrats was overestimated by approximately 4 percentage points in Senate races and 3.4 points in gubernatorial contests. Silver's assessment relies on a "simple average of all polls released in the final three weeks of the campaign," as compared to the (unofficial and almost entirely unverified) election results reported on Tuesday night. He doesn't suggest there was anything nefarious in the polling bias towards Dems this year, simply that the pollsters got it wrong for a number of speculative reasons.

Citing the fact that nearly all of the polls suggested Democrats would do much better than they ultimately did, when compared to the reported election results, Silver asserts it wasn't that the polls were more wrong that usual, per se, but that almost all of them were wrong in a way that appears to have overestimated Democratic performance on Election Day.

"This year's polls were not especially inaccurate," he explains. "Between gubernatorial and Senate races, the average poll missed the final result by an average of about 5 percentage points --- well in line with the recent average. The problem is that almost all of the misses were in the same direction."

Silver is much smarter than I when it comes to numbers; I'm happy to presume he has the basic math right. But he seems to have a blind spot in his presumption that the pre-election polls were wrong and the election results were right. That, despite the lack of verification of virtually any of the results from Tuesday night, despite myriad and widespread if almost completely ignored problems and failures at polls across the country that day, and despite systematic voter suppression and dirty tricks that almost certainly resulted in election results (verified or otherwise) that were skewed toward Republicans...

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Round-up of reported election failures, so far, in CT, NC, GA, TX, AL...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2014 3:58pm PT  

Zach Roth and Trymaine Lee of MSNBC highlight a number of the problems at the polls being reported so far in various states today.

"Voters in Connecticut, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Alabama and other states all encountered potentially serious problems casting ballots as Americans went to the polls Tuesday," they report. "The issues included malfunctioning machines that caused long lines, problems with statewide voter registration systems, missing voter lists, and delays processing voter registration applications. Meanwhile, voter ID laws and other strict voting measures kept others from even attempting to make it to the polls."

Here are the key portions of their problem reports from each of those states...

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Now UPDATED at bottom of article with more details...
By Brad Friedman on 11/4/2014 1:18pm PT  

According to a report from Aviva Shen at Think Progress (please see the cautionary note about that reporter below), the state of Alabama has decided at the last minute, just last Friday, that Public Housing IDs would not be sufficient for voting in today's mid-term elections.

The determination is reportedly a last minute interpretation of Alabama's new polling place Photo ID restriction by the state Attorney General, and does not appear to have been used during primary elections earlier this year...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 11/1/2014 6:38pm PT  

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

Congratulations, Texas Republicans! Mission accomplished! Ya'll kept this guy from being able to cast his vote this year!...

The TX GOP has also kept a 93-year old veteran from being able to vote (because, ya know, fuck him and his "freedom") along with a whole bunch of others this year that we'll get to in a moment, thanks to their new polling place Photo ID law which was found to be both "purposefully discriminatory" and an "unconstitutional poll tax".

Unfortunately, despite the U.S. District Court judge's well-documented findings after a year-long trial process, the U.S. Supreme Court is allowing the law to be implemented this year anyway. Their apparent reason: the lower court struck down the law due to illegalities and unconstitutionalites of the Photo ID scheme, but that determination happened just too close to this year's elections to be allowed to stand this year.

But that 93-year old vet and the man pictured above, 45-year old Eric Lyndell Kennie, are hardly the only ones losing their right to vote in the Lone Star State election this year due to the Republican voter suppression scheme. The unconstitutional law, for now, replaces the state's previous Voter ID law which had already required every single voter to present an ID at the polls before voting. That's right, that was already the law since 2003, and during the trial, state Republicans were only able to demonstrate two cases of polling place impersonation over the past decade out of 20 million votes cast in the same period.

Nonetheless, with the new, much more draconian version of the law threatening some 600,000 legally registered voters who do not have the new type of ID required to vote, all sorts of disenfranchisement is already underway.

Let's start with Kennie's story, since it's both amazing and heart-breaking, even if, we fear, not particularly unusual right about now...

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

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