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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, November 21, 2014
'Green News Report' 11/20/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record-breaking storm breaks Buffalo; October 2014 hottest October on record; Sorry, Repubs: China to cap coal use by 2020; PLUS: Obama doubles down on climate foreign policy...
Previous GNRs: 11/18/14 - 11/13/14 - Archives...
Extreme Weather? What Extreme Weather?
Yes, scientists have been warning us about this for years. And, yes, the record breaking storm in Buffalo is tied to global warming...
We're #26! Harvard 'Electoral Integrity' Report Dings U.S.
'World's Greatest Democracy' rated worst among Western nations; Ranked just below Micronesia, just above Mexico in overall list...
Gag Order Won't Ensure Impartial Jury in Trial of 'Dark Lord of Coal Country'
WV's criminally indicted coal boss and U.S. Chamber of Comm. director Don Blankeship presents challenge for federal prosecutors...
Oxford English Dictionary's 2014 Word of the Year: 'Vape'
That small point likely underscores some very encouraging news for the health of the world...
'Green News Report' 11/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
US Senate fails to approve Keystone XL; Can Congress override the Prez next year?; Native Americans: KXL is 'an act of war'; PLUS: Accountability for 'The Dark Lord of Coal'...
Previous GNRs: 11/13/14 - 11/11/14 - Archives...
Sanders on Colbert: Midterms a Vote Against Both Parties
For those mad at us for asserting 'not voting IS a vote', look who just said the same thing...
Exclusive: St. Louis County Was Warned Before Election Paper Ballots Would Run Out
Email obtained by BRAD BLOG reveals County's top election official ignored warnings from election experts, leading to shortages...
Not Voting IS a Vote
Stop blaming those who didn't turn out. Americans did vote. By not turning out, they voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole. It may have been a dumb vote, but it was a landslide...
Stephen Colbert is Really REALLY Funny
That's not a news flash, but, as this segment makes clear once again, it's very very sad that The Colbert Report is soon going away...
'Green News Report' 11/13/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic US-China climate agreement: The deal Repubs said couldn't be done; New hope for int'l climate treaty; Repubs freak out; Scientists say deal not enough, but a very good start...
Previous GNRs: 11/11/14 - 11/6/14 - Archives...
Crucial Moment for the FCC and 'Net Neutrality'
Will the Democratic majority commissioners support the President's clarion call and thwart GOP opposition to an open Internet?...
Brad on Thom Hartmann TV: More Election 2014 Mess
On thousands of 'missing' votes in Wisconsin, on Nate Silver and polls vs. 'results', on Rightwing 'True the Vote' voter fraud fraudsters, and on much more...
'Green News Report' 11/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
'Science has spoken': Final UN report - bad, good & room for hope; PLUS: Margaret Thatcher's historic climate change speech - when conservatives accepted science ...
Previous GNRs: 11/6/14 - 10/30/14 - Archives...
IN MEMORIAM:
Tomas Young, 1979-2014
On Veterans Day, we're sad to report that America has lost another casualty of the War on Iraq -- one who, after first meeting and interviewing him in 2005, we will never forget...
Early Data Suggests TX GOP Photo ID Restrictions 'Worked'
Provisional ballots doubled and turnout was down by more than a quarter-million voters, despite larger population, contested governor's race and increased voter registration...
WI Scanner Fails To Tally Thousands of Votes in 'Citizens United' Referendum
'Programming error' blamed for popular paper ballot computer tabulator recording just 16 of 5,350 votes cast in city of Stoughton, WI...
The Results Were Skewed Toward Republicans: A Response to Nate Silver
The statistics guru unhelpfully explains away mid-term's surprising outcome by presuming pre-election polling was wrong and unverified election results were all correct...
'True the Vote' Group Fails to Find 'Voter Fraud' (Again)
Laughingstock RW org's 'army' of monitors and smart phone app uncover just 18 benign 'irregularities', 0 cases of polling place impersonation...
'Green News Report' 11/6/14
Election 2014-pocalypse: Republican hegemonic hellscape!; Climate deniers now in charge; PLUS: At least one note of very good environmental election news...
About Last Night: KPFK 'BradCast'
Guest Matthew Segal of OurTime.org joins Brad to discuss whether young voters are to blame for Tuesday's election results and, if not them, then who...or what...
Day After...
Important re-re-re-reminder about when it is that probs in elections usually come to light, and a few more Election Day prob reports out of VA, NC, MI, IN & CT...
Reuters: Voting Probs Around Nation, 2,000 Missing Election Judges in Chicago
Wire service summarizes machine probs, Photo ID vote suppression and a really strange story out of Chicago...
Paper Ballots Ran Out in Ferguson, MO
Long lines at e-voting systems as St. Louis County offers both touch-screens and paper ballots. County said printing more ballots throughout day, night...
Electronic Voter ID System Fails in FL
Failure results in emergency court filing by state Democrats as Gubernatorial race between Charlie Crist and Rick Scott is deadlocked in Sunshine State...
AR Voters Illegally Asked for Photo ID
Arkansas Times reports some poll workers attempting to enforce GOP Photo ID restriction found by state Supreme Court to violate constitutional 'right to vote'...
Round-up of Reported Election Failures (So Far) in CT, NC, GA, TX, AL
'Serious problems' reported at the polls in a number of states. Here is a quick summary of just a few of them...
Touch-Screen Votes Flip in VA [VIDEO]
RWers finally become 'believers' in those 'liberal conspiracy theories' about votes flipping on 100% unverifiable voting systems...now that it affects them...
AL Bars Use of Public Housing IDs for Voting
Last minute change of rules may further disenfranchise (certain) voters in state where bloody civil rights march gave rise to the Voting Rights Act in 1965...
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...


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...

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

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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...

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

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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...

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

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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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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.

Enjoy!

Download MP3 or listen online below...

* * *
You are the only one who pays us to continue our independent blog and broadcast coverage of election issues and other stuff that actually matters and is often covered nowhere else. If you haven't contributed in a while, or ever, please consider doing so below so we can keep going --- especially right now! Thank you!

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By Brad Friedman on 10/23/2014 8:05am PT  

On the stump this week for Republican candidates, NJ's Gov. Chris Christie said GOP governors need to win this year, so they can be in control of the "voting mechanisms" during what he believes might be his own run for President in 2016. He cited three races in particular, in three states that would be crucial to him as the GOP nominee, as reported by New Jersey's The Record...

Governor Christie pushed further into the contentious debate over voting rights than ever before, saying Tuesday that Republicans need to win gubernatorial races this year so that they're the ones controlling "voting mechanisms" going into the next presidential election.

Republican governors are facing intense fights in the courts over laws they pushed that require specific identification in order to vote and that reduce early voting opportunities. Critics say those laws sharply curtail the numbers of poor and minority voters, who would likely vote for Democrats. Christie - who vetoed a bill to extend early voting in New Jersey - is campaigning for many of those governors now as he considers a run for president in 2016.

Christie stressed the need to keep Republicans in charge of states - and overseeing state-level voting regulations - ahead of the next presidential election.
...
"Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?" he asked.

Great questions, Governor Christie! Let's take a crack at offering some answers for ya...

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

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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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By Brad Friedman on 10/17/2014 1:50pm PT  

We really should have taken some time off this past summer, cause it looks like we may not get a good break anytime soon. It may be a much busier November, December and even January than we'd like.

Rachel Maddow highlights what we regard as our personal nightmare scenario: "Almost every legitimately contested, legitimately interesting race in the country --- is tied, right now, with less than three weeks to go"...

Ugh.

"With this many top of the ticket races tied, turnout will be everything," Maddow explains. "So now's the part where we watch for the ways that people will try to stop voters from turning out or from having their votes counted, by hook or by crook. ... Right now, big picture, three weeks out: this is a tie game. Close enough to be fascinating, but also close enough to be stolen"...

--- 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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Appellate judges do not challenge lower court findings, but worry about 'confusion', SCOTUS precedent on late voting law changes
UPDATE: Plaintiffs file Emergency Application to Vacate the Appellate Court ruling with SCOTUS...
By Brad Friedman on 10/14/2014 7:21pm PT  

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

This is not unexpected, though its still disturbing to those concerned about voting rights and the possibility that more than half a million legally registered voters in Texas may not be allowed to vote in this November's election.

A three judge panel on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has, for now, blocked the U.S. District Court's ruling last week in Texas, issued after a full trial on the merits of the law, which had struck down state Republicans' polling place Photo ID voting restriction after finding it deliberately discriminatory and a violation of the U.S. Constitution and federal Voting Rights Act.

Following Tuesday's order by the 5th Circuit [PDF] reversing the lower court ruling, for now, the plaintiffs challenging the state statute said, almost immediately, that they plan to file an emergency appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court to put the law back on hold before the November elections.

Voting rights proponents worry that, if the Court holds true to its recent rulings in voting rights cases in NC, in OH and, most recently, in WI, they are likely to allow TX' discriminatory law to stay in place this November, pending a full hearing on the merits at a later date.

There is, however, some important differences in the TX case than in those other three, which we'll explain in a moment.

Texas had appealed the initial 147-page ruling [PDF] by U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonazles Ramos, issued last week, which found that the Texas Photo ID voting statue, SB 14, "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." She also determined that the state requirement that voters produce one of a few very specific types of state-issued Photo ID when voting at the polling place amounted to an "unconstitutional poll tax", since all such ID requires at least some payment by voters...

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

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Texas Republicans' polling place Photo ID restriction law has been struck down by a federal U.S. District Court
UPDATE: 5th Circuit stays ruling...
By Brad Friedman on 10/9/2014 8:27pm PT  

In a 147-page ruling [PDF] released Thursday evening, "after hearing and carefully considering all the evidence" presented in the trial which ended on September 22nd, a U.S. District Court in Texas has found that the state's polling place Photo ID law, SB 14, is discriminatory and violates the U.S. Constitution in at least four different ways.

"The Court holds that SB 14 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 writes in her ruling. "The Court further holds that SB 14 constitutes an unconstitutional poll tax."

The ruling that now permanently enjoins the Texas law, again, follows a long string of federal rulings striking down Photo ID voting restrictions in the state under Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act. In 2012, both the Dept. of Justice and a three-judge panel of federal judges found the law to be discriminatory under the Act, and that, based on data supplied by the state themselves, it would serve to disproportionately disenfranchise both poor and minority voters.

The very same law was once again implemented, however, by Lone Star State Republicans just after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted Section 5 of the VRA last year. The current challenge to the law was brought under Section 2 of the Act, as well as the U.S. Constitution itself. Judge Gonzales Ramos found that the discrimination found by previous bodies was plainly still present in the law...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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'Nation's worst voter suppression law' disenfranchised hundreds in state primary; Will have full trial on merits next summer...
By Brad Friedman on 10/8/2014 5:37pm PT  

Late on Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed [PDF] the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that had blocked two elements of North Carolina's massive new voter suppression law. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented in an opinion joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

"The order isn't a permanent reversal," notes election law expert Justin Levitt, "it's a stay awaiting the disposition of a petition for certiorari, if one is filed. But it's enough to put the state's law back in effect this November."

"The nation's worst voter suppression law since the Jim Crow era," as we described the law when state Republicans enacted it within hours after SCOTUS had gutted a key portion of the Voting Rights Act, will now be in full effect for this year's November general election, despite having been shown to have disenfranchised hundreds of voters during the state's primary earlier this year. There was no debate or time allowed for public comment before the law --- which shortens early voting hours, ends same-day registration, implements disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions (in 2016) and much more --- was passed by the GOP-majority in the NC legislature last year.

Barring a further hearing by the Court, their response to NC's emergency appeal reverses the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that had restored both same-day registration and the counting of provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct. All of the law's other provisions had already been approved for use this year by a George W. Bush-appointed U.S. District Court judge last month, pending a full trial on the merits of the law scheduled for next summer....

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

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