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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, November 27, 2014
'KPFK' BradCast: Maine Mystery, Ferguson Fury and Thanks for Something
'My thanks to all of you this Thanksgiving which, as a few callers reminded me, isn't nearly as terrible as it seemed before this week's show'...
Mysterious Ballots Flip Maine Senate Recount Result From Democratic to Republican
21 'phantom' ballots appear out of nowhere in Town of Long Island, reverse results of very close state contest, leaving officials baffled...
'Green News Report' 11/25/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Gov. Cuomo blames meteorologists for his Buffalo storm fail; Canada protests another tar sands pipeline, lead's world in deforestation; PLUS: World Bank issue's dire warning...
Previous GNRs: 11/20/14 - 11/18/14 - Archives...
No Indictment in Ferguson Shooting of Michael Brown
A few early thoughts on the St. Louis County Prosecutor's extraordinary spectacle and miscarriage of justice on the night of his announcement...
'Recount' Ahead for Oregon's GMO Labeling Measure
Fewer than 900 votes separate 'Yes' from 'No' on 'Right to Know' Measure 92, out of more than 1.5 million paper ballots tallied by computers statewide in Nov. 4 election...
GOP House Intel Committee Findings Debunk GOP BENGHAZI! 'Scandal'
Final report released quietly before holiday weekend and before eighth Republican BENGHAZI! committee set to convene...
Monster Energy Drink Not Just Crappy, Also the Work of Satan!
The indisputable video proof is now here!...
'Green News Report' 11/20/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record-breaking storm breaks Buffalo; October 2014 hottest October on record; Sorry, Repubs: China to cap coal use by 2020; PLUS: Obama doubles down on climate foreign policy...
Previous GNRs: 11/18/14 - 11/13/14 - Archives...
Extreme Weather? What Extreme Weather?
Yes, scientists have been warning us about this for years. And, yes, the record breaking storm in Buffalo is tied to global warming...
We're #26! Harvard 'Electoral Integrity' Report Dings U.S.
'World's Greatest Democracy' rated worst among Western nations; Ranked just below Micronesia, just above Mexico in overall list...
Gag Order Won't Ensure Impartial Jury in Trial of 'Dark Lord of Coal Country'
WV's criminally indicted coal boss and U.S. Chamber of Comm. director Don Blankeship presents challenge for federal prosecutors...
Oxford English Dictionary's 2014 Word of the Year: 'Vape'
That small point likely underscores some very encouraging news for the health of the world...
'Green News Report' 11/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
US Senate fails to approve Keystone XL; Can Congress override the Prez next year?; Native Americans: KXL is 'an act of war'; PLUS: Accountability for 'The Dark Lord of Coal'...
Previous GNRs: 11/13/14 - 11/11/14 - Archives...
Sanders on Colbert: Midterms a Vote Against Both Parties
For those mad at us for asserting 'not voting IS a vote', look who just said the same thing...
Exclusive: St. Louis County Was Warned Before Election Paper Ballots Would Run Out
Email obtained by BRAD BLOG reveals County's top election official ignored warnings from election experts, leading to shortages...
Not Voting IS a Vote
Stop blaming those who didn't turn out. Americans did vote. By not turning out, they voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole. It may have been a dumb vote, but it was a landslide...
Stephen Colbert is Really REALLY Funny
This segment makes clear once again that it's very very sad The Colbert Report is soon going away...
'Green News Report' 11/13/14
Historic US-China agreement that GOP said couldn't be done; New hope for int'l treaty; Repub freak out; Scientists say deal not enough, but good start...
Crucial Moment for FCC & 'Net Neutrality'
Will the Democratic majority commissioners support the President's clarion call and thwart GOP opposition to an open Internet?...
Brad on Hartmann TV: Election 2014 Mess
On thousands of 'missing' votes in Wisconsin, on Nate Silver and polls vs. 'results', on Rightwing 'True the Vote' voter fraud fraudsters, and on much more...
'Green News Report' 11/11/14
'Science has spoken': Final UN report - bad, good & room for hope; PLUS: Margaret Thatcher's historic climate change speech - when conservatives accepted science ...
IN MEMORIAM: Tomas Young, 1979-2014
On Veterans Day, America added another casualty from the War on Iraq -- one who, after first meeting and interviewing him in 2005, we will never forget...
Early Data Suggests TX GOP Photo ID Restrictions 'Worked'
Provisional ballots doubled, turnout down by more 1/4 million votes, despite larger population, contested gov's race and increased voter registration...
WI Scanner Fails To Tally Thousands of Votes in 'Citizens United' Referendum
'Programming error' blamed for paper ballot tabulator recording just 16 of 5,350 votes in city of Stoughton, WI...
The Results Were Skewed Toward Republicans: A Response to Nate Silver
The statistics guru unhelpfully explains away mid-term's surprising outcome by presuming pre-election polling was wrong and unverified election results were all correct...
'True the Vote' Group Fails to Find 'Voter Fraud' (Again)
Laughingstock RW org's 'army' of monitors and smart phone app uncover just 18 benign 'irregularities', 0 cases of polling place impersonation...
'Green News Report' 11/6/14
Election 2014-pocalypse: Republican hegemonic hellscape!; Climate deniers now in charge; PLUS: At least one note of very good environmental election news...
About Last Night: KPFK 'BradCast'
Guest Matthew Segal of OurTime.org joins Brad to discuss whether young voters are to blame for Tuesday's election results and, if not them, then who...or what...
Reuters: Voting Probs Around Nation, 2,000 Missing Election Judges in Chicago
Wire service summarizes machine probs, Photo ID vote suppression and a really strange story out of Chicago...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

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

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

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


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

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

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

As The Hill reports today...

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

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

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

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

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/7/2014 1:21pm PT  

Well, here's some good breaking news from the federal courts today, for fans of democracy anyway...

One of the most aggressive gerrymanders in the country is unconstitutional, according to a divided three-judge panel in Virginia. In 2012, President Barack Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney by three points in the state of Virginia. Nevertheless, Republicans control eight of the state's eleven congressional districts. Yet, according to an opinion by Judge Allyson Duncan, a George W. Bush appointee, the maps that produced this result are unconstitutional and the legislature must "act within the next legislative session to draw a new congressional district plan."

Although this will permit the 2014 elections to be run under the old maps, new maps must be in place by 2016 (assuming, of course, that this decision is not reversed on appeal). As Virginia currently has a Democratic governor, Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be able to veto any plan which is unfair to his fellow Democrats, while the GOP-controlled legislature will no doubt push for a map that serves Republican interests. Because the current maps favor Republicans so strongly, however, the likely result will be maps that are much more favorable to Democrats.

See the rest of Ian Millhiser's coverage for much more, including his calculus that new, appropriately drawn Congressional maps in VA will likely result in a Democratic pick-up of 2 to 3 seats in the U.S. House of Represenatives in 2016.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/6/2014 6:35am PT  

I missed this Washington Post article when it first came out late last year. But thanks to too-occasional BRAD BLOG and Washington Monthly contributor D.R. Tucker, I was glad to catch it over the weekend.

It's based on a study by University of Massachusetts at Boston sociologist Keith Bentele and political scientist Erin O'Brien. They looked at restrictive voting statutes enacted over the past several years in all 50 states and the "dominant explanations (and accusations) advanced by both the right and left" in regard to legislation such as polling place Photo ID rules, stricter registration requirements, and other such restrictions on the basic right to vote.

What they found will absolutely NOT stun you in the least...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2014 3:48pm PT  

Sari Horwitz and Al Kamen at WaPo suggest that Obama's current Solicitor General, Donald Verrilli, is at the top of the "short list" to replace outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

"We're hearing that Solicitor General (the No. 4 slot at the Justice Department) Don Verrilli --- formerly deputy White House counsel --- may be atop the list," they report. "He's smart --- many say 'brilliant' --- well-liked by Obama and was confirmed by the Senate three years ago on a 72-16 vote. And one of those 'aye' votes, as our colleague Ruth Marcus pointed out, was from Majority-Leader-in-waiting Sen. Mitch McConnell. (R-Ky.)"

That's all well and good, and might help make Verrilli more confirmable in the U.S. Senate than other, better choices. Naturally, someone that Republicans can approve of should be one of the highest priorities in selecting Barack Obama's next Attorney General. (Sigh...)

But, that said, this might be a good time to point you back to our piece from early 2013, written by our legal analyst Ernie Canning, headined, "Donald Verrilli: Obama's Incompetent Solicitor General, Muddled Middle or Both?"

In the piece, Canning offers a fairly devastating analysis of Verrilli's dismal performance before the U.S. Supreme Court in two landmark marriage equality cases last year. As he wrote at the time, if the side that Verrilli was on in those cases eventually prevailed (they did, in both cases) it would "be despite the half-baked arguments presented by the Solicitor General, not because of them."

We'll also note that Verrilli's performance in the Voting Rights Act case was similarly nothing short of dismal. The other attorneys who also argued on the same side in the case (most notably, the NAACP's Debo Adegbile, whose later nomination to head the Civil Rights division of DoJ was shamefully torpedoed by Republicans and several Democrats) argued their case smartly and persuasively. Verrilli, by stark contrast, was horrible during oral argument, just as we found him to be in the marriage equality cases. The voting rights case was ultimately lost and SCOTUS infamously gutted the Voting Rights Act in the bargain.

Perhaps Verrilli is a better attorney and/or administrator than his skills as a litigator in oral argument before the Supreme Court revealed. But, if not, based on those cases last year, at least, it seems he'd be a disastrous choice as the next AG. Just thought we should mention that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2014 6:35am PT  

[Now UPDATED at the bottom with "Geraint's" response and our response to it! Enjoy!]

Last night, some silly Rightwing dude calling himself "Geraint Roberts" on Facebook, posted a comment on an item on BRAD BLOG's Facebook page, in which he purported to ask "Questions for American Leftists on the subject of voter ID".

As is our usual, courteous custom (when time allows), we quickly answered his questions.

As most of his "questions" are the same talking points we've seen of late, used by tons of either duped or disingenuous Rightwingers in hopes of justifying GOP voter suppression with polling place Photo ID restrictions, you may find both his questions and our brief answers to them, as posted in full below, interesting and/or helpful...

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By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2014 2:49pm PT  

Bad news for voters in the Buckeye State. Good news for partisan Republicans who prefer to win elections by making it more difficult for voters to vote.

In a 5 to 4 decision, the Rightwingers on the U.S. Supreme Court have now overturned the 6th Circuit's earlier ruling that had blocked Ohio Republicans' attempt to limit early voting by shortening the Early Voting period by one week, eliminating the week where voters could both register and vote on the same day, and by doing away with Sunday voting before the election...

From UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen...

Via SCOTUSBlog comes this Supreme Court order staying the district court's order preventing various cutbacks in early voting (including a cutback from 35 to 28 days, and elimination of one of the two early voting days on a Sunday, a day African-American churches had been using for "Souls to the Polls" voter drives). [It is not clear from earlier orders which Sunday might be eliminated.]

Although the order is "temporary" in the sense that it will be in place pending a ruling on a cert. petition ultimately to be filed by Ohio in the Supreme Court, that won't happen before this election, and so for this election the new shorter voting period is in effect --- and not the old rules put back in place by the district court and affirmed by the 6th Circuit.

That the Court divided 5-4 along liberal conservative lines is no surprise...

See Hasen's coverage for his analysis of what happened here, and why he believes it was a mistake to even challenge the OH Republicans' new restrictions on early voting. Please note: We don't necessarily agree or disagree with his analysis, at this time. But you can read it and decide for yourself.

Our most recent coverage of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeal's decision to uphold the lower District Court decision blocking the GOP voting restrictions is here.

The GOP in Ohio has been attempting to shorten and otherwise restrict Early Voting in the state ever since reforms put in place in 2005 --- in response to the embarrassingly disastrous 2004 Presidential Election there --- worked well enough that most of the problems voter had voting had disappeared by 2008. As we have documented over the years, every time they tried to limit those successful reforms, the courts had blocked them from doing so. They did so again this year, until today's 5 to 4 ruling by the Supremes.

It should also be noted that it is, arguably, because John Kerry failed to keep his promise and fight to make sure every vote was counted in Ohio's contested 2004 election, that the U.S. Supreme Court has now gone so hard to the right, with the addition of Justices Roberts and Alito during George W. Bush's second term.

With today's SCOTUS ruling, and the bad news from the partisans on the 7th Circuit concerning WI Republicans' draconian Photo ID voting restrictions, as our legal analyst Ernie Canning detailed this morning, it seems many of this year's most important elections may be won, or lost, in the courts --- before Election Day even gets here.

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Please help support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system --- now in our ELEVENTH YEAR! --- as available from no other media outlet in the nation...

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

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

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

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

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

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Republican voter suppression laws getting huge boost from GOP jurists in WI and NC, where hundreds recently disenfranchised...
[Now UPDATED at bottom of article with additional info from the court order]
By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2014 3:51pm PT  

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

Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker notched a huge victory today at the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling could very well result in the controversial Governor's re-election this November --- at the expense of untold thousands of legally registered voters who may now not be able to vote at all this year.

This morning, a three-judge panel heard Walker's appeal to the federal ruling that previously struck down his Photo ID voting restriction law. By afternoon, almost immediately following the hearing, the three GOP-appointed federal judges (a Reagan appointee, and two George W. Bush appointees) restored the restrictive voting measure [PDF] in advance of the November general election.

As reported by the Journal Sentinel:

The move by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals clears the way for the state to implement the law for the Nov. 4 election, though it does not stop the ongoing appeal over whether the measure is unconstitutional.

"The state of Wisconsin may, if it wishes (and if it is appropriate under rules of state law), enforce the photo ID requirement in this November's elections," the unsigned two-page order reads.

Even before the ruling came down, reports from the courtroom earlier today had suggested that it wasn't looking good for those fighting for voting rights there, and that the judges might even order the previously struck-down law to be implemented before this year's mid-term elections, where Walker faces a neck-and-neck re-election contest with his Democratic opponent, Mary Burke.

Instituting the law at this late date, the plaintiffs argued, would cause extraordinary confusion. "I think it would be extremely irresponsible for a court to do something that would so change the landscape not only for the (state Division of Motor Vehicles) but for election officials," Larry Dupuis, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin told the Journal Sentinel after today's hearing.

UC Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen noted the same earlier today, before the ruling had come down, explaining why it would be "a very bad idea" to implement this law "just before the election."

Making matters worse, and more confusing for voters and elections officials, the WI GOP's Photo ID voting restriction covers absentee ballots as well as polling place voting, unlike most similar laws enacted by Republicans in other states, where only in-person voting is effected. But, according to the Journal-Sentinel (in a report now replaced online by an updated version on the court's late ruling), the fact that thousands of absentee ballots have already gone out to voters this year without an explanation on them that Photo ID needs to be supplied when they are returned, could result in even more disenfranchisement in the Badger State...

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Vows to close 'election loophole' allowing early voting in DeKalb
UPDATE: Millar doubles down, clarifies he just wants 'more educated voters'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2014 11:56am PT  

Just another reminder for those of you who have been stooged into believing that Republican attempts to restrict Early Voting (or any voting, for that matter) has anything to do with anything other than keeping Democratic-leaning voters from being able to conveniently participate in their own democracy...

A Republican state senator in Georgia has vowed to end Sunday balloting in DeKalb County due to the fact that the area is "dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches."
...
"Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election," [State Sen. Fran] Millar wrote in the email. ... "I’m sure [Democratic candidates] Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter are delighted with this blatantly partisan move in DeKalb."

Millar's vow comes in response to news that DeKalb plans to reserve Oct. 26 for early voting. He ends the email saying he's spoken with other lawmakers.

"I have spoken with Representative Jacobs and we will try to eliminate this election law loophole in January..."

"Election law loophole" = voting opportunity. For black people. Gotta close that "loophole".

You'll note Millar doesn't call, in response to the addition of early voting in DeKalb, for more voting opportunities in districts he believes would be favorable to Republican voters. His response, instead, is to suppress the vote of perceived political opponents. Period.

Sadly, but factually, that's what the Republican Party now amounts to. Maybe someone can try and let the the New York Times know.

* * *

UPDATE 9/10/2014: In response to criticism over his comments, Millarclarifies keeps digging and doubles down, by responding:

I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters. If you don't believe this is an efort [sic] to maximize Democratic votes pure and simple, then you are not a realist. This is a partisan stunt and I hope it can be stopped.

For the record, Fullar and his voters --- the white ones that he is happy to see vote --- are more than likely Fox "News" viewers, the most misinformed news consumers in the nation, according to poll after poll...

World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.

So the more you watch, the less you know. Or to be precise, the more you think you know that is actually false. This study corroborates a previous PIPA study that focused on the Iraq war with similar results. And there was an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that demonstrated the break with reality on the part of Fox viewers with regard to health care.

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Restores evening hours, 'Souls to the Polls' Sunday, and 'Golden Week', allowing both registration and same-day voting...
By Brad Friedman on 9/4/2014 4:31pm PT  

This statement from the ACLU follows today's federal court ruling [PDF] restoring Early Voting hours --- yet again --- in Ohio in advance of the November mid-term elections:

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A federal judge today ruled that cuts to early voting in Ohio must be restored in time for the November election. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging a state law and directives that have dramatically slashed early voting opportunities in Ohio. The ACLU was in court last month to ask the judge to restore the cuts prior to full trial, in time for the midterm election.

"This ruling will safeguard the vote for thousands of Ohioans during the midterm election," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "If these cuts had been allowed to remain in place, many voters would have lost a critical opportunity to participate in our democratic process this November. This is a huge victory for Ohio voters and for all those who believe in protecting the integrity of our elections."

Today's ruling restores the first week of early voting, often referred to as "Golden Week," in which voters are able to register and cast a ballot on the same day. It also restores evening early voting, as well as multiple Sundays.

The ruling includes a temporary injunction on the Republican-enacted state law and on additional new restrictions on voting hours implemented by its Republican Sec. of State John Husted, finding the regulations are in violation of both the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment, as well as Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act which bars racially discriminatory voting laws in all 50 states.

"Ohio keeps trying to cut early voting and the federal courts keep striking the cuts down," writes The Nation's Ari Berman in response to today's ruling.

It's true. This has been going on for years. State Republicans, whether in the form of the legislature or their Republican Sec. of State in Ohio, keep attempting to make it harder to vote, and the federal court keeps ruling those attempts to be in violation of federal law. It has happened over and over again over the past several years.

Berman notes, in regards to today's ruling, that "In 2012, 157,000 Ohioans cast ballots during early voting hours eliminated by the Ohio GOP" and that African-American voters in the state "voted early in person at a rate over twenty times greater than white voters," according to the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.

The expansion of early voting in Ohio was implemented following the disastrous 2004 elections there when many voters --- largely in minority areas --- were forced to wait for 6 hours or more to cast a vote under restrictions implemented by then partisan Sec. of State and co-chair of Bush/Cheney '04 Inc., J. Kenneth Blackwell. The last ballot cast in the Buckeye State that year, when the state's electoral votes would determine the Presidency, was around 2am on Wednesday morning at Kenyon College, where some students had waited on line as much as 10 hours to vote.

The new GOP restrictions cut many of the additional voting opportunities instituted in 2005, which had otherwise led to a fairly smooth election under Democratic Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner in 2008, as she described to us during an exclusive interview in 2012.

Early Absentee voting numbers had doubled between 2004 and 2008 after the expansion of voting hours, as a quick glance at the numbers starkly demonstrates...

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By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2014 12:09pm PT  

Just like the headline says, from my interview on Friday with David Pakman...

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