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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, October 25, 2014
Touch-Screens Flip 'No' to 'Yes' on TN Abortion Measure
After the state GOP repealed the law to move to paper ballots, votes now reportedly flipping again on a controversial Amendment to the state Constitution...
More Trouble With Touch-Screens (2014 Edition)
Votes Flip D to R in Texas, R to D in Illinois - What's happening (again), what it means (again), and what you can do about it (please?)...
Christie: GOP Governors Needs to Control 'Voting Mechanisms' in 2016
NJ Governor and 2016 Presidential hopeful offers interesting reason why Republicans in three key states need to win in 2014...
Justice Ginsburg Republishes TX Photo ID Law Dissent After BRAD BLOG Cites Error
Turns out U.S. Veterans' Affairs ID can be used to vote under new GOP voting restrictions in TX. Official SCOTUS opinion updated...
'Mercy', 'Rehabilitation' and 'Restorative Justice'
Sentencing of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius offers stark reminder of concepts that seem to have gone missing from the justice system in the U.S...
'Green News Report' 10/21/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GOP candidates still dodging climate Qs; Mountaintop removal coal mining promotes lung cancer; 2014 on track as hottest year on record; PLUS: LEGO breaks up with Shell Oil...
Previous GNRs: 10/14/14 - 10/16/14 - Archives...
Everything Old is Texas Again
On the upside though, even if they successfully violate the Constitution by keeping some 600,000 legally registered, disproportionately minority voters from voting this year, they can save some money on signage...
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attorney dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical questions'...
SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
Maddow warns: 'With this many top of ticket races tied, turnout will be everything...Now 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'...
Judge Fuller's Attorney Says Wife Beating Thing No Big Deal; 911 AUDIO and Gov. Don Siegelman Disagree
Standalone video of 911 call; First comment on case by imprisoned former AL Gov.; MORE...
Emergency Appeals Filed at SCOTUS to Restore Voting Rights to 600,000 in TX
GOP Photo ID law, which lower court found intentionally discriminatory, is different from recent cases before High Court, say plaintiffs...
'Green News Report' 10/16/14
Ryan backs away (sort of) from climate change denial; NatGas isn't a bridge to lower-emissions; PLUS: Did Lockheed-Martin really invent a compact nuclear fusion reactor?...
Bloomberg on BRAD BLOG on Judge Richard Posner on Photo ID Voting Laws...
'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
'BradCast': WI, TX, AR Photo ID Rulings
Trouble keeping up with the on-again/off-again court rulings on GOP voter suppression laws? Brad tries to make sense of it all for ya...
WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
5th Circuit Appeals Panel Restores Texas GOP's 'Discriminatory' Photo ID Law
While not contesting law's unconstitutionality, judges cite SCOTUS rule on last minute voting changes...
'Green News Report' 10/14/14
Coal wins U.S. Senate debate in KY!; Pentagon: climate change threat to NatSec; Wind power cheapest source of energy; PLUS: September 2014 was hottest ever...
Repub Judge Who Approved Nation's 1st Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent Against Them
Reagan-appointed Richard Posner pens best case ever against Photo ID voting restrictions...
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...
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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 10/24/2014 2:39pm PT  

Just after this morning's official start of our regular biennial coverage of votes flipping on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems around the country, this report comes in right on cue from the great state of Tennessee...

"I honestly sort of slapped my head and said, 'Why me? Why did this happen to me?'" said Bernie Ellis, of Santa Fe.

Ellis said he voted "no" on Amendment One Thursday. Before he submitted his ballot, he noticed a problem.

"Sometime between when I cast my vote and when I got to the review page, the machine had changed my vote to a 'yes,'" Ellis said.

Beverley Turner, of Columbia, experienced the same issue last Friday when she tried voting "no" on the same position.

Both Ellis and Turner voted at the Maury County Election Commission.
...
Tennessee's 95 counties use touch screen election machines.

Amendment 1 is a TN ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to allow the legislature to "to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother."

Ellis, who explains what happens in the video posted below, happens to be a long-time election integrity advocate in Tennessee. He was very instrumental in helping the state legislature pass, nearly unanimously, the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act (TVCA), a 2008 law to move to all of their 95 counties to paper ballots. Shamefully, after TN Republicans took over the legislature later that year (via the statewide touch-screen voting system, in a year when the GOP got trounced literally everywhere else in the country), they fought and then eventually repealed the reform which would have done away with the state's 100% unverifiable e-voting system.

The Republican fervor to continue the use of such unverifiable voting systems in the state may have been best reflected by a comment offered directly to us in 2007 at a meeting of the Davidson County (Nashville) election commission. After Tennessee election integrity documentarians David and Patricia Earnhardt (filmmakers of the award-winning Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections, which both Ellis and I happen to appear in) reported seeing their own votes flip on touch-screen systems in Davidson County during Early Voting for the 2008 Presidential Election there, we explained:

In 2007 we had the displeasure of attending a meeting of the Davidson County, TN, Election Commission ourselves. While the Democrats on the committee were in the majority, the three hapless Democratic members were run roughshod over by the two Republicans who virtually ran the entire meeting themselves.

The Republican who seemed to be in charge of things, Commissioner Lynn Greer, while the actual Chair Eddie Bryan did almost nothing, actually told us after the meeting --- and after we'd spoken during it, to warn about the troubles they would have with their touch-screen systems --- that "paper ballots are the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on America."

It seemed as though he actually believed those words as they came out of his mouth.

Greer later became Chair of the county's Election Commission after Republicans took over the state legislature that year for the first time since Reconstruction.

For much more on the issue of touch-screen vote-flipping, what you need to be concerned about, what you don't need to be concerned about, and what you can do about all of it, please see our earlier detailed story today on votes now reportedly flipping Democratic to Republican on Diebold touch-screens in Texas and flipping Republican to Democratic on Sequoia touch-screens in Illinois.

The systems reportedly flipping votes in Maury County, TN are the infamous iVotronics made by ES&S, the nation's largest voting machine manufacturer and the one with, perhaps, the longest and most spectacular history of election failures in the U.S.

* * *

Here's the video report on the Maury County vote flips from WSMV...

* * *
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By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2014 6:05am PT  

And so begins our traditional, biennial (if not more frequent) coverage of partisans understandably freaking out when their 100% unverifiable touch-screen votes are seen flipping on screen from a candidate or candidates of their preferred party to a candidate or candidates from a different party.

Historically, over the past decade since we've been covering it (and related issues), this issue has occurred far more often for Democratic voters seeing their votes flip to Republicans. Nonetheless, the opposite phenomenon (as well the scenario involving third party or independent candidates) is not entirely uncommon. And, in all cases, voters should be concerned, election officials should be embarrassed and elected officials who continue to allow the use of these unverifiable secret vote-counting systems --- antithetical to American democracy and public elections as they are --- should beg forgiveness from their constituents, rather than begging for more money and more unverifiable votes.

As Early Voting is now under way in much of the country, we are, predictably, beginning to receive our first reports from voters seeing their votes flipped before their eyes on touch-screen voting systems. One such case involves a tip we received about straight-party Democratic votes reportedly flipping to Republican straight-party votes in Collin County, TX. Another case, reported widely on Thursday in the rightwing media, concerns a similar incident in Cook County, IL, where a GOP candidate says that his attempted Republican votes flipped before his very eyes to Democratic ones on that county's unverifiable touch-screen voting systems.

There is good and bad news here. And there are a number of myths and truths about these systems and these sorts of incidents which we've documented almost non-stop over the past ten years at The BRAD BLOG. So let's review a few key points about what actually occurred and didn't, what you should be concerned about in both the TX and IL cases and what you should do if it happens to you, as these occurrences are almost certainly going to continue between now and Election Day on November 4th...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's what happened...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I had tweeted over the weekend...

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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Case against GOP Photo ID voting law in Lone Star State is very different than recent cases before the Court, plaintiffs argue
UPDATE: Texas responds, blames 'emergency' on plaintiffs' rush to have case tried before the election...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/16/2014 1:09pm PT  

Attorneys for U.S. Congressman Mark Veasey (D-TX) and other plaintiffs have filed an Emergency Application[PDF] with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to restore a lower court ruling that struck down the law last week as intentionally discriminatory and an unconstitutional poll tax. That initial U.S. District Court ruling was subsequently stayed by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week.

Veasey's application was followed by the filing of another Emergency Application [PDF] by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ). Both were filed with Justice Antonin Scalia who oversees the 5th Circuit. Scalia has instructed the DoJ to respond by 5p ET on Thursday.

Both applications to SCOTUS were filed in the case of Veasey v. Perry in which a U.S. District Court, after a full trial on the merits, imposed a permanent injunction, preventing the State of Texas from implementing the nation's strictest photo ID law, Senate Bill 14 (SB 14).

The District Court determined that, if implemented, SB 14 could disenfranchise more than 600,000 registered Texas voters who are disproportionately black and Hispanic. The District Court not only ruled that SB 14 violated the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax, but expressly found that it was passed as the result of deliberate and willful racial discrimination.

The emergency petitions ask that the Supreme Court lift the U.S. 5th Circuit's 11th hour stay of the injunction so as to prevent electoral chaos and confusion in the rapidly approaching November election. In the first petition, the Veasey plaintiffs argue that what the 5th Circuit did in this case --- stay a permanent injunction that was issued on the basis of a District Court finding of intentional discrimination after a full trial on the merits --- was "virtually unheard of" in the annals of American jurisprudence.

Plaintiffs contend that the 5th Circuit misapplied a leading Supreme Court case, Purcell v. Gonzalez [PDF] (2006) pertaining to the issuance of injunctions on the eve of a pending election. That case does not, as the 5th Circuit ruled, mandate a per se rule that always precludes changing a law immediately prior to an election. The DoJ contends that no such per se "rule exists, and the court of appeals clearly and demonstrably erred in failing to apply the established stay factors."

Instead, plaintiffs forcefully argue, "The Purcell principle", mandates that an appellate court give deference to the factual findings of the District Court. The 5th Circuit, they add, erred by ignoring the requirement of Purcell that Texas prove it would likely succeed on an appeal. The 5th Circuit also erred, they say, because it failed to balance the state's allegations about possible confusion that might ensue from implementing pre-SB 14 law against the "actual" confusion, chaos and mass disenfranchisement that the District Court, based upon uncontested evidence, concluded would occur if SB 14 is enforced in the November 4th election (early voting begins in TX on October 20th).

"Imagine that a state passed a law, six months before an election, stating that 'Negroes cannot vote,'" the plaintiffs write. "It would be ludicrous for an appellate court to turn around and stay that injunction because of some per se rule that election laws can never change immediately prior to elections"...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download MP3 or listen online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 10/15/2014 5:30pm PT  

Okay, gotta go do a broadcast, so I'll leave it to someone else to explain what the hell this is all about, as just posted moments ago...

* * *

UPDATE: Um...okay...so...I'm now out of the broadcast and...um...here's video of Gov. Rick Scott actually explaining why he had refused to come out on stage at the debate...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2014 4:25pm PT  

Hopefully you've read the amazing opinion offered by the conservative, Reagan-appointed appellate court Judge Richard Posner by now, absolutely demolishing both Wisconsin's Republican-enacted Photo ID voting law, and pretty much all others --- including the first-in-the-nation such law in Indiana that Posner himself was responsible for upholding back in 2008!

If not, go read it and then come back. It's that good and that important. Either way, we may have a bit more to say about it in the near future, as it's an absolutely landmark opinion on this issue --- one that we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG for more than a decade now --- even as a dissent.

But there's one fairly amazing sidebar to all of this, at least to me, that I've been meaning to note here --- if only because it seems so bizarre...

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

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