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More Good 'Obamacare' News for Terrified Dems
Will Democrats continue to run scared, or will they embrace the unrelenting string of encouraging Affordable Care Act successes as we head into the 2014 mid-terms?...
'Green News Report' 4/17/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
One year since West, TX disaster; New 'habitable' planet!; Air pollution in poor areas; Record warm March; PLUS: 'Bombshell' study: CA drought caused by global warming...
Previous GNRs: 4/15/14 - 4/10/14 - Archives...
The Climate Is Invading the Earth! To Battle Stations!
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'Green News Report' 4/15/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: The UN Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change Report on Mitigation: costs, risks, and opportunities. Is it too late avoid climate catastrophe?...
Previous GNRs: 4/10/14 - 4/8/14 - Archives...
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'Green News Report' 4/10/14
RW Heartland Institute says 'climate change will be good for you!'; Russia threatens natural gas supplies to Ukraine, Europe; PLUS: Attack of the Tumbleweeds! (No, really!)...
'Green News Report' 4/8/14
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Judge to TX Repubs: Turn Over the Docs!
Courts rules TX legislators must provide email related to passage of polling place Photo ID restrictions which may prove discriminatory intent of the GOP law...
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VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
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'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
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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'
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FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 9/5/2012 4:42pm PT  

Unlike the rigged votes at last week's Republican National Convention, the rigged vote during today's Democratic National Convention didn't have its results pre-determined by TelePrompter. Instead, it was left to Los Angeles Mayor and Convention Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa to simply ignore the shouts of "NO!", in passing an amendment this afternoon to the party platform "by a two-thirds vote in the affirmative"...

The otherwise-unscheduled vote came about after President Obama and the Democrats withered under several hours of GOP and Fox "News" criticism of the fact that the word "God" and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, did not appear in this year's party platform. That, despite Obama's previously stated belief that the Israeli capital should be in an undivided Jerusalem, the existing platform reference to an "unshakable commitment to Israel's security", and the lengthy passage on faith and the importance of religion already present in this year's Democratic platform.

It took three tries, as seen in the video above, before Villaraigosa got up the nerve to pretend that the "Ayes" had it by the two-thirds majority required to adopt the amendment, which included restoring the party's 2008 platform language that had included the word "God", without debate. Well, Republicans and Fox "News" will be happy now at least. Right? And, after all, responding to fake Republican scandals, with a pretend vote, about an invisible bearded man floating in the sky, is certainly among the most important things that should happen at a Democratic National Convention.

* * *
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TONIGHT: Former AL Gov. Don Siegelman; RNC Unwound; Big Voting Rights Victories; MORE!...
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 8/31/2012 3:12pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with audio archives below! Enjoy!]

Mike is off tonight, so we're back guest hosting the nationally-syndicated Mike Malloy Show once again.

As usual, we're BradCasting LIVE from 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the globe from L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE chat room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open, at the bottom of this item, a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

Scheduled tonight:

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on SiriusXM Ch. 127. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at our Sante Fe affiliate KTRC 1260, or our Minnesota affiliate KTNF 950 (tell 'em you're in MN if asked!). Also, you should be able to listen live at WhiteRose Society if the radio gods are with us.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: We had a very lively show, and one maddening interview with Gov. Siegelman. The commercial-free audio archives all now follow below (as well as the chat room archives.) Enjoy 'em over the holiday weekend on me!...

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

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And reads them off a TelePrompter...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2012 4:54pm PT  

This is amusing and/or interesting and/or not surprising at all on several levels.

First, of course, ever since Obama has taken office, Republicans have pretended that there is something wrong with using a TelePrompter when speaking --- at least when it's done by Obama because, you know, he's so stupid he needs one, or something.

But, more of note, the two videos below offer amusing proof that the GOP is even willing to fix the results of their own elections at their own national conventions....

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

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3-judge panel finds law discriminatory under Voting Rights Act, would 'disenfranchise minorities and the poor'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/30/2012 9:57am PT  

Following on the U.S. Dept. of Justice finding last March that the Republican-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction law in Texas was discriminatory, in violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act (VRA), a three-judge U.S. District Court panel has again blocked the law from being implemented.

The decision by the federal panel, which included one judge appointed by George W. Bush, was unanimous.

Texas had appealed the DoJ decision earlier this year, seeking a declaratory judgment from the court, after the federal agency had found the state had not met its "burden of showing that a submitted change [to an election law] has neither a discriminatory purpose nor a discriminatory effect," under Section 5 of the VRA, which requires preclearance for new election laws in 16 different U.S. jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination. The Lone Star State is one of those jurisdictions.

The DoJ had determined [PDF] that, based on the state's own statistics, the law would have disproportionately disenfranchised registered Hispanic voters in the state. They found that registered Hispanics are anywhere from 46% to 120% more likely than non-Hispanics to lack the type of state-issued Photo ID that would have now been required to vote under the new law.

The 56-page ruling by the U.S. District court panel in D.C. today [PDF] found that "the law will almost certainly have retrogressive effect" as "it imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor, and racial minorities in Texas [who] are disproportionately likely to live in poverty."

"Crucially," the court added, "the Texas legislature defeated several amendments that could have made this a far closer case" when they ignored warnings that the law "as written, would disenfranchise minorities and the poor."

In Texas, as Democratic lawmakers had pointed out while the bill was being debated, some registered voters would have to travel as far as 250 miles round trip to receive their "free" ID from a state Dept. of Public Safety (DPS) driver's license facility, presuming they owned or were able to afford buy the underlying documentation required to obtain that "free" ID. The burden would be especially difficult for those without drivers licenses in the first place. Moreover, as the DoJ had previously found, "in 81 of the state’s 254 counties, there are no operational driver’s license offices," and many of them have limited hours of operation.

The court blasted both the Republican lawmakers and the attorneys who presented their case. "Everything Texas has submitted as affirmative evidence is unpersuasive, invalid, or both. Moreover, uncontested record evidence conclusively shows that the implicit costs of obtaining [Photo ID that would satisfy the new law] will fall most heavily on the poor and that a disproportionately high percentage of African Americans and Hispanics in Texas live in poverty. We therefore conclude that SB 14 is likely to lead to 'retrogression in the position of racial minorities with respect to their effective exercise of the electoral franchise.'"

This was the second stinging loss for Texas Republicans in one week. On Monday, their plan for Congressional Redistricting in the state, on the heels of four new seats gained after the 2010 Census, was also struck down by a three-judge federal panel for violations of the VRA...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/29/2012 12:01pm PT  

The insults have been piling up all year, as the establishment GOP has been kicking its own to the curb in primary after primary, caucus after caucus, convention after convention.

From blatant attempts to steal the statewide caucuses in Maine to arrests at the St. Charles, Missouri caucus to a stolen county convention in Clarke County, GA , to arrests and broken bones at the state convention in Louisiana, to the theft of duly elected delegates from Massachusetts, and much much more, the national Republican Party has had one clear message for their members who did not wish to support the establishment's status quo selection for the 2012 nominee for President of the United States: "Fuck off!"

That message, and the push-back against it (for now) culminated finally in a short, but still-embarrassing-to-the-GOP mini-outburst on the floor of the Republican National Convention yesterday afternoon, after the RNC Rules Committee had approved new rules last week (to keep pesky party supporters of non-establishment-approved candidates from gaining any foothold in future election cycles) and after they'd barred most of Ron Paul's delegates from Maine from being seated.

Here is video of the raucus scene on the floor yesterday afternoon in Tampa as the Credentials Committee jammed through it's own establishment-approved slate of delegates and Paul supporters erupted in chants of "Seat them now!" and "Point of order!" against the backlash of "USA! USA! USA!" from Romney supporters...

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

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Same vulnerable systems set for use in 24 states this November...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2012 12:42pm PT  

Apparently, they never learn. Or they just don't care.

It's Primary Election day in Alaska today, with voters heading to the polls to cast mostly paper ballots for U.S. House of Representative candidates, state House and Senate candidates and two ballot measures (one concerning property taxes and another concerning new Alaska Coastal Management Program standards for the review of projects in coastal areas.)

While turnout is expected to be low, at least the Diebold optical-scan machines are fully rested and ready to go after their lengthy "sleepovers" at poll workers' houses in the days prior to today's elections! Yes, the state of Alaska still sends their incredibly vulnerable Diebold optical-scan systems home with poll workers days before the election, where they can do whatever they like with them, so they can bring them to the polls on the morning of Election Day.

For example, here's a photo of one of those machines that will be in use today, as obtained from an Alaskan source over the weekend by The BRAD BLOG. The machine appears as if it has received a full going over at the workshop of one of the poll workers who enjoyed the time spent with their machine during the several days of "sleepover" over the past week...

Alaska, like some 24 states across the country, still uses the exact same system which was used to flip an entire mock election in Leon County, FL in such a way that only a manual hand-count of the paper ballots would have revealed that the results had been reversed after the machine's memory card was accessed and manipulated by a computer security expert. The haunting event was revealed in the climactic final scene of HBO's Emmy-nominated 2006 documentary Hacking Democracy. [The full scene is also embedded below.]

The photo above from an Alaskan poll worker is the same system seen being hacked in Leon County, FL in the HBO film. The only difference is that Diebold removed their name from many machines afterward, given the hit their company took when their then CEO promised to deliver the state of Ohio to George W. Bush in a Republican fund raising letter before the 2004 election.

Of course, there are "tamper-evident" security seals placed over some of the most vulnerable parts of the optical-scan systems, and those could never be defeated without leaving visual clues behind, right?

Well, funny thing. In Alaska, when a security seal is discovered broken on their tabulation computers --- if they are discovered broken --- poll workers are instructed to simply replace it with another one and start the voting, as both several poll workers, as well as an Alaska election official (who has now been fired) confirmed with The BRAD BLOG. Several seals, the now former Alaska election official told us when she still had a job, are provided to poll workers to make replacing broken seals very simple, as seen in this next photo...

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

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OH Sec. of State Husted quickly becoming more Blackwell than Brunner...
By Brad Friedman on 8/28/2012 6:35am PT  

Otherwise valid provisional ballots cast at the wrong precincts in Ohio, through no fault of the voters, must be counted, according to a ruling issued by a federal judge on Monday.

The decision, which otherwise seems like common sense, comes in the wake of tens of thousands of provisional ballots going uncounted after the 2008 Presidential election thanks to a provision in Ohio law which discards such ballots, even in the case where a poll worker has improperly instructed a voter to cast his or her ballot in the wrong place.

The ruling is a defeat for Ohio's Republican Sec. of State who, after working towards inclusiveness and voting rights earlier in his tenure, seems to have taken a hard right turn in many of his decisions of late, as the Presidential Election nears.

As we noted last month, an investigative report by the Cincinnati Enquirer's Barry M. Horstman found that some 40,000 provisional ballots cast in the 2008 general election were never tallied, even though many of them were cast in the right polling place, but at the wrong "precinct" table, as precincts have been combined into the same building over the years in the Buckeye State.

A voter might line up to vote at the wrong table/precinct, for example, only to be told they weren't found on that precinct's voter rolls and, rather than be directed by the poll worker to the correct "precinct", instructed to cast a provisional ballot at that table instead. That vote, before Monday's ruling, under existing Ohio law, would go uncounted. Many of those provisional ballots were cast in predominantly Democratic-leaning counties.

The Enquirer warned in their report last month that "tens of thousands of ballots are likely to be disqualified" once again in the key swing-state, during the 2012 Presidential election unless the provision was changed, as recommended by state election officials after the 2008 election.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley, citing Bush v. Gore of all things, ruled against Ohio Sec. of State Jon Husted (R), whose spokesman responded: "We respectfully disagree with the judge's ruling and will likely appeal."

Marbley found that Husted's belief that such ballots should not be counted "belies a fundamentally misguided view that the state need not protect the right to vote of individuals who, for any number of reasons, are required to cast a provisional ballot"...

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

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Epidemic of high-profile Republican fraud continues to continue...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2012 3:24pm PT  

Another day, another allegation of voter fraud by Republicans. This one, courtesy of WKOW's 27 News in Madison, Wisconsin...

The wife of a prominent state lawmaker cast a vote in Wisconsin’s April presidential primary election, even though she was a resident of Idaho at the time.

Wisconsin Government Accountability Board records show Samantha Vos voted in the state’s April 3 election. Vos is the wife of Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester), the co-chair of the state’s powerful joint finance committee.

But records from Canyon County, Idaho show Samantha Vos swore under oath April 19 she was a resident of that state since early March. Vos’ declaration came as she filed for legal separation from her husband.

Wisconsin law requires twenty eight days of continuous residency prior to voting.
...
Records show Vos also voted in the June 5 gubernatorial recall election and the primary election earlier this month, as her legal action in Idaho continued.

Yes, it looks like, once again --- no matter what the professional GOP "voter fraud" fraudsters and clowns like John Fund, Hans von Spakovsky and Matthew Vadum claim --- if there is an epidemic of "voter fraud" in this country, it seems that its not Democrats, but Republicans, and often very very high-profle Republicans at that, who are carrying it out.

But wait! There is still more absurdity and/or irony and/or hypocrisy in this case...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2012 7:45am PT  

I actually feel sorry for Pat Kerby, the Republican delegate to the Republican National Convention from Nevada who attempted to add an amendment calling for paper ballots --- so nobody would have to trust in the "voter machine fairy" --- at the RNC's Platform Committee on Tuesday.

The poor fellow seemed to want the right thing, but by the time other members of the Committee amended the amendment, several times over, the original was completely gutted in favor of electronic computer tallies with no actual way to verify the accuracy of those tallies.

It seems the good-natured Kerby never knew what hit him, as he generously supported each change to his amendment, deferring to others who appeared to know more about voting, like fellow committee member Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach (responsible for the state's polling place Photo ID restrictions to help curb non-existent polling place voter fraud in Kansas, as well as serving as the author of Arizona's infamous anti-immigrant "Papers Please" law, most of which was found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court recently.)

It was a good idea, but Kerby wasn't clear on the exact language he needed to use and that opened up the door for others on the committee --- who have more confidence in unverifiable electronic voting machines than in paper ballots --- to completely gut the original amendment, compared to the one originally introduced during the proceedings.

Kerby's initial amendment read as follows:

We recognize that paper ballots are the best way to insure [sic] a fair election. "Let ambition counter ambition," as Madison said. When all parties have representatives observing the counting of ballots in a transparent process, integrity is assured. We strongly suggest that all electronic voting systems have a printed paper ballot so that preliminary electronic results can be verified by a hard count of paper ballots.

While (most) electronic voting systems don't print "paper ballots" in general --- they print so-called "Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trails" (VVPATs) which may or may not reflect the actual intent of the voter, may or may not be verified by the voter as accurate, and are not actually counted by anyone, in any case (the internally recorded electronic results are used instead) --- it seems as if Kerby had the right idea, in general. At least as he offered a perfect description of his reasons for wanting to add include the amendment in the party's platform...

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

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Otherwise excellent investigative news project still forwards several unsubstantiated 'voter fraud' myths...
By Brad Friedman on 8/21/2012 11:20am PT  

As with their excellent analysis and database last week finding just ten (10), total, cases of in-person voter fraud in all 50 states since 2000 which might have been deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions, News 21 --- an investigative reporting project of the Carnegie Corporation and Knight Foundation, based at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism --- has published yet another report today that will come as little surprise to long time readers of The BRAD BLOG.

Still, it's helpful to see such reports published at outlets like NBCNews.com which is serving as a partner in the project, since, apparently, it's not enough for us to offer nearly a decade of independently verifiable reports blowing the same whistle on the same scams.

Today's new report focuses on the Rightwing/corporatist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)'s role in promoting disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restriction laws, as proposed by Republican legislators in dozens of states over the past two years...

Lawmakers proposed 62 photo ID bills in 37 states in the 2011 and 2012 sessions, with multiple bills introduced in some states. Ten states have passed strict photo ID laws since 2008, though several may not be in effect in November because of legal challenges.

A News21 analysis found that more than half of the 62 bills were sponsored by members or conference attendees of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Washington, D.C., tax-exempt organization.

ALEC has nearly 2,000 state legislator members who pay $100 in dues every two years. Most of ALEC’s money comes from nonprofits and corporations — from AT&T to Bank of America to Chevron to eBay — which pay thousands of dollars in dues each year.
...
ALEC members drafted a voter ID bill in 2009, a year when the 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization had $5.3 million in undisclosed corporate and nonprofit contributions, according to Internal Revenue Service documents.

While Ethan Magoc's News21 report mentions ALEC founder (and "conservative movement" demi-god) Paul Weyrich, this :40 second clip of Weyrich --- which we refer to as The Rosetta Stone of the Modern-Day Republican Voter Suppression Movement --- supplies the full context for ALEC's push to disenfranchise largely Democratic-leaning voters through the polling place Photo ID restriction legislation that its members have been introducing in state after state over the past two years...

Go read News21's report in full, though we'd like to offer just one or two minor quibbles to it...

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

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By Brad Friedman on 8/20/2012 12:35pm PT  

Longtime readers of The BRAD BLOG know, by now, that disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions have nothing to do with stopping voter fraud, and everything to do with stopping legal, Democratic-leaning voters from casting their legal vote.

They also know that while Republicans have long pretended there is massive Democratic voter fraud occurring, what they don't want you to know is how many Republicans --- very high-level Republicans, in fact --- are actually committing real fraud (both election fraud and voter fraud), as we summarized once again last week after four GOP U.S. House staffers of Rep. Thad McCotter (R-MI) were charged with 36 criminal felony and misdemeanor election fraud-related charges for allegedly turning in fake signatures and petitions in a failed scheme to get McCotter on the ballot this year.

And what do we learn just days later? Another Republican appears to be involved in another massive election scheme --- this time, to fraudulently defeat a fellow Republican. And, as is almost always the case, no polling place Photo ID restrictions in the world would have deterred the allegedly fraudulent absentee ballot scheme (which is said to have included illegally changing Democratic registrations into Republican ones, among other appalling crimes)...

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

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Similarly failed systems set for use in all 50 states this November...
By Ernest A. Canning on 8/17/2012 11:33am PT  

By Ernest A. Canning and Brad Friedman

We now have yet another ominous sign of trouble that may be on the horizon for this November's election. As if we needed yet another sign. And, once again, the concerns come via failures on paper ballot-based optical-scan computer tally systems.

Election officials in Genessee County, Michigan have acknowledged failures by the county's M-100 model optical-scan system, made by Election Systems and Software, Inc. (ES&S), during its Aug. 7 primary.

According to the county's Supervisor of Elections and Vital Records, Doreen D. Fulcher, the system experienced paper jams that resulted in ballots being fed through the system more than once. Fulcher, who also noted that there were a "number of ballots cast" that "didn't initially match poll book numbers," downplayed the scope of the problem. Flint's MLive, however, reported that the County Board of Canvassers were "still unraveling" the problem ten days after the election.

It is not the first time the M-100, set to be used in 32 different states again this November, has caused headaches for election officials and voters. The systems have a documented record of failing to count the same ballots the same way twice during pre-election testing. Nor is it the only optical-scan system made by ES&S, the largest e-voting vendor in the nation, that has failed time and again during elections.

As The BRAD BLOG previously reported, ballots obtained by the New York Daily News through a public records request revealed that ES&S op-scan systems used in a South Bronx precinct in 2010 failed to count some 70% of the paper ballots correctly in that year's primary election. In November's general election that year, some 54% of the ballots were mistallied at the same precinct.

The South Bronx used the newer ES&S model DS200, which the company confirmed could overheat, causing anywhere from 30% to 70% of the votes scanned by the machines to be erroneously discarded or erroneously counted. Thus, in the case of New York, that meant that tens of thousands of perfectly valid votes went uncounted, while thousands of "phantom votes" in races that voters hadn't intended to vote in at all were counted as valid.

The confirmation of the New York failure came almost two years after the election, once the newspaper was finally able to review the paper ballots by hand, under public records laws.

While Genessee County used the earlier ES&S Model M100, as we previously reported, the unreliability of opaque optical-scan computer tallying systems are, by no means, confined to the DS200 or, for that matter, to ES&S systems. Similar systems will once again be used across the entire country this November, to tally the Presidential election and all the races below it...either accurately or not...

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

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Exhaustive analysis finds fraud that might be deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions 'virtually non-existent'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2012 10:04pm PT  

Of course, we've been spending the better part of the last ten years making the exact same case, so none of this should come as a surprise to long-time readers of The BRAD BLOG. But now a major new nationwide analysis by News21 of all known cases of election fraud in the U.S. since 2000 underscores our years of accurate and detailed reporting once again...

A new nationwide analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.

In an exhaustive public records search, reporters from the investigative reporting project "News21" sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of fraudulent activity including registration fraud, absentee ballot fraud, vote buying, false election counts, campaign fraud, casting an ineligible vote, voting twice, voter impersonation fraud and intimidation.

Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.

10 cases. 10 cases of in-person voter impersonation that might have been deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions out of hundreds of millions of votes cast in all 50 states since 2000 --- restrictions which, according to study after study, could keep as many as 21 million perfectly legal eligible voters from being able to cast their legal vote.

But, again, the Republicans who have been enacting these laws are doing it for exactly that reason: to keep those who are most likely to lack the type of state-issued Photo ID required to vote under these new restrictions --- the elderly, minorities, the poor and students (read: Democratic-leaning voters) --- from being able to cast their legal vote.

For those in the corporate mainstream media still unaware of what this is called (this includes you, NPR), it's called Voter Suppression.

And this exhaustive new study, once again, makes that case crystal clear...

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

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Plaintiffs vow to appeal ruling by Republican judge as 1.6 million legal votes said to be imperiled by new law this November...
UPDATED: Plaintiffs filed formal notice of appeal...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2012 12:02pm PT  

A state court has upheld the state constitutionality of the new Republican-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction law in Pennsylvania which critics say may imperil the votes of more than a million legally registered voters in the Keystone State this November.

In his 70-page ruling [PDF] issued today, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson acknowledged that the plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and other civil rights organizations, "did an excellent job of 'putting a face' to those burdened by the voter ID requirement," but failed to demonstrate "facial unconstitutionality". The judge did not rule on the merits of the case, but on whether or not it could be enjoined by the court.

That, despite the fact that:

  • The Pennsylvania state Constitution guarantees that "Every citizen 21 years of age [lowered to 18 years of age by the twenty-sixth amendment to the U.S. Constitution]...shall be entitled to vote at all elections," subject to certain restrictions by the General Assembly as to who may register to vote.
  • Independent studies have determined that some 1.6 million otherwise eligible voters in PA, including nearly a million in Democratic-leaning Philadelphia alone, may lack an unexpired state-issued driver's license by this November's Presidential election, which is just 83 days away.
  • The state admitted, before the trial even began, that they were unaware of any "investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania"; that they "are not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and do not have direct personal knowledge of in person voter fraud elsewhere"; and that the state would offer no evidence at the trial "that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of the Photo ID law."
  • The Republican Secretary of the Commonwealth, charged with implementing the law, admitted on the stand that she does not "know what the law says."
  • The Republican Governor who signed the bill, and lied about "voter fraud" in the state, does not even know what type of ID would now be eligible for voting under the new restrictions.
  • The Republican House Majority Leader admitted that the bill, passed in the state legislature without a single Democratic vote, was meant to "allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania" this year.
  • During the trial, as described by plaintiffs, "[S]tate officials admitted they underestimated the number of registered voters without acceptable photo ID, admitted the law will disenfranchise voters, admitted the law will hold different voters to different standards, admitted voters casting an absentee ballot will be able to vote without ID."

Given all of the above, following the close of the trial, the plaintiffs had predicted a "slam dunk" ruling in their favor. We had also predicted that the law was likely to "go down in flames."

We're still reviewing the opinion of Judge Simpson, who is a Republican, and will have a more detailed analysis of the specifics of his ruling in the coming days.

Plaintiffs have already vowed to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court, where four votes will be needed to overturn the Commonwealth Court's ruling. Currently, there is a 3-3 Republican/Democratic split on the high court, as the 7th jurist, a Republican, has stepped aside for the moment pending a corruption investigation. If the state Supreme Court splits on the verdict, Simpson's ruling would hold. Though, depending on how the state Supremes decide, and if federal rulings are a part of whatever decision they may make, it is possible the plaintiffs could later take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court in the event that the state Supreme Court fails to overturn the lower court's verdict.

Separately, the U.S. Dept. of Justice has opened it's own investigation of the law to determine whether or not it may be in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and/or the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection clause. They may decide to file their own federal case to block the law in the weeks ahead.

UPDATE 8/18/12: On Aug. 16 plaintiffs filed a formal notice of appeal. Once the opening brief is available, The BRAD BLOG will furnish a detailed analysis of that appeal in the context of the rationale applied by Simpson, along with an assessment of the alternative litigation which the U.S. Department of Justice could potentially file in U.S. District Court.

UPDATE 9/4/12: The plaintiffs have now filed their appeal to the PA Supreme Court. Our legal analyst Ernest Canning details their appeal and some of the absurdities they point out in the original ruling by the Commonwealth Court judge right here...

* * *
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State and local officials confirm the public records have been moved to off-site storage, though they remain in the custody of County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus...
By Brad Friedman on 8/13/2012 9:26pm PT  

The ballots cast in Waukesha County during the June 5th Gubernatorial recall in Wisconsin appear to be safe from destruction at the hands of one of the nation's most notorious election officials.

For now.

In our exclusive exposé earlier today, we detailed the threat made by the infamous Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus to "destroy" the county's ballots from the historic recall election between Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, as early as noon today, in apparent contravention of state law. The threat to destroy the ballots was made even as they (and the rest of the ballots cast in the election across the state) are still subjects of public records requests by a number of citizen groups attempting to verify the otherwise completely unverified results of the race by examining the ballots by hand for the first time.

Nickolaus had denied the request by the largest group attempting to oversee the results of the election, and informed the requesters (see our previous article for her full responses): "Unless I receive a court order by noon on Monday, August 13, 2012 directing otherwise, I will proceed to retain or destroy the election materials from the June 5, 2012 Recall election according to state statute and GAB guidelines."

Her arbitrary deadline, the citizen auditors charge is in contravention of state public records statutes requiring 60 days after a request has been denied, before action can be taken. The BRAD BLOG has been able to confirm the legal 60 day requirement with several state officials today. Nickolaus' July 17th denial to grant the requesters access to the ballots means that, by law, she is barred from destroying the public records until at least September 15th.

After our story was published this morning, folks in WI seem to have sprung into action, leading the County District Attorney, the Waukesha County Corporation Counsel (who serves as Nickolaus' attorney) and the state's Government Accountability Board (G.A.B.) to respond with confirmation that the ballots in question will not be destroyed at this time, and were, instead, being moved from the Clerk's office, where they have been since the election, to off-site storage as of this afternoon.

"It would not be proper to destroy such materials at this time," County D.A. Brad Schimel confirmed to The BRAD BLOG late this afternoon, noting that "no records would be destroyed today, nor would they be destroyed until at least 60 days after the denial of the public records request"...

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

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