Monday, August 26, 2013

GOP and 5-4 Supreme Court Voter Suppression Results

TODAY: Results of Voter Suppression 

THEN: LBJ Signs 1965 Voting Rights Act into Law

SHOULD BE THIS: Grand Father Showing Grand Daughter How to Vote

THE FUTURE: With 5-4 Ruling and GOP Suppression - Who Knows??? 

Update (August 26, 2013): This short clip and the top slide show the impact on American citizen voters that the GOP in mostly RED states want to suppress the vote for 2014 and beyond and in order for them to win it all, and then I surmise, do some real change (or shall we say more damage). So, enjoy put on fresh pot of TEA, pull up a chair, put up your feet up, relax, a get prepared to watch our entire system turn into the Egyptian model. 

You have to love the GOP, professing that they stand with and for all Americans (and with a straight face, too). Such hypocrites.

Update (August 18, 2013): People worry about nuclear fallout from weapons around the globe, or even from reactors melting down  or exploding like in Fukishima, Japan (most-recent) and thus basically wiping out every living thing on planet Earth. Some people also feel like the 5-4 fallout from the USSC rulings on voting rights is just as bad - why. These 5-4 decisions, as discussed below, impact, restrict, and work in effect to suppress our right to vote. That in turn speaks directly to the issue of the people freely and openly to have their right to vote and choose the kind of government they want with very few restrictions that most of agree are necessary for a fair and free election - the same issue we sell to the rest of the world, but looks more and more like we don't practice what we preach. Recent rulings discussed below show clearly that right is under heavy attack and this update reinforces that point.

Reminder of the headlines back on June 25, 2013: WASHINGTON (NY Times) — The Supreme Court effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval. The law had applied to nine states — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia — and to scores of counties and municipalities in other states, including Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. So, how did those states react? Pretty quickly actually. That ruling was exactly what they waited for and wanted so badly. 
Examples immediately took root: 

Texas: Texas announced shortly after the decision that a voter identification law that had been blocked would go into effect immediately, and that redistricting maps there would no longer need federal approval. Changes in voting procedures in the places that had been covered by the law, including ones concerning restrictions on early voting, will now be subject only to after-the-fact litigation (My Note: we all know that would take years, thus prevention is out the window as it were).

Florida: Then on August 7, 2013, TALLAHASSEE, FL (NY Times) — Gov. Rick Scott (R), newly empowered by that 5-4 vote ordered state officials to resume a fiercely contested effort to remove non-citizens from voting rolls. The issue is how they intended to accomplish that ... yes, we all only want bona fide citizens to vote -- that is a given... but the way FL did it is shocking.

North Carolina: Gov. Pat McCrory (R), was expected to sign into law a bill, and in fact did sign it into law, that reduces early voting, stiffens voter identification requirements, and prohibits same-day voter registration. The outrage there is still being felt across that state as citizens react.

Florida is a great example to see the results this way:

Back in 2012, Gov Scott and others thought voter roll purge was best ... so they saw that some 182,000 people were initially identified as not eligible to vote (not U.S. citizens, okay so far). 

That list then shrank to 2,600 after a careful county election office screening.

Then the list shrank to 198 names.

Finally, it was revealed that less than 40 people actually voted illegally, and some of them had been former felons who didn't know their voting rights in the first place.
And, this this: The effort to purge the rolls identified a 91-year old WWII Vet who had voted for 70 years.

More on this can be seen in this segment here - it's pretty good.

More Updates follow here (July 19, 2013) the headlines and historical look back from here - a very good read. Highlights: “Section 2 is a ripe target,” (said Christopher Elmendorf, a law professor at the University of California, Davis.

If the [Roberts] court were to strike down or substantially weaken Section 2, the Voting Rights Act (VRA) would technically still exist, and would retain a few historically important functions — ban on poll taxes and literacy tests, for instance. But, on top of the demise of Section 5, the most successful civil rights law in the nation’s history would be all but a dead letter.
“There’s no question that Section 2 and 5 together are really the heart of the law,” (said Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School)
So, what will the 5-4 Roberts court do ... naturally no one knows, but not for their lack of trying and that is based on the recent 5-4 ruling that triggered me to start this tracking blog ...
Original post starts from here: Very good analysis of where we are and how we got here.  
And, where we are now from here (same author): The most-important aspect is this: Less than one year after Sections 4 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act stymied voter suppression efforts in the 2012 election in Florida, Texas and South Carolina, Chief Justice John Roberts in his opinion in Shelby County v. Holder (above link) heralded that the "great strides" the nation has made in combating such suppression and the fact that "blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare." Not so rare. Before the sun set that day, June 25th, officials in Texas and North Carolina had moved forward with restrictive voting measures that had been blocked by the federal law. 
Quite frankly 's two pieces are excellent sources on the topic for anyone interested in this subject, and also as frank: we should all be interested and greatly concerned. To suppress the vote, or employ anything makes voting more difficult or registration more of a burden is in a word: Un-American. It is the greatest single most-important right we have: the right to vote easily and choose the kind of government we want. Apparently, 5-4 decisions like this one take away from that premise, at least in my view - What about your view?
Talk of the nation (no, not the radio show of the same name), but the June 25, 2013 Supreme Court (5-4) decision to roll back an important and critical part of the law, cited here in part that was overturned, reported by NBC News report here and from USA TODAY here: 
The Voting Rights Act requires nine states with a history of discrimination at the polls, mostly in the South, to get approval from the Justice Department or a special panel of judges before they change their voting laws. The rule also applies to 12 cities and 57 counties elsewhere. 
The law was renewed most recently in 2006, but the coverage map still uses election data from 1972 to determine who is covered. Some jurisdictions, including the Alabama county that brought the case, complained that they were being punished for the sins of many decades ago. 
Chief Justice John Roberts cited census data showing that black voter turnout now exceeds white turnout in five of the six states originally covered by the law and he wrote in part: “Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions." 
Also, an excellent source for information on voting and voters rights is the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU. Their statement on this 5-4 ruling today follows (emphasis is mine): 
The Brennan Center for Justice released the following statement:  “The Supreme Court’s decision is at odds with recent history. The Voting Rights Act was vital in 2012, not just 1965. For nearly five decades, it has been the nation’s most effective tool to eradicate racial discrimination in voting. And it is still critical today. Last year, Section 5 helped block laws making it harder to vote. There is a path forward. Section 5 stands. Congress now has the duty to upgrade this key protection and ensure our elections remain free, fair, and accessible for all Americans.” 
I hope we all can agree on this part of statement: "... (to) ensure our elections remain free, fair, and accessible for all Americans." 
Will Congress update the law quickly and not cause any disruption for 2014 and beyond? That is questionable considering the stalemate and gridlock attitude down there, but I advise them to keep quote in mind from Chief Justice Earl Warren in Reynolds v. Sims (1964): "Legislators represent people, not trees or acres. Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests." 
I wonder if they know what means for all the grand daughters and grand sons of the future like the one pictured above? We are about to find out. 
Finally, I have a list of links to other Voter Suppression articles or those closely related to the subject: (here), (here), (here), (here), (here), (here), and (here).

Thanks for stopping by - come again, and help fight the GOP efforts to suppress the vote.

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