Tuesday, February 25, 2014

GOP Tactics: Hamper, Infringe, Suppress Voting Rights

Lining Up to Vote in Ohio
Easy, Unimpaired Right to Vote - Our Right 
Message for Voters in Ohio: Close, No Cigar
Doonesbury Knows the Score, Too

Update (February 25, 2014) to following story from here, in part:  “Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that he is cutting early voting on Sundays and weekday evenings, dealing another blow to the voting rights effort in the nation’s most pivotal swing state. Husted’s change would spell doom for a voting method that’s popular among African-Americans in Ohio and elsewhere. Many churches and community groups lead “Souls to the Polls” drives after church on the Sunday before the election. There’s little doubt that cuts to early voting target blacks disproportionately. In 2008 alone, black voters were 56% of all weekend voters in Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s largest county.”

Update Hot Story from Ohio (February 20, 2014) from here, the highlights: Ohio lawmakers just passed two restrictive Republican voting bills raising the prospect that casting a ballot this fall could be much more difficult, especially for minority voters. Ohio remains a key presidential swing state. These changes could affect the 2016 election. (The GOP aim obviously – to win anyway possible).

Along arty lines, the Ohio House voted 59-37 to approve a GOP bill that would: 

  1. Cut six days from the state’s early voting period.
  2. End the so-called “Golden Week” when Ohioans can register and vote on the same day. (Same-day registration is among the most effective ways for bringing new voters into the process, election experts say).
  3. Effectively end the state’s successful program of mailing absentee ballots to all registered voters. (Note: Nearly 1.3 million Ohioans voted absentee in 2012).
  4. Make it easier to reject absentee ballots for missing information.
The Ohio Senate quickly approved minor changes to both bills and sent them to the desk of Gov. John Kasich (R) who is expected to sign them into. Ohio DEMS say they will sue.

Update (January 28, 2014): A small step for voters, but not a giant leap to preserve the most-fundamental right of all: Right to vote easily and privately and to choose the kind of government we want, not what kind someone tells us we need. By way of background, check this list of states (at Table 1 of the site) who have “strict voter ID laws (photo a must) vs. not-so-strict voter ID laws (photo not a requirement).”  From there, check the lists to see what types of ID are acceptable in order to vote while keeping these points in mind

1.  Photo or non-photo ID's (even those on the “approved” lists) only show that you are you.
2.  Those without a photo only shows your name.
3.  The acceptable ID cards DO NOT show your citizenship, whether you are registered to vote, or whether you are eligible to vote and not a previous felon (where in some places they lost the right to vote).

My view: I firmly believe that the whole GOP argument and their stated purpose (stop voter fraud) is bogus. It is a red herring given just the few facts I listed above.So, what is at play here? The simple answer: GOP movement to suppress the minority vote along with a lot of categories of voters (seniors, Vets, students, the poor, et al) whom just happen to vote, and now wait for it: Vote Democratic.

The article for this update from here. The basic fact is simple: the GOP is not about ready to give up on this movement even though it's a losing cause, I assure you. A couple of quick points from the article I found interesting:  The two-pronged approach is needed because of a 2006 state Supreme Court ruling which found that MO voter ID laws violated the state constitution’s guarantee of a right to vote. Check out these actions:
  1. A Pennsylvania judge also this month struck down that state’s ID law on similar grounds.
  2. Now the kicker as it were: National Republicans have pulled out the stops lately to clear a path for voter ID laws — a sign of the tactic’s growing importance to the party’s long-term strategy amid adverse demographic trends. 
  3. Recent legislation in Congress to strengthen the Voting Rights Act went easy on voter ID, in order to win GOP support. And a bipartisan presidential commission on voting avoided the entire subject in order to achieve consensus.
  4. Nor are Missouri Republicans the only ones looking to change their state’s constitution in order to enact voter ID. TEA "party" activists in California recently launched an effort to get a proposed constitutional amendment requiring voter ID on the state ballot in November.
More updates start from here with this one from MSNBC that sets the scene of this overall issue: 

A short segment from HARDBALL (Voter ID laws): "Voter ID will ensure Romney wins in PA. Done..." remember that sound byte??

 Original starts from here.

Updated (January 14, 2014): Comes from this Interesting news. My key points are highlighted in RED. This whole “movement” opens up all sorts of nonsense ploys and dirty tricks, all except that is: voter fraud. In essence, it is a bogus issue for GOPers to run with, and boy are they ever running and spreading it – pretty thick, too, cited in this story from Ohio.

In the deal just announced for Ohio, they have agreed to participate in the “Interstate Voter Registration Cross-Check” program, known as “Cross-Check,” dreamed up and run by Kansas Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach (do the research on him). His program aims to identify voters registered in more than one state.  Ohio had been sued in federal court by two conservative groups — True the Vote, the TEA “Party” linked group that stokes concern over voter fraud, and Judicial Watch — seeking to force states to clean up their voter rolls.

Typical press release from True the Vote: “Dirty election rolls can lead to voter and election fraud.” However, voting-rights advocates say Cross-Check makes it too easy to wrongly remove voters from the rolls and thus deprive them of their Constitutional right to vote. Speaking to MSNBC recently, Keesha Gaskins, at the time a senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU, called the Kobach program “...more of a purge mechanism.”

Ohio State Senator Nina Turner added: “It’s a really inefficient system. It produces a lot of false positives, so it’s very easy to throw somebody off the rolls who is legitimately eligible to vote.”

See update on this at the top:  Ohio Under Secretary of State, GOPer, Jon Husted, has already been officially participating in Cross-Check. Husted said back in May that 20 people who may have voted in both Ohio and another state had been flagged via the program, and referred to prosecutors. Recently Ohio Republicans passed legislation aimed at making it easier for Husted to cross-reference voter rolls with out-of-state databases.

My views: How about this for dirty tricks tactics?  X-state loads a few names from Y-state who are valid voters, and then claims fraud by those voters for appearing on two state voter rolls (where they neatly placed the set of names)??? Sounds silly, doesn’t it. I would put nothing past the GOP in their effort to win an election ... this voter suppression and purging is a red herring and ghost issue, but a real possibility for them to win at all costs. I strongly believe that the onus for stopping and heading off fraud is at the lowest level – the county election offices where people register to vote and where active voter rolls are maintained. I have seen simple, stupid little errors locally where even I saw my address entered wrong on the rolls and in the same place I have voted for 20 years.

How About this Point: The National UFO Reporting Center records show there were 47,000 reports of UFO sightings between 2000 and 2010. During the same period, just 13 people were convicted of impersonating someone else in order to vote. The study is according to research conducted by Justin Levitt, Associate Professor of Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.

More links about the GOP's Voter Suppression FLIM-FLAM Scheme and "Movement:"
Excellent example here of an elderly voter hampered in her effort to vote. There are hundreds of other examples that impact Seniors, Vets, College Students, Minorities, and thousands of other American voters:

Despite, or in spite of  scattered GOP efforts in some states to improve voting access, the right to vote took a big step backwards after the 2012 results were final. Republican legislatures mostly in RED states across the country continued to advance restrictive voting laws, while a major Supreme Court ruling (Shelby County v. Holder) badly weakened the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 (another nasty 5-4 decision).

Republican-controlled states are poised to continue the push for regressive voting laws. For example, perennial swing state Ohio will likely pass measures that: (1) back on early voting, (2) same-day registration, and (3) it harder to vote absentee. That’s a recipe for longer lines at the polls, threatening a re-run of 2004, when some Ohioans waited over 10 hours to vote. A voter ID bill is also said to be in the works, though its chances of passage are far less certain (Note: this was updated above, too).

Voting is the most fundamental right of all American rights — the right to vote and choose the kind of government we want, not what someone tells us they think we need is paramount to our very survival as a free and open democratic society - just like we tell the whole world... sadly, some don't practice what they preach (hint: their initials are G O P).

Stay tuned. This story has legs. But this small victory is big step to winning and keeping the right to vote and seeing the things discussed hampering it stopped dead in their tracks.

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