Brennan Center for Justice

UFO Sightings Are More Common Than Voter Fraud

This a very interesting and thorough analysis…

Mother Jones

Since 2001, nearly 1,000 bills that would tighten voting laws have been introduced in 46 states.

24 voting restrictions have passed in 17 states since 2011. This fall, new laws could affect more than 5 million voters in states representing 179 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

In the past two years, 5 battleground states (Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) have tightened their voting laws.

As of April, 74 restrictive voting laws were on the table in 24 states.

Sources: Brennan Center for Justice, NAACP

Since 2011, 34 states have introduced laws requiring voters to show photo ID, and 9 states have passed photo ID laws, affecting 3.8 million voters.

2.2 million registered voters did not vote in 2008 because they didn’t have proper ID.

*Does not include laws awaiting DOJ clearance, blocked by courts, or not in effect until after 2012. Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Last year, 12 states introduced laws requiring birth certificates or other proof of citizenship to vote; 3 passed.

Only 48 percent of women have a birth certificate with their current legal name on it.

Texas’ new ID law permits voters to use concealed-handgun licenses as proof of identity, but not state university IDs.

Sources: Brennan Center for JusticeGabriel R. Sanchez, Stephen A. Nuño, and Matt A. Barreto

 80 percent of the 75 million eligible voters who did not take part in the 2008 election were not registered to vote.

In 2008, more than 1/3 of voters cast ballots before Election Day. In 2011, 5 states passed bills to restrict early voting.

States with Election Day registration have 7 to 12 percent greater turnout than states without. Last year, 5 states introduced bills that eliminate Election Day registration.

12 percent of minority voters report registering through voter drives, twice the rate of white voters. In 2011, Florida and Texas passed laws making registration drives much harder to organize.

Florida state Sen. Mike Bennett, a supporter of the tougher voter registration law, said, “I don’t have a problem making it harder. I want people in Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who walks 200 miles across the desert. This should not be easy.”

Source: Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project

4 million Americans who have completed prison sentences are ineligible to vote. 38 percent of disenfranchised voters are African American.

13 percent of African American men cannot vote due to criminal records, a rate 7 times the national average.

The United States and Belgium are the only democracies that disenfranchise citizens for lengthy or indefinite periods after completing prison sentences.

To regain their voting rights, released felons in Iowa must provide the address of the judge who convicted them and a credit report showing they have paid off their court costs. “They make the process just about impossible,” said a 40-year old ex-con who’d stolen a soda machine as a teen.

While defending its precedent-setting photo ID law before the Supreme Court, Indiana was unable to cite a single instance of voter impersonation in its entire history.

A 2005 report by the American Center for Voting Rights claimed there were more than 100 cases of voter fraud involving 300,000 votes in 2004. A review of the charges turned up only 185 votes that were even potentially fraudulent.

In support of a voter ID law, Kansas Secretary of State (and the legal brains behind a slew of anti-immigration laws) Kris Kobach cited 221 incidents of voter fraud in the state between 1997 and 2010. Yet those cases produced just 7 convictions—none related to impersonating other voters.

Last December, Republican National Committee ChairmanReince Priebus declared that Wisconsin is “absolutely riddled with voter fraud.” In fact, the state’s voter fraud rate in 2004 was 0.0002 percent—just 7 votes.

In 2008, John McCain said fraudulent registrations collected by ACORN were “one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” The Congressional Research Service found no proof that anyone improperly registered by ACORN tried to vote.

Federal convictions for election fraud, 2002-05

  • Voting while ineligible: 18
  • Voting multiple times: 5
  • Registration fraud: 3

Dog and UFOBetween 2000 and 2010, there were:

649 million votes cast in general elections

47,000 UFO sightings

441 Americans killed by lightning

13 credible cases of in-person voter impersonation

Special hat tip to craigconnects.org

Additional sources:

  • A 2005 report by the American Center for Voting Rights…: The Myth of Voter Fraud byLorraine C. Minnite
  • 13 credible cases…: Justin Levitt, Loyola Law School

Millions Of Voters Impacted By New GOP Photo I.D., Citizenship And Registration Laws

If the GOP were not afraid of those disenfranchised voters, they wouldn’t be doing this.  The whole idea is to impact the election in their favor.  This is absolutely un-American…

The Huffington Post

According to a new report, over five million voters could be denied the right to vote under new laws adopted in a dozen states.

The study released Sunday night by the Brennan Center for Justice in New York said that new laws regarding photo identification requirements for voting, eliminating same day voter registration in several states, requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote, changing requirements for voter registration drives, reducing early voting days and restoring the right to vote for convicted felons will make voting harder for the five million people in the 2012 election.

The Brennan Center wrote that there has been a partisan divide in terms of the new laws, noting that the laws had mainly been generated from Republican-controlled state legislatures and signed by Republican governors. The exceptions are laws passed by Democratic-controlled legislatures in Rhode Island and West Virginia, signed by an independent governor in Rhode Island and West Virginia’s Democratic acting governor.

The report also projects that the new laws will have an impact on minority voters. According to the Brennan Center, African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to register to vote during voter registration drives in Florida, and new photo I.D. requirements in Texas do not include forms of identification heavily used by minorities. The report points to new laws requiring photo identification to vote in Alabama, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin that would limit voting to up to 3.2 million citizens who do not have government-issued photo I.D. The report did not include Rhode Island’s new photo identification law, which allows for non-governmental photo I.D.s to be used for voting, saying that the state’s law does not have the same requirements as measures elsewhere. Prior to 2011, only Indiana and Georgia had photo I.D. laws on the books.

All of the states allow for driver’s licenses, government-issued photo I.D. cards, passports and military I.D.s to vote. Alabama, Kansas and Rhode Island laws will all allow for student I.D. cards from state universities to vote. Kansas, Texas, Rhode Island, Alabama and Tennessee all allow concealed handgun licenses to vote.

Continue reading…

 

Watch Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach introduce the election law bill in January:

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Advice to a Wary Voter: If Your Vote Didn’t Count, It Wouldn’t be Suppressed

Christine Pelosi – Politico

It is a cruel irony in American politics that just as young people across the country – indeed around the world – think their votes don’t count in the political process, voter suppression tactics are all too alive and well.

As the non-partisan Brennan Center for Justice points out, in the last few years there has been an aggressive effort to restrict voting as legislators around the country have been pushing bills that make sweeping changes to their election codes to limit the voting rights of students and movers, reduce early voting days, and restrict voter registration and “get-out-the-vote” mobilization efforts.

In this month alone, the Colorado secretary of state tried to block Denver voters from receiving absentee ballots lawsuit while his Maine counterpart wrote to students advising them that they could face legal prosecution if they maintained out-of-state drivers licenses and in-state voter registration cards.

Couple these efforts with voter ID laws that the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute reports affect 11 percent of Americans — approximately 23 million citizens of voting age, the vast majority of whom are low-income, disabled, minority, young, and older voters — who lack proper photo ID and the Federal Elections Commission finding that over 20,000 polling places are inaccessible to people with disabilities http://smlr.rutgers.edu/fact-sheet-on-disability-and-voter-turnout-in-2010, and we are looking at millions of Americans who could be disenfranchised.

That’s a whole lot effort to suppress a vote that doesn’t count! If there is an effort to restrict voting, the forces doing the restricting must think the ballot counts – and you voters should too.

So my advice to a wary voter is this; the next time you think your vote doesn’t count, think of all the efforts going on to restrict your right to cast it. That alone should tell you how powerful a force each and every voter can be. Remember the boomerang effect that the despicable 2010 “don’t vote” ads had on Latino voters who turned out and voted in pro-voting pro-immigrant candidates. Believe that making your elected officials accountable begins with the civic sacrament of voting, hold your candidates to a simple test: does she want me to vote or not? and when given the choice, vote for the people who want you to vote.

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After Signing Law Disenfranchising ID-less Voters, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Closes 10 DMV Offices

Is Scott Walker a sociopath or are all Republicans this heartless?

Think Progress 

Earlier this year, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker became one of the many GOP governors to sign a law disenfranchising voters who do not have a photo ID — a law thatdisproportionately affects elderly voters, young voters, students, minorities and low-income voters. Having disenfranchised tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters, Walker is now making it harder for many of these voters to obtain the ID they need to regain their right to participate in the next election:

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration is working on finalizing a plan to close as many as 10 offices where people can obtain driver’s licenses in order to expand hours elsewhere and come into compliance with new requirements that voters show photo IDs at the polls.

One Democratic lawmaker said Friday it appeared the decisions were based on politics, with the department targeting offices for closure in Democratic areas and expanding hours for those in Republican districts. [...] Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Fort Atkinson, called on the state Department of Transportation to reconsider its plants to close the Fort Atkinson DMV center. The department plans to expand by four hours a week the hours of a center about 30 minutes away in Watertown. [...]

“What the heck is going on here?” Jorgensen said. “Is politics at play here?”

Of course, no one has been more aggressive in waging the GOP’s war on voting that Scott Walker. Walker stripped state workers of their right to organize to strengthen the GOP’s position in the next election, and he gutted the state’s public financing system, which allows candidates to run effective campaigns without pleading for money from big dollar donors, and used this money to pay for his voter ID scheme.

Lest there be any doubt, there is absolutely no legitimate purpose behind Walker’s voter ID law. Although Republicans justify these voter disenfranchising laws by claiming that they are necessary to combat voter fraud, a recent study by the Brennan Center for Justice found that only 44 one-millionths of one percent of votes are cast by people who commit voter fraud.

Shrinking The Vote: Using Election Reform To Decrease Turnout

The whirlwind of election reforms has taken place in some 13 states in eight weeks alone.

Daily Kos

As the U.S population grows and the number of eligible voters continues to climb with each election cycle, a disturbing trend of limiting voter access to the polls is taking place. With 2012 on the horizon, states are already gearing up to ensure that barriers are installed across the voting process, from restrictions on voter registration to strict requirements at the polls. It’s been called “the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century.”

Legislators justify the vast majority of this legislation by claiming they are merely attempting to prevent widespread voter fraud. The Brennan Center for Justice conducted the most extensive analysis of voter fraud allegations and concluded that proponents of voter ID laws could not find “a proven example of a single vote cast at the polls in someone else’s name that could be stopped by a pollsite photo ID rule.” (PDF)

Combating “voter fraud” is a red herring. It doesn’t take more than a passing glance at the 2008 results map to understand why Republicans have been working so diligently to decrease the vote, especially in states where President Obama won by a slim margin.

Read much more here…

The Smart-ALECs Who Are Writing the GOP’s Laws: Why So Many New State Laws Are Similar

Ok, this is my second article that sounds like a conspiracy theory but both are factually true and can be proven.

We are fast approaching the General Election and it’s important to share this information with my readers with the hope that they too will share the info on their blogs.

Let’s take a deep hard look at concerted GOP operations…

Winning Progressive

When Wisconsin has a new law that destroys collective bargaining, how does that same law almost instantaneously show up in ten other statehouses? When Florida presents anti-abortion legislation, why are 25 other states doing the same thing at the same time? When Michigan decides that it is a good idea to privatize, well, everything, why do other state legislatures follow suit so quickly? For years, I thought this was just dumb luck or even some kind of political ESP, or maybe even some sort of wild conspiracy theory, but then thought I was being foolish! How could states be reading from the same playbook? Could it be possible that there was a conspiracy? No! More than likely, I concluded, it was dumb luck!

Not only is it not dumb luck, it is a well-orchestrated, well-financed, corporate conspiracy that has successfully infiltrated every state legislature in the United States. The legislation that you see repeated daily in states across the country is actually from a playbook brought to America by way of ALEC, a group that seeks to promote legislation that benefits corporations and robs consumers and the electorate.

ALEC is short for the American Legislative Exchange Council. It is a not-for-profit (aren’t they all?) organization designed to be a one-stop shopping experience for state legislators. The legislation offered by ALEC is usually always geared to the advancement of corporate interests and the laws are actually written by corporate lobbyists. Shocked? No? Nothing shocks me anymore, either.  ALEC has its grubby hands in every single legislative body in this country. They are so blatantly outrageous that their website shows each legislator chairperson that handles and promotes “friendly” corporate laws. The legislative contact for each state is also the legislative sell-out.

ALEC was founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich, who also helped found the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority. It has been reported that the major funders are the Koch Foundation, Exxon Mobil, the Coors family and several other ultra right-wing corporate interests. Their list of board members are from AT&T, Wal-Mart, Johnson & Johnson, State Farm, Bayer, Coca-Cola, etc.

Legislative and exchange are the key words for this non-profit, because that is precisely what they do. The lobbyists write the legislation that they would like to see passed and then, through the elected representatives in each state, personalize it for each state and pass it around. It really is an exchange. ALEC’s website will let you know the names of the legislators from your state that ‘work’ with them to promote ALEC’s product.

How Insidious Is ALEC? Here are Some Current Laws That Come From ALEC

ALEC says they do not lobby. That is how they get away with maintaining their non-profit status. They simply write the legislation and the mostly Republican legislators (only 3 are Democrats) from all of the different states then present the bills in their respective statehouses and pass them off as their own. It is similar to buying a term paper or hiring another student to write your term paper for you. In school, it is called cheating. In America, it is called a non-profit organization.

ALEC is not ashamed of their activities. ALEC is proud of the fact that their lobbyists and corporate members are the authors of most of the legislation pending or passed in every state. Their own website touts the fact that they are directly responsible for :

  • Voter ID bills being passed that tighten registration requirements and disenfranchise up to 20 million voters. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, over 20 million will be disenfranchised by the new laws. They are mainly students, the elderly, the poor and the disabled.
  • The bills that have assaulted and destroyed collective bargaining rights in states such as Wisconsin and Michigan. ALEC stands behind laws that would roll-back employee protections, worker’s compensation and even do away with the minimum wage.
  • The bills that eliminate pension plans and turn them into 401K’s.
  • The bills designed to overturn the Affordable Care Act. ALEC offers each state a “Guide to Repealing Obamacare”.
  • The bills that eliminate environmental protections. Not only are the bills already written(ALEC says they have 15 model bills), the state legislators can work with ALEC’s task force to launch an all out assault on EPA rules and regulations.
  • The bills that lower corporate tax rates. In fact, to assist in this effort, ALEC has written the “State Budget Reform Tool Kit”. It is a must have for states that want to lower taxes for the wealthy and raise taxes for the middle class and poor.
  • The bills that strip education of funding and decimate local control of schools.

This list could go on and on. It includes prison reform legislation, legislation designed to “protect innocent corporations from liability for asbestos poisoning”, how states can effectively market pharmaceuticals, as well as “how to privatize” almost every sector of government, along with instructions on how to frame the bills to make them sound as advantageous as possible.

ALEC itself, says that the organization is responsible for at least 1,000 bills a year that are introduced in every statehouse. As their website states:

ALEC’s far-reaching national network of state legislators that crosses geographic and political boundaries, and affects all levels of government, is without equal. No other organization in America today can claim as many valuable assets-both people and ideas-that have influence on as many key decision-making centers.

Far- reaching? If this organization is responsible for 1,000 bills a year, they are more far-reaching than I would like to think.

Who Are These “Lawmakers” That Create Our Laws?

ALEC boasts of over 2,000 members. Private sector membership can range in price from $7,000 per year to join the Washington Club all the way up to $25,000 per year for the Jefferson Club. Without giving the names of their board members, I will just list the corporations each member of the Private Enterprise Board represents:

* Bayer

* Glaxo-Smith-Kline

* Reynolds

* Wal-Mart

* Johnson & Johnson

* Energy Future Holdings

* PhRMA

* Kraft Foods

* American Bail Coalition

* Pfizer

* Reed-Elsevier

* DIAGEO

* AT&T

* Peabody Energy

* UPS

* Intuit, Inc

* Koch Brothers

* Coca-Cola

* Altria Client Services

* Exxon Mobil

*Salt River Project

* State Farm Insurance Company

* Centerpoint 360

Were these the people you elected to write your laws?  I think I was better off when I thought the coordination was dumb luck. How about you?

Tea Party Stoke Fears About Bogus Voter Fraud

Every year Republicans cry “voter fraud” with not one instance of such fraud being tried and convicted.   The whole idea is to create a straw man while THEY in fact steal the election by “black box” voting machine tampering, pulling minorities off the voting rolls by questioning their eligibility, intimidating minorities by taking pictures of them outside the polling areas and many more tactics.

As Slate Magazine puts it:

No one denies that ginning up fear about systematic voter fraud is an effective political tactic. It appeals to an electorate suspicious of government and helps delegitimize any victories that can be attributed to the overenfranchisement of minorities, i.e. Democratic voters. But no one should believe that voter fraud is a widespread problem.In 2002, the Bush administration made cracking down on voter fraud a top priority. Five years later, the effort had yielded 86 convictions. About 30 convictions were linked to vote-buying schemes in races for small offices like sheriff or judge. Only 26 were attributable to individual voters, and most of those were misunderstandings about voter eligibility, such as felons who voted without knowing it was illegal. The prosecutions provided little evidence of organized fraud.

The Brennan Center for Justice:

Allegations of widespread fraud by malevolent voters are easy to make, but often prove to be inflated or inaccurate. Crying “wolf” when the claims are unsubstantiated distracts attention from real problems that need real solutions. Moreover, these claims are frequently used to justify policies – including restrictive photo identification rules – that could not solve the alleged wrongs, but that could well disenfranchise legitimate voters.

The Brennan Center carefully examines allegations of fraud to get at the truth behind the claims.

 MSNBC discusses the issue: