Voter ID Law

Justice Department to challenge North Carolina voter ID law

Eric Holder is pictured. | AP Photo

The justices’ 5-4 ruling outraged civil rights advocates. | AP Photo

Politico

The Justice Department will file suit against North Carolina on Monday, charging that the Tar Heel State’s new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls violates the Voting Rights Act by discriminating against African Americans, according to a person familiar with the planned litigation.

Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce the lawsuit at 11 a.m. Monday at Justice Department headquarters, flanked by the three U.S. Attorneys from North Carolina.

The suit, set to be filed in Greensboro, N.C., will ask that the state be barred from enforcing the new voter ID law, the source said. However, the case will also go further, demanding that the entire state of North Carolina be placed under a requirement to have all changes to voting laws, procedures and polling places “precleared” by either the Justice Department or a federal court, the source added.

Until this year, 40 North Carolina counties were under such a requirement. However, in June, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the formula Congress used to subject parts or all of 15 states to preclearance in recent decades.

The justices’ 5-4 ruling outraged civil rights advocates, but did not disturb a rarely-used “bail in” provision in the law that allows judges to put states or localities under the preclearance requirement. Civil rights groups and the Justice Department have since seized on that provision to try to recreate part of the regime that existed prior to the Supreme Court decision.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed the voter ID measure into law last last month.

“Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote,” McCrory said at the time. “This new law brings our state in line with a healthy majority of other states throughout the country. This common sense safeguard is common-place.”

A law mandating a photo ID for voting was not on the books in North Carolina during the 2012 presidential election. Such a measure passed in 2011, but it was vetoed by then-Gov. Bev Perdue (D). The legislature failed to override her veto.

According to the source, DOJ’s lawsuit will object to the law’s photo ID requirement as well as three other key provisions: the elimination of the first 7 days of early voting that took place in 2012, the end to same-day voter registration during the early voting period, and the end to the option of provisional ballots for voters who show up at the wrong polling place.

The complaint will allege that the law was passed with discriminatory intent and as part of a deliberate effort to deny African Americans the right to vote, the source said. A North Carolina Board of Elections study in April of this year found that more than 300,000 registered voters in the state did not have a Department of Motor Vehicles-issued ID. African Americans accounted for 34 percent of those who did not match with the DMV records, although they account for only about 22 percent of registered voters in the state.

DOJ moved in July to put Texas, which had been subject to preclearance statewide until the June Supreme Court ruling, back under preclearance requirements. That move came first in a pending lawsuit over redistricting in the state and later in another case over that state’s voter ID law.

Judges have yet to act on those requests. However, Gov. Rick Perry (R) complained that the Justice Department’s demand disrespected the Supreme Court decision.

“This end run around the Supreme Court undermines the will of the people of Texas, and casts unfair aspersions on our state’s common-sense efforts to preserve the integrity of our elections process,” Perry said in a statement.

In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, that an Indiana voter ID law was constitutional. However, the justices did not deal with the question of whether that law or a similar law in another state might violate the Voting Rights Act. Civil rights advocates have insisted that the Voting Rights Act puts a greater burden on states seeking to restrict voting when doing so disproportionately affects minority groups.

Penn. state Rep.: Photo ID law only disenfranchises the ‘lazy’ 47 percent

Daryl Metcalfe (YouTube)

The truth about state sponsored voter ID laws is seeping out at a steady pace…

The Raw Story

A Republican state representative in Pennsylvania is defending the state’s voter photo ID law by claiming that people who were too “lazy” to have identification were probably included in the 47 percent of Americans who Mitt Romney claims don’t pay income taxes.

During a radio interview with KDKA on Wednesday, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe defended Pennsylvania’s controversial photo ID law by bringing up a recently-released leaked video of Romney telling wealthy donors that it wasn’t his job to worry about the 47 percent of people who refused to “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

“I don’t believe any legitimate voter that actually wants to exercise that right and takes on the according responsiblity that goes with that right to secure their photo ID will be disenfranchised,” Metcalfe insisted. “As Mitt Romney said, 47 percent of the people that are living off the public dole, living off their neighbors’ hard work, and we have a lot of people out there that are too lazy to get up and get out there and get the ID they need.”

The lawmaker added: “If individuals are too lazy, the state can’t fix that.”

Earlier this year, state officials estimated that 758,00o registered voters in Pennsylvania did not have valid photo IDs.

Listen to this audio from KDKA via Think Progress, broadcast Sept. 19, 2012.

Tea Party Threatens Revenge Against Pennsylvania Justices For Not Upholding Voter ID Law

 

Someone please explain this to me:  How in the hell did the Tea Party turn into an intimidation , extortion and revenge organization?

They’re talking about “exacting revenge” on a group of State Supreme Court Justices who didn’t think that voter intimidation was just and decided to send the case back to the lower court and commented that the law should be suspended immediately.

Who are these people and what do they really want from us, in addition to getting the “black guy” out of office?

Think Progress

Earlier this week, every single sitting Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice rejecteda lower court decision allowing that state’s voter ID law to take effect. Four justices joined a majority opinion requiring the lower court judge to look at the case again due to concerns that voters were unable to obtain the IDs they were supposed to have easy access to as a matter of law, and two more justices joined a dissent arguing that the law should simply be suspended right away. Three of the justices in the majority were Republicans.

Nevertheless, a Tea Party group is now threatening to exact revenge upon the state supreme court for refusing to uphold a law that prevents many low-income, student and minority voters from casting a ballot:

A Philadelphia-area tea party group says it will work to defeat two state Supreme Court justices next year if the state’s new voter identification law isn’t in effect for the Nov. 6 election.

The Independence Hall Tea Party on Thursday also criticized the court’s decision to send a legal challenge to the law back for a lower court review.

It called the decision “a cowardly move” to “punt the ball.”

Chief Justice Ronald Castille, a Republican, and Justice Max Baer, a Democrat, are each finishing a 10-year term in January 2014.

These kinds of campaigns of vengeance against justices who place the law ahead of conservative’s policy preferences are increasingly common. Two years ago, a Florida Tea Party group launched a similar revenge campaign after the Florida Supreme Court kept an unconstitutional ballot initiative attempting to nullify the Affordable Care Act off the state ballot. Similarly, anti-gay groups poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a successful effort to remove three Iowa supreme court justices because they had the audacity to recognize that the state’s constitution does not permit discrimination against gay couples.

As a recent Center for American Progress report explains, corporate interest groups have alsospent big money to stack state judiciaries with friendly judges and justices. In one of the most egregious cases, a West Virginia coal baron spent $3 million to buy a seat on the state supreme court for a justice who later went on to strike down a $50 million verdict against his company, although the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the bought-and-paid-for justice should have recused himself.

 

James O’Keefe Scams Voter Fraud and Voter ID Laws Into Existence

The Nation

I told myself I wasn’t going to write about James O’Keefe, mostly because his sophomoric pranks are mostly for the net effect of making his pockets fat. He has his hands out, and I’m not trying to help him get paid. I no more want to discuss voting by reference of O’Keefe than I want to write about Middle East affairs by reference of Sacha Baron Cohen in The Dictator.

But his influence on voting rights opponents and legislators alike is particularly jarring. When you hear activists and state senators say we need voter ID laws because of voter fraud, instead of citing data, or even anecdotes, lately they’ve been citing O’Keefe. When I was in Houston at the True the Vote conference I was hardly surprised when the audience erupted in applause as O’Keefe took the podium. You would’ve thought Tim Tebow entered the room. And sure enough, he presented one of his “Project Veritas” videos of himself telling unsuspecting poll workers in Minnesota that he wanted to register “Timothy Tebow” to vote before given a stack of voter registration applications.

See? There is how fraud happens, O’Keefe told the crowd. What was surprising was that no one dared to speak up that no fraud had actually happened. What was O’Keefe’s point in showing this? Yes, it’s true. Someone can fill out a registration card with a fictitious name and address. It’s also true that election officials will verify that the person on the registration card exists, and toss those that don’t. Before that happens, if the person or party handling the registration cards finds something fishy—a dubious name or sketchy address—they’ll often report it to election officials themselves if they don’t discard it, as what ACORN did, contrary to popular opinion. But no crime has been committed, and photo voter ID laws wouldn’t prevent such registration problems anyway.

But O’Keefe isn’t looking for veritas or accuracy—he just needs the perception that something fishy is going on so that he can direct you to his page and have you contribute to his fairy tale fund. That’s how hustles work. Right now, on his website he invites people to fork over the dollars because “Our work in North Carolina as draining on our staff and funds—but we produced jaw-droppiong [sic] results once again!”

Continue reading here…

Conservative Group With Abramoff Scandal Ties Picks Up Voter ID Issue Where ALEC Left Off

One has to wonder, why the GOP think that they will truly suppress tens of thousands of voters without a valid ID from casting their ballots on election day.  If their strategy was to make sure those tens of thousands don’t vote, activists and civil rights advocates are making an effort to help voters with the process of obtaining an ID before election day.

In the meantime, some of us sit and watch this attack on democracy try to take hold, but I am certain those leading the effort to retain our democratic principles will eventually rule the day.  I intend to do my part.

TPM Muckraker

Shortly after the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) announced it was dropping voter identification laws from its agenda, another conservative group is stepping in to fill the void.

The National Center for Public Policy Research announced this week it had formed a “Voter Identification Task Force” to continue ALEC’s “excellent work” in “promoting measures to enhance integrity in voting.” Describing itself as a “conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank,” the group was established in 1982.

“The fact that ALEC is no longer going to be offering the services it did got us interested in doing something,” National Center for Public Policy Research executive director David Almasi told TPM. “We obviously can’t do everything ALEC did, but we can do something to make sure the issue doesn’t go away.”

“This is something that we picked up because someone else dropped it and not because anyone has come to us and said here’s a check, do it. It’s something that we feel strongly enough about that we’re willing to do it off our regular strategic plan,” Almasi said.

“We’re putting the left on notice: you take out a conservative program operating in one area, we’ll kick it up a notch somewhere else,” Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research, said in a statement. “You will not win. We outnumber you and we outthink you, and when you kick up a fuss you inspire us to victory.”

Corporate CEOs who “cower in the face of liberal boycott threats need to understand that the left never gives up,” Ridenour said. “If these corporations do not reverse course and immediately grow enough of a backbone to say no when the left tells them what to do, conservatives may as well consider them part of the organized left. It doesn’t matter if corporate executives have free-market sentiments hidden deep inside them if they continually surrender to the left’s Trotskyite strategy of making relentless demand after demand in public.”

While several conservative organizations have taken up the issue of voter identification, no national group that considered voter ID their central issue has existed since the American Center for Voting Rights disappeared back in 2007. More recently, the Tea Party group True the Vote has held a national conference to address the issue and James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has produced a number of “undercover” videos in an attempt to show why they believe voter ID laws are necessary.

The NCPPR got a bit tangled up in the Jack Abramoff scandal a few years back. The Center for Media and Democracy points out that a Senate investigation found that Ridenour directed money received by the NCPPR at Abramoff’s direction. The group reportedly covered the cost of several of former Rep. Tom Delay’s overseas junkets. Nobody from the group faced charges.

Voter Suppression 101

Undermining Democracy is a very serious offense against our Constitution.

Yet Republicans, with the help of Right-Wing front group ALEC, have done just that on a massive scale.

The following is just a small segment of a brief  the Center for American Progress compiled…

Center For American Progress

How Conservatives Are Conspiring to Disenfranchise Millions of Americans

Download this issue brief (pdf)

Read the brief in your web browser (Scribd)

The right to vote is under attack all across our country. Conservative legislators are introducing and passing legislation that creates new barriers for those registering to vote, shortens the early voting period, imposes new requirements for already-registered voters, and rigs the Electoral College in select states. Conservatives fabricate reasons to enact these laws—voter fraud is exceedingly rare—in their efforts to disenfranchise as many potential voters among certain groups, such as college students, low-income voters, and minorities, as possible. Rather than modernizing our democracy to ensure that all citizens have access to the ballot box, these laws hinder voting rights in a manner not seen since the era of Jim Crow laws enacted in the South to disenfranchise blacks after Reconstruction in the late 1800s.

Talk about turning back the clock! At its best, America has utilized the federal legislative process to augment voting rights. Constitutional amendments such as the 12th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, and 26th have steadily improved the system by which our elections take place while expanding the pool of Americans eligible to participate. Yet in 2011, more than 30 state legislatures considered legislation to make it harder for citizens to vote, with over a dozen of those states succeeding in passing these bills. Anti-voting legislation appears to be continuing unabated so far in 2012.

Unfortunately, the rapid spread of these proposals in states as different as Florida and Wisconsin is not occurring by accident. Instead, many of these laws are being drafted and spread through corporate-backed entities such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, as uncovered in a previous Center for American Progress investigative report. Detailed in that report, ALEC charges corporations such as Koch Industries Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and The Coca-Cola Co. a fee and gives them access to members of state legislatures. Under ALEC’s auspices, legislators, corporate representatives, and ALEC officials work together to draft model legislation. As ALEC spokesperson Michael Bowman told NPR, this system is especially effective because “you have legislators who will ask questions much more freely at our meetings because they are not under the eyes of the press, the eyes of the voters.”

The investigative report included for the first time a leaked copy of ALEC’s model Voter ID legislation, which was approved by the ALEC board of directors in late 2009. This model legislation prohibited certain forms of identification, such as student IDs, and has been cited as the legislative model from groups ranging from Tea Party organizations to legislators proposing the actual legislation such as Wisconsin’s Voter ID proposal from Republican state Rep. Stone and Republican state Sen. Joe Leibham.

Registering the poor “to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals.”

-Conservative columnist Matthew Vadum

Continue reading here…

Santorum To ThinkProgress: ‘The Only Reason You Don’t Have A Voter ID Is You Want To Continue To Perpetrate Fraud’

Think Progress

To Rick Santorum, the more than 23 million  American voters who don’t have a government-issued photo ID aren’t potential victims of disenfranchisement. The presidential hopeful uses a different name: perpetrators of fraud.

ThinkProgress spoke with the Republican presidential hopeful about voter ID laws — which require that citizens present a certain form of photo identification or they are barred from voting — during a campaign stop in Milwaukee last weekend. Santorum said that he supports such laws because, as he states it, “the only reason you don’t have a voter ID is you want to continue to perpetrate fraud.” He went on to dismiss the notion that anyone might not have access to a voter ID, saying that “it’s not a problem.”

KEYES: Voter ID has been a big issue here in Wisconsin. I know Lindsey Graham has proposed a national voter ID law. Is that something you would sign as president?

SANTORUM: I think that’s a state issue. I support voter ID. In my opinion, the only reason you don’t have a voter ID is you want to continue to perpetrate fraud.

KEYES: What about folks who don’t have access to a voter ID though?

SANTORUM: As you know, in every state they allow free access to free voter ID, so it’s not a problem.

Watch it:

Santorum’s claim falls somewhere in the murky world between audacity and lunacy. More thanone in ten Americans lack a government-issued photo ID. These people are not committing voter fraud — indeed, voter fraud is rarer than getting struck by lightning — they are potentially having their right to vote stripped away. Santorum appears to have confused the disenfranchisees with the disenfranchisers.

Continue reading here…