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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.

For the most part, the recent changes represent a dismal outlook for voting rights advocates. Republican successes at the state level have empowered the GOP with the ability to craft and adopt even the most restrictive election laws. While voting rights groups and others are taking many of these fights to the courts, there's no denying that enforcing these unduly restrictive laws is a cornerstone of the Republican 2012 strategy.

That said, while most of these changes have been pushed by largely Republican legislatures, they have not been able to be passed in some areas without the “help” of Democratic representatives. The changes vary from ballot access to voter registration and more, but most fall into three broad categories:

_________________

Papers, Please: Voter I.D. and Proof of Citizenship Requirements
_
________________

Survey after survey confirms the fact that millions of Americans -– between 6%-11% -- do not have a government issued photo ID. The Brennan Center has found (PDF) that "as many as 7% of United States citizens – 13 million individuals – do not have ready access to citizenship documents." The survey also found that "as many as 32 million voting-age women may have available only proof of citizenship documents that do not reflect their current name" and that citizens with low incomes are more likely not to have ready access to their citizenship documents.

Those startling numbers haven't stopped state legislatures from adopting voter ID laws or pursuing proof of citizenship requirements for voter registration. According to Election Protection, "proposed legislation that would require voters to produce photo identification at the polls is popping up in roughly half of the states across the country."

In the past few months alone, Tennessee, Maine, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin have already signed into law or have passed laws that require voter ID. Similar laws are pending in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, North Carolina and Ohio. In Minnesota, Governor Dayton (D) vetoed a restrictive voter ID bill, and Governor Schweitzer (D) did the same in Montana recently.

Proof of citizenship for voter registration was part of the draconian Arizona law that made headlines last year. A court overturned that requirement. However, this week, Alabama adopted a similar approach in a law.

With the United States Supreme Court upholding Indiana's restrictive voter ID law, it was only a matter of time before legislatures from coast to coast followed that state's lead. The landscape on voter ID has changed. The facts, however, have not:

Out of almost 400 million votes cast in general elections alone since 2000, the briefs [of the State of Indiana and its allies] cite one attempt at impersonation that was thwarted without a photo ID requirement, and nine unresolved cases  where impersonation fraud at the polls was suspected but not proven. Nine possible examples out of hundreds of millions — and these nine cases might just as well have been due to clerical error.  Not one of these cited reports occurred in Indiana.
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If You Shorten It, They Won't Come: Slashing Early and Absentee Voting Periods
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Around 30% of registered voters cast their ballots early in 2008. To put the increase in early voting in perspective, in 1972, just 4% of ballots were cast early. In 2004, the number was around 20%. As the chart on the right from Professor Michael McDonald at George Mason University illustrates, the American people like early voting and have been using the opportunity to cast their ballots early more and more every year. Early voting alleviates long lines and empowers voters to vote on their own schedules.

The power of early voting was particularly present during the 2008 election. The nation braced itself for the 10-hour long wait lines that we saw in Ohio in 2004. It didn't happen. Rather, more Americans took advantage of expanded early voting periods, thus easing congestion on Election Day and ensuring that everyone who wanted to cast a vote could do so.

Expanded early voting, one could say, was a victim of its own success. Republicans in particular looked at how Democrats had used aggressive early voting field operations to turn out the vote and sparked a wave of early voting reforms from coast to coast.

In Ohio, voting early on Sundays is on the chopping block and absentee voting also looks to be shaved down. In Wisconsin, Governor Walker (R) signed a bill that drastically cut back on early voting periods and Governor Scott (R) in Florida did the same. Meanwhile, the North Carolina House recently passed a bill cutting its early voting period in half.

______________

Banishing same-day registration

___________

According to Project Vote, election day registration (EDR) “has proven to be a significant boost to voter participation in the states that have adopted it. In those states, average turnout rates are 10-12 percentage points higher than national averages, showing the strength of EDR’s ability to lower barriers to voter participation.”

Again, the success of the policy has marked it for elimination by Republicans. In Maine, the House has approved a bill that would end EDR. EDR has been in place for 38 years in Maine, but the GOP -- whose chairman claimed Democrats "steal elections" using EDR -- is trying to end the practice. In Montana, Governor Schweitzer vetoed a bill that would end EDR last month (you can see Schweitzer branding -- literally -- the bill with a "veto" here).

An All-Out Assault On American Voters

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

Last week, the New York Times penned an editorial, "They Want to Make Voting Harder?" that explained the mad dash to upend election laws before the 2012 election:

Two states in the region have already reduced early-voting periods, and lawmakers in others are considering doing so. It is the latest element of a well-coordinated effort by Republican state legislators across the country to disenfranchise voters who tend to support Democrats, particularly minorities and young people.

The biggest part of that effort, imposing cumbersome requirements that voters have a government ID, has been painted as a response to voter fraud, an essentially nonexistent problem. But Republican lawmakers also have taken a good look at voting patterns, realized that early voting might have played a role in Mr. Obama’s 2008 victory, and now want to reduce that possibility in 2012.

Mr. Obama won North Carolina, for example, by less than 15,000 votes. That state has had early voting since 2000, and in 2008, more ballots were cast before Election Day than on it. Mr. Obama won those early votes by a comfortable margin. So it is no coincidence that the North Carolina House passed a measure — along party lines — that would cut the early voting period by a week, reducing it to a week and a half before the election. The Senate is preparing a similar bill, which we hope Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat, will veto if it reaches her.

As the NYT also points out, the battle to decrease early voting periods is also a not-so-subtle attempt to depress minority turnout:

Blacks voting early in the South jumped from about 13 percent in 2004 to 33 percent in 2008, according to the studies, significantly outpacing the percentage of whites.

One of the biggest jumps was in Georgia, where, over the objections of several black lawmakers, the Republican-dominated Legislature passed a bill in April that would cut back in-person early voting to 21 days, from 45 days.

With the GOP presidential field being as bizarre and chaotic as it is, Republicans are well aware that they do not have a leader yet to market Republican ideas to the American people. They also know that they need an excellent marketer, a miracle worker, some might say, since the American people don't agree with those ideas. The latest polls even show Americans agree with Democrats on gay marriage, along with other issues such as climate change, tax policy and more.

Since Republicans can't change the progressive-leaning policy positions of Americans, they're changing the rules so that fewer Americans have the chance to express those positions at the polls. It's disgusting. It's outrageous. And absent voter education and lawsuits, there's little Democrats and voting rights advocates can do about it before the 2012 election.

Let this tide of anti-voter reforms remind us all that while national politics may be flashier than state politics, the composition of our state legislatures and the party affiliation of the governors who wield the veto pens should be of paramount importance to us all.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Florida (15+ / 0-)

    Just wanted to point out that no matter what they do about early voting, as I understand it it's possible to request an absentee ballot - no reason needed - via telephone or email.

    •  Good point (15+ / 0-)

      I think what worries voting rights advocates about the Florida move is that so many minority voters used in-person early voting over absentee ballot voting in 2008:

      An analysis of state election records by the Florida Democratic Party showed that in 2008, 1.1 million black voters participated in the general election, in which they had the opportunity to elect the country's first African-American president. Nearly 54 percent of those voters cast ballots before Election Day at early-voting sites. The figure does not include the 13.6 percent that cast absentee ballots. (link)
    •  The St. Pete Times points out that WRONGS (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Judge Moonbox, Josiah Bartlett

      are more likely to pull an absentee ballot, and Dems are more likely need to take advantage of the other options. But hey, it's a free country. Isn't it?

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 05:09:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ratio of Fraud to Suppressed Votes. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thomask, Josiah Bartlett, bear83

      We need to ask, "What should the ratio between fraudulent voters be compared to legitimate voters whose right to vote has been suppressed?"

      In Florida in 2000, then-Gov. Jeb Bush and then-Secretary of State Kathleen Harris falsely accused 20,000 people of being convicted felons for the purpose of purging them from the voter roles. (By a bizarre coincidence, 10% actually were convicted felons.) His brother, George W. Bush won by only 538 votes.

      There have been fewer than a hundred documented cases of voter fraud, mostly felons (actual) who showed up and voted; and then the judges found out about their convictions.

      So with a ratio greater than 200:1, the Republican efforts against vote fraud are falsely shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater, sending panicked moviegoers into the blizzard without their coats.

      Greg McKendry, Linda Kraeger, Dr. George Tiller, Steven Johns. Victims of Wingnut violence

      by Judge Moonbox on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:04:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  OMFG, Voter Fraud isn't the problem.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Judge Moonbox, Matt Z

      IT'S ELECTION FRAUD that's happening right before our eyes that's stealing the elections!!!

      Wasn't anybody watching Wisconsin????

      OK, OK, I know I'm yelling at the wrong crowd here but election fraud is what we need to be making all the noise about.

      It's not the voters causing the problems.

      Wasn't it Stalin that said that he didn't care who got to vote, only who counted the votes?  

      I am here to represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party. Roar louder!

      by Josiah Bartlett on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:49:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans can only win by gaming (18+ / 0-)

    the system. It's frustrating to see it work for them over and over and over again, but I don't think it will last. It seems like they have to rely on trickery more and more with every election - it has to blow up in their faces at some point.

    I can't vote for it because it doesn't have enough votes.

    by Dopeman on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:15:06 PM PDT

    •  hopefully indeed (5+ / 0-)

      When winning counts on disenfranchising or tricking people, hopefully the long-run result is epic fail.  But the Repubs seem to find a way to win no matter what.  

      Here's hoping that Americans finally wake up to the only thing we can count on from the GOP: tax cuts and more money for the rich.  It shouldn't be a winning platform.

      •  The courts (4+ / 0-)

        have been doing a decent job of knocking some of the more atrocious parts down in some areas, and of course, in certain states, a lot of these new rules need DOJ approval.

        Still, with the SCOTUS's actions on the Indiana law, I don't think anything that gets appealed all the way up there looks promising.

        •  John Roberts's signature issue has been (3+ / 0-)

          weakening voter protection (following in the footsteps of his mentor, Rehnquist, who happily administered now-illegal "tests" for voters in Arizona.  It's been a big issue for Scalia, too, who has been extremely interested in allowing "packing" of minority groups into as few districts as possible, letting them have more control over fewer votes.  These people are up to no good.

          Clarence Thomas had a dump
          Weiner said "this guy's a chump"
          He was caught tweeting pix riské
          So Justice Thomas got away.
          (Temporarily.)

          by Seneca Doane on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:05:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Marlyand last year. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Josiah Bartlett
        When winning counts on disenfranchising or tricking people,
        Fortunately it didn't work, but a consultant to Republican candidate Robert Ehrlich sent some robocalls to heavily Democratic districts saying that the incumbent, Gov O'Malley (D) already received enough votes and they didn't have to go to the polls. That fits Maryland's definition of voter fraud.

        Greg McKendry, Linda Kraeger, Dr. George Tiller, Steven Johns. Victims of Wingnut violence

        by Judge Moonbox on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:08:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Can anyone answer this? (11+ / 0-)

    Is there any instance of a Democratic majority and/or Governor coming into office in a state that has passed these types of laws, and undoing it?  Living in a state that allows voting by mail, it just boggles the mind.

    It's not enough to just stem the tide here...this tide needs to be turned back onto itself and chased back to sea.

    If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner. H. L. Mencken

    by Keith930 on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:15:38 PM PDT

    •  I can't think of one. (8+ / 0-)

      What we have is courts stepping in and undoing some of the damage, but I can't think of a Governor.

      I think the case may be made for some secretary of state level offices...anyone should be better than Blackwell, right?

      California and Oregon are leading the way and have done some amazing work in the last session. Alas, it doesn't really influence the rest of the states (at least the red ones).

    •  Dems don't do turnback. (4+ / 1-)

      Whatever gains Republicans achieve, Dems see that the pendulum remains pegged to the right.

      There is no correction.

      If Dems were at all interested in turning back wildly unpopular Bushco policies and stinking Reagan Revolution values that are driving this nation (with the world in tow) down the toilet, we wouldn't be having a inside politicking bean-count discussion about a few odd votes.

      Instead, we have the Obama Administration, along with the entire Big-Boy Pants(tm) Democratic Party, hewing as far as possible to the dumbass, failed right as possible, while hoping to maintain a hair-thin lead over the other fascist party.

      The thinnest margin will do.  In fact, the thinner the better.

      Here's a thought for 2012:  it will take a billion for Obama to win while selling out the majority of the electorate, including his constituency, with vigor and malice aforethought, in stoogelike service to a failed, disastrous status quo.

      For any still reading, here's how it works:  Republicans grasp, Dems hold on.

      Then we call it politics.

      Please don't feed the security state.

  •  Once More: Likely-to-be-PERMITTED Voter Polling (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jimreyn, Egalitare, Judge Moonbox

    needs to be initiated.

    We know this is happening. Fighting it will be messy and incomplete for the foreseeable future.

    But it'd be gross negligence to refuse to measure it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:16:11 PM PDT

    •  It will be very messy (5+ / 0-)
      We know this is happening. Fighting it will be messy and incomplete for the foreseeable future.

      Measuring it is tough. How do you poll people who have been "turned away" from polls? Keeping track of provisional ballots is easy. But counting the people who left a long line because they couldn't wait for hours? Or counting those who couldn't find citizenship docs to register to vote?

      "Messy" and "incomplete" is the perfect way to describe it.

      •  We do have some solid data as to... (4+ / 0-)

        ...how long lines have been in past elections in many states which have been practicing "voter discouragement" for decades.

        We may not be able to quantify the insufficient Documentation/Identification factor to academic standards, but we very well know how long it takes to vote and how many (more accurately how few) voting stations/machines are assigned to areas which happen to contain many of our likely voters. Voting Rights advocates have been citing those number for decades now.

        We know how many stations/machines it ought to take to properly service a given number of voters at a precinct. The discrepancies from that factor alone would probably astound most of those in our community who haven't dealt with this issue for decades as some of us have. When I lived in Newport News, I didn't know until I became an active YD that our fellow citizens in the "pigment-challenged" areas of our city had on average double the voting machines per capita compared to us in the historically Black East End.

        The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

        by Egalitare on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:04:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Teabag FL legislator said voting should be "hard" (14+ / 0-)

    bastard even wrote up an op-ed piece in the Sentinel saying we should make voting as hard as possible.

    assholes.

    The Seminole Democrat
    Waking up Florida one person at a time

    by SemDem on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:16:43 PM PDT

  •  "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible (6+ / 0-)

    make violent revolution inevitable." - President Kennedy

    The alternative to voting is violence.  Us that what the Republicans want?

    Just wait till the armed teabaggers start finding that they aren't allowed to vote.

    •  Frankly, I'm amazed that there isn't more politica (7+ / 0-)

      lly motivated violence than what already currently exists, which seems to come only from the right wing.

      The extremists on the left attack timber companies, biomedical researchers, but it's really the Koch brothers who should be the object of their scorn.

      Whither the Bolsheviks?

      On a separate note, I've long thought that the Democrats have totally misplayed this issue. They could have tackled immigration and voting reform triumphantly by enacting a national ID card system for everybody, and done it in the name of national security!

      The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit. Somerset Maugham

      by verasoie on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:51:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Possibly so (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Judge Moonbox

      Violence justifies crackdowns.

      Clarence Thomas had a dump
      Weiner said "this guy's a chump"
      He was caught tweeting pix riské
      So Justice Thomas got away.
      (Temporarily.)

      by Seneca Doane on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:07:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cut Medicare, Prevent Seniors From Voting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries

    ....then get elected and go after Social Secuity!

    It's all so clear to me now. I'm the keeper of the cheese. And you're the lemon merchant. Get it? And he knows it.

    by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:24:42 PM PDT

  •  I'm afraid (3+ / 0-)

    that here in Ohio, when kasich's suppression bill is passed, we very likely return to a red state.  People are not going to shell out 25 or 30 bucks for a state ID just to know that their vote will count.

    "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

    by fugwb on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:26:07 PM PDT

  •  Tell Gov. Lynch to VETO this bill! Email link!!!! (6+ / 0-)

    New Hampshire Governor John Lynch is all set to either sign this legislation or veto it. Please send him a clear message to him!

    A spokesman for Gov. John Lynch said after the vote that the governor had concerns about the bill.

    "New Hampshire has a long, proud history of clean elections. The governor does not believe we should be putting up roadblocks at the voting booth. He believes every vote must count and that's why he'll be reviewing this bill very carefully," said Colin Manning.

    With a 14-9 vote, the Senate does not have the votes to override a governor's veto.

    If made into law, opponents said the legislation is likely to face a legal challenge over its constitutionality. They argued the legislation was trying to solve a voter fraud problem that does not exist in New Hampshire.

    Source: http://www.concordmonitor.com/...

    Please send emails to Gov. Lynch requesting that he Veto this bill!!!!

    Email: http://www4.egov.nh.gov/...

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:29:46 PM PDT

  •  GOTR - Our group plans to keep this (7+ / 0-)

    very subject on the front burner for 2012.  We would love for those of you that know the laws in the states such as mine (North Carolina) where the Republicans are pushing Voter ID into reality to join us so we can keep not only the Kos family informed on how to battle against this, but to move this more locally.

    If you are interested, please join the GOTR Get Out The Registration group here and let's kick those Republican voter suppressor back to the curb.

    Sarah Palin 2012!!! Prove the Mayans right...

    by funluvn1 on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:30:50 PM PDT

    •  Very glad to hear you are working on this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      funluvn1

      Regardless of whether it passes, we will need to work hard on registration to win NC again in 2012. But let's keep the legislative threat in perspective.  The Republicans need help from Democrats if they are going to overcome a veto, and the floor vote in the House showed the Republicans not getting any.  They were counting on getting 5 Dems to vote for it.  They got zero.  While it is certainly way too early to declare victory, this is an eminently winnable fight.

  •  We need to separate the reasonable... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Says, Wham Bam

    ...from the unreasonable.  I think it's crazy that you don't need to show ID to vote.  You need to show it for a lot more trivial stuff.  We should stop fighting that sensible reform (sensible not because we have voter fraud problems, which we don't, but simply in itself--you vote as a unique individual with certain attributes that make you eligible to vote, and that should be checked in a non-cursory way) and fight the truly restrictive ones.  Fighting voter ID is like the misbegotten progressive fight against digital TV...that hypothetical out-of-the-loop person who never got a converter box was no reason to delay the conversion.

    It's better to curse the darkness than light a candle. --Whoever invented blogs, c.1996

    by Rich in PA on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:36:07 PM PDT

    •  I don't think it's unreasonable (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RockyMtnLib, mike101, askew, LarryNM, Red Bean

      "You need to show it for a lot more trivial stuff."

      Yes, that's the point.

      You have the flash ID to get into a bar. To use a credit card at some stores. You don't have a fundamental right to go to a specific bar or a right to use a credit card.

      I think people would be more comfortable with the idea of requiring ID to vote if ID were generally issued or required. If we had national ID cards, for example, it would make sense to have a policy that you should bring that to the polls to vote. But to mandate a government-issued ID to exercise a fundamental right to vote, when so many don't have a government-issued ID? It's almost akin to, say, requiring a "blogger's permit" before I can exercise my free speech online, when the government doesn't mandate blogger permits across the board.

      The truth is, so many people have been fighting the voter ID laws because the people who don't have voter IDs also tend to be the ones with the least political power in our society. Students especially!

      Not everyone gets a driver's license at 16 and not everyone has a passport. Their ability to vote shouldn't be jeopardized just because of a boogeyman of voter fraud.

      •  That doesn't move me at all. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jon Says

        I don't believe that large numbers of voting-age US citizens lack government-issued ID cards, and I don't believe that those people who lack them vote in non-trivial numbers.  And if either of those suppositions is wrong, I'd say it's time for them to get a government-issued ID card.  But I don't think we get to that point.

        It's better to curse the darkness than light a candle. --Whoever invented blogs, c.1996

        by Rich in PA on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:47:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are countless studies (9+ / 0-)

          that directly disprove your claim that large numbers of voting-age citizens don't lack government ID cards. One of the most respected ones:

          A survey by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law found that 11 percent of citizens, 21 million people, do not have a current photo ID. That fraction increases to 15 percent of low-income voting-age citizens, 18 percent of young eligible voters and 25 percent of black eligible voters.

          And when you say that you'd like for people to get government ID cards, how is that different than a poll tax in American society? ID cards costs money. If you're requiring a (paid) ID card to vote, you're requiring that people pay money in order to vote.

          My preferred method to comply with the trend towards voter IDs is universal registration. When you turn 18, you're automatically registered to vote and you receive a free photo ID card.

      •  One solution is: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Georgia Logothetis

        Give people a copy of their ID -- and give their registrar a photocopy.  If people forget it, and if they still look like the person, can match the signature, etc., they still get to vote.

        I don't care what ID they require so long as everyone has it for free and they have provisions for people that don't have it with them.  You should have ID, you should be able to use ID, but there should be a backup to one's bringing ID.

        Clarence Thomas had a dump
        Weiner said "this guy's a chump"
        He was caught tweeting pix riské
        So Justice Thomas got away.
        (Temporarily.)

        by Seneca Doane on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:12:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Rich, I could say a lot, but I'm at a loss for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CTMET

      words.  

  •  How much has ALEC had a hand in this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LarryNM

    "The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add an useful plant to its culture" -- Thomas Jefferson

    by tommurphy on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:37:26 PM PDT

  •  how many states have banned ex-felons voting? (0+ / 0-)

    Florida's governor merely signed an Executive Order mandating ex-felons must wait 5 to 7 years AFTER release before applying for restoration of voting rights!!
    Of course many ex-felons in FL voted for Obama.
    I wish the DOJ could address that horrible law!

    The governor cited no reason nor rationale for his horrible decision!

    If you care about your life and your money, it's BEST to vote Democratic.

    by MartyM on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:37:27 PM PDT

  •  I find it odd, that CT is still (0+ / 0-)

    behind the times re: voting.  We don't have same day registration -- but you can register the day before an election.  We have absentee ballots with an excuse only (disability, out of state on voting day) and no early voting -- which sure as hell would have helped prevent the debacle in Bridgeport last year with the huge under-order of ballots.

    The only ID we need is a current utility bill.

    I wonder how many of these new draconian laws will be addressed by the DOJ Civil Rights division.

    Thanks for this detailed diary, Georgia.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:43:28 PM PDT

  •  Are court challenges hopeful? If not, '12 is lost. (0+ / 0-)

    The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit. Somerset Maugham

    by verasoie on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 04:44:38 PM PDT

  •  "Reform"? (7+ / 0-)

    Let's not dignify these changes in laws with the title "reform"!

    Reactionary campaigns to roll back hard-won democratic rights do not qualify. The mainstream media during the Reagan era adopted the rhetoric of "reform" with reference to the Republican neoliberal program, allowing them to hind behind a term with generally positive connotations. Unfortunately, we now live in an era when the media would blandly describe a bill to reintroduce slavery as "labor law reform."

    Georgia notes: "Those startling numbers haven't stopped state legislatures from adopting voter ID laws or pursuing proof of citizenship requirements for voter registration."

    Actually, "haven't stopped" gives them too much credit: those startling numbers are precisely why Republican state legislatures are adopting voter ID laws.

  •  I sure am glad those Dems pissed at Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Matt Z

    stayed home in 2010. They sure taught HIM a lesson.

    Effin' idiots.

    FEH!

    "Repeatedly he [Voltaire] dwelt on the folly and credulousness of the masses and the selfishness and unscrupulousness of the ruling few." 'nuff said.

    by caseynm on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 05:06:19 PM PDT

  •  This is happening cause Democrats let it happen... (0+ / 0-)

    Can you imagine a more perfect rallying cry? Yet our gutless leaders would rather surrender rather than confront and use this to spark outrage among our supporters.

  •  Proof of citizenship (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wham Bam

    Maybe I'm not understanding this correctly here.  You must be a citizen to vote in an American election unless some law to the contrary changed that.

    So, are there actually people here...or ANYWHERE...that believe that having to prove you're a citizen in order to register to vote in an American election is somehow wrong?

    Maybe I'm just not understanding what's being presented here by some.

    -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

    by r2did2 on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 05:06:48 PM PDT

    •  It's about the red tape (5+ / 0-)

      Yes, you are correct, you need to be a citizen to vote.  And all voter registration forms require you to certify to that effect under penalty of law (see, i.e. Illlinois registration form (PDF)).

      The issue becomes requiring actual documentation beyond the certification.

      As the Brennan Center found, nearly 13 million Americans (7% of the voting age population) does not have ready access to proof of citizenship. The numbers are far higher for subgroups, like low income people. About 1 in 4 of them don't have access to the types of documents required.

      It's not a question of doing away with verifying U.S. citizenship. It's a question of how to do we go about that in a manner that doesn't lead to disenfranchisement. Heck, up the penalties for lying on the form. Make it a felony? Bulk up staff at SOS offices to cross-verify with the Social Security system? Whatever the solution, there are far better ways to augment verification if people think the standard certification by a voter isn't enough.

      •  Yeah...I can go with that (0+ / 0-)

        Certainly it would be difficult for many people to come up with actual citizenship records.  I think signing a personal verification under penalty of law should suffice.

        -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

        by r2did2 on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 05:18:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't even know where my birth certificate is (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mike101, LarryNM, Seneca Doane

          and I know I have a passport...somewhere... :-)

          The numbers are pretty amazing. I think that Arizona has rejected some 34,000 registration forms because they didn't have the right proof of citizenship. How many of those people actually re-tried? It's a tough question to answer.

          •  I also wonder how this is enforced in places (0+ / 0-)

            like AZ. If red haired white woman forgot her ID do they really stop her from voting. As opposed to a "brown" person.

            The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

            by CTMET on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:30:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Keep at it G!!! (0+ / 0-)

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

        by CTMET on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:28:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You just exposed gop's white supremist foundation. (5+ / 0-)

    Let's be honest.  What you most excellently document is voter suppression aimed at an emerging non-white majority in this country.  This is why people who argue that demographics will shift power are not understanding the reality of power.  These measures aim to keep a white republican majority in place against changing demographics which would favor democrats, much (but not all) of which involves growing minority populations.

    •  True! Voter fraud = dog whistle for minority (0+ / 0-)

      disenfranchisement.

      Considering that minority voters are less likely to have any sort of ID, are less able to make prior arrangements to vote, and are more likely to have felony convictions (hence, disenfranchised in many states) conservative voter "reform" campaigns are nothing more than an attempt to strip Blacks and Hispanics of their civil rights.

      Obama: At least he gives a good speech.

      by Permanent Republican Minority on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 11:57:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  this is very important yet progressives are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MrWebster

    bz squabbling over about Mr. Weiner's penis.  The bazillionth  post pertaining to said penis, the one under this one, has over 300 comment while this important one has 15.   Priorities jaded much.... :(

    33 senior citizens paying over $6k more in Medicare costs to pay for 1 millionaire/billionaire’s tax cut.Not on my watch...president Obama.

    by NorthCacalakaGirlForBO on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 05:19:13 PM PDT

    •  Happens a lot on DKos (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRo

      I remember one night I was doin' my regular posting on diaries here and there was one that was discussing Sarah Palin and another that was discussing repubs presenting plans to end Medicare as we know it.  It was about 5 to 1 the number of posts on the Palin discussion vs. the Medicare discussion.

      We're a strange bunch sometimes, y'know?  :-)

      -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

      by r2did2 on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 05:24:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Forget about shortening the period for voting. (7+ / 0-)

    Shorten the period for campaigning.  Face it.  There has to be an interim during which some actual governing occurs or it's all just a stinken reality show.

    •  you raise an interesting point (4+ / 0-)

      Is some of the push to decrease early voting an attempt to ensure that campaign dollars are better spent? Most campaigns dump all of their money in the last two weeks on campaign ads. If voters are voting two weeks before that, does that dilute the effect of all those millions? Does it make an "October surprise" moot if so many voters cast their ballots in late September or the first week of October?

      Anyway, on your main point, we don't have election cycles. We have a constant state of election, unfortunately.

      •  You know the old saying: (0+ / 0-)

        "If your election lasts more than four years, see your doctor."

        Yes, early voting absolutely does screw up campaign strategies.  That's a feature, not a bug.  Last-minute hits are far less effective given high early voting.

        Clarence Thomas had a dump
        Weiner said "this guy's a chump"
        He was caught tweeting pix riské
        So Justice Thomas got away.
        (Temporarily.)

        by Seneca Doane on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:18:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know if that is actually... (0+ / 0-)

        ...a factor.

        But that is something I like about early voting -- it makes it quite a bit harder to do last minute smear campaigns based on false or misrepresented claims.

        I sometimes hesitate to vote early because I know I'd be so pissed if after I voted but before election day something truly horrible was discovered about a candidate I voted for.

    •  Would violate the First Amendment (0+ / 0-)

      There are plenty of campaign activities outside of formal campaigning. There is Faux News, Rush Limbaugh, there is even dailykos. All have been doing some kind of campaigning 365 days a year.
      Remember, any government that can tell Rush Limbaugh what he can say can also restrict dailykos.

    •  There are 1st Amendment issues... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      judyms9

      but one way we can shorten official campaigns quite easily is by changing the filing windows.  If you can't file the necessary paperwork before, say 3 months before the election, you can't be an official candidate.  You can run a campaign, sure, but without the official status, it's hard to get a lot of help.

  •  Other half of the Southern Strategy (1+ / 0-)

    Republicans are in full pander-mode to their Far Right/Tea Party base which means taking positions unpopular with the rest of the country so Republicans have no choice but to  disenfranchise as many other voters as possible.

    I think making registering to vote more difficult with voter I.D. laws to be the most troubling tactic in the Republican bag of dirty tricks since new voters tend to lean Democratic. Future GotV efforts will have to factor in the increased lead time and resources (paying for those I.D.s) needed to ensure that eligible voters have the appropriate identification to register/vote (assuming that these laws aren't overturned in the courts first).

    Papers, please? Small government my lily-white behind.

  •  SC voter ID law consequences: (4+ / 0-)

    from The SC Progressive Network -

    The SC Election Commission found that 178,175 citizens have voter registration cards that do not have a state- issued photo ID. The top 15 counties, by percentage of voters without photo ID, all have a majority of minority population that historically vote Democrat. In Richland County alone, 18,865 voters do not have state-issued photo ID.

    The Progressive Network will be gathering affidavits documenting the difficulties and expenses of those attempting to get photo IDs. These affidavits will be submitted to the US Justice Department as it considers whether the law disenfranchises minority voters..

    Stories at this link are coming in from all over South Carolina.

    Know anyone who will be affected in South Carolina?  instructions to send in affidavits are at this link

    Questions? Call 803-808-3384 or email network@scpronet.com.

    Faux News ruined my state

    by sc kitty on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:01:25 PM PDT

  •  This is a VERY important story that seems to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Seneca Doane

    be buried.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

    by CTMET on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:15:15 PM PDT

  •  The right will use every trick in the book... (3+ / 0-)

    And then some, to suppress likely Democratic voter turnout, by hook and by crook, which is the ONLY way they have Evah seized and held power over these many years, just barely.

    However, the point shaving dirty tricks were substantially overcome in '08 by a mass electoral uprising to seize the power...which very nearly succeeded, but not quite...with all those Blue Dogs in there.  

    Oh well, the struggle continues.  

    The closer we get to achieving actual real progressive/moderate Democratic Majorities, the more hysterical and draconian the rhetoric and practice of the right will get.  

    Expect it.  Be prepared, up front, in what could be the final struggle to wrest power from the bloody hands of the right wing dictatorship.  It could get ugly.  

    GOTR, GOTV!

    We can do this.

    Bring the Better Democrats!

    All Out for 2012!

    Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle. Information is the ultimate key.

    by Radical def on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:25:35 PM PDT

  •  I live 1 mile from the Canadian border (0+ / 0-)

    and I can certainly tell you from frequent crossings that the database used by our border guards contains so much information on every single American. If we wanted to, each state could access our national database to ensure that the names on voter rolls corresponded with a database logging both birth certificates and certificates of naturalization. This would not be hard to do. It needs to be a federal level project.

    Once every citizen is in the database, then the legitimacy of their right to vote should be beyond question.

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 06:53:49 PM PDT

  •  Why do you call it "reform"? (2+ / 0-)

    If the purpose of legislation is restriction of voting and voting rights, why not call it what it is, "voter suppression legislation"?

    You lose the argument before you even get started.

    We see this reflexive surrender to the right all the time, Social Security defunding and privatization called "reform", cuts in Medicare called "reform", tax cuts for rich called "deficit/debt reform".

  •  Why don't we have EDR in all Blue states? (1+ / 0-)

    I know that there was a ballot measure a while back in California where Same-Day Registration (also known as Election Day Registration or EDR) was voted down, but now that Democrats have control over the legislature AND governor's office we should be enacting EDR PDQ, especially in the light of redistricting....

  •  At least in NC (2+ / 0-)

    we have a Democratic Governor we can count on - or at least expect - to veto this nonsense. At least thru 2012.

    The GOP led legislature is attempting to pass:
    1. A reduction of the early voting period by half.
    2. An elimination of straight ticket (by party) voting.
    3. An elimination of public funding for certain statewide and judicial races.
    4. A return of partisan labels to non-partisan judicial elections.
    5. Voter ID requirements.

    There should never be a tax benefit for companies that screw over American workers.

    by bear83 on Sun Jun 12, 2011 at 09:14:53 PM PDT

  •  Early voting in Finland (0+ / 0-)

    About three weeks before the election, every registered voter receives a card  telling where they will vote if they vote on election day or where they should go for early voting. About 20 days before election day, any registered voter with a card or proper ID can vote at the post office during regular hours at a special voting area. If they are not registered, which is typically automatic from the age of 18 if you are a citizen with a SSN, you can also do so and vote. This is possible up until the Friday (2 days) before the election day on Sunday. Actual voting at precinct level often takes place at a public school.  

  •  Where the hell is DOJ? (0+ / 0-)

    Doesn't some of this stuff violate the Voting Rights Act???

  •  If someone declares war on you, you are at war (0+ / 0-)

    whether you like it or not.

    I've never understood why the Democrats don't understand this simple fact. For 40 years, the Democratic party has refused to accept that the Republicans don't just want to rule the U.S., they also want to destroy the Democratic party and all it stands for.

    If there was a Democratic strategist worthy of the name, s/he'd be pushing for:

    1) Reforms that increase voter turnout, favoring demographics who usually vote Democratic and often don't vote. In no particular order, these are: same day/automatic voter registration, provisional ballots, vote-by-mail, no limits on absentee voting, longer voting periods, moving voting day to a weekend, federal laws enfranchising felons who've served their time, etc.

    2) Publicly-funded political campaigns to negate the Republican fund-raising advantage.

    3) Immediate and full disclosure of all donations, to PACs as well as political campaigns, to negate Republican astro-turfing, bundled donations and corporate lobbying campaigns.

    Obama: At least he gives a good speech.

    by Permanent Republican Minority on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:12:41 AM PDT

  •  We should all follow Oregon's example (0+ / 0-)

    And go to 100% all mail voting. Costs less and increases voter participation.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Mon Jun 13, 2011 at 12:14:20 AM PDT

  •  voter id's (0+ / 0-)

    yes, what the republicans are doing is terrible.  Dems need to accept it and get busy getting everyone id's (so they can accuse us of fraud in doing that) - get it done and get them out

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