“I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”
-- Paul Weyrich, “founding father of the modern conservative movement,”1980
A new report from People For the American Way reiterates much of what we know from the earlier report from Brennan Center for Justice. That voter suppression efforts in the states are unprecedented since Jim Crow days; that it is highly partisan and intended to disenfranchise traditionally Democratic voters; that it is a solution for a problem that does not exist—actual voter fraud is virtually non-existent; and that the forces behind this push to disenfranchise Democratic voters are entirely unsurprising: the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the tea party.
Consider that just a teaser for the report: go read the whole thing. It is essential for understanding what we're up against.
And then to cheer yourself up, do something to fight back. Help Protect Maine Votes restore same-day voter registration in Maine. The Republican governor and legislature repealed the state's 40-year-old same-day registration law. This coalition of local organizations is fighting to get it back, with a referendum on the ballot, Nov. 8.
They're running this ad in support of their measure.Here's where you come in. In order to win this referendum, Protect Maine Votes needs just $20,000 a day to run this ad across the entire state. Your $5 will help run this ad for one day.
In other news:
- Florida continued to make waves when reports of a high school civics teacher is subject to fines for helping her high school civics students register to vote. You know, the kind of thing a civics teacher does, showing young adults how to be responsible and engaged citizens. None of that allowed in Florida.
A federal court is reviewing the new law. It has been implemented in 62 of the state's counties, but five of them are still subject to additional review under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because of past racial discrimination.
- Michigan is joining the long list of states implementing major new voting rights restrictions. It would require anyone attempting to register at a government agency to have a state-issued photo ID; it creates "numerous burdensome and irrelevant bureaucratic rules for nonprofit organizations engaged in voter registration efforts"; and it requires that organizations have to turn in voter registration forms collected within a week of the election in one business day.
The combined effect of these requirements is that small nonprofits that help to register voters—such as religious organizations, civic groups, and the League of Women Voters—are forced to spend valuable staff time keeping up with onerous paperwork requirements and complying with unreasonable deadlines instead.
- In New Hampshire, a high school student is lambasted by New Hampshire's Speaker of the House, tea party Republican Bill O'Brien for having the temerity to ask about his proposal to restrict voting by college students.
I asked him about the aforementioned quote about students and whether or not he believed that there should be a litmus test based on ideology determining who gets to vote easily and conveniently. His response was not to answer the question I quite politely posed, but to start speaking in a rather untoward, declamatory manner about how I "demonized" him and how liberals "demonize" conservatives instead of talking about the important issues of the day- namely, supporting business, lowering taxes, cutting spending and family values. He then went on to distemperately rant about Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals", bitterly implying that I, a flipping fifteen year old, am a Communist subversive, sandwiched between lines about me demonizing Republicans.
Go check out the video, which is quite long and more infuriating. But hats off to Michael for his efforts and for his report.
- In Wisconsin, the League of Women Voters has filed suit against that state's new photo ID law. The League argues that "the state constitution clearly only bars children, felons and the mentally incompetent from voting, not people who lack photo IDs."