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“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 The Republican governor and legislature repealed the state's 40-year-old same-day registration law.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.

Goal ThermometerHere'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."

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Comment Preferences

  •  There's an 'easy' way out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries

    I think voter registration should be mandatory for everyone over 18.  Felons and other ineligibles can be eliminated afterward.  It would solve pretty much all of these problems, and perhaps many more.

     Of course, this is only an easy solution in the sense that it'd work... getting it passed in most states would be very very difficult.

    Just to be clear, I don't support mandatory voting, only mandatory registration.

    "You're not stuck in traffic, you are traffic."

    by nominalize on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 01:19:21 PM PDT

    •  Registration isn't the issue (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      josmndsn, BYw, Matt Z

      Over 288,000 registered Florida Democrats have not voted in this century.

      What is reprehensible is the American conservative movement lacks the integrity to advocate free and fair elections.

      When we speak of the 99% we must understand that as long as there is power to be had, the enemies of democracy will seek to control that power for the benefit of the few.

      The Voting Law changes are nothing more of a continuation of the despicibale few trying to thwart the will of the many.

      As long as Democrats and Democratic leaning Independents  continue to sit out non-presidential year elections, the Republicans will take advantage of our lack of alertness.

      Something for everyone to understand about Florida's 2008 Election.
      The Republican turnout was higher than the Democratic turnout.

      Barack Obama won Florida by 236,000 votes. In doing this he won Broward County (Ft Lauderdale) by 252,000 votes.

      I am attending the Florida Democratic State Convention as this moment and you can bet this information is being discussed and serious remedies are being discussed during our meetings.

      This nation cannot allow anti democratic actions by those who understand they do not have power in numbers to remain.

      "A functioning Democracy must defy economic interests of the elites on behalf of citizens" Christopher Hedges Econ 3.50&Soc. 5.79

      by wmc418 on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 01:56:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great Diary Joan, As Always! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Blair

        People For the American Way, who thinks this stuff up? Sounds like they're trying to rip off the well established charity The United Way! Almost sounds identical!

        Oh course he doesn't care if people don't vote. That's the gop's object. To instill voter distrust and apathy. Historically speaking, they didn't exactly hand us our Voter Rights.

        And now they think they've numbed and dumbed us, so badly through economic hardship, we won't notice if they have a try at Voter and Overall Suppression Of The American Public! Again!

        Vote In Every Election! Vote Democratic

        this video is loud, you might want to turn your speakers down.

        Rec'd And Tipped. I'm going back to read more now.

        Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

        by rebel ga on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 02:12:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly! Especially In Mid-Term And (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BYw

        Local Elections.

        As long as Democrats and Democratic leaning Independents  continue to sit out non-presidential year elections, the Republicans will take advantage of our lack of alertness.

        Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

        by rebel ga on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 03:06:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It isn't? The diary says otherwise (0+ / 0-)

        Increasing turnout is an important issue, but not one that is relevant in a discussion about voter registration legislation.

        If more people turn out for Democrats, without solid registration laws, Republicans will just try to calve off enough registered voters to keep themselves in power, or near enough to it.  As we see them doing.

        Let me ask: do you support mandatory voting laws?  Because otherwise, legislators can't force people to vote.  They can make it easier, though, and making it easy to register is one way to do it.  Making it mandatory to register ought to work better, no?  

        Republicans (well, conservatives in general) couldn't use registration-based dirty tricks to keep people from voting against them.  Because everyone will have already registered.  How many more Democrats would turn out if they knew they would have no problems going to vote?

        Like I said, Democrats getting their supporters out to the polls is crucial, but this diary isn't about those efforts.  So your comment title is simply false.

        "You're not stuck in traffic, you are traffic."

        by nominalize on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 03:56:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was pointing out (0+ / 0-)

          Mandatory registration will not solve turnout problems.
          You are correct that attempts to eliminate registered voters from voting are now stock in trade of the conservative movement.
          The disenfranchisement movement aided by ALEC's creation of model laws that accomplish the goal of voter suppression are now enacted and are undergoing legal challenge.

          It is very important to note that Absentee balloting is neither addressed nor hampered. In fact in some cases this method has been aided within the voter suppression legislation.

          Well constructed and executed absentee ballot programs can greatly diminish the force of the disenfranchisement laws.

          "A functioning Democracy must defy economic interests of the elites on behalf of citizens" Christopher Hedges Econ 3.50&Soc. 5.79

          by wmc418 on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 04:27:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Some countries have mandatory voting (0+ / 0-)

      I believe this actually helps them to be able to vote in the first place since its required. Mandatory means you have to do it.

      I am sure employers don't give employees a hard time for being late to work if they stopped to vote.I witnessed a person not voting as a result of the poll worker not being able to find this person's street in the address book.She left because she didn't want to vote provisional and she would be late for work if she stayed much longer.

      I encouraged her to come back after work if she could.I was able to locate this person's street in the book.It was a poll worker error.That didn't help this voter.

      As I learned as an trained observer, the object is to help voters to vote.

  •  We should be fighting back beyond defending (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, rebel ga

    existing voting rights.

    We should make voting even easier by adopting universal voter registration and postal voting in every state.

  •  If they require a state ID in order to vote, don't (7+ / 0-)

    they have to provide those IDSs free of charge, otherwise it's the same as a poll tax?

    David Koch, a teabagger and a union member sit down at a table. There is a plate with a dozen cookies. Koch quickly stuffs 11 cookies into his pockets, leans toward the bagger and whispers "watch out, the union thug will try to steal your cookie".

    by Dave in AZ on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 01:23:27 PM PDT

  •  The Vote (8+ / 0-)

    NYT Yesterday:

    The Court and the Next President

    ... The Roberts court is closely divided but also the most conservative since the 1950s. Four of the nine members are very conservative, three of them under 64. If the president is a Republican and has the chance to fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat, that could turn the court decidedly conservative for decades. If President Obama is re-elected and has the chance to fill Justice Scalia’s seat, that could turn the court into a more moderate one.

    The last time the court’s future depended so heavily on a single seat was the 1988 presidential election. The retired Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in his new memoir that when the first President George Bush was elected and got the opportunity to replace the very liberal Thurgood Marshall with the very conservative Clarence Thomas, the “importance of the change” in the court could not “be overstated.”

    More:
    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    If I tell you it's raining when it's raining, that's not promoting fear of rain. -- Rev. Al Sharpton

    by RhodaA on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 01:24:31 PM PDT

    •  All Presidential Elections are NOT (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rebel ga, mayim, Matt Z

      so much about the names on the ballot, but who gets to appoint the next members to the US Supreme Court.

      We must never forget that fact, no matter how disappointed we may be in our party's standard bearer.

    •  If Obama has the chance to fill Scalia's seat (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl

      (please, please, please) what are the chances he fills it with a conservative-leaning Justice, just because that would be the "fair" thing to do?

      At this point, far more people have now been arrested for protesting Wall Street's mortgage fraud crimes than have been for committing and presiding over them.

      by Scott Wooledge on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 02:07:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your job is to make him appoint someone who (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        would reflect the democratic ideals of our party.

        Being cynical about Obama is just another excuse to blame him for everything we think is wrong with government.As if he is completely responsible for the behavior of the Republicans.

        OWS succeeds because people got off the couch and did something.

  •  Tea party Republican Bill O'Brien (4+ / 0-)

    Crazy fucker, or just ideological republican?
    We report, you decide.
    #1, #2, or- both, obviously.

    -- We are just regular people informed on issues

    by mike101 on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 01:26:29 PM PDT

    •  There was something about his kid (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rebel ga, freedapeople, Matt Z

      residing in Maine while a student, voting there, and then returning quick to NH vote for dear old dad. Or absentee ballot...something like that....voting in 2 states.

      •  Brendan O'Brien (0+ / 0-)

        actually ran for office in Maine in a primary in June,  then voted in NH in the general in November

        The Lewiston Sun Journal reported last month that Brendan O'Brien, the speaker's son, a former president of the Maine College Republicans who graduated from Bates College in May, was registered to vote in both Maine and New Hampshire in 2010. This allowed him to run in the Republican primary for the Maine House of Representatives while voting for his father in the November election. The younger O'Brien told the Sun Journal that he never voted in both states at the same time, but instead cast his ballot where he thought it would do the most good. (We were somehow not surprised to learn that Brendan is now headed for law school.)
  •  Too Bad No One's Checking ID For The "People" (4+ / 0-)

    behind the millions of dollars bribing our elected officials.

  •  Paul Weyrich was right. (4+ / 0-)

    Republicans can't win if everyone shows up at the polls to cast their votes on election day.

    Paul Weyrich on "Goo-Goo Syndrome" at YouTube:  

    "I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the 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."

    The Coalition of We Don't Play Fair Tea Party Republicans carries on his work.

  •  How can (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    josmndsn

    Obama and the Department of Justice not put an end to this abdication of responsibility to the constitution and the American people. I'll tell you why its the same reason they won,t put the banksters in jail that robbed us and continue to do so. They are right wing republicans trying to hide the truth from us. SHAME!

    "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between" Oscar Wilde

    by angry hopeful liberal on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 01:42:59 PM PDT

  •  And if you think what they are (0+ / 0-)

    doing in open is bad, just imagine what is possible behind the curtain with privately corporate owned tallying software that is impossible to adequately audit.

    Or is it conspiracy talk to mention such an obvious possibility?

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 01:47:50 PM PDT

  •  Knowing this (0+ / 0-)

    Knowing this and the rest of the Republican/conservative dirty tricks, you will still find dumbass Democrats looking to cut a deal with these people.  

    I also thank the one who rearranged deck chairs on the Titanic so those on board ship could get a better view of the iceberg.

    by NyteByrd1954 on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 01:52:00 PM PDT

  •  And while you are at the polls, (4+ / 0-)

    ensuring everyone can vote, be sure to vote that everyone can marry too. Equality Maine will almost assuredly return to the ballot with the first ever affirmative marriage equality ballot initiative.

    If it passes, it will be huge victory, not only ensuring all loving couples can marry, but robbing the right of their "every time the people vote gays lose" talking point.

    At this point, far more people have now been arrested for protesting Wall Street's mortgage fraud crimes than have been for committing and presiding over them.

    by Scott Wooledge on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 02:04:10 PM PDT

  •  Where the hell is the Justice Department? (0+ / 0-)
  •  occupants of the Governor's office cannot vote? (0+ / 0-)
    "the state constitution clearly only bars children, felons and the mentally incompetent from voting, not people who lack photo IDs."

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 02:59:27 PM PDT

  •  FYI (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    We Won, Matt Z


    Five Million Voters ... just can't be trusted.  According to new GOP barriers to Voting becoming Law all across the country, as determined in this first comprehensive study:


    Voting Law Changes in 2012  (pdf)

    Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

    larger


    5 Million Voters have been targeted by the GOP school of Election Engineering -- by jamess -- Oct 27, 2011


    The more things change, the more they really don't
    ... at least when it comes to Voting Rights.


    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Sat Oct 29, 2011 at 03:22:27 PM PDT

  •  Last minute donations to ME No on 1 (0+ / 0-)

    Maine requires PACs and Ballot Question Committees (BQC - similar to PAC, but focused on ballot questions) to file an complete financial report 11 days before an election, and then another 42 days afterward. In the meantime, Maine requires that expenditures of more than $500 be reported - but significantly, not donations.

    Last Friday the 11-day pre-election reports were do, and Secure Maine's Ballot filed a report showing about $35,000 in contributions. On Monday, expenditures had reached over $260,000.

    We will not know who is paying for this until right before Christmas.

    Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

    by Spud1 on Tue Nov 01, 2011 at 04:16:38 PM PDT

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