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opposed to suffrage
Not much new in this fight, just the victims.
Thanks to everyone who helped Protect Maine Votes to victory on Tuesday. A People's Veto overturned the Republican legislature and governor's ban on same-day voter registration. Protect Maine Votes had this to say:
"Same-day registration has worked for almost 40 years, helping Maine to be a national leader in voter participation," said Barbara McDade, the president of the League of Women Voters of Maine and an early leader in the campaign to restore same-day registration. "Mainers take their elections seriously, and today they have rejected attempts to rollback voting rights and erect unnecessary barriers to the ballot."

The Protect Maine Votes/Yes on 1 coalition is made up of 23 partner organizations and fielded a team of more than 1,000 volunteers to collect signatures for the People’s Veto of a law that eliminated same-day voter registration.

"Mainers stood up for the integrity and security of our elections today," said Shenna Bellows, the co-chair of the campaign's steering committee and the executive director of the ACLU of Maine. "We must remain vigilant against any future attacks on voting rights.  Maine voters have sent a clear message: No one should be denied the right to vote."

Unfortunately, Mississippi voters didn't see it that way. They approved an amendment to the state's constitution to require a government-issued photo ID at the polls. A big step forward, and a giant one backward for voting rights in the United State.

In other news:

  • In other news, the news! Maybe because it was election week, or maybe because the country is waking up to the issue, traditional media coverage now exists about the problem. Consider this from ABC News:
    It is almost one year to the day that Americans will head to the polls for the 2012 election, but for residents in seven states, casting those ballots could be a bit more difficult than in the last go-round.

    New laws requiring voters to show photo identification are set to take effect in Kansas, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. [...]

    Prior to 2011, there were only two states with strict photo ID laws, Georgia and Indiana. Over the course of the year, four states tightened their existing ID laws to now require photos and three passed new voter ID laws.

    In Texas, for example, where voters in past years have had to show some form of identification, they will now have to provide a government-issued photo ID.

  • Along those lines, don't miss this fantastic column by Erika L. Wood, an associate professor of law at New York Law School, on the fraught history of voting rights in the U.S., specifically on the disenfranchisement of felons.
    Nationwide, 13 percent of black men have lost the right to vote, a rate that is seven times the national average. But the ripple effects of large-scale incarceration now extend well beyond the individuals who are imprisoned, and as a result minority communities throughout the country have lost political influence. It’s a simple equation: communities with high incarceration rates have fewer votes to cast. The whole community suffers the result. [...]

    For all of the history and all of the politics, the right to vote is a very personal piece of empowerment. If as a society we want those who have done wrong to do right, then this one act can signify a life change. As one New York resident, reflecting on voting for the first time in 2008 after having her rights restored, put it: “I felt like I was finally a productive member of society. I’ve never before felt like I could make a difference in terms of what happens around me. But I walked out of the polling place on Election Day feeling like I mattered.”

  • Last week, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson asked the Justice Department to investigate new voting laws in his state and around the nation to determine "whether new state voting laws resulted from collusion or an orchestrated effort to limit voter turnout." He also requested investigations by the Senate.

    This week, 40 of his House colleagues, including Florida Reps. Alcee Hastings, Corrine Brown, Ted Deutch, Frederica Wilson and Kathy Castor, joined his call for congressional investigations, writing to House leadership [pdf]:

    Congress has the Constitutional authority to act to protect the rights of all voters. In the face of voter suppression laws being enacted across the nation, Congress must determine the extent of the problem and provide appropriate remedies. Despite years of progress, inequities and obstacles still remain. We must work together to strengthen our nation’s democracy and ensure that the voting rights of all Americans are protected. Again, we respectfully request that Committees hold a hearing to address this extremely important matter.

    Fat chance of hearings in the Republican-controlled House, but it's an important marker to set, and helpful in keeping the issue on the front burner for Democrats and for the activist community.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So who's to blame for that? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opinionated, spacecadet1

    In many cases, black men have lost the right to vote because Democratic legislators and executives keep voting in favor dumber and dumber drug laws.

    Yes, we know that more Republicans are responsible for these laws.  But Republicans are supposed to be racists.  How does that explain the Democrats who keep voting in favor of Prohibition?

  •   Huh?.. (6+ / 0-)

    Republicans believe government fucks everything up, yet Republicans wants the government to issue voting IDs?

    These people have a million conspiracy theories concerning nefarious government intervention, yet they are going to play it straight when it comes to government-issued voter IDs?

    It's really going to be fun watching the same people who believe the government is a satanic instrument of liberal atheists  remain calm & reasonable when they are forced to solicit the government for a voter ID.

    When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in excess body fat and carrying a misspelled sign.

    by wyvern on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 01:21:32 PM PST

  •  Indeed, as utahrd comments, there are few black (0+ / 0-)

    people, or Democrats in Utah, duh... why is that?

  •  Indiana had the law in 2008 and obama won the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JC from IA, Matt Z


    now the Republicans are resorting to shortening early voting and showing their true obsession with voter suppression.  

  •  PLEASE bear in mind (0+ / 0-)

    that Florida allows absentee application by email or phone no "reason" necessary.

  •  It is gratifying to see at least a few Members of (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    r2did2, opinionated, judyms9, exterris, Matt Z

    Congress starting to point this out.  But, WTF is keeping the rest of the Dems, at all levels, from calling this out in front of every TV camera they can find?

    Moreover, has anyone studied the demographics on these new restrictions?  It appears that they are targeting young voters and very old voters.  Are both of those categories likely to vote Democrat?  I always figured that at least the old folks were about evenly split.  Are the Republicans anticipating troubles with them since their constant barrage of attacks on MediCare and Social Security?  Is this a preemptive move on their part?

    •  I thought the same thing JC (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JC from IA, Matt Z

      Why would the repubs be trying to supress the votes of the elderly?  I mean, they do tend to vote republican more than most demographics.  My guess?  It's just sheer meanness.  They're willing to "sacrifice" a few elderly votes in their effort to keep the minorities and poor from voting because they KNOW these democraphics vote democratic.

      - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

      by r2did2 on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 01:53:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I dunno, maybe that's it. (0+ / 0-)

        Or, they figure that they won't be around to vote next cycle anyway.  The thing is, though, is that they DO tend to vote, every chance they get.  And, they tend to talk amongst themselves and vote with their own best interests in mind.

        Maybe that's what's turning the Republicans off:  They don't like voters to try to be informed and vote their own wallets.  They prefer the low-information types who vote for the guy with nice shoes, even though they're barefooted themselves.

    •  Nelson's in trouble, so it's self preservation (0+ / 0-)

      Connie Mack finally fell off the fence and into a virtual tie with Nelson in the first poll conducted.
      So, suddenly, Nelson becomes a stalwart of the protect the vote brigade.
      For the first time in my memory, anyway.
      He might want to kvetch about it at the next meeting of the DINOs and see if self preservation can take those chairwarming moles to a more democratic sensibility. If anything can make that particular chunk of the millionaire's club give a dry shit about progressive issues like the constitutional right to vote, it's gotta be selfishness.

      Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

      by kamarvt on Sun Nov 13, 2011 at 04:02:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can someone please convince me Eric Holder ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    isn't asleep in his office? Is the Justice Dept. doing anything beyond PR about this issue???

    •  Well he is ratcheting up pot busts in CA, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      contrary to the stated policies at the outset of the Obama administration that laissez faire would apply for states that had instituted some legalization policies.
      Feds are pretty busy in Orange County.

  •  Glad to see the win in Maine (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opinionated, exterris, Matt Z

    but it's only defense.  Are there any places were the fight for voting rights is on the offensive?  

    Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

    by David Kaib on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 01:51:43 PM PST

    •  Maine has some of the most liberal laws (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David Kaib

      on voter registration in the country, and thus always near the top on voter turnout.  Our previous (Dem) Secretary of State did a tremendous amount of good in making the process of registering & voting as easy as possible.  In the future, I'd like to see us institute a true Early voting sysytem (rather than absentee), and try out Instant Runoff Voting statewide.

      But it looks like we'll have a defensive fight on our hands next year with a Republican Voter ID law.

  •  Mississipi seems to be maintaining it's hold (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JC from IA, Matt Z

    as a beacon for the most suppressive policies in the nation when it comes to civil/human/voter rights.
    Somehow, it's not surprising that the state that launched Haley Barbour into an 'integrated' educational environment in  the 60's is still a bastion of mean spirited society.

  •  Voter suppression goes along with economic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exterris, maryru

    suppression.  It was all those five and ten dollar donations to Obama's campaign and youthful and minority turnout that got him elected.  The RW is determined never to let that happen again because democracy is too much like Democrat.  The right is still sobbing about the overthrow of ME dictators with whom the US had "understandings" because the new guys who are elected may not "play ball."  They consider democracy a good thing only when they are in charge and democracy is only a word.

  •  Mississippi. They know from poll tax. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 04:35:54 PM PST

  •  it's time for the Obama admin to (0+ / 0-)

    create a quick easy federal ID that can be administered by oh, say any National organization willing to train and certify people.  Say, the NRA, or the NAACP or the ACLU or what ever has replace ACORN.  have a polaroid, a portable Badge kit, and see various proof of identity and poof, you've an ID

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