Today's my birthday. A few close relatives and friends are coming over for dessert and we've told them -- No presents!
But I got a wonderful present via TPM:
Federal Judge Will Permanently Remove Florida Voter Registration RestrictionsI'm a Maryland resident but I get furious when reading about the efforts of Republicans to take away people's right to vote in so many other states.
Over the last year, and particularly in the last couple of months, we've been getting mixed outcomes on our cases and fights against voter suppression. Good news today about Florida, an outcome that is probably making Rick Scott grind his teeth to nubs, is the best present I've gotten for my birthday with the exception of the handmade signs and cards and poems from my husband and children.
I'm going to recap the situations in a few states, but please, anyone reading this offer corrections if I get stuff wrong and add information from other states.
the Republican legislature and governor repealed their very own voter suppression law when it became clear that a referendum against it would be successful.
Ohio's Republican Governor John Kasich signed a bill on Tuesday reversing a contentious voting law that Democrats have called a blatant attempt at voter suppression, in a move aimed at pre-empting a threatened repeal referendum.http://articles.chicagotribune.com/...
The bill rolled back a law passed last year barring counties from mailing unsolicited absentee ballots to voters and removing a requirement that poll workers assist voters they knew were voting in the wrong location.
But the measure stopped short of reversing a related measure that eliminated in-person voting on the three days immediately preceding an election, as Democrats want.
The forces of darkness (henceforth known as FOD) were able get rid of the early voting on the weekend before election day that had proved so popular with voters and so successful in helping the election to run smoothly. The same people tried for a photo-id requirement but failed in the Ohio Senate. However, it seems to live for another day, if the FOD stay in power. http://prospect.org/...
Two judges (county judges I believe -- Kossack Badgers please help out here!) have stopped the Scott Walker led Wisconsin FOD from imposing highly restrictive voter ID laws on Wisconsinites. While that should have meant this attempt to stop young people, people of color, senior citizens, and low income people from voting would not be in place for the November election (http://www.jsonline.com/... ), FOD founding member WI state Attorney General Van Hollen is begging the WI Supreme Court to take on the case and stick it to the voters for the November election. http://www.marshfieldnewsherald.com/...
Update on Wisconsin from robertearle's comment below:
It seems extremely unlikely that the WI Supreme Court would do anything between now and Nov.Florida:
(There are also pending challenges to the WI law in Federal court, more-or-less on hold while the state cases run their course. The challenges to the law in the state courses are based entirely on the Wisconsin Constitution, while the cases in Federal court are more along the 'undue burden' Voting Right Act arguments. So even if the WI Supreme Court were to ever re-instate the law, it is quite possible that a second round of injunctions could follow.)
Rick Scott went after voters in 2 ways. 1) Voter purges -- sending lists of registered voters who are supposedly ineligible to vote to county election supervisors requiring them to notify these people and demand proof of eligibility if they want to exercise their right to vote. This was a big FAIL as the U.S. Department of Justice came in to fight it and county election supervisors, including Republicans (obviously not members of the FOD) refused to implement it. Rick Scott hasn't given up, however, has gotten legal access to a Homeland Security database of immigrants' status that he's going to use to try to make sure those brown-skinned scary people with accents don't vote; along with brown-skinned people whose families have been here for generations and other nefarious types of people in Florida who might be a threat to a Republican victory. This may once again be a FAIL since some county election supervisors, including at least one non-FOD Republican, are saying there isn't enough time to implement the purge.
And 2) Rick Scott also went after new voter registration because the last thing we want in a democracy is that lots of people vote! He made it so difficult to legally register people to vote, and made sure his new law imposed draconian punishments on those who try to register new voters but slip up on some petty detail, that groups like the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote suspended efforts to register voters. But they didn't give up the fight and today, in a wonderful birthday present to yours truly, the Forces of Darkness in Florida lost to the Sunshine of Democracy.
A federal judge said Wednesday he would permanently remove harsh restrictions on third-party voter registration groups that have handicapped registration efforts in Florida this year. U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle said he would grant a motion to permanently remove the restrictions once he receives confirmation that a federal appeals court has dismissed the case (the state of Florida has agreed to dismiss their appeal).http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/...
I'll end with this fine statement from the Brennan Center for Justice
“This order is a decisive victory for Florida voters,” said Lee Rowland, counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, one of the attorneys who argued the case for the Plaintiffs. “The Florida legislature has tried repeatedly to stifle access to voter registration opportunities, and once again a federal court has stopped them in their tracks. We are thrilled that voter registration groups can now get back to what they do best — expanding our democracy.”