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This week in the war on voting is a joint project of Joan McCarter and Meteor Blades

Nebraska on Monday joined 19 other states that allow citizens to register to vote online. The Cornhusker State is the first state to modernize its system of voter registration since the Presidential Commission on Election Administration recommended it. Said Jennifer L. Clark, counsel in the Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program:

“Modernizing voter registration is a critical way to bring America’s elections into the 21st century. It increases the accuracy of the voter rolls, boosts voter registration rates, curbs the possibility of fraud, and saves states considerable time and money. More states should follow Nebraska’s bipartisan lead and enact these common-sense reforms.”
The bill modernizing the system was signed by Republican Gov. Dave Heinemen Monday. It had passed the legislature unanimously in February, just a month after the commission released its report.
A website managed by [Secretary of State John] Gale will allow Nebraskans with a valid driver's license or identification card to register to vote or change their registrations.

The online system would link voter registrations to signatures provided to the Department of Motor Vehicles for driver's licenses or state ID cards. The state already allows voters to register at the DMV when applying for driver's licenses, but the new law also will allow the DMV to send registrations electronically to county election officials rather than through the mail.

Oligarchs United: Burt Neuborne, founding legal director of the Brennan Center and now in his 50th year of legal practice, laments the McCutcheon decision:
Help. American democracy is trapped in a sealed box built by the Supreme Court. As the Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission demonstrates, five Justices are slowly but surely pumping the air out of the box. The box has four walls built by the Justices in Buckley v. Valeo—(1) an insistence that spending money in a political campaign is always the exact legal equivalent of “pure” speech, no matter how high the spending goes; (2) a rejection of the idea that preserving a modicum of political equality justifies placing any limit on campaign spending, even at stratospheric levels; (3) an insistence that “direct” campaign spending has more First Amendment protection than “indirect” campaign contributions; and (4) a refusal to admit that unlimited independent spending poses the same risk of “corruption” or the “appearance of corruption” posed by campaign contributions.
There's more on the war on voting below the fold.

A few ounces of the megatons of commentaries on McCutcheon:

°An online, 246-page book by Ronald Collins and David Skover When Money Speaks: The McCutcheon Decision, Campaign Finance Laws, and the First Amendment

° Rick Hasen of the Election Law Blog writes "Does the Chief Justice not understand politics, or does he understand it all too well?"

° "Rerouting the flow of ‘dark money’ into political campaigns," an op-ed by Heather K. Gerken, Wade Gibson and Webb Lyons.

° Dan Backer interviewed by Z Politics. He was lead political counsel in McCutcheon v. FEC.

° Paul Smith at SCOTUSblog writes "McCutcheon opens the door to massive party contributions, but four Justices continue to push back forcefully."

° Alex Pareene at Salon:

Roberts’ specialty is “faux judicial restraint,” in which he achieves his radical desired goals over the course of many incremental decisions instead of one sweeping one. In this case, as many observers have noted, Roberts pointed to our current easily circumvented caps on political spending as justification for lifting yet another cap, without noting that the Roberts court helped create the current system to begin with. Our campaign finance laws have not quite yet been “eviscerated,” but the trend is clear. Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas, who penned a partial dissent calling for all regulation of political spending to be eliminated, have something close to the same end goal, but Roberts is willing to be patient in getting there.
° Matt Taylor concludes "The United States moves one step closer to full oligarchy."

North Carolina right-wingers are touting voter fraud that isn't: An audit of the records has found that there are thousands of name matches of people registered to vote in North Carolina and other states. This has Republicans in a tizzy. Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer tweeted Wednesday: “N.C. Board of Elections audit finds up to 35,750 instances of ‘double voting’ (voter fraud) in the 2012 election.”

Zachary Roth at MSNBC writes:

The notion that the board found over 35,000 cases of voter fraud—or even one case—is flatly false. With the investigation not yet even underway, the board, headed by Republican Kim Strach, hasn’t come close to concluding that any specific case involved double voting.  And there are very good reasons why it’s held off.

First, it helps to understand statistics. The political scientist Michael McDonald and election law scholar Justin Levitt have shown in a detailed statistical study that the number of people who share a name and birthdate is much higher than it might at first appear. (Just for fun, take the RNC’s Spicer. Though his name is less common than many, online records show 20 different Sean Spicers who were born on September 23rd, his birthday.) That statistical reality, McDonald and Levitt conclude, has big implications for how to treat potential cases of illegal voting.

Federal court says Florida voter purge of 2012 out of bounds.
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Comment Preferences

  •  The Roberts Court insists... (18+ / 0-)

    Listen to The After Show & The Justice Department on Netroots Radio. Join us on The Porch Tue & Fri at Black Kos, all are welcome!

    by justiceputnam on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:08:52 AM PDT

  •  Politics + Money = Corruption. (nt) (10+ / 0-)

    Think about the baby Jesus. Up in that tower, letting His hair down so that the three wise men could climb up and spin the dreidle and see if there's six more weeks of winter. -- Will and Grace

    by Rikon Snow on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:11:52 AM PDT

  •  Anybody who doesn't fear (9+ / 0-)

    the changes the SCOTUS is making to our political system with these decisions is a fool. I am afraid we are seeing the end of the United States as we know it. If we don't hold the senate and presidency, and if a couple of these conservative justices don't die soon, the damage they inflict may be irreversible.

    If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

    by RepresentUsPlease on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:16:54 AM PDT

    •  SCOTUS Majority Holds Probably 10 More Years (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      palantir

      and the rest of what you say doesn't matter.

      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 Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:36:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Courts have shifted their opinions in the past (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        palantir, hbk

        even without changing personnel. After using its power to strike down much of the New Deal agenda to 1935, the SCOTUS grew much more amenable in the face of overwhelming support for the Democratic agenda in the 1936 election (plus the threat of court-packing from the president).

        There's nothing that says this will happen now, even if the Dems can obtain a solid majority in both houses plus the executive. But it is not impossible.

        •  But that assumes Dems really object (0+ / 0-)

          The answer is on the front page of the NY Times.  Pelosi already looking for money and donors.  We can argue she has no choice but that tells you all you need do know.
          There have been times in the past when Congress, both parties, fought back against court rulings stripping it of power.  Not this time.
          And that is what this is also all about: a SCOTUS that despises federal  legislative power and uses law in various subjects to rein in Congress.  Climate and the environment, regulation, interstate commerce, on and on, this is a Court that hates legislatures, because they are the most representative branch of government.

          •  She doesn't have a choice. She can be (0+ / 0-)

            noble and lose and then you all can experience what we've got in NC on a national level, or she can be realistic and go after as much money as she can get to fight them with. Dems don't get the kind of financial support that the Reps do.   This is because there actually ARE some honest and caring people  in the Democratic Party (and I put Nancy in that group), while virtually none in the Republican Party. This is because the Dems don't bow to the corporations as thoroughly and abjectly as the Rethugs.   I mean, really, what else can she do?   In order to fight them, the Dem Party has to be alive.

            •  The Pelosids (0+ / 0-)

              are the problem and not the solution, in my view.  There are very few Democrats today who would be considered "liberals" according to the standards of the New Deal - the ideology of FDR and his 'brain trust' and the Democrats who were with them. Pelosi is not one of them, and never has been.  Bernie Sanders, though nominally an independent (he has called himself a socialist) is much closer to the type.

              You suggest that

              the Dems don't bow to the corporations as thoroughly and abjectly as the Rethugs
              but I find it hard to agree: NAFTA, WTO, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, repeal of Glass-Steagall, these were all passed with significant Democratic support, including that of the president (Clinton).  Obama is pushing Keystone (already pushed ahead with the southern half) which helps zero Americans, adopted an "all of the above" energy policy which favors no one but Big Oil, and is currently pushing the TPP - all with the support of most of the Democrats.  And don't forget the bank bailout of 2008/9: the Republicans mostly wanted to let the banks fail - it was the corporate friendly Democrats who prevented that and chucked over our money to save them (and ignored the foreclosure problem).  

              So while the Dems aren't TOTALLY off the wall - unlike the Republicans they don't want to end all regulation, etc - they are far from committed to "people over property". Very far. I think we need to get rid of the Pelosids and bring in more like Sanders.

          •  I agree with you, CTlib - (0+ / 0-)

            This is

            a SCOTUS that despises federal  legislative power and uses law in various subjects to rein in Congress
            But that was exactly the case in 1933-35 as well.

            But I think the underlying implication of your post (if I am not presuming too much) is correct: the current Congress is not about to take any action on this, and that includes (most of) the Dems, like Pelosi.  We might not see any real hope of change until we see a truly massive movement by the majority of the population to elect Democrats committed to reform on MANY levels - just as happened in the 1930 and 1932 elections, when Democrats overwhelmed Republicans. What they brought with them then was not only numbers, but ideology - a belief that government had the power and the obligation to act to curb the private power of corporations and wealthy individuals.

            Last time it took the Great Depression to wake enough people up to bring that shift about. The way we are going now, a similar disaster is not inconceivable.  Personally, I think the best thing we can do in the meantime is keep working hard as hell to frame the issues and elect the best people out there (i.e. the "Sanderin" not the "Pelosids").

      •  I don't have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        palantir, yoduuuh do or do not

        millions of dollars, so nothing I say matters, that was my point.

        If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

        by RepresentUsPlease on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 10:37:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks MB (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir, The Marti, Eric Nelson

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:18:17 AM PDT

  •  if you donlt tikn judges can ruin as Democracy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir, yoduuuh do or do not

    watch the movie  The Nuremberg Trails'.

    Judges in Nazi Germany played a big role in the
    laws created against the Jews.

  •  maybe the republicans (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir, The Marti, Toyotabob7, hbk

    efforts to surpress the vote will actually hurt them.

  •  Court Seems to Be Upholding the Grammer of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir

    1st amendment, that "speech" not speakers, not people, has the freedom. Everything that's said to be wrong about their string of decisions is consistent with that as far as I can see.

    I've mused that if we could amend the word "peoples'" twice into the 1st amendment -- the peoples' speech and the peoples' exercise of religion -- we might have some Constitutional tools to resist oligarchy, but then rich people are still people, and we would still have Kochs and Gates and such able to write personal checks for all the speech our society can meaningfully distribute to the mainstream.

    I don't see such monumentally archaic and simplistic concepts as speech, religion and press freedoms, as we have received them, as permitting democracy to survive here.

    I'll sell you a wi fi dongle that is based on freedom of speech, on forbidding the operating system from interfering with incoming signals no matter from whom or how wrong, and let's see your information age now.

    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 Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:41:42 AM PDT

  •  Impeach these 5 robes. Do it now. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir

    "We can have Democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." ~ Louis D. Brandeis

    by 2BOrNot2B on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 09:58:45 AM PDT

  •  Corporate board members (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir

    and CEO's and CFO's are always losing their jobs because of bone-headed stupid moves and comments they make. This rage over Mozilla firing their boss just shows how out of touch establishment republicans are about the free market.

    "I feel badly about the kids," the unknown person said. "I guess." [but] "They are [only] the children of Buono voters," Wildstein replied.

    by plok on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 10:16:24 AM PDT

  •  On the positive side of the ledger, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir, The Marti

    Georgia (Yes, THAT Georgia) has launched online and mobile voter registration systems.

    I’ve said before, I will always work with anyone who is willing to make this law work even better. But the debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. -- President Barack Obama

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 10:23:58 AM PDT

  •  Here's a rundown of the states that allow online (5+ / 0-)

    voter registration.

    http://www.ncsl.org/...

  •  Down To Just One Issue -- Money (0+ / 0-)

    Republicans have made the system about money -- you have to fight them on the only terms they understand.

    The goal should be to take the money away from the rich with a very progressive tax system.  Keep raising how much people can make at the low end with no taxes and taking more and more from the people at the upper end.  This will solve all the problems of inequality and the rich having more influence.

    The only message to the vast majority of voters is to vote against the rich.

    President Obama needs to be more liberal.

    by jimgilliamv2 on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 11:01:33 AM PDT

  •  Experimental evidence of how money can corrupt (4+ / 0-)

    Some Evidence on Whether Money Buys Political Influence

    A new paper by graduate students David Broockman and Josh Kalla tackles an eternal, oft-debated question: does money buy influence? Here’s the abstract:
    Concern that lawmakers grant preferential treatment to individuals because they have contributed to political campaigns has long occupied jurists, scholars, and the public. However, the effects of campaign contributions on legislators’ behavior have proven notoriously difficult to assess. We report the first randomized field experiment on the topic. In the experiment, a political organization attempted to schedule meetings between 191 Members of Congress and their constituents who had contributed to political campaigns. However, the organization randomly assigned whether it informed legislators’ offices that individuals who would attend the meetings were contributors. Congressional offices made considerably more senior officials available for meetings when offices were informed the attendees were donors, with senior officials attending such meetings more than three times as often (p < 0.01). Influential policymakers thus appear to make themselves much more accessible to individuals because they have contributed to campaigns, even in the absence of quid pro quo arrangements. These findings have significant implications for ongoing legal and legislative debates. The hypothesis that individuals can command greater attention from influential policymakers by contributing to campaigns has been among the most contested explanations for how financial resources translate into political power. The simple but revealing experiment presented here elevates this hypothesis from extensively contested to scientifically supported.
    1 Congressional Officials Grant Access Due To Campaign Contributions: A Randomized Field Experiment
  •  So the latest GOP voter "fraud" is .. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    ..matching names? wow

    Republican/Conservative supporters of voting restrictions think they’ve found the holy grail in North Carolina:
    In this search engine I found (nationally) 3 - Newt Gingrinch's. A rare enough name, and there are three.

    And this:

    The law’s voter ID provision would likely have done nothing to stop the double voting being alleged here, but solid evidence of illegal voting could still bolster the state’s case that the measure is justified.
    and allegations were false.

    Also these just for the heck of it:

    27 - Mitch McConnells

    36 - Sean Spicers

    12 - Michele Bachmann's

    97 Pat McCrory's

    54 - Bob McDonnell's

    Even 2 - Louie Gohmert's
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    And DMV on line registration:

    19 states have already adopted online DMV registration. Online sounds like a good move for the younger generations but it also seems like it would aid the republicans to do what they do; tilitng the scales; adding a few percentage points to their roles by targeting voters with drivers licenses is what it sounds like to me. Many people in urban areas have no need for a license or can't afford a car to drive anyway.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    And Alex Pareene @ Salon is spot on it sure seems:

    "Roberts’ specialty is “faux judicial restraint,” in which he achieves his radical desired goals over the course of many incremental decisions instead of one sweeping one.
    I heard Jeffrey Toobin speaking then looked and found this opinion in the New Yorker on chief justice Robert's:

    The John Roberts Project (if you hit a firewall try this route)  by Jefferey Toobin:  

    If you think that the Supreme Court’s desision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission was bad, just wait: worse may be on the way.
    Toobin asks why this case is so important: Chief Justice Roberts Language strongly suggests that his end goal is complete deregulation of American political campaigns.
    Roberts is defining “quid pro quo” corruption almost as outright bribery, which Congress can outlaw. But the implication of what Roberts is saying is that anything short of outright bribery is protected by the First Amendment.
    Thx MB
  •  Floodgates (0+ / 0-)

    "The McCutcheon decision opens the door to massive party contributions"

    That can come from either party; it is a two-edged sword. However, one edge may be sharper than the other.

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