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 Women's Suffrage League, West Virginia University, 1920.
Women's Suffrage League, West Virginia University, 1920.
This week in the war on voting is a joint project of Joan McCarter and Meteor Blades

Democrats are irked over Cantor's failure to deliver on Voting Rights Act revision: There seemed to be some hope a year ago that the Majority Leader Eric Cantor would be one of those rare Republicans, an ally for Democrats on an issue of major importance. But that turned out to be a snare and a delusion even before Cantor surprisingly lost in the June primaries.

The issue was amending the Voting Rights Act in the wake of the Supreme Court's Shelby ruling that gutted a key portion of the law that required several mostly Southern states and parts of others to get any voting law changes "pre-cleared" by the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal court. Cantor, who had supposedly seen the light thanks to a trip to Selma, Alabama, with Rep. John Lewis on the anniversary of the 1965 civil rights demonstration where Lewis had his skull fractured during the police riot that confronted the protesters.

Cantor had indicated that he wanted to see an amendment repairing some of the damage done by the court. But even before he lost his re-election bid, it became apparent that Cantor's vow to work for a fix in the VRA was anything but whole-hearted. When a fix-it bill was drafted, a compromise that had plenty of critics on both sides, Cantor never came aboard.

“I really wanted to believe he was sincere,” Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., a member of the Congressional Black Caucus who helped draft the VRA revision, told CQ Roll Call. “As I look back on it now, I probably gave him too much credit.”
  • Race, Party, and the Consequences of Restricting Early Voting in Florida in the 2012 General Election: This is a study by Michael C. Herron and Daniel A. Smith. The two compared voting patterns in 2012 with those in 2008 and concluded that "racial/ethnic minorities, registered Democrats, and those without party affiliation had significant early voting participation drops and that voters who cast ballots on the final Sunday in 2008 were disproportionately unlikely to cast a valid ballot in 2012. Florida’s decision to truncate early voting may have diminished participation rates of those already least likely to vote."
  • Federal court in Wisconsin denies stay in voter ID case: A federal district court in the case of Frank v. Walker has denied Wisconsin’s request for a stay pending appeal. If the stay had been granted, the state would have been able to use its voter photo ID law in the upcoming election. Wisconsin has an appeal pending before the 7th Circuit Court.

More on the war on voting can be found below the orange butterfly ballot.

  • 97-year-old Topeka woman barred from voting for lack of photo ID. This occurred August 5.
    Beth Hiller, a 97 year-old nursing home resident from Topeka, Kansas, boarded a shuttle along with several other residents of the nursing home’s health care unit. It was a difficult process for many of the residents, who had limited mobility and depended on wheelchairs or walkers in order to move around. Yet Hiller and her fellow residents also boarded that shuttle intending to exercise one of their most important rights as citizens—the shuttle was there to take them to a nearby polling place so that they could vote in a primary election.

    When Hiller arrived at the polls, however, she was told that she could not exercise her right to vote after all. Hiller was turned away because she did not have a photo ID, and Kansas has a strict voter ID law that disenfranchises voters without identification. Indeed, Kansas’ voter ID law is so strict that it even prohibits voters from casting an absentee ballot unless they have ID.

    She also wasn't allowed to cast a provisional ballot even though citizens have this right under state law.
  • Town of Montezuma, Colorado, sues all its voters over flawed election:
    The town and its novice clerk have filed suit against every registered voter in the town, claiming that an election held last spring had numerous errors. The lawsuit filed in Summit County District Court last week lists errors that include numbers that don't add up and mismatched ballots that had to be patched together with the clerk's sewing machine.

    The lawsuit asks a judge to command all 61 registered voters in Montezuma to appear in court so the judge can sort out an election mess that the petition calls "fatally flawed."

  • Judge denies attorney fees to those who challenged Texas Voter ID law.
  • Carl Leubsdorf on "troubling" voter law changes in Texas.
  • Seth Michaels on why there are no good reasons for voter restrictions.
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