Thursday, December 29, 2011

Civil Rights Activists in NYC Protest Voting Restrictions / Roundup of States' Restrictions of Voting Rights

NY1, December 10, 2011: Protesters March To UN In "Stand For Freedom"

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ANN MCFEATTERS in San Angelo, Texas Standard-Times, December 10, 2011: "Too many states making it harder to vote"

New York University's
Brennan Center for Justice's Comprehensive list of voter suppression laws passed in states, in 2011.

Brennan Center PDF report by Wendy R. Weiser and Lawrence Norden, "Voting Law Changes in 2012"

"Expanding the Vote Abroad, Suppressing It At Home" by Yanick Saila-Ngita – 12/08/11 at the Brennan Center for Justice.

Thankfully, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has woken up and has addressed this issue. (It is not just a matter, by the way, of interest to minorities. A range of people do not need or carry a photo identification ("ID") card for their daily or weekly business. Youths, elderly, MANY people will be barred from voting, because of these new voter ID laws.)
From the Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2011: "Atty. Gen. Holder takes aims at new state voting laws: Atty. Gen. Eric Holder hints that he may challenge some laws placing new restrictions on the voting process. He also proposes that the federal government automatically register all citizens to vote."

TPM< December 13, 2011, "The ACLU sues Wisconsin' voter ID law; cites law as modern day poll tax."

READ THIS PIECE, on the phony non-issue of "voter fraud:" at Think Progress, December 2, 2011: "Despite a 0.0002 Percent Rate of Voter Fraud, Reince Priebus Claims Wisconsin Is ‘Riddled With Voter Fraud’" [Reince Priebus is the Republican National Committee chairman.]
Think Progress recognizes that the notion of rampant voter fraud is a red herring ruse to restrict access to polls, to the right to vote.

Stephen Colbert captured the absurdity of Priebus' argument:
[C]omedian Stephen Colbert joked that “our democracy is under siege from an enemy so small it could be hiding anywhere” . . . .

Martin Bashir (formerly of ABC, now on MSNBC) interviewed Priebus in the context of his arguments that voter fraud is rampant (It follows narration by Think Progress):
. . . Priebus went on MSNBC to defend Wisconsin’s new photo ID requirement and yesterday’s anti-voting rights measure passed by the House GOP. When host Martin Bashir pushed the RNC Chair about his party’s motivations for restricting voting rights, Priebus pointed to his home state of Wisconsin and declared, “I come from a state in Wisconsin that was absolutely riddled with voter fraud, okay?”

BASHIR: Just last night Republicans in the House voted to dismantle the Election Assistance Commission, the sole purpose of which is to make sure states meet voting standards that prevent fraud. Why would Republicans do that if they’re honestly concerned about preventing fraud? [...]

PRIEBUS: Well listen, I don’t want to get into the specifics here, but let me tell you something. I come from a state in Wisconsin that was absolutely riddled with voter fraud, okay? They had the smokes-for-votes exchange in Milwaukee. This is something that has nothing to do with constitutional rights of the people who are committing the fraud, it has to do with the constitutional rights of people under our Constitution that one person gets one vote, not two or three or four or five, by not having reasonable voting standards in this country to make sure that fraud doesn’t occur.
See at right, where I have uploaded Bashir's interview with RNC chair Priebus.
Think Progress closed with these observations:
Research has found that voters are 39 times more likely to be struck by lightning than commit voter fraud at the polls, and 3,500 times more likely to report a UFO encounter.

Voter fraud certainly ought to be prosecuted in the extremely rare instances when it occurs. But Republicans like Priebus are using the false specter of fraud as a cudgel to disenfranchise millions.

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