By Rawlein G. Soberano, Ph.D.
Germantown, MD (May 1, 2012) — In WI, a Dane County judge issued an injunction barring the state from using its new voter ID law. A hearing began April 25 with both sides presenting their opposing arguments to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, because the state did not successfully appeal the injunction, the new voter ID law was not in effect for the April 3 presidential primary.
If Gov. Jan Brewer wins this, Mitt Romney and many GOP candidates lose in the general elections in November. His entitlement claim to the presidency (by wife Ann), that it’s now his turn, will crumble to dust. SC has filed an appeal over DOJ’s denial of pre-clearance for its new voter ID law. DOJ found the law discriminatory because the state’s minority voters are 20 percent more likely than white voters to lack a photo ID that meets the standard. Thirty-one states require all voters to show ID before voting at the polls. In 15 of these, a voter with ID must include a photo of the voter; in the remaining 16, non-photo forms of ID are acceptable.
Voter ID laws can be broken into three categories: a) Strict Photo ID (8 states – GA, IN, KS, WI, SC, TN, TX, MS) requires photo of voter; b) Photo ID (7 States – AL, FL, HI, ID, LA, MI, SD); voters are asked to show a photo ID. Those unable to comply can still vote; a voter with ID can vouch for the voter without one, or provide personal information such as birth date, or sign an affidavit swearing to his/her identity; c) Non-Photo ID (16 states – AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, KY, MO, MT, ND, OH, OK, RI, UT, VA, WA). List of acceptable IDs is varied and includes options that do not have a photo, e.g., utility bills or bank statement with voter’s name and address.
Is the claim of voter fraud credible or political? a. Fraud by individual voters is irrational and extremely rare. Voter fraud is a foolish way to attempt to win an election, risking 8 years in prison and a $10k fine. b. Many purported anecdotes about voter fraud have been proven false or do not demonstrate fraud. Most allegations simply evaporate when more rigorous analysis is conducted. c. Voter fraud is often conflated with other forms of election misconduct. It is extremely rare for individuals to vote multiple times, vote as someone else, or vote despite knowing they are ineligible. d. Raising the unsubstantiated specter of mass voter fraud suits a particular policy agenda. Voter fraud is often masked to justify particular election policies, such as to show voter ID in order to vote, a policy that disenfranchises up to 10 percent of eligible citizens. The only misconduct the photo ID addresses is the kind of voter fraud that happens rarely as death by lightning. Claims for voter fraud should be carefully tested before they become the basis for action.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that AL may not enforce Sections 27 and 28 of HB 56 which restricted undocumented immigrants’ business transaction with public entities and made any contract an undocumented immigrant entered into unenforceable. Both provisions have severe impacts on residents’ lives, e.g., water shut off for weeks at a time for lack of adequate identification. A provision of HB 56 lifted from AZ’s SB 1070 in still being enforced. Police officers may stop and question everyone they suspect may be undocumented. Civil rights advocates argue this provision all but mandates racial profiling. A final ruling on that provision awaits the Supreme Court ruling to hear arguments on SB 1070.
GA and TN are emblems for a growing and troubling legislation trend in which new election laws mandate citizens to produce photo identification to vote, ask people to prove their citizenship to vote, or outright curtail voter registration efforts. Confusing requirements make it hard not to conclude that the Jim Crow nightmare is back. Some states require that the ID be state-issued and only by the state a person is voting in; some prohibit college IDs; some demand full name and address to be current while others require ID cards to have an expiration date. The victims of these requirements are low-income Americans, African-Americans, Latin-Americans, college students and elderly voters. All these requirements came about after the first black president was elected in 2008, after Republicans took over Congress in 2010 and became majorities in state legislatures across the country, courtesy of ALEC. A great deal of their funding came from the Koch brothers who vowed to remove BHO by any means, regardless of costs. They just cannot stand a black and smart president. They vowed not to see a repeat of the 2008 election.
A jury found Secretary of State Charlie White, R-IN guilty of six felony voter-fraud related to charges disqualifying him from office. Gov. Mitch Daniels then appointed White’s chief deputy, Jerry Bonnet, as interim Secretary of State. A civil judge has ordered the state to declare the Democratic 2010 candidate Vop Osili certified as Secretary of State. The fight is expected reach the state Supreme Court. Voter fraud is a Republican creation. They have not found one case of voter fraud in IN. They have seen more cases (or entertained more claims) of UFO in KS than voter fraud. Since they cannot win elections on issues, they make sure they win by limiting the number of voters who may vote against their party’s candidates, position and initiatives. If some people in general are not allowed to vote, for some capricious reason, what is happening to democracy in this country? Should we allow the Party of No to hijack one of our basic human rights which is the right to vote? They would rather go with plutocracy or theocracy rather than democracy they cannot control.
The Civil Rights march in AL last March was to fight for the right to vote. The Republicans are at it again—requiring voters’ ID (just like the poll tax in the old days) to try to disenfranchise 5 million voters in 2012 and steal the election again as they did in FL in 2000 because of a crooked secretary of state and 2004 because of rigged Diebold voting machines to elect GWB. They cannot win “fair and square,” so they are again resorting to shenanigans. It seems like it’s the only way for them to win. Money is not a problem. They have received so much tax cut under Bush/Cheney and their GOP allies in Congress. Hypocritical Bastards! They talk big about family values and law and order, but are thugs, hooligans, thieves and goons. They are responsible for the slow death of democracy in this country and hasten the takeover of this nation by corporations to bring in plutocracy.
When state legislators across the US introduced similar or identical bills “to boost corporate power and profits, reduce worker rights, limit corporate accountability for pollution, or restrict voting for minorities,” you can be sure that that they were written by corporate lobbyists working through the American Legislation Exchange Council (ALEC) to get special interest legislation introduced. ALEC’s major sources of funds include Exxon Mobil, Scaife Family Foundation, Coors Family/Castle Rock Foundation, Koch Brothers, Bradley Family Foundation. It was founded in 1972 by Paul Weyrich who helped build nationwide the right-wing political infrastructure after the reelection of Richard Milhaus Nixon.
Its activities reflect its founding, funding and control by corporate interests. According to the American Association of Justice, the nuts and bolts of lobbying and drafting legislation is done by a large corporate defense firm (Shook Hardy & Bacon). It manages ALEC’s legislative and governmental advocacy programs. The firm is described by the American Bar Association as the “darling of corporate America.” A NYT report on them said that “tobacco” is their middle name and its lawyers viewed as “industry propagandists, apologists and co-conspirators.”
It is currently involved in helping state legislators to consider “voter ID laws.” Using “false allegations” of voter fraud, right-wing politicians are trying to disenfranchise students and other at-risk voters, e.g. the elderly, minorities and the poor who are unlikely to have driver’s licenses or other forms of photo ID. By suppressing their votes, its “Voter ID Act” gives an electoral advantage to Republicans while undermining the right to vote. They are the incarnation of the Nazis and all their evil deeds. Rather than serve the public interest, ALEC champions the agenda of corporations which are willing to pay for access to legislators and the opportunity to write their own legislation. It helps these lobbyists for corporations to draft and promote bills to eliminate or de-fang government environmental laws, create a regressive tax system, eliminate workers’ rights, undermine universal and affordable healthcare, privatize public education and chip away at voting rights.