Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Posts Tagged ‘voter suppression’

Defending The Right To Vote: Hillary Deploys Marc Elias, Calls Out Jeb

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 6, 2015

In which Hillary does the resoundingly right thing, even if it’s probably for icky selfish partisan motives:

The speech that Hillary Rodham Clinton gave at Texas Southern University on Thursday regarding the right to vote even was better than I expected it to be. It was a thwacking, name-checking jeremiad that took for granted the obvious fact that the Republican party, and the conservative movement that is its only real energizing force, has embarked on a systematic campaign to disenfranchise those voters unlikely to vote for Republican candidates, and that the campaign has been abetted at the highest levels of conservative politics which, in this case, happen to include the Supreme Court of the United States. She talked about how Rick Perry had worked to restrict the franchise in Texas, and how Scott Walker had done so in Wisconsin. Then, she said this.

“And in Florida, when Jeb Bush was governor, state officials conducted a deeply flawed purge of voters before the presidential election of 2000.”

Yeah, she went there.

And not just with her speechifying, either. She brought in Marc Elias, and he and other pro-voter groups have already been going to town against Ohio, Wisconsin, and many other states.

Here are the things you should know about Marc Elias:

He’s very, very smart.

He’s very, very hardworking.

He’s very, very honorable.

He hires people who are just like him in these regards.

He and his people do thousands of hours of research on a case before agreeing to take it.

He and his people will know the details better than the locals involved. (This was shown to brilliant effect in his handling of the Franken-Coleman battle.)

He doesn’t play to lose.

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#pointergate And Voting Rights

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 8, 2014

If you’ve been following the whole #pointergate story, you probably know that it’s about how a local Republican-affiliated television station in Minneapolis has become a national if not worldwide laughingstock for pushing a “mayor is flashing gang symbols” hit piece fed to it by cops and ex-cops who hate the reformist mayor Betsy Hodges and her new chief of police Janee Harteau.

Here’s Brian Lambert’s excellent precis:

I mean, this story is so nakedly and thoroughly targeted at a key demographic for local TV news you practically choke on it. And by that I mean this: The only viewers who were going to swallow this story — as Kolls and KSTP presented it — are fearful whites with little or no personal interaction with blacks or other minorities. People who almost never counter-balance the “news” they get on TV with any other stream of information, other than maybe an e-mail from an equally fearful friend or relative.

With the audience for local TV news was shrinking nearly as fast as it has been for daily newspapers (until a modest uptick in 2013) the core that remains is both older and (I strongly suspect) less socially sophisticated — i.e. more isolated from “criminal elements” than even 20 years ago. Where savvier news consumers have long since stopped rolling their eyes at the cliched/treadworn “if it bleeds it leads” news segments and turned off the local news altogether in favor of the internet, the crowd that remains faithful to local TV continues to be riveted by the relentless narrative of hardened thugs gunning down each other and therefore, soon to be blasting their way through the front doors of those same terrified viewers, never mind that their doors are in Maple Grove, Big Lake, Victoria, Edina and St. Cloud.

It was to that core local news crowd, primarily white, aged and out of step with the realities of modern urban America that Kolls and KSTP were appealing, and why they look like such pawns and fools today. (According to Pew research 54% of local TV’s news audience is over age 50. Although it could be worse. The over-50 audiences for Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity clock in at 64% and 66% respectively.)

What you might not know is that this smear involved attacking the mayor and by extension her police chief because they attended a get-out-the-vote event held by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. And of course, Republicans hate anything that involves encouraging poor people, especially poor nonwhite people, to vote – hence the flurry of laws designed to keep poor and nonwhite people from voting.

The Brennan Center makes a very good case for the idea that voter suppression may have been what cost the Democrats the Senate last Tuesday. It’s worth readng.

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PPP: Minnesota Voter Suppression And Marriage Suppression Amendments Look Doomed

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 5, 2012

Here is very good news from Public Policy Polling. In addition to reporting that Obama leads Romney comfortably in the state, 53% to 45%, there is also good news on the two crummy amendments the state GOP wanted to shove down our throats:

The more interesting findings on our final Minnesota poll deal with the state’s high profile amendments to ban gay marriage and require voter identification. We find both narrowly trailing. 45% of voters say they’ll vote for the gay marriage ban, compared to 52% who are opposed to it. And 46% say they’ll support the voter ID amendment to 51% who are opposed.

Not only is the “Voter ID” voter suppression amendment losing (46% to 51%), so is the marriage suppression amendment, 45% to 52%. Since amendments to the state constitution need not just a plurality, but a majority of the votes cast, this bodes well for Tuesday.

Now, the marriage amendment never got much more than 50%, and it’s been below 50% for some time now, so it’s not surprising to see that it’s now in the mid-40s. What surprises the local punditti is that the voter suppression amendment is also losing — it had started out with between 70% and 80% support, so much support that various big local Democratic-affiliated groups didn’t want to waste time and money fighting it. But Sally Jo Sorensen, the best blogger in the State of Minnesota and one of its top five journalists, period, noticed that a lot of county governments were expressing to their local papers their absolute horror at the damage this massive unfunded mandate would do to their already-stressed budgets. We are literally talking about counties having to forego fixing roads or hiring cops because of this amendment.

Over the months, as winter turned to spring and spring to summer, more of these county governments started speaking out about this — and more to the point, they started to compare notes, aided in large part by Sally Jo’s publicizing of the issue (a publicizing I did my small bit to aid), even as both the StarTribune (the Minneapolis paper of record) and the Pioneer Press (the Saint Paul paper of record) largely ignored this. Soon, a critical mass of note-comparing turned into the production of a few studies, studies that confirmed the counties’ worst fears as to the costs and complexities that would be forced upon them by this amendment.

This hit home with the vote suppressors. Even as the Republicans laughed off efforts to condemn the voter suppression amendment as racist — the racist intent would appeal to a lot of Minnesota voters, so the GOP was quite happy to see Democrats talk it up — they didn’t laugh off efforts to enumerate the cost to rural counties. They sent out the attack bozoes at the Center of the American Experiment to create some numbers purporting to show that the amendment wouldn’t cost as much as feared, but Sally Jo’s good friend, Gustavus Adolphus professor and elections expert Max Hailperin, shot down their numbers right quick. Finally, the voter suppressors turned to running TV ads — but by that time the various movers and shakers in Minnesota’s Democratic establishment and allied groups had started running TV ads of their own, ads featuring guys like former Republican governor Arne Carlson and current Democratic governor Mark Dayton.

Again, keep your fingers crossed. And I’m knocking on wood with one hand while I type this with the other. But if what I think will happen does happen, a good chunk of the credit for doing the early, unglamourous spadework will go to my friend Sally Jo Sorensen, who in a just world would be entrusted with the editorship of a big daily paper or the media operations of AFSCME or SEIU or the DFL.

Posted in 2012, Minnesota, voting rights | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Voter Suppression’s “Launderette” Tale Crumpling Under Scrutiny

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 31, 2012

Once again, Sally Jo Sorensen spots something nobody else in journalism does — namely, that there are serious problems with the Launderette Story, the favorite anecdote used by voter suppression advocates to “prove” the need for the Voter Suppression Amendment.

For starters, the date of the Launderette Story keeps changing, from 2006 to 2008 to 2010:

Representative Cornish and Mr Fults ask readers to to amend our constitution based on an incident that occurred in 2010. Or 2008. Or 2006, when Mary Kiffmeyer was Secretary of State. The incident turned up in legislative testimony and in a so-far unsuccessful lawsuit.

Unfortunately, Smission didn’t fill out the challenge form that would have triggered an official investigation back in 2006.

And the lawsuit in which the original story features was dismissed, if not outright laughed out of court.

Check it out.
It’s simply unbelieveable that sketchy tales like this can influence our public discourse.

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Goodhue And Hubbard Join List Of Minnesota Counties Worried About Cost, Effects Of Photo ID Amendment

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 17, 2012

Add Goodhue and Hubbard Counties to the list of Minnesota counties whose elections officials are worried sick about the cost and the effects of the Photo ID amendment the state GOP shoved onto the November ballot.

From Goodhue County, via the Red Wing Republican Eagle — and emphases are mine:
Read the rest of this entry »

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Ohio Republicans Won’t Let Democrats Vote Before Or After Work

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 28, 2012

This is for all you ALEC Voter ID law fans out there:

Earlier this month I reported how Ohio Republicans were limiting early voting hours in Democratic counties, while expanding them on nights and weekends in Republican counties.

In response to the public outcry, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who intervened in favor of limiting early voting hours in Democratic counties, issued a statewide directive mandating uniform early voting hours in all eighty-eight Ohio counties. Husted kept early voting hours from 8 am to 5 pm on weekdays from October 2 to 19 and broadened hours from 8 am to 7 pm from October 22 to November 2. But he refused to expand early voting hours beyond 7 pm during the week, on weekends or three days prior to the election (which is being challenged in court by the Obama campaign)—when it is most convenient for many working Ohioans to vote. Rather than expanding early voting hours across the state, Husted limited them for everybody. Voter suppression for all!

[…]

Why do Ohio Republicans suddenly feel so strongly about limiting early voting hours in Democratic counties? Franklin County (Columbus) GOP Chair Doug Preisse gave a surprisingly blunt answer to the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday: “I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban—read African-American—voter-turnout machine.” Preisse is not some rogue operative but the chairman of the Republican Party in Ohio’s second-largest county and a close adviser to Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Like Pennsylvania House majority leader Mike Turzai, who said his state’s voter ID law “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania,” Preisse said publicly what many Republicans believe privately—keeping turnout down among Obama supporters is the best way for the GOP to win the 2012 election. That’s why, since the 2010 election, Republicans have devoted so much energy to voter-suppression efforts like limiting early voting hours, restricting voter registration drives, passing voter ID laws, disenfranchising ex-felons and purging the voter rolls.

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Pennsylvania’s Vote Chaos Shows Minnesota’s Future If Voter ID Amendment Passes

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 25, 2012

Anyone wonder what would happen to voting in the State of Minnesota should the ALEC-and-Kiffmeyer-inspired voter suppression (aka “voter ID”) amendment is passed? Here’s a taste, courtesy of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

This summer, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center recruited volunteers to visit PennDOT offices across the Commonwealth and tell us about their experiences trying to obtain free photo ID under the new law. The results of that survey are in our new report, Pennsylvania’s Identity Crisis: Rushed Implementation of Voter ID Law Puts Voting Rights at Risk.

Volunteers visited 43 PennDOT centers in 27 counties across the commonwealth, representing three-quarters of the state’s population. They completed a survey that looked at very simple things: whether there was signage, if forms were available, if there was information that the IDs could be available for free, if volunteers got accurate information. We were surprised just how difficult it was for our volunteers to get the right information and the right forms — and they knew exactly what to ask for.

The report finds that voters are likely to be frustrated in their attempts to secure a free ID from PennDOT. Some volunteers found the offices weren’t open the first time they visited and they had to return another time. There was no signage and limited information in half the sites, and the forms needed to secure a free ID were not available most of the time. In almost half the cases, voters received information that proved to be incomplete or inaccurate from staff at the centers. Problems were as likely to occur in Franklin and Luzerne counties as in Philadelphia or Allegheny County.

Even worse, the Pennsylvania Department of State is rolling out a new form of ID this coming week, and the timing could not have been worse — unless, of course, suppressing voters and turnout is the goal.

We can avoid this hellish mess simply by voting “no” on the voter ID amendment.

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