I know some people were wondering what the DOJ and others were doing about voter suppression so I went out and googled it.  Here are the results.

DOJ to look into Racist Texas Voter Suppression Scheme

http://weirdloadreboot.com/blog/2011/09/19/doj-to-look-into-racist-texas-voter-suppression-scheme/

FAIR Elections Network

http://fairelectionsnetwork.blogspot.com/2011/09/voter-suppression-update-its-not-all.html

DOJ says “hold up” to New South Carolina Voter Suppression

http://www.jackandjillpolitics.com/2011/09/department-of-justice-says-hold-up-to-new-south-carolina-voter-suppression-law/

DSCC on voter suppression – Sign their petition

http://www.dscc.org/act4?action_KEY=263&track=SEM_GS_Voter%20Suppressionv2-Search_name_Voter%20suppression_17165007092

ACLU Petition on Voter’s Rights

https://secure.aclu.org/site/SPageNavigator/SEM_voting_rights?&s_subsrc=SEM-g-voting-s-discrimination_voter%20intimidation_b_7128530542

Think Progress on DOJ

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/08/04/287874/dscc-vs-disenfranchisement/

Veterans News – Letter from Senators to DOJ

http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/2011/07/19/u-s-doj-challenge-to-state-voter-suppression-laws-possible/

ACLU files suit to stop Voter Suppression

http://capitalsoup.com/2011/07/29/statement-on-withdraw-of-voter-suppresion-changes-from-doj/

Statement on Withdraw of Voter Suppression Changes from DOJ

http://www.aclufl.org/news_events/?action=viewRelease&emailAlertID=3930

And here is a Blog called Fair Elections Network that appears to be providing weekly updates on Voter Suppression activities

http://fairelectionsnetwork.blogspot.com/

On Perry signing redistricting in Texas

http://www.txdemocrats.org/

The Political Carnival – 117 Congress sign Letter to Holder

http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/2011/07/28/117-congress-members-sign-letter-to-doj-addressing-voter-disenfranchisement-laws/

Project Vote joins in on requests for investigationsThis website seems to have info around the country.  Good site

http://projectvote.org/

And just for a little reading humor here is Leftwing Nutjob

http://leftwingnutjob.net/category/uncategorized/2012-elections/

I hope that is enough for now.  There are moves being made by many, it is just hard to find a site that tracks them all.

 

 

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bito
Member

Sue, the Brennen Center has published a report on voter suppression called:

Voting Law Changes in 2012

And here is their summery: http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/voting_law_changes_in_2012#summ

They also have a PDF of the report on that page and dozens of links to associated stories from many publications. More than an hours worth of reading and enough info for 10 posts 😉 Those damn law students! 🙂

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KQµårk 死神
Member

Great info!

Like all of the GOP lies it’s based on misplaced lies and half-truths. The GOP always uses voter registration fraud which is prevalent to prove there point that there is voter fraud. However most voter registration fraud is a mere prank (probably mostly performed by GOP ops to muddy the water) like someone registering as Mickey Mouse but true voter fraud is virtually nil. You can tell this because Republicans can’t find one case in most states where voter fraud is even the exception let alone the rule.

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bito
Member

Try as I may, I cannot find a case or instance where the DOJ initiates an action on voting rights unless it concerns fraud, intimidation or civil rights in a non “covered” state or jurisdiction. It appears to me that states have initiate lawsuits in those states or have cause for investigation presented to a Federal District Attorney by the state or harmed party. I would love to be wrong.

I did find this informative site.

http://www.brennancenter.org/content/section/category/voter_id

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kesmarn
Admin

Thanks so much, BFF, for this really valuable compilation.

In Ohio, the gerrymandering issue has been a serious problem. Out of 16 congressional districts, 12 of them are now set up to have more or less permanent Republican majorities…meaning that unless Repubs actually start voting Dem, there will be a Repub Rep from those districts in perpetuity.

Recently this was taken up in a referendum move and after enough signatures were gathered, the Republican Secretary of State REFUSED to accept them. The Democratic Party had to go to court and sue. Finally the Ohio Supreme Court, by a vote of 7-0 (thank God), ruled that the SoS HAD to accept them.

My personal experience in voting early was much more heartening. The new “rules” are that the poll workers don’t HAVE to tell you which precinct you’re in if you don’t know. And if you guess wrong, your vote is thrown out. They also are supposed to require photo ID.

But when I actually DID vote, the poll workers were great about directing me to the correct precinct number AND they did NOT want to see my ID. They just asked me my name and address. Took my word for it! (YES!) And let me vote.

It almost seemed like a local Board of Elections version of “jury nullification” in which they just took matters into their (very capable) hands and did the just and sensible thing. I hope this happens everywhere until we can get these laws reversed.

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bito
Member

As much as we complain about voter suppression, and we should, remember that only 40% of people that are eligible to vote actually vote.
Given that fact, that is why voter/registration suppression is all that more important. A 1% change per precinct can change a state election.

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MurphTheSurf3
Editor

DOJ AND EFFORTS TO FIGHT THE GOP VOTER SUPPRESSION EFFORTS….

We all got a number of links from our dedicated PlantetPOV admins.

Just a note regarding the grounds upon which the DOJ operates.

The most immediate and biggest problem will be in those states not subject the DOJ under the terms of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And, I expect there will also be efforts to have the Supreme Court strike down Section 5 which requires the supervision of 9 Southern States, plus 14 counties in Virginia, and a number of counties in California, Florida, New York, North Carolina, and South Dakota.

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Chernynkaya
Member

Murph, as I understand it, all states are subject to the Voting Rights Act of ’93. Can you provide a link that explains which states are, or are not, covered by that? This is of real interest to me. Thanks!

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Emerald1943
Member

Murph, thanks for the information. I am pleased to report that our beloved Democratic governor, Bev Perdue, has vetoed the voter ID laws that the repub State House passed. They apparently didn’t have enough votes to override the veto, so for now, North Carolina is safe. That’s not to say that they won’t try again in the next session.

I had already made up my mind that I would work with the League of Women Voters or whoever to help get people to the DMV for ID cards, or whatever it would take. I am going to work here at the University to register students locally. This is something that we all can do to help fight the attacks from the RW. I would encourage everyone at PPOV to do the same…even if you can only do a couple of hours per week.

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MurphTheSurf3
Editor

She is a courageous lady. I hope that the outcome of the special election in W. Virginia bodes well for her as well.

I am with you. I’m in an area where there is not a lot to do in registration but I am supporting it monetarily and working to organize groups who are.

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choicelady
Member

Hi Murph – I think ALL states are subject to the Voting Rights Act since it was a huge part of the redistricting done here in CA with the new citizens’ commission. The states under federal oversight thanks to their previous abuses of the VRA are STILL under oversight since they keep doing these things – and I bet you’re not surprised they are mostly Southern? But everyone has to comply. That is why the courts are playing a good role – Ohio’s Supreme Court ruled the gerry-rigged redistricting in Ohio could not be implemented for the 2012 election since it could and will go on the 2012 BALLOT for voters to decide whether or not they like having a one party state rigged for the next ten (now eight) years. But the nut is – they can’t use it. I hear tell that’s being considered elsewhere, too – courts refusing to permit implementation.

Memo to GOP – sometimes you’re just too “smartypants” for your own good.

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MurphTheSurf3
Editor

The jurisdictions listed below must be precleared (see 28 C.F.R. part 51 appendix)- The list is a little surprising.

States

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Georgia, except for the city of Sandy Springs

Louisiana

Mississippi

South Carolina

Texas

Virginia, except for fourteen counties (Amherst, Augusta, Botetourt, Essex, Frederick, Greene, Middlesex, Page, Pulaski, Roanoke, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Washington and Warren) and four independent cities (Fairfax, Harrisonburg, Salem, and Winchester)

Counties

California: Kings, Merced, Monterey, Yuba

Florida: Collier, Hardee, Hendry, Hillsborough, Monroe

New York: Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), New York (Manhattan)

North Carolina: Anson, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Camden, Caswell, Chowan, Cleveland (except for the city of Kings Mountain), Craven, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Franklin, Gaston, Gates, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Jackson, Lee, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Onslow, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Person, Pitt, Robeson, Rockingham, Scotland, Union, Vance, Washington, Wayne, Wilson

South Dakota: Shannon, Todd

Townships

Michigan: Clyde Township (Allegan County), Buena Vista Township

New Hampshire: Rindge, Millsfield, Pinkham’s Grant, Stewartstown, Stratford, Benton, Antrim, Boscawen, Newington, Unity

I hope the courts continue to uphold the principles contained within it, but I have no confidence in the current Supreme Court although the Robert’s Court has confirmed it and GOP legislators have renewed it. So…..

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bito
Member

Murph that was posted earlier today on this thread from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act

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Chernynkaya
Member

Thanks, bito.

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Chernynkaya
Member

Again, can you please provide the link to that? I am not doubting you in the least, I just want to read the article or the report. Thanks.

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MurphTheSurf3
Editor

http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/intro/intro_b.php

http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/sec_5/covered.php

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B04E1DA173FF932A15754C0A9609C8B63&scp=7&sq=voting+rights+act&st=nyt

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/us/23scotus.html?hp

AND TWO….BOOKS!!!!

Handbook of United States Election Laws and Practices: Political Rights by Alexander J. Bott.

”The Law Is Good”: The Voting Rights Act, Redistricting, and Black Regime Politics by Steven Andrew Light

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bito
Member

Question, C’lady, the states not subject to “preclearence” by the DOJ, do challenges have to come not have to begin in their own state courts and not federal courts?

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MurphTheSurf3
Editor

Section 5 requires that laws passed at the state level be reviewed at the DOJ level. But what that means depends on the nature of the law. Procedural changes made by executive departments or interpretations of law carried out by government offices often end up in court. Which court is a matter of standing and oversight authority.

I have only dabbled in voter law, but what I know seems to be a bit of a maze.

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bito
Member

Murph according to wikipedia Section 5 covers those state requiring preclearence not any or all states, if you know different I would appreciate it. That does seem to be a question any when the DOJ can get involved when a state is covered.

Section 5 – Preclearance

Section 5 of the Act requires that the United States Department of Justice, through an administrative procedure, or a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, through a declaratory judgment action “preclear” any attempt to change “any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting…” in any “covered jurisdiction.”[5]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act

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MurphTheSurf3
Editor

Wikipedia article is good.

Its sources are the ones I drew from including the lists.

I provided Cher with a list of my sources:

http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/intro/intro_b.php

http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/sec_5/covered.php

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B04E1DA173FF932A15754C0A9609C8B63&scp=7&sq=voting+rights+act&st=nyt

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/us/23scotus.html?hp

AND TWO….BOOKS!!!!

Handbook of United States Election Laws and Practices: Political Rights by Alexander J. Bott.

”The Law Is Good”: The Voting Rights Act, Redistricting, and Black Regime Politics by Steven Andrew Light

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Chernynkaya
Member

Bito, also from Wiki–and this kinda blew my mind:

No affirmative right to vote

While the title of the Voting Rights Act might imply that it established an explicit right to vote for U.S. citizens to vote in presidential elections, there is no such federal right. In a Per curiam opinion regarding Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), the Supreme Court noted that, “The individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States,” a logical conclusion given the history of the Electoral College.[34] However, the Voting Rights Act and three constitutional amendments that prevent discrimination in granting the franchise have established in Supreme Court jurisprudence that there is a “fundamental right” in the franchise, even though voting remains a state-granted privilege. However, states are given considerable leeway when it comes to this “fundamental right”.

I understand that they are talking about the Electoral College, but this could open the door to terrible SCOTUS decisions.

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Emerald1943
Member

Hi CL! Where ya’ been? I’ve wondered if you were off on another fine adventure! We missed you for sure!

I believe you are correct about the Voting Rights Act, but there are states and certain districts in some others that must have “pre-clearance” by the DOJ for any changes in their laws. This is the way I understand it. I don’t, however, understand why only some districts or counties in states like North Carolina and Florida must have that approval…why not the entire state? I don’t know what the criteria are. Perhaps you do?

Right now, South Carolina is awaiting word from DOJ about their pre-clearance on their voter ID law change. Apparently, they submitted their filing in June and DOJ has just asked them for more information. I hope we will get some word soon. North Carolina will not have any changes as our governor has vetoed the bill.

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Chernynkaya
Member

C’Lady–you’re right!
http://www.eac.gov/assets/1/workflow_staging/Page/27.PDF
(Please see below comment for quote. It seems unambiguous.)

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Chernynkaya
Member

Did you notice SueInCa’s excellent post on this topic?
The Admins are wonderful, but it was Sue who provided the links.

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bito
Member

I moved it Cher. 😉

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bito
Member

Very good job Sue and if I may add to your list:

Voter Suppression Wiki Home
http://www.votersuppression.net/

And this was sent to us via our Twitter:

Voter ID Laws Prompt Black Caucus Tour for Black Political Survival
http://politic365.com/2011/10/28/voter-id-laws-prompt-black-caucus-tour-for-survival/

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Chernynkaya
Member

Sue, I got so excited about responding that I forgot to thank you for this–it’s really helpful!

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Chernynkaya
Member

Sue, this is a heartening list of actions! But it’s just a start. I think even though cable news (excluding Fox, of course) has done a good job on informing viewers about this issue, it’s really important to get the news out much more widely, because I think this is one of those things that needs loud public protests. I remember that here in California it was only after a lot of public outrage that the state AG (I think) got involved and changed the voting machines back to punch card.

As I understand it, the only states Holder (as the Federal government) has any oversight of are those under guidelines from the Civil Rights Act–namely, Southern states. Those are the states with a history of voter suppression. Not Ohio or Wisconsin, or Maine, for example. (I’ll have to check on this.) Therefore, I don’t think the Feds have any recourse against many of the states which have adopted new voter suppression tactics–but again, I need to check on this. That doesn’t mean nothing can be done. What it means is there needs to be a campaign to inform the voters in those states and THEY must take it to their state officials. That’s why the issue cannot wait; it takes a ling time to get the message out. That means writing to Senators and Reps, letters to the editor and so forth. If we sit back, the election will stolen through apathy.

I know you are aware of this, but for those who may not be, here is an excellent report from The Center for Media and Democracy on ALEC (Koch funded) on the concerted effort to suppress votes–all the proof anyone needs that this is an urgent issue. It’s bad enough that many of us can’t even trust the machines we vote with; we have no sold proof that the machines are rigged. But we do have proof that the Right is determined to disenfranchise MILLIONS of voters!

http://www.prwatch.org/node/10711

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choicelady
Member

Hi-

No Cher – those are just the states with direct federal oversight, but everyone is required to obey the VRA and that IS actionable. However, Ohio is being challenged on the right of voters to vote ON the redistricting so a judge has forbidden its implementation until AFTER the 2012 election and voter decision.

But the DOJ can enforce any violation of civil rights. There is a section for civil rights VOTING violations. The Assistant Attorney General over this Civil Rights Division is Thomas Perez – I met him here in Sacramento last year and think he is committed to this work. He spoke very strongly about protecting the rights under the VRA.

They are not limited anywhere – just don’t sit and watch all states as they do regularly in the Good Ol’ Boy ones that want to bring back the Fab 50s in all its racially segregated glory. Sigh.

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Chernynkaya
Member

CL, please see other comments–we are in agreement.

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bito
Member

Cher, I am largely in agreement with you as I understand it. The DOJ can’t just wade into just any change in voting laws in most states but they can/do in states requiring “preclearnce.”

[img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/3/32/Us_s5_cvr08.PNG/800px-Us_s5_cvr08.PNG[/img]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_Rights_Act

States that require photo ID’s has gone to the SCOTUS and approved by them.

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Khirad
Member

Alaska might as well been part of the Confederacy.

And seriously, what do they need it for? So a Canadian Inuit doesn’t sneak over and vote?

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Chernynkaya
Member

Bito and all– I learned something: There is a law called National Voter Registration Act (NVRA)of 1993. It is separate from the Civil Rights Act and applies to ALL states:

http://www.eac.gov/assets/1/workflow_staging/Page/27.PDF

SUBCHAPTER I–H—NATIONAL VOTER
REGISTRATION
§ 1973gg. Findings and purposes
(a) Findings
The Congress finds that—
(1) the right of citizens of the United States
to vote is a fundamental right;
(2) it is the duty of the Federal, State, and
local governments to promote the exercise of
that right; and
(3) discriminatory and unfair registration
laws and procedures can have a direct and
damaging effect on voter participation in elections for Federal office and disproportionately
harm voter participation by various groups,
including racial minorities.

And here is a very troubling article on Kos about this:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/03/03/468132/-Voter-Suppression-At-Justice:-DOJ-Gets-Tongue-Lashing-During-House-Oversight-Hearing

At issue was the DOJ’s enforcement of key provisions within the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which was passed by Congress in 1993 to increase participation in federal elections. Committee members attempted, with little success, to get Agarwal to explain why DOJ has spent the lion’s share of its resources to pressure states to purge voters rather than ensuring their rights.

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choicelady
Member

Look at the DATE – that was 2008 when the years before (esp. Florida?) had all been spent hunting down voters they could weed out. The opposite is now true.

The DOJ as I understand can be invited into a state if the gimmick (photo ID etc.) is discriminatory. I’m not sure of the mechanism, but that is why the Citizens Redistricting Commission was so careful with the VRA guidelines and keeping voting communities coherent and empowered. The feds could be called in and asked to undo anything that was in violation.

Bito – how strong was that SCOTUS ruling on “yes you can ask for ID”? I’m unaware of that. Our best test – when you vote, take the polling officials’ ID (quietly) if you are WHITE and not asked for your ID. Keep track if you are a poll watcher which you have every right to be. See if there is discrimination racially, ethnically, etc. Evidence – field evidence – is critical to overturning this new poll tax device.

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Chernynkaya
Member

As I noted below:

I should have mentioned that that Kos piece was under Bush. What I wanted to highlight was that the Dems ARE aware and have been fighting–especially Debby W-S. She talks about it all the time.

About that SCOTUS ID ruling that bito cited, it’s a doozy:

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights, validating Republican-inspired voter ID laws.
In a splintered 6-3 ruling, the court upheld Indiana’s strict photo ID requirement, which Democrats and civil rights groups said would deter poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots. Its backers said it was needed to prevent fraud.
It was the most important voting rights case since the Bush v. Gore dispute that sealed the 2000 election for George W. Bush. But the voter ID ruling lacked the conservative-liberal split that marked the 2000 case.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24351798/ns/politics/t/supreme-court-upholds-voter-id-law/#.Tq3s4N5KOxA
Which makes me ask, which has more weight, this or the ’93 Voting Rights Act? Because I am certain that most cases of voter ID can be proven to be discriminatory of certain groups.

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Chernynkaya
Member

Bito, I’d have to read the whole decision, but THE $64,000 question is: Does the ruling mean that unless states provide for free ID, the decision is not in effect? If they don’t, can the Voting Rights Act be invoked? Or is this like the Citizens United decision, where the Justices later said they made assumptions that were false. (I can’t remember where, but I recall some Justices said they hadn’t expected these results. Too busy now to find it. 🙁 )

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Chernynkaya
Member

Bito, it was (and is) a BFD! But elections don’t matter anyway, right? Let President Romney pick the next Justices.

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bito
Member

Thank You Cher for looking that up, I got busy. I did cite the decision awhile ago but where I got it, I can’t remember.

Edit: after reading the article, it did refresh my feeble memory and this was the turning point in the decision.

Indiana provides IDs free of charge to the poor and allows voters who lack photo ID to cast a provisional ballot and then show up within 10 days at their county courthouse to produce identification or otherwise attest to their identity.

Stevens said these provisions also help reduce the burden on people who lack driver licenses.

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Emerald1943
Member

Cher, I went to that article at DailyKos and it’s dated from March 2008, not surprising since the Village Idiot was still in office then. But this does show that it’s been a long time coming and that we can’t necessarily count on the DOJ with the “moles” that are still there from Bush.

I just have to say that this is worrying me more than anything else about the election. The Dems should let the voters know that the rethugs can’t win fairly on the issues, so they have to cheat in order to take back power. I don’t think that the American people like this strategy. We don’t like to be cheated!

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bito
Member

Cher, I don’t even pretend to understand all the in’s and out’s on the enforcement of voting rights. That is why I am cautious about condemning the DOJ for inaction. Perhaps they are doing an outstanding job with in their legal boundaries or maybe they aren’t.

Daily Kos did have it right, under the Bush Admin. They did any number of questionable things regarding voting rights.

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Chernynkaya
Member

Sue–excellent point! What was the term used? Embedded?

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Chernynkaya
Member

I should have mentioned that that Kos piece was under Bush. What I wanted to highlight was that the Dems ARE aware and have been fighting–especially Debby W-S. She talks about it all the time.

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agrippa
Member
agrippa

Good.

Registering to vote is not really all that difficult.
The RW is being stupid.

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Emerald1943
Member

Good morning, Sue! Great job! I’m really glad to see all this information in one place so that we can keep up.

The only up-side I could see about this situation is that the election is a full year away. There is time to try to stop this diabolical little plan from the RW. But the wheels of justice turn very slowly. I really have more faith in the ACLU and others than I do in the DOJ. Holder has not exactly been a live wire on anything that I can think of.

Thanks so much for posting!

ADDENDUM: Chris Hayes on his Sunday morning show discussing the redistricting in Texas and other voter issues right now! This is good!

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