"Joy and pleasure are as real as pain and sorrow and one must learn what they have to teach. . . ." -- Sean Russell, from Gatherer of Clouds

"If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right." -- Helyn D. Goldenberg

"I love you and I'm not afraid." -- Evanescence, "My Last Breath"

“If I hear ‘not allowed’ much oftener,” said Sam, “I’m going to get angry.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien, from Lord of the Rings

Monday, August 01, 2016

Today's Must-Read: About All That "Voter Fraud"

From Tom Sullivan at Hullabaloo, on voter suppression laws (because that's what they are, and I'm not inclined to buy into the right-wing's attempts to pretty them up and pretend that they actually serve any other purpose) and their fate in the courts:

On Friday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond unanimously struck down North Carolina's Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA), one of the most sweeping voting "reform" laws in the country, a voter ID law that was about far more than photo IDs. Perhaps the Charlotte Observer Editorial Board put it best:
We knew. Deep down, most of us knew.

We knew that North Carolina’s 2013 voter ID law, like similar laws across the country, was not truly about voter fraud, but voter suppression.

We knew Republicans were less interested in the integrity of elections than in building obstacles for their opponents’ supporters.

We knew. Some Republicans even admitted it. And last week, in North Carolina, they got called on it.

This, as I keep saying, is their M.O.: Find the line. Step over it. Dare someone to push them back.

It helps that they're not even pretending any more:

 The 4th Circuit found that North Carolina's law was the product of research. The Washington Post reports:
In particular, the court found that North Carolina lawmakers requested data on racial differences in voting behaviors in the state. "This data showed that African Americans disproportionately lacked the most common kind of photo ID, those issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)," the judges wrote.
So the law eliminated forms of acceptable IDs to those most likely to be held by whites. As in Wisconsin, limiting early voting as a means of disenfranchising black voters was also a factor.
The data also showed that black voters were more likely to make use of early voting — particularly the first seven days out of North Carolina's 17-day voting period. So lawmakers eliminated these seven days of voting. "After receipt of this racial data, the General Assembly amended the bill to eliminate the first week of early voting, shortening the total early voting period from seventeen to ten days," the court found.

Most strikingly, the judges point to a "smoking gun" in North Carolina's justification for the law, proving discriminatory intent. The state argued in court that "counties with Sunday voting in 2014 were disproportionately black" and "disproportionately Democratic," and said it did away with Sunday voting as a result.
Judge Diana Diana Gribbon Motz writes:
[I]n what comes as close to a smoking gun as we are likely to see in modern times, the State’s very justification for a challenged statute hinges explicitly on race -- specifically its concern that African Americans, who had overwhelmingly voted for Democrats, had too much access to the franchise.

It's way past time to clean out the statehouses. Granted, if Illinois is any indication, Democrats at the state and local level are probably as corrupt as Republicans, but, in their favor, they generally want people to vote. (I hear Florida's legislature is even more corrupt.) The big plus for Democrats is that they're not as ideologically driven as Republicans have become, and are much more interested in governing.

Read Sullivan's whole piece. It's kind of appalling.

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