Last fall, voters across North Carolina made their choices at the ballot box. In the next general election we will see whether they still like those they chose.
I recently read a post from state Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover. He explains why he and Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson, introduced a bill taking away our choice to vote a straight ticket. Republicans like more choice in theory. Because freedom. But they insist on taking away this choice. Plus a few others.
See, straight-ticket voting indicates "voter laziness," says Goolsby. Meaning, 56 percent of North Carolina's straight-ticket voters choose the other party, and that's just wrong, as he sees it.
Or "You're doing it all wrong, son," as Foghorn Leghorn might see it. "Now a smart, I say, a smart voter...."
As part of a broader assault on the voting rights of Floridians, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill in 2011 that placed severe restrictions and penalties on third party groups that attempt to register new voters. A federal judge ruled Thursday that the law was unconstitutional.
The second, less-well-known effort, is a new set of Florida state rules that make it very difficult to register new voters, and create severe penalties for anyone who doesn’t precisely comply with them. These rules are so onerous that many groups that formerly routinely ran voter registration drives, like the League of Women Voters, stopped doing it because they found the new rules were impossible to comply with.
Now, thanks to a lawsuit by the League of Women Voters of Florida, Florida Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, and Rock the Vote, a federal judge in Tallahassee, no hotbed of liberalism, has issued a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of key parts of the voter-registration-suppression scheme:
"The statute and rule impose a harsh and impractical 48-hour deadline for an organization to deliver applications to a voter registration office and effectively prohibit an organization from mailing applications in. And the statute and rule impose burdensome record-keeping and reporting requirements that serve little if any purpose, thus rendering them unconstitutional even to the extent they do not violate the [National Voting Rights Act]."
Via press release, numerous groups applauded the ruling:
“Today’s ruling is a clear victory for Florida voters,” said Lee Rowland, counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, one of the attorneys who argued the case for the Plaintiffs. “The Florida legislature has tried repeatedly to stifle access to voter registration opportunities. By halting onerous provisions of the law, the court has stood up for voters and for civic groups across the state helping Floridians register to vote.”
The Brennan Center for Justice, which represented the groups in the lawsuit, will hold a media conference call at 4:00 PM EST to discuss the decision. Please dial 800-651-2087, and use the passcode 32594759. Representatives from the League of Women Voters, Rock the Vote, and Florida PIRG will also be on the call.
“For over 72 years, League volunteers have faithfully and successfully helped to register eligible Florida voters,” explained Deirdre Macnab, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. “We are hopeful that this ruling will enable us to continue this important work. Florida’s anti-voter law creates impassable roadblocks for our volunteers, who are simply trying to bring fellow citizens into our democratic process. We are grateful the court recognized that the Constitution does not tolerate these types of barriers to civic participation and voter registration.”
“As the nation's largest young voter organization, we've dedicated more than two decades to educating and empowering young people to participate in our nation's democracy,” stated Heather Smith, President of Rock the Vote. “Rock the Vote has encouraged hundreds of thousands of young Florida residents to have a voice in their community and country. Today’s ruling is a victory for them, and for our democracy. We will quickly assess whether this ruling will allow us to restart our critical voter registration work on the ground in Florida.”
“Our representative democracy relies on an engaged citizenry, yet voter turnout in Florida remains far too low,” added Brad Ashwell of the Florida Public Interest Research Education Fund. “That’s why we work to sign up thousands of first time voters across the state each election cycle. We are pleased the court froze the majority of this law, so we can continue to fulfill this mission.”
“We are pleased that our clients and civic groups all across the State of Florida demonstrated the intimidation and threat of punishment created by this unconstitutional law,” said Robert Atkins, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP representing the plaintiffs.
“This is a resounding victory for the Constitution and Florida citizens against a clear attempt to suppress political participation,” added Howard Simon of the ACLU of Florida.
MediaBloodhound: A Bush-appointed Federal Election Commissioner who remains in office, provided misleading statements under oath in an effort to conceal Republican National Committee involvement in vote suppression activities during the 2004 presidential election. Here's part ll...
TarsTarkas: Fox News and the Fox Nation: We ARE the tea parties
Emptywheel: Our torture regime was based on the same kinds of lies as the Iraq war
GOP scheme to supress the black
vote is back, nastier than ever
Errol Louis NY Daily News
In nine urban communities throughout the swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Missouri, poisonous ads have popped up on black radio shows from a group calling itself People of Color United. The ads feature purely personal, racialized attacks on Democrat John Kerry - in fact, none of them mentions President Bush or asks listeners to vote for him.
Here's a sample:
"Our community doesn't need another wishy-washy, rich white politician, and boy, does Kerry come across as rich, white and wishy-washy."
Another ad says: "His wife [Mozambique-born Teresa Heinz Kerry] says she's an African-American. While technically true, I don't believe a white woman, raised in Africa, surrounded by servants, qualifies."
Rodney Capel, New York director of the Kerry campaign, predicts the tactic won't work. "We have no doubt these Republican- financed attacks ads are absolutely designed to suppress voter turnout," he says. "We believe African-Americans will tune them out and instead tune into the positive message of the Kerry-Edwards campaign."