Archives

In case you missed it over the weekend, one of the nation’s sharpest experts on voting and voter suppression efforts, Prof. Richard Hasen of the University of California, Irvine, (click here to see Hasen interviewed on “News and Views”) had an excellent editorial in the New York Times entitled: “Voter Suppression’s New Pretext.”

He cites North Carolina’s now banished GOP official Don Yelton in the article:

“Unlike with race-based discrimination, which, if proved, could violate both the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution, the Supreme Court has refused to recognize a standard for policing even nakedly partisan gerrymandering.

But now, supporters of strict voter-ID, registration and other voting laws are trying to use the same defense they have used to defend gerrymandering. Read More

A hat tip to Brent Laurenz at the Center for Voter Education for pointing out this this story from earlier this morning on the GovBeat blog at the Washington Post:

“Voting-rights advocates are pushing a new line of attack on laws that require voters to show identification at the polls: The laws, they say, disproportionately impact women.

There’s anecdotal evidence in Texas, where state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) was among those who had to sign an affidavit before casting her ballot because her voter record didn’t include her middle name (Davis’s likely general election opponent in her bid for governor, Attorney General Greg Abbott, also had to sign an affidavit).

There is also statistical evidence that women are more likely than men to not have valid identification at the polls. That’s because women make up larger shares of just about every one of the sub-groups that are least likely to have a current, valid identification. Here are the groups most likely to be impacted:

The Poor: More than 1 million voters who fall below the poverty line live more than 10 miles away from their nearest identification-issuing office, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice. The cost of birth certificates, often required to obtain identification, and the IDs themselves can be a burden; having to travel, and perhaps miss work, is another hurdle to getting an ID. And according to Census data compiled by the National Women’s Law Center, women are more likely to live in poverty than men. The poverty rate among adult women over 18 was 14.6 percent in 2011, compared with 10.9 percent of men.

Seniors: The AARP says as many as one in five seniors lacks a current government-issued photo identification….”

Read the rest of the WaPo story by clicking here.

 

UPDATE: The Buncombe County GOP moves to rid itself of Yelton. See below

The Buncombe County conservative activist who told one of the “The Daily Show”‘s fake new reporters that North Carolina’s voter identification and election law changes were primarily designed to hurt Democrats (and not prevent voter fraud) said he’s happy with the comedy show’s segment.

“The comments that were made, that I said, I stand behind them,” Don Yelton told the Mountain Xpress today, an alternative weekly newspaper in Asheville.

He also told the weekly that it could have been worse – other things he said in the course of the interview were apparently more shocking.

Read More

In an editorial last week, the Wall Street Journal went after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for suing North Carolina over voting law changes enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly in June, calling his efforts to bail the state back into federal supervision under the still-viable Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act a backdoor tactic with little chance of success.

Putting aside the fact that the Attorney General challenges several of the changes — shortening of the early voting period, for example, or the elimination of provisional ballots for those who vote in the wrong precinct — the Journal argues that Holder is out of luck because courts elsewhere have approved voter ID laws.

Courts have already reviewed similar laws in other states and found them legal. In 2008, in a 6-3 decision written by liberal former Justice John Paul Stevens, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Indiana’s voter ID law. In 2011, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that the Peach State’s voter ID law was constitutional, calling its photo ID requirements a “minimal, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory restriction.” Thirty-four states now require voters to show some form of photo ID. Read More

Voter IDHere’s a pretty amazing and frustrating story: Richard Posner, one of the conservative pillars of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago told an interviewer last Friday that he erred in upholding Indiana’s groundbreaking and vote-suppressing voter ID law.

As Think Progress reports today:

Judge Richard Posner authored a federal appeals court decision upholding the nation’s first voter ID law, a common voter suppression law that disproportionately disenfranchises people of color, students and low income voters. The Supreme Court, while technically deciding the case on a narrower grounds than Posner’s opinion, later ensured that voter ID laws would flourish by making them virtually impossible to challenge under the Constitution. Read More