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Voter IDIf you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out Courts and Law Reporter Sharon McCloskey’s lead story over on the main Policy Watch site – “Lawmakers: What we talked about when we talked about Voter ID.” As McCloskey reports, GOP lawmakers may be forced, sooner or later, to disclose what they were really up to when they passed the controversial “Monster” voting law in 2013:

“What were state GOP lawmakers’ intentions when they enacted House Bill 589, one of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation?

That’s the question the groups challenging the law want answered by the handful of legislators they served with subpoenas in December, asking those lawmakers to produce emails, letters, reports and other records used when pushing for voting law changes last session.

The lawmakers responded last week with an opening salvo in what might become an extended battle, claiming to be completely insulated from any obligation to produce those communications.

But if the court in Greensboro follows decisions from others across the country resolving voting cases, those lawmakers may have to start digging through their files and come up with some answers. Read More

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In a ruling released today, a Pennsylvania judge has struck down that state’s voter ID law as unconstitutional.

As summed up by NPR in an earlier post,

[The] legal challenge to Pennsylvania’s law was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union with 93-year-old Viviette Applewhite as the lead plaintiff. She’s a longtime voter, born in Philadelphia, who wouldn’t be able to get the ID she would need under new rules because she doesn’t have a birth certificate or other key identifying documents, such as a non-driving license.

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley found the law, which would require voters to show a state-issued photo ID before they could cast their ballots, invalid on its face.

More from NPR here.

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Traditionally, official press releases issued from the offices of high public officials carry some imprimatur of solemnity and seriousness. While one realizes at some level that they’re ultimately just a way of the official in question to communicate with the media and the public, the releases still typically come with (and convey) an air of officialdom — i.e. that they are public documents issued by the public official in his or her official government capacity.

With this as background, check out a couple of recent “press releases” from Gov. Pat McCrory that sound and look more like dashed-off blog posts.

On Tuesday of this week, the Governor of North Carolina issued an official press release that was simply a reprinted Wall Street Journal editorial about the evils of extended unemployment benefits. It even included the social media abbreviation “ICYMI” in the headline – as in “ICYMI: Wall Street Journal: How to Keep Workers Unemployed.”

Then, just yesterday, the Governor issued another “official” press release. It said the following: Read More

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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