Archive for voter registration

How To Build A Republican

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sugar and spice

Remember growning up there was a little nursery rhyme that spoke about what little boys and little girls are made of:

"What Are Little Boys Made Of?

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails
And puppy-dogs' tails
That's what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That's what little girls are made of.

Ah, such simpler times. And such simple ingredients.

That got me to thinking about applying ingredients to a boiling cauldron and making a member of today's GOP. What would it take? What kind of ingredients make that peculiar type of boy or girl who lacks any sense of common decency, imbued without compassion, filled with hate and inbred to the point that common sense and logic defy their grasp. So shiftless and aimless are they that they're starting to resemble the walking dead.

Then one day, their national party, led by Reince Priebus declared a plan to enrich their ranks. They were going to target specific groups to try to woe them over to their dark side.

Mighty was this plan and perhaps a bit overwhelming as there were so many deficiencies in their current make-up, they took the brave step to announce "change." They were going to seek out new targets to enlist in their quest for world domination, and suppression of all that was not theirs. They were going to become -- wait for it -- more mainstream.

To do that they needed a plan. Something tricky. Something shrewd. After all, they needed to convert so many of their adversaries. So they began with a public announcement that they would seek to enlarge their tent by going after women, minorities, immigrants, the young and the LGBT people.

They decided to be bold. They dusted off an old advertising campaign tactic-- the negative sell. Yes, they'd get people to come to them by fighting against everything that their intended targets were for.

The negative sell. So, how's that working out for you, Republicans? You shut down the government. You passed restrictive anti-voter registration and ID laws, you pushed back women's rights by tightening contraception/abortion restrictions, you became an obstacle to equal pay between the sexes, you blocked immigration reform and for your crowning glory, you've become the party of the anti-gay. You've done everything the people didn't want.

You are consistent if nothing else -- (and nothing else might be in a dead heat with you right now, syphilis and gonorrhea nipping at your heels). Despite the public's overwhelming positions contrary to yours on all of these issues, you've stuck with the unpopular negative stands.

I guess you all, led by the ever-clever Chairman Priebus, didn't take into account the masses might not get your negative sell. And when an audience doesn't know that you're joking, they think you mean what you say. And what you say is mean. It's not possible that you could really represent all those polarizing positions? It would be naive, maybe stupid, possibly even backfire on you.

Wake up. It has. You couldn't be any less popular than you are. Your obstinance in still plowing forward with your march toward ruination or ruin-a-nation can be encapsulated in this clip: Your homophobic stance and how it flies in the face of public opinion. I guess desperate people say and do desperate things. Don't forget to shut the lights and close the door behind you on your exit to oblivion.

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The States Plot To Subdue Black Votes - It's Criminal

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No vote

Why are 4.3 million US voters being denied their right to vote? It's not that they lack the proper identification. It's that 31 states have decided that if you've committed a felony, you lose your right to vote -- forever.

Is that fair? Is it right? Well, there's more behind it than just a form of continuing punishment in perpetuity.

The right to speech, to religion, the right to due process and the right to own property are not denied to the formerly incarcerated. So what's really behind this? You probably won't be surprised. Race.

The fear that a felon can't reintegrate into society is the great misconception. Felons are people too. What separates them from us is they're people who made a mistake. We may hate their crime, but we don't have to hate them forever... unless of course, you're a crime and punishment Republican. In that case, take out the fuel and the matches to stoke the flames of fear.

Racial fear.

Consider this: one in three Black men in the US, of voting age, is denied the right to vote by state restrictions for felons. In 2010, that was 5.8 million men. They made a bad decision somewhere in their lives. And they paid for it, whether it was murder or simply drug possession. If you do the time you should be fine. In less than half the states, that's true.

In those places when they're released, they're not whole. They're stigmatized as second class citizens. That opens the door to recidivism, not an incentive to make the best of a second chance. It builds up resentment and a disenfranchisement. Hardly the desired effects of the deterrent of prison.

Isn't it time to let a man or woman pay his/her debt society and welcome them back? Watch this segment from The Cycle. Restoring voting rights isn't a risk. It's a reward for making amends and paying one's debt to society.

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Voter Fairness Must Include Forgiveness

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Mercedies Harris

I bet it must be a bitch to have to live with the tag 'felon' for the rest of your life. I think the classification of what constitutes a felony is quite vast, and something maybe need to be adjusted. Or maybe our classifications of crimes needs an overhaul. As an example. Murder, rape, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, easily those are felonies.

Possession of marijuana, tax evasion, possessing stolen property, even viewing of child pornography are all bad. They're all wrong. But do your penance, do your time and when you get out, you should be free to continue living. These are generally non-violent crimes. Yet commit any of these and in some states you're prohibited from voting. Yup, that's right. You're no longer allowed to help chose who represents you. Why? And if you can answer that, then question why some states allow it, and others don't. Some have a waiting period and some allow you to vote immediately.

Here is the case of Mercedies Harris, as covered The American Prospect this week.

Mercedies Harris was 27 in 1990, when he was arrested for drug possession and distribution in Fairfax, Virginia. Harris had served in the Marines, but the death of his brother in 1986—killed by a hit-and-run driver—sent him down a familiar path. “I was angry and I couldn’t find the guy who did it,” Harris says. “I got into drugs to find a way to medicate myself.”

He did his time and then was released. Non-violent offense. But he's a felon. Admitting his past indiscretion and his criminal conviction, he found it hard to find housing, a job, even getting a drivers license.

But he found one obstacle that was especially difficult to overcome: He couldn't vote. Virginia is one of four states—along with Florida, Iowa, and Kentucky—that strip voting rights from felons for life for all felons.

Seven states—Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Mississippi, Nevada, Tennessee, and Wyoming—have lifetime bans for particular crimes or repeat felony offenders.

In Virginia alone, 450,000 residents are disenfranchised. In Florida, the total is an astonishing 1.5 million. (These and several other numbers in this article were gathered from the Sentencing Project, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.)

So this is actually large numbers we're talking about, and in just two states. By conservative estimate,

More than five million Americans are currently disenfranchised because of felony convictions.

This idea that a lifetime ban for felons to vote makes the U.S. the only country in the world to prohibit permanent voting disenfranchisement.

As I've said before, but we're not talking about a small effective pool of people. We're talking about your next door neighbor, your barber, your cab driver or you car mechanic. You trust them with your safety and your possessions. Can't we trust them with their vote?

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Hypocrisy alert: WI Gov. Scott Walker's son used same-day voter registration in GOP primary

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Wisconsin county clerks said this to Gov. Scott Walker: “There’s no way we’d be in favor” of eliminating same-day voter registration. They said that because Walker rationalized his latest voter suppression fantasy of doing away with same-day registration by declaring that life would be easier for election clerks.

Isn't that just like Scotty? Always thinking of others.

Then he backed off his original remarks.

But shortly after Walker spoke, Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc) said he and Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) were writing a bill to end election-day registration.

When he spoke to reporters Wednesday, Walker said he still backed ending election-day registration but said his opponents were getting carried away with the issue because he was not pursuing it.

So he did back it, but he then he didn't, not really, but his supporters do, and he still does, too.

He's just not "pursuing" it, see. Even though he backs it. But didn't. But does.

Got that?

Now get this... Via JSOnline:

Although he has signaled opposition to same-day voter registration, Gov. Scott Walker accompanied his college-age son to a Wauwatosa polling place to register and vote on Aug. 14 - the day of the GOP Senate primary.

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Wisconsin voter suppression alert

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Wikipedia:

Robin J. Vos is a Republican Party member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing the 63rd Assembly District since 2004. Vos is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, serving as Wisconsin state leader.

In case you had forgotten, ALEC  (American Legislative Exchange Council) is an organization of state legislators which favors federalism and conservative public policy solutions. They literally write legislation for Republican Congress members, who then do whatever they can to pass it. The Nation:

Of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC provides some of the best returns: it gives the Kochs a way to make their brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding.

All that was just to give you a little background on who's behind the Voter I.D. laws in Wisconsin.

Via WisPolitics:

Incoming Assembly speaker Robin Vos told Sunday’s “UpFront with Mike Gousha” that requiring a photo ID for voting will be a priority in the upcoming legislative session.

“Having photo ID is something that is broadly supported by the public. It is something that I really hope we will have in place by the next general election,” he said about the law that has been hung up in the courts. [...]

He added a swipe at same-day registration, under fire from many Republicans.

Governor Scott Walker supports this, of course. Anything to make it harder for voters to, you know, vote, right Republicans?

Same-day registrants tended to vote Democratic, including minorities and students. And Walker and his pals might want to pay attention to WI county clerks who say, “There’s no way we’d be in favor” of eliminating same-day voter registration.

Even though the Justice Department already examining ways to make voting easier, that doesn't seem to deter voter suppressionists like Vos. Only a few weeks ago, Romney's Wisconsin co-chair said he would have “absolutely” won the state with the Voter ID law. There's your motive, not faux concerns over Voter I.D. fraud.

Again, it’s the Republicans who have tried to suppress the vote in several Republican-run states, and from the reports I’ve seen, it’s Republicans who have been caught committing voter fraud.

Voter I.D. fraud is nearly non-existent, and, of course, the GOP-generated Voter I.D. laws affect mostly Democratic voters.

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WI county clerks to Gov. Scott Walker: “There’s no way we’d be in favor" of eliminating same-day voter registration

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In November, Wisconsin's GOP gained seats in the Senate, giving the party control over the legislature, not to mention having a Republican Governor, Scott Walker. They've got it all.

So what does Scotty do, a mere two weeks after President Obama’s presidential victory? Why, he announces his desire to make voting harder for more people, because, you know, that's what democracy's all about... at least in Walker's narrow little mind. He suggested doing this by getting rid of same-day voter registration, something that's been around for decades in Wisconsin.

Walker rationalizes his newest voter suppression fantasy of doing away with same-day registration by declaring that life would be easier for election clerks. He would be wrong.

Via the Wisconsin State Journal:

But the state's municipal clerks — the ones who run elections — are not looking to be relieved of the extra work, said Diane Hermann-Brown, election communications chairwoman for the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks' Association. In fact, eliminating the practice would create a "heavy burden" on municipalities and the state, said Hermann-Brown, who is the city clerk in Sun Prairie.

"There's no way we'd be in favor of that," she said.

If same-day registration were eliminated, the state would no longer be exempt from a whole raft of federal provisions, Hermann-Brown said, including requiring state social-service agencies and driver's license bureaus to register voters.

Clerks also would be required to issue provisional ballots to voters whose registrations could not immediately be verified, she said.

Provisional ballots create headaches for clerks and voters and can also delay election results for days.

Election 2012 gave Walker and his fellow Republicans a few new headaches, of course, because President Obama won, and he won because same-day registrants tended to vote Democratic, including minorities and students.

As Hermann-Brown noted, the 1976 Legislature made this point when they passed the law: "The vote is the single most critical act in our democratic system of government ... voter registration was not intended to and should not prevent voting."

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Florida does it again: Votes to be retabulated in Allen West vs. Patrick Murphy congressional race

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Allen West-- yes the same Allen West who stood by and watched as my friend and radio host Nicole Sandler was arrested for committing democracy at one of his events-- still refuses to concede:

(CNN)Republican Rep. Allen West's push to have votes recounted in his Florida congressional race against Democrat Patrick Murphy was granted late Friday when the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections ordered a re-tabulation of all eight days of early voting to begin Saturday morning. [...]

West's campaign filed a complaint Tuesday in St. Lucie County, calling for the court to order a recount of all early votes in the county in his race for re-election. Allen's request was initially denied Friday afternoon, but later that evening a canvassing board ordered the retabulation, citing sufficient concern to grant the re-examination of the votes, according to CNN affiliate WPBF in West Palm Beach.

As of today, Murphy leads by just over 1,900 votes. Meanwhile, Democrats are accusing Florida Governor Rick Scott of improperly interfering to help him.  DNC chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, flat out accused him of intervening:

All votes in this election were counted fairly and accurately, and Allen West has lost beyond the mandatory recount range.  Having Governor Scott intervene is outrageous and inappropriate. After disenfranchising Florida voters by cutting down early voting days and creating extraordinarily long lines at the polls, Governor Scott is now trying to blatantly overturn an election result he disagreed with and undermine Gertrude Walker, a three-decade veteran of the St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections office.  Governor Scott needs to remove himself from this process immediately.

And Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings  added that "Governor Rick Scott’s attempt to undermine and pressure St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker – just because he would prefer to keep Allen West in Congress – is yet another blatant display of his willingness to disregard the rule of law for political gain.”

Yet there Scott was, pretending like he had nothing to do with those terrible lines and all those disenfranchised voters! He had the jaw-droppingly, unmitigated, hypocritical gall to demand a fix to the voting problems that he, Mr. Voter Purge, helped create.

More from Hastings:

It was Governor Scott who cut early voting hours, created long lines during early voting, and imposed unprecedented burdens on county election offices.  Despite his repeated efforts to disenfranchise voters, the people of Florida’s 18th district chose Patrick Murphy to represent them in Washington, and by a margin that does not necessitate a recount.

The rest of his statement, along with more on this story, can be found at the Sun Sentinel.

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