Another proud day for conservatives

No one could have predicted:

Dorothy Cooper is 96 but she can remember only one election when she’s been eligible to vote but hasn’t. The retired domestic worker was born in a small North Georgia town before women had the right to vote. She began casting ballots in her 20s after moving to Chattanooga for work. She missed voting for John F. Kennedy in 1960 because a move to Nashville prevented her from registering in time

So when she learned last month at a community meeting that under a new state law she’d need a photo ID to vote next year, she talked with a volunteer about how to get to a state Driver Service Center to get her free ID. But when she got there Monday with an envelope full of documents, a clerk denied her request.
That morning, Cooper slipped a rent receipt, a copy of her lease, her voter registration card and her birth certificate into a Manila envelope. Typewritten on the birth certificate was her maiden name, Dorothy Alexander “But I didn’t have my marriage certificate,” Cooper said Tuesday afternoon, and that was the reason the clerk said she was denied a free voter ID at the Cherokee Boulevard Driver Service Center.
In Nashville on Tuesday afternoon, a coalition of organizations announced an effort to repeal the law. Groups such as the ACLU of Tennessee, various chapters of the NAACP, the AFL-CIO and Tennessee Citizen Action announced a petition drive and get-out-the-vote effort.

Absentee ballots don’t require photo ID, and the new state law was crafted to allow that exception. A U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding a similar Indiana statute cited the absentee ballot exception as one of the reasons the Indiana law didn’t infringe on constitutional voting rights.

Still, Cooper said she will miss the practice of going to the voting precinct located in the building next door to hers.

Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, is one of the main proponents, and even he is backpedaling. Yesterday, as liberal groups launched a petition drive against the law and the Senate held hearings into whether it’s disenfranchising voters, Ketron introduced a bill to let anyone over the age of 60 vote by absentee ballot without a photo ID. Ketron said he doesn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want a photo ID. “They make you proud,”he said.

Oh, conservatives should be very proud.

There’s a lot of shame to go around here, and every time I post on this I get questions in the comments like: “why is this allowable under federal law?”

The short answer is it’s allowable under federal law because the US Supreme Court considered the Indiana law that set the legal precedent that allows partisan Republicans in these states to attempt to disenfranchise certain voters, and the US Supreme Court blithely and cavalierly rubber-stamped that Indiana law.

The Supreme Court on Monday backed Indiana’s law requiring voters to show photo identification, despite concerns thousands of elderly, poor and minority voters could be locked out of their right to cast ballots. The 6-3 vote allows Indiana to require the identification when it holds its statewide primary next week. It also will give most state legislatures time to revise their voter laws for the November elections. This was perhaps the biggest voter rights case taken up by the justices since the 2000 dispute over Florida’s ballots, in which George W. Bush prevailed to gain the presidency.

That’s where this started. That’s what opened the flood gates and led us to today.

I don’t want to leave anyone out of today’s stunning conservative victory. An honorable mention in the big win should go to two millionaire media stars: Fox News personality/reporter Greta Van Susteren and her fellow Murdoch mouthpiece, John Fund at the Wall Street Journal. These two soulless ghouls pushed the voter fraud lie relentlessly and helped get us here. What a great day for media giants Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. They managed to push a 96-year-old woman out of her neighborhood polling place.

You go, Tennessee voting enthusiasts. Put this law to a citizen veto. Ohio just did it, and you can too.

h/t Benen

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41 replies
  1. 1
    LittlePig says:

    Jim Crow is alive and well and living in Chattanooga.

  2. 2
    birthmarker says:

    I’ve been waiting for an open thread, but now I must leave, so, ironic thread highjack…John, could you repost the ABL fundraiser from last night? There was serious threadjacking going on.

    Sorry Kay. Peace be with you and yours.

  3. 3
    eemom says:

    what a disgrace.

  4. 4
    Jeff Boatright says:

    Some days I just cannot figure out whether Stevens is stupid, gullible, or both. Other days he seems brilliant.

  5. 5
    Kay says:

    @birthmarker:

    It’s fine. I can hardly complain. I go off topic on my own posts :)

  6. 6
    Culture of Truth says:

    Ketron introduced a bill to let anyone over the age of 60 vote by absentee ballot without a photo ID.

    And how do you prove how old you are, jackass?

  7. 7
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    This is why whenever I hear somebody say the Repups are up against a demographic wall down the line, I say no. They’ll do what they’re doing now: working hard to disenfranchise voters.

    They can’t win via the ballot box down the line so they’ll take the ballot box out of the equation.

  8. 8
    Bullsmith says:

    Having a supreme court that applies the bill of rights to money but not to people is really a problem.

  9. 9
    Jennifer says:

    This calls for another T-shirt, showing a ballot & a guillotine, with the legend, “Which way would you prefer for us to vote?”

  10. 10
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    This is really is quite simple to understand.

    Any vote not cast for a Republican is, by definition, fraudulent.

    This is all that you need to know.

    I wish I was only snarking.

  11. 11
    Yutsano says:

    Sounds like a law that is WAI to me. Gotta keep all dem undesireables from voting the wrong way dontchaknow.

  12. 12
    BrianK says:

    I’ve been telling people for years that they should watch what the conservatives do here in Indiana – we’re the laboratory for this kind of crazy.

    Voter ID? Check.
    “Regulating” abortion & family planning out of existence? Check.
    Banning funding to Planned Parenthood? Check.
    Selling off state infrastructure? Check.
    Privatizing welfare systems? Check.
    Dissolving collective bargaining? Check. (In fact, that was Mitch Daniels’ first official act in office.)

  13. 13
    West of the Cascades says:

    And keep challenging these laws in court. The Supreme Court case that upheld the Indiana voter ID law was a badly-fractured majority, with 3 judges (led by John Paul Stevens of all people) writing the plurality opinion, 3 concurring with the result (upholding the law) but for different reasons, and two separate dissents. One of the features of that case was that there were very few facts supporting the justification (fraud prevention) that the legislature came up with, but also very few facts to show the number of voters without photo ID or who suffered actual denial of the ability to vote because they couldn’t obtain the “free” ID cards.

    Now that there is more experience with these laws as-applied to deny real voters their rights to vote, there’s a possibility that a petitioner could prove that these laws in practice could place “non-trivial” burdens on
    voters. It’s really remarkable how abstract the plurality and concurrence opinion are in their dismissal of potential burdens — but it was partly a result of there being not much factual evidence AT THAT TIME of how the voter ID laws would prevent legitimate voters from voting while doing nothing to prevent “fraud” (because the latter is non-existent). Now we have plaintiffs like Dorothy Cooper. And Kagan has replaced Stevens.

  14. 14
    Mary says:

    Ketron introduced a bill to let anyone over the age of 60 vote by absentee ballot without a photo ID.

    Christ on a cracker – Not at all surprising that they want to exempt people in a demographic that is overwhelmingly likely to vote Republican.

  15. 15
    ant says:

    Typewritten on the birth certificate was her maiden name, Dorothy Alexander “But I didn’t have my marriage certificate,” Cooper said Tuesday afternoon, and that was the reason the clerk said she was denied a free voter ID at the Cherokee Boulevard Driver Service Center.

    So if she ponied up the 20 dollars or what ever it is, could she have gotten the id?

    Is this requirement just for the “free” id, or for all photo id’s in this state?

  16. 16
    Chris from Arlington says:

    Laws like this make a hideous mockery of our democracy.

    Still, I have to ask: in theory shouldn’t she be able to go to the county / city / whatever that she was married in and get a copy of her marriage certificate?

    It’s ridiculous that she should have to, but a marriage certificate is a government document, and should, in theory, be stored in a file in some courthouse somewhere.

  17. 17
    Elie says:

    I am always perplexed by the attitudes that people have that we must ultimately accept injustice.

    That is just not the case. We can fight and change things — can be done — has been done successfully in the past also.

    Now, can it be done from the comfort of our livingroom and just on blog sites? NO!!

    You know what we have to do and what its going to take. It is going to take Organizing, then Action and yes, perhaps some real Sacrifice.

    Fred Shuttlesworth, the founder of the SCLC died yesterday. He led marches in Birmingham against Bull Connor — day after day pushing participation and keeping the blacks who marched focused and energized to be attacked by police dogs and fire hoses. He was personally knocked down and ribs broken by the spray of a firehose. The Birmingham jails were filled with civil rights protesters, including children.

    I am not saying that marches would solve our current problem. Marches and public meetings and gatherings can bring attention to an issue. This is where the blogs and internet info sources are so critical… since we no longer seem to have a main stream media that covers what is happening, the blogs and internet and international sources can help get the word out.

    We must organize and act… not just whine and throw our hands up like we can’t do anything. We can. We HAVE.

  18. 18
    Svensker says:

    @Chris from Arlington:

    Still, I have to ask: in theory shouldn’t she be able to go to the county / city / whatever that she was married in and get a copy of her marriage certificate?

    Of course. But first of all, she needs to know that. Second of all, she needs to be able to get there. And thirdly, she needs to have the money to pay for it.

    Why on earth should anyone have to jump through those hurdles to vote? Particularly since she’s been going to the same polling place for over 50 years?

  19. 19
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Chris from Arlington: Ah, but she may not live where she got married and even if she does, does she have the resources and money to get a copy of the license. Do you understand being 96 years old… (Agreeing with Svensker at 17.)

    And I don’t get why they need the marriage license anyway. (Besides it being one more hurdle to impose.)

  20. 20

    Yeah, but let’s beat up on Obama.

    …I mean, let’s make damned sure that attention is paid to this. I know the OWS event and others like it are getting our attention (and finally the MSM’s, it seems) but stories like this must be brought to people’s attention. Otherwise, it’s 2000 all over again.

    Thankfully, the Administration and some Dems are calling attention to this.

    @Elie:

    “We must organize and act… not just whine and throw our hands up like we can’t do anything. We can. We HAVE.”

    This, this, this. Thank you so much for this.

  21. 21
    kay says:

    @Chris from Arlington:

    What bothers me, from a process angle, is this:

    Despite that, Qualls said, “the examiner should have taken extra steps to determine alternative forms of documentation for Ms. Cooper.”

    These laws introduce a whole area of subjective decision-making that could have been anticipated. Leaving it up to what a low-level clerk “should” do is just a recipe for bias.

    The same thing happens with poll workers and “provisional ballots”. Some of them adopt this sort of “belt and suspenders” approach that is just crazy when we’re talking about voting. “I see your utility bill and raise you a college ID!”.
    If conservatives want to add a whole layer of rules, they have to plan for that. They’re adding the rules without doing any of the work that goes along with that. They insist on the rules. It is their job to make them work, not a volunteer’s job, or the job of a political party. It’s a state function. If they can’t administer it in an orderly and equitable fashion, they should quit w/the new-rule-writing.

  22. 22
    West of the Cascades says:

    Also, John Fund is a rat turd.

  23. 23
    Culture of Truth says:

    I’ve heard from learned people that if tell people they can’t have something, they want it more. Challenge these laws in court, yes, but use them to create angry, actual voters. Make them regret the day they ever passed these laws.

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @West of the Cascades:

    “Rat Turd Defamation League counsel on line two for you!”

  25. 25
    Svensker says:

    @kay:

    If conservatives want to add a whole layer of rules, they have to plan for that.

    They DID plan for that. They planned for it to be fucked up enough that a lot of poors wouldn’t be able to vote, cuz we all know how the poors vote.

  26. 26
    drkrick says:

    @LittlePig:

    Jim Crow is alive and well and living in Chattanooga.

    She was able to vote under Jim Crow. This is something else.

  27. 27
    kay says:

    @Svensker:

    They DID plan for that.

    Right, but even if I’m as easily fooled as a SCOTUS justice, and hand them good faith, when did it become optional for the state to draft and administer new election rules properly?

    I always hear “where are the volunteers!” in the comments.

    I don’t know: doing their real jobs?

    “Oh, they’re fucking it all up again, so I’ll take three days off and help inept and poorly-trained Republicans administer the rules they insist on, in addition to paying them”.

  28. 28
    Napoleon says:

    @West of the Cascades:

    And yet he still gets invited to be on the Diane Rheems show.

  29. 29
    Chris from Arlington says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    Agreed. That’s why I said the law makes a hideous mockery of our democracy.

    I’m guessing she supposedly needs the marriage certificate because she probably changed her last name to her husband’s when she got married. Either way, it wouldn’t surprise me if the records are lost given how long ago she likely was married.

    I’m just running through a possible scenario whereby she might be able to vote, provided her Jim Crow state doesn’t repeal the law.

  30. 30
    kay says:

    @Napoleon:

    Then she should be ashamed of herself, too. That piece of garbage I linked to about Wisconsin is filled with weasel-language and implied accusations.
    That he’s still “respectable” among journalists is disgusting.

  31. 31
    Skepticat says:

    Ketron said he doesn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want a photo ID. “They make you proud,”he said.

    This proves that Ketron never has seen either my driver’s license or passport photos. Rather than proud I’m usually mortified to have anyone see them–and extremely offended if they actually can make an ID from them.

  32. 32
    Lurking Canadian says:

    Obviously, America’s fledgling democracy could never withstand the chaos of allowing harmless old ladies to vote.

  33. 33

    Pathetic: photo ID’s “make you proud”. It’s got my picture on it and everything! The new phonebooks are here, the new phonebooks are here! I’m somebody now!

  34. 34
    lou says:

    @Chris from Arlington: And she had her social security card with the name change, but it wasn’t enough for the clerk. That’s ridiculous.

  35. 35
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chris from Arlington:

    Still, I have to ask: in theory shouldn’t she be able to go to the county / city / whatever that she was married in and get a copy of her marriage certificate?

    Since you have to pay to get a copy of your marriage certificate, it kind of defeats the “free” ID notion, doesn’t it?

  36. 36
    mk3872 says:

    Doesn’t disenfranchising elderly people actually hurt the GOP more ??

  37. 37
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mk3872:

    Not if they’re the wrong kind of elderly people like Mrs. Cooper. You know. Those people.

    Though you will notice that Mrs. Cooper can’t get an ID to vote in person but can easily get an absentee ballot, which is far more easily forged or faked than an in-person ballot. Almost like the real concern isn’t voter fraud.

  38. 38
    ET says:

    Well it seems Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, that it wasn’t a matter of not wanting a photo ID, it was a matter of not being able to get one because y’all rejiggered the law to NOT out a slew of people. And you did it on purpose. Fucker.

  39. 39
    Chris from Arlington says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yes that does defeat the notion entirely.

    Laws like this were written with the intent of disenfranchising minorities and the poor. Is the 1965 Voting Rights Act broad enough to have any of these laws struck down?

  40. 40
    RonzoniRigatoni says:

    Ol’ Mom is 93, and for two years we tried to get her a photo ID here in the great sunshine state of Florida in order to get some notary work done. Not possible. Why? Because she did not have a current government-issued photo ID (her PA drivers license had expired, so was unacceptable). She’s been a registered voter since 1939 and voted for FDR 2ce (ol’ Mom never voted for a goddam Republican in her life).

    Joseph Heller is surely laffing in his grave.

  41. 41
    Mary Mancini says:

    Thank you for covering this issues.

    A coalition of groups in Tennessee have started a petition to repeal the Photo ID to Vote law: http://www.tnca.org/petition.

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