“It is not a matter of confusion — it is a matter of accuracy,”

Judge rescues Pennsylvania citizens from Pennsylvania Republicans. Again:

A state judge issued an order Friday that is expected to block enforcement of Pennsylvania’s strict voter-identification law in the Nov. 5 general election. Local poll workers can ask voters to show IDs if they have them and distribute written material about the law, but they may not tell voters at the polls that photo IDs could be required in future elections, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley said.
“There is no value in inaccurate information, and the court does not deem inaccurate information ‘educational.’ It is not a matter of confusion — it is a matter of accuracy,” McGinley wrote. McGinley’s ruling marked the third consecutive election in which enforcement of the law has been blocked by court order.
After legal jousting that reached the state Supreme Court, a judge blocked enforcement in last year’s presidential election and again in this year’s municipal and judicial primary because of lingering concern that it could disenfranchise voters who lacked a valid photo ID.
The preliminary injunction will remain in effect until McGinley decides the case and rules on a request for a permanent injunction

This is the judge’s order (pdf). If you read it, you’ll detect his frustration with Pennsylvania’s inability to competently administer the voting restrictions Pennsylvania Republicans insisted on.

This is a recurring pattern with conservatives. When Ohio put in new voting restrictions in 2006 Republicans made absolutely no effort to put voters on notice or train poll workers. When I worked the polls at the first election after the restrictions went in I discovered that poll workers had no clue how to interpret the new law. My precinct is majority Republican so our “election judge” (head poll worker) is always a Republican. I made a huge fuss over the fact that poll workers were applying the restrictions differently in each of the three precincts that share my polling location. It wasn’t hard to figure out. The precinct tables are close enough that I could hear poll workers telling voters one thing in Five, a different rule in Six and another rule in Seven. Hell, VOTERS could hear it. They were talking to one another. After about six hours of my calling the Board of Elections and asking them to direct untrained poll workers to follow the actual rule the GOP election judge told me he needed me to pass out “I Voted” stickers at the exit door. Problem solved!

If conservatives are incapable of running elections properly perhaps they should stop changing the rules every time their candidate needs to be dragged over the finish line. They’re obviously not up to the management challenge. Recall that Pennsylvania conservatives would have allowed these changes to go in prior to the 2012 election had a judge not stopped them, and it is now August of 2013 and they STILL haven’t figured out how to properly administer the new voting regime they demanded.

McGinley’s ruling marked the third consecutive election in which enforcement of the law has been blocked by court order.

Three times. This is what happens when one hires people who don’t believe that voting is a right to run elections. They simply don’t give a shit whether people are wrongfully disenfranchised or not. When conservatives argue that voting is JUST LIKE cashing a check or any other commercial transaction, they believe it.

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109 replies
  1. 1
    Linnaeus says:

    I say this half-jokingly, but I wouldn’t be that surprised if Republicans tried to bring back property ownership requirements for voting.

  2. 2
    Chris says:

    Three times. This is what happens when one hires people who don’t believe that voting is a right to run elections.

    Well, that and this is what happens when one hires people who don’t believe in government to administer a government service.

  3. 3
    KC says:

    When conservatives argue that voting is JUST LIKE cashing a check or any other commercial transaction, they believe it.

    If this is true, that does explain the voter suppression efforts in a new light:

    “We reserve the right to refuse service to anybody.”

    Not only voting as a privilege, but a privilege controlled – and deniable – by those in charge.

  4. 4
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    They simply don’t give a shit whether people are wrongfully disenfranchised or not.

    Oh, I think they do give a shit. About disenfranchising those who vote “wrong”, that is, not for Rethuglicans.

    This is about a deep hatred of the democratic process. The “wrong” people are voting the “wrong” way, and we need to stop that. They’ll vote for all that “liberal” and “progressive” shit like Obamacare and a higher minimum wage and equal rights, and all that other socialist/commie/Islamofascist crap. Hell, these people will vote to raise OUR taxes so that we actually have to pay for the services WE demand and use.

  5. 5
    Chris says:

    @Linnaeus:

    That’s what the 47% meme is all about. “If you have no skin in the game, you shouldn’t vote.” “Skin in the game” is defined as a sufficient amount of money and/or property. Having your entire life invested in what they’re comically out of touch enough to call “the game” doesn’t count.

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Yeah. Like I mentioned a couple days ago… as far as they’re concerned, we’re all in the process of destroying America, and pretty much anything, including bending the voting rules, is justified in preventing that. They use the same arguments to justify Pinochet’s coup and all the others like it.

  6. 6
    RSA says:

    @KC:

    “We reserve the right to refuse service to anybody.”

    I’ll bet if a guy walked in wearing no shirt and no shoes but a Tea Party cap, they’d let him vote.

  7. 7
    Kay says:

    @KC:

    Driving is a privilege. Buying booze is a privilege re: the state and a commercial transaction. Cashing a check is a commercial transaction. These are the things conservatives and media equate to voting.

    It doesn’t even make sense on a practical level. Your address doesn’t matter when you present ID to buy booze, and “address mismatch” is a huge problem with ID requirements, especially for low income and young people, because they move frequently and they don’t update their address until the ID expires. Requiring a new ID every time they move is a poll tax.

  8. 8
    Linnaeus says:

    @Chris:

    Oh, absolutely. You hear the same sentiment in a similar form when conservatives talk about people “voting themselves” government-provided services.

  9. 9
    kindness says:

    See that whole screwing up the elections is a feature not a bug with Republicans. If they can drive away voters because it’s such a pain in the ass they have won. Sadly, it works. ie -6 hour voter lines in inner cities while 10 miles away it’s a 15 minute wait.

    They aren’t that inept. They are that Machavellian.

  10. 10
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Hopefully in 2014, Repubs will be voted out in PA and other blue states (states that went for Obama in 2008/2012 but have Repub governors/legislatures). They’re hell-bent on keeping Dems from voting as a tactic to entrench their power. Stop voting for them.

  11. 11
    cmorenc says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Oh, I think they do give a shit. About disenfranchising those who vote “wrong”, that is, not for Rethuglicans.

    This is about a deep hatred of the democratic process. The “wrong” people are voting the “wrong” way, and we need to stop that….

    EXACTLY. Since the implicitly understood purpose of voting restrictions IS to selectively disenfranchise the “wrong” sorts of people, hopefully while causing minimal incidental interference with attempts to vote by the “right” sorts of people, the incentives for many of the sorts of GOP folks holding positions in Boards of Elections or administering election precincts are to practice as many end-runs around judicial constraints against disenfranchising voters as they can get away with. What they don’t give a shit about are respecting any constraints they seriously doubt are practically enforceable against them, at least not in time to change their impact in a currently ongoing election.

    The GOP election judge knew EXACTLY what she was doing in shooing Kay away from the voting tables after Kay reported the confusion being sewn by contradictary poll worker understanding, because the election judge knew the potential voters adversely affected would likely be disproportionately the “wrong” sorts of people.

  12. 12
    Splitting Image says:

    @Linnaeus:

    I say this half-jokingly, but I wouldn’t be that surprised if Republicans tried to bring back property ownership requirements for voting.

    Oh, that isn’t even the half of it. Before this is over, they will be backing the idea of giving extra votes to people who own certain kinds of property.

  13. 13
    Jennifer says:

    If conservatives are incapable of running elections properly perhaps they should stop changing the rules every time their candidate needs to be dragged over the finish line. They’re obviously not up to the management challenge.

    This is just a symptom of a larger disease, albeit a very obvious symptom. Republicans are not, and for the past 30 years haven’t been, in any way concerned about effective management of government. They always do a lot of shouting about it come election time, but the proof is what they do when they manage to sucker enough people into voting for them and actually get into office. And this should come as a surprise to exactly no one, because only a fool would expect a party that says it believes there shouldn’t be a government (while fighting viciously to be in control of it), or at a minimum not much of a government, is going to be very concerned about whether or not the thing they think should be abolished functions well. It’s like putting a Pentecostal preacher in charge of a bar…then wondering why the bar started losing money after he decided to shut it down on Friday and Saturday nights.

    Republicans don’t give a shit about running anything effectively or efficiently…they only care about being in control so they can loot the coffers on behalf of themselves and their benefactors.

    This is what happens when one hires people who don’t believe that voting is a right to run elections. They simply don’t give a shit whether people are wrongfully disenfranchised or not.

    As above…you hire people who view voting as something to be controlled, not efficiently managed, and you get problems with people being able to vote. And no, they don’t give a shit, as long as it gets them what they want.

  14. 14
    azlib says:

    THey will game the system any way they can to gain an advantage. All you have to do is look at the history in the South after the Civil War for how this works in practice.

  15. 15
    Linnaeus says:

    @Splitting Image:

    Oh, that isn’t even the half of it. Before this is over, they will be backing the idea of giving extra votes to people who own certain kinds of property.

    Heh. I can see it now: Bill Gates is super-wealthy and a “producer”, so of course he should get multiple votes!

  16. 16
    Poopyman says:

    Point of order: These people are not “conservatives”. Now, if you want to redefine the word to mean “mean-spirited, confederate-leaning white folk”, I’m OK with that.

  17. 17
    Jennifer says:

    @Kay: Exactly. Whenever I hear one of the stooges ranting about how “you have to have a license to DRIVE but you don’t have to have one to vote” I ask them to point to the section of the Constitution that guarantees a right to drive. That driving is a privilege granted after demonstration of meeting a list of requirements, such as being able to see and physically operate a vehicle safely.

    I absolutely agree that the ID requirements constitute a poll tax and I’ve been wondering why there hasn’t been a suit over it yet.

  18. 18
    Jennifer says:

    And another thing…ever stop to wonder why we’ve continued with a “drug war” that no has believed is working for a couple of decades? Take a look at who gets locked up and loses the right to vote (along with lots of other things) for drugs.

  19. 19
    Citizen_X says:

    @Jennifer:

    Republicans are not, and for the past 30 years haven’t been, in any way concerned about effective management of government. They always do a lot of shouting about it come election time

    Well, exactly. Instead of actually trying to run things well, which takes a lot of work and is counter to the right wing ideal anyway, just scream “run it like a business!” again and again

  20. 20
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Jennifer: The difference between parties right now is is pretty stark. Do you want the one that is eager to rule? Or do you want the one that is eager to govern?

    At some point I’d pick the second one over the first, even if the first one were more appealing ideologically.

  21. 21
    I Heart Breitbartbees says:

    I remember something from the movie With Honors, starring Joe Pesci, Brendan Frasier, and Moira Kelly. I forget the wording, but Joe Pesci’s character, a homeless man, mentioned that everybody pays taxes.

    Some of the money for an apartment or house rental goes towards local and state property taxes. For those who are homeowners, that property tax is assessed directly. The vast majority of us pay sales taxes, and on alcohol and tobacco, additional “sin taxes”. Fishing licenses, boat licenses, hunting licenses, and driver’s licenses/non-driver IDs? Money going to the state. Even if we take public transportation, some of that money goes to taxes associated with fuel and other operating expenses. What these GOP lunatics fail to realize is that we all have skin in this game, and the majority of us have more than they do because we can’t just bugger off to some tax haven if our fee fees get hurt. I would ask the rich right-wing assholes like the Koch brothers why they hate America, because they are actively working to dismantle and destroy the very things that made it great.

  22. 22
    gene108 says:

    they STILL haven’t figured out how to properly administer the new voting regime they demanded.

    That’s because not everyone votes for Republicans. It’s hard to run an election, when you are trying to make sure your candidate will win, when voters keep trying to vote for other candidates.

    The whole issue would be solved, if we’d all just vote Republican all the time.

    EDIT: Look at Philadelphia. They are almost always not voting for Republicans, but the election folks at Harrisburg still have to let those people vote. I mean what is a Republican official to do? A mass relocation of Democratic voters from Philly would be ideal, but not feasible at the moment.

  23. 23
    smintheus says:

    I sometimes wonder what other Constitutionally-protected rights the conservatives think citizens ought to first produce a photo ID before they try to avail themselves of it. The right against self-incrimination? The right to bear arms? The right not to have troops quartered in your home? The right to be secure in your home against unreasonable searches? The right to count as more than three-fifths of a person?

  24. 24
    Kay says:

    @Jennifer:

    In Ohio in 2005, the poll tax argument was used by Dems in the legislature to add to the list of acceptable ID’s (utility bill, “government document”, etc.) It was a big deal. I watched the debate (on tv, I wasn’t there) and that was the most heated part.

    The thing about these laws is, they get more and more restrictive. The 2006 model in Ohio wasn’t a photo ID.

    Now states are not just demanding photo ID’s but very specific photo ID’s (we saw this in Texas and now North Carolina, where weapons licenses are A-okay but student ID’s are barred). So we’ve gotten much more restrictive since 2005. They tighten these laws every single year.

    The laws aren’t rational. They aren’t based on anything. That’s why there’s absolutely no limits, and the “problem” is never solved. If you’re fixing a problem that doesn’t exist you’re in fantasyland. They made up the problem so the “solution” has no end or limits.

  25. 25
    fuckwit says:

    @Splitting Image: They already have that. It’s “one dollar, one vote” and it’s called capitalism. It’s their model for how the government should be run, like a business: the more money you have the more power you have, end of story. If you don’t have any money, then you have no power, tough shit on you.

    @Linnaeus: It’s no joke, it’s their stated intention. They do want to bring back property restrictions on voting and I’ve seen calls for that from various of the more activist Rethugs in recent years.

    @Kay: There’s this bit of brilliance from last year too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypRW5qoraTw

    I have said this again and again and again, and I’ll keep saying it: capitalism is the OPPOSITE of democracy, it is profoundly anti-democratic. We tend to conflate the two in this country, and consider them at least highly compatible if not closely related or even identical, but they are very different things and have very little to do with each other, and actually are very much in tension against each other.

  26. 26
    Baud says:

    @Splitting Image:

    Before this is over, they will be backing the idea of giving extra votes to people who own certain kinds of property.

    If the right to vote is valuable, you should be able to buy and sell it in a free market.

  27. 27
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @gene108:

    The whole issue would be solved, if we’d all just vote Republican all the time.

    This whole ‘democracy’ thing is hard work, it goes against the grain….

    ….the more money you have the more power you have, end of story. If you don’t have any money, then you have no power, tough shit on you.

    There are a lot of people out there who still believe in the Great Chain of Being, and divinely ordained estates and stations of life. Who see a tenth of us booted and spurred, and ready to ride, and the rest saddled and ready to be ridden. And are fine with that, even if they’re one of the nine, because it’s easier that way. No uncertainties. No ambiguity.

    There’s an app a party for that. And they vote for it.

    Scratch a 21st c. American, find a 13th c. peasant. Some day I predict we’ll find the actual gene for forelock-tugging.

  28. 28
    aimai says:

    @Kay: Yes, I get very frustrated with the “Its no biggie” with the Driver’s Liscence ID. The Driver’s Liscence ID identifies you as a resident in the state with an added address but you don’t really have to update the address every time you move and people who are very transitory (students, apartment dwellers) don’t. Neither it nor a Passport (which doesn’t have any address on it) answers the supposed problem of voter fraud in which a person registers at an address they don’t live at and yet the voter ID laws continually insist on picture ID (Because its rare and expensive) to supposedly combat in person voting fraud and then disallow some picture ID because the addresses don’t match.

  29. 29
    gene108 says:

    @Jennifer:

    Whenever I hear one of the stooges ranting about how “you have to have a license to DRIVE but you don’t have to have one to vote” I ask them to point to the section of the Constitution that guarantees a right to drive.

    Point to them to the requirement to have insurance to operate a car, registering your car annually with the state and why is it we do not need to do this with the guns we own?

    I absolutely agree that the ID requirements constitute a poll tax and I’ve been wondering why there hasn’t been a suit over it yet.

    I do believe states are required to give ID’s out for free, because charging for an ID that is required to vote has been ruled a poll tax. I think Wisconsin ran into this issue, with their voter ID law. Walker’s work around was to make sure no one knew they could get free state ID’s, so no DMV location was aloud to put up any info about it.

  30. 30
    feebog says:

    @ Jennifer:

    I absolutely agree that the ID requirements constitute a poll tax and I’ve been wondering why there hasn’t been a suit over it yet.

    Republicans in PA are trying to get around this arugment by issuing a free ID for voting purposes. The problem is that the DMV (surprise) has not been able to get its shit together. In one case a 92 year old woman, who does not drive, and has no immediate family, got a ride from a friend to the nearest DMV, about 45 minutes away. When she filled out the application for the ID she was told there was a $13 fee. When she offered cash, she was told check or money order only. At that point, since she did not have a check and did not know where to obtain a money order, she gave up. This woman has voted at the same location for over 50 years.

  31. 31
    fka AWS says:

    @Kay: I posted something on FB the other day to the extent that anyone proposing voting restrictions like these in this day and age was a traitor in my opinion. I got pushback. Stupid assholes.

  32. 32
    Jennifer says:

    @Kay: Well, yes, of course the laws aren’t based on anything…other than a Republican desire to stop the wrong people from voting. I didn’t mean to intimate that no one has pointed out yet that this is a poll tax. I was specifically wondering aloud why no private citizen has brought suit because they were denied the right to vote because they didn’t have the money or had other barriers to getting an “approved” ID.

    I think Democrats should start proposing legislation that gun owners be required to have a special state-issued ID in order to own or handle a gun, and very pointedly referencing the Republican drive to require the same for the constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. Then we’d have an apples-to-apples comparison…when the Republicans started screeching about “infringing upon a constitutionally guaranteed right,” we could simply point to what they’re doing with voting and say “what’s the difference?”

  33. 33
    scav says:

    the court does not deem inaccurate information ‘educational.’

    I want a tattoo.

  34. 34
    Jennifer says:

    @feebog: That’s exactly who needs to sue.

  35. 35
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Kay, it would be awesome if the Democratic Party as an organizational whole gave as much of a shit about voting rights as you do.

    Catch a clue: They couldn’t care less.

  36. 36
    Chris says:

    @Jennifer:

    As is often the case with politicians, I wonder to what extent what you describe is a conscious process (“the more we fuck up the government, the more headway our ideology makes”) and to what extent it’s just them being lazy and uninterested (“fix the government? Fuck it, dude, let’s go bowling.”) I hasten to add that it doesn’t make a difference to me in moral terms, but I still wonder what exactly’s going through their minds with that stuff.

    (Insert “what’s going through their minds? Probably not a whole lot!” jokes here).

  37. 37
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    @Jennifer:

    Whenever I hear one of the stooges ranting about how “you have to have a license to DRIVE but you don’t have to have one to vote” I ask them to point to the section of the Constitution that guarantees a right to drive.

    I’ve seen wingnuts argue, and I am not making this up, that there is no right to vote in the Constitution.

  38. 38
    Kay says:

    @aimai:

    What is really disturbing is the cumulative nature. I’ll give you an example. Ohio Democrats and liberals have been litigating the “right church/wrong pew” issue since 2006. That’s when a poll worker directs a voter to cast a provisional ballot in the wrong precinct (same polling location). Republicans say throw it out, Democrats say it’s in.

    Republicans took it on a state court track where they won, and Democrats took it on a federal court track where THEY won. Federal trumps, so we won.

    The new voting restrictions in North Carolina include a section where those provisional ballots aren’t counted, or it can be interpreted that way. I mean, this shit they pull never ends. Are we going to have to litigate this one small section of suppression in 49 states now? In Ohio, those ballots were the determining factor in a judicial race. Is North Carolina now going to seat judges who lost their race?

  39. 39
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    And again, I love the fact that this is all predicated on super-massive widespread conspiracy of voter fraud that has been repudiated by the data time and time again every time they try and actually show how ‘widespread’ it is. And yet, it’s an article of faith that it HAS to be happening, especially whenever a Democrat wins, therefore it has to be remedied NOW NOW NOW FUCKING GODDAMN NOW.

    The thing is that not all courts are going to be as sane as this one in blocking said laws, leaving them to fuck people over and treat them as half-citizens who don’t deserve the vote because they haven’t jumped thorugh enough hoops yet for their class.

  40. 40
    Seth Owen says:

    @feebog: how is it a free ID if there is a $13 fee?

  41. 41
    Hungry Joe says:

    I’ve never understood why having served time in prison should result in loss of the right to vote. It’s clear why it’s happening NOW — voter suppression — but what was the rationale in the first place? After all, ex-cons are citizens; they’re members of our society; their lives are affected by the actions of government; and I do believe they pay taxes.

  42. 42
    gene108 says:

    @Jennifer:

    I was specifically wondering aloud why no private citizen has brought suit because they were denied the right to vote because they didn’t have the money or had other barriers to getting an “approved” ID.

    I believe there was a 2005 Supreme court decision, when Indiana’s voter ID law was supposed to go into effect and the court decided that voter ID, per se, was not a significant enough barrier to voting that it violates the 4-5 Amendments that guarantee the right to vote.

  43. 43
    scav says:

    @Seth Owen: If they follow the airlines, all service and handling fee, plus a little something to cover the light you used and the wear and tear on their flooring.

  44. 44
    gene108 says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    Sometime in the 1980’s, a lot folks decided we were coddling prisoners and decided to make prison and the consequences even harsher.

    The rise in crime in the 1970’s and 1980’s sparked a lot of stupid laws, with which we are dealing with the consequences of now and probably will be dealing with for the foreseeable future.

  45. 45
    geg6 says:

    Having lived in and been politically active in the Commonwealth (and not Charlie Pierce’s) my entire life, I never thought I’d hear myself saying this. But thank FSM for the state judiciary. The lege is a lost cause since it’s been gerrymandered to a ridiculous extreme and the low population Pennsyltucky areas outnumber the two big Ps (the Burgh and Philly). I’m pretty confident we’ll have a Dem governor (and a woman!) next round, but I have no hope of turning over the House and Senate. So we’ll continue to get this type of shit from out legislature. At least the new governor can make a show of vetoing it.

  46. 46
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik: No free and fair election can produce a Democratic win. Just like no free and fair election can produce a GOP win.

  47. 47
    gene108 says:

    @Seth Owen:

    how is it a free ID if there is a $13 fee?

    DMV workers are not told about any rules changes because of voter ID laws. There systems probably have not been updated to comply with giving out free ID’s. This is another tool to make it harder for people to vote, because technically a state will have a statute saying ID’s are free, but the work to update the computer systems and inform DMV workers about this does not get done, so you end up charging people for ID anyway.

  48. 48
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Hungry Joe: In a couple of states — Maine and Vermont — felon-prisoners can vote while incarcerated.

    Full list of felon-voting laws here.

  49. 49
    J R in WV says:

    Actually none of these R’s could successfully manage a check-cashing shop to make a profit.

    Much less run any government for the benefit of society – as opposed to lining their pockets.

    So here locally a county board member asked a tire dealer for the same discount the dealer gave the county. When “No” was the answer, he threatened to take the county’s business elsewhere, in spite of the, you know, legal contract. Now he’s in jail, dummass! In the interest of accuracy, I must point out he’s not an R, just a stupid rural conserva-dem, never heard of ethics LAWs.

  50. 50
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @gene108:

    Or said workers are outright forbidden from bringing up the free ID and only to give them out if someone asks for it specifically.

  51. 51
    The Snarxist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Of course that highlights the vast difference in the reality and effectiveness of ‘voter fraud’ vs. ‘election fraud’.

  52. 52
    themann1086 says:

    I work at my precinct’s polling place in Southeastern PA, and despite it being majority-republican (3 to 2), we’ve basically ignored the voter ID law since the injunction before last November. We haven’t asked, we haven’t passed out the literature, we didn’t put up the notices. When we did do it for the 2012 primaries, it was a logistical nightmare. The wait times caused by asking and presenting and checking were longer in that barely-attended election than they ended up being in November! Fortunately at our precinct we care more about running the election than influencing the results.

  53. 53
    J R in WV says:

    @Jennifer:

    Not to mention who gets paid to run “private prisons” – to my mind that’s the same as slave catchers were in the good old days. Money for something despicable AND illegal…

  54. 54
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    This is about a deep hatred of the democratic process.

    A real weakness of democracy is that it depends on the losers being willing to accept losing. As long as the stakes in the election are perceived to be relatively minor, most people are willing to do that. But the bigger the stakes of the election, the more upset people are about losing and the more likely they are to be willing to cheat to avoid it. That’s the danger of the Republicans’ tendency to overhype the danger of the Democrats winning to drive voter turnout. They’re making every election sound as if it’s going to decide the future of Western Civilization, which is great at whipping the vote but terrible if you have to continue to make the country work after they lose.

  55. 55
    Hungry Joe says:

    Denying ex-cons the vote (in some states, anyway) goes WAY back. I remember seeing one of H.T. Webster’s “Mr. Milquetoast” cartoons from the ’20s or ’30s in which a barber, wielding a switchblade in preparation for shaving Mr. Milquetoast, asks him who he’s going to vote for. Mr. Milquetoast, terrified, stammers that he’s been in prison (“stir”!) and lost his right to vote.

  56. 56
    J R in WV says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    As usual, you’re stupid on the face of your remark – voting restrictions are a direct attack on democracy AND on the Democratic party!

    The party spends lots of time and money fighting against all the various dirty tricks the Republicans try – who do you think keeps getting new voting restrictions thrown out by judges?

    But I speak to a drooling troll – sorry everyone!

  57. 57
    Roger Moore says:

    @Kay:

    Are we going to have to litigate this one small section of suppression in 49 states now?

    Not in the reliably blue states, I wouldn’t think. And certainly not in the ones that have exclusively mail-in voting, though I guess there’s about 100% overlap between the groups. But yes, as long as it’s impossible to revise the VRA to unambiguously overturn all this crap at the federal level, we’re going to have to re-fight the same battles everywhere. I assume that we’re going to have to keep fighting the same battle in the same place, since the Republicans aren’t going to give up on disenfranchisement just because their laws get laughed out of court.

  58. 58
    debbie says:

    I don’t remember which state, in mandating photo IDs for voting, specified that photo IDs from public assistance agencies would not be acceptable. I don’t know how more obvious it can be what the real motive behind these laws is.

  59. 59
    Kay says:

    @themann1086:

    I work at my precinct’s polling place in Southeastern PA, and despite it being majority-republican (3 to 2),

    Good for you. It’s such an important job. Mexico did election reform and they created a system that’s a lot like our jury duty. Poll workers are randomly selected. I don’t like that because they would be newbies every election, but nations do make some effort to change their systems for the better. WE just don’t.

  60. 60
    Anoniminous says:

    @feebog:

    When she offered cash, she was told check or money order only.

    That so illegal it’s a slam dunk guilty verdict. As it says on the bill, “This note is legal tender
    for all debts public and private.”

  61. 61
    Kay says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    Denying ex-cons the vote (in some states, anyway) goes WAY back.

    I REALLY don’t get that. I read all the conservative arguments at Andrew Sullivans site once and it’s just one of those issues where I feel like I’m a different species. What is the point? They did the time. Why is there this deep-seated emotional need to continue to pass judgment and punish them?

  62. 62
    Mnemosyne says:

    @debbie:

    I don’t remember which state, in mandating photo IDs for voting, specified that photo IDs from public assistance agencies would not be acceptable. I don’t know how more obvious it can be what the real motive behind these laws is.

    Particularly since non-US citizens are specifically barred from receiving public assistance, so anyone with an ID from one of those agencies has already had their citizenship verified.

  63. 63
    Kay says:

    @geg6:

    That’s the good part. If they fuck it up long enough they’ll time out.

  64. 64
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kay:

    I kind of get it for people who are currently incarcerated or under house arrest — some of your civil liberties are being taken away as punishment, including your vote.

    What makes no sense to me is why the right to vote would not be automatically restored once you serve your time and your other civil liberties are restored. It’s like saying that someone has to wear a monitoring ankle bracelet for the rest of their lives even after their sentence ends, just because they once committed a crime.

    (Obviously, permanent removal of voting rights served the specific purpose of denying African-American men the right to vote, but no one can admit that now and the new excuses make no logical sense, since the original purpose was to deny African-American men the right to vote.)

  65. 65
    srv says:

    Cory Booker, worst liberal since Hitler:

    This is all fine, of course—subscribing to these beliefs is hardly a crime even if it’s not my cup of tea. But here’s what’s so curious: If there’s one worldview that doesn’t need high-profile agitators to advance its reach, it’s the worldview of the moneyed classes. This is the worldview that already dominates Washington. It funds politicians and think tanks. It clutters the op-ed pages. It pours forth from the characters who fill your television on Sunday morning. (Come to think of it, maybe both kinds of characters who fill your television Sunday mornings…) As a result, it’s hard to believe that what drives Booker is the need to spread the good word.

  66. 66
    Felonius Monk says:

    When it comes to these right-wing jerk-offs, there aren’t enough different ways to say asshole.
    I really think they are just achin’ for another civil war. They would be very happy to turn this country into another Egypt because in their fevered little minds they are confident they would win.

  67. 67
    Baud says:

    @srv:

    Primary is over. Booker’s our guy.

  68. 68
    IowaOldLady says:

    @Anoniminous: Yeah, and on my social security card it says “not to be used for identification,” but nonetheless, I have to produce it to renew my driver’s license. We’re only scared of national id’s until we want to screw someone.

  69. 69
    Roger Moore says:

    @Kay:

    WE just don’t.

    Sure we do. It’s not consistent across the country, and there are people trying to roll the improvements back, but there have been real efforts to improve our electoral system. That’s why we have things like Motor Voter, same day registration, permanent absentee ballots, absentee voting by right, and early in person voting. There are plenty of places where voting is easier today than it was 20 years ago, and that’s without any serious problems with fraud. I think you have an overly negative view of our voting system that comes from fighting against the worst attempts to undo the real improvements in the system.

  70. 70
    Yatsuno says:

    @Baud: Republican ratfucker. Ignore him.

  71. 71
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Yatsuno:

    Lord, you’re a dolt.

    A hard core Demo-dolt, just the type The Party likes.

  72. 72
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore:

    There are plenty of places where voting is easier today than it was 20 years ago, and that’s without any serious problems with fraud.

    The problem is, we’re dealing with people who insist that if a Democrat wins, there MUST be fraud involved. Carter: illegitimate. Clinton: illegitimate. Obama: illegitimate, and in your face near.

    When Oregon first went to vote by mail all the time, the vile rag that is The American Spectator invented, out of whole cloth, a voting “fraud” scandal that was refuted by simply asking the voting officials in Multnomah and Lane counties if anyone from the rag spoke with them. The answer was “no”. The MSM, for the most part, utterly ignored the real story…that the rag published fiction as fact.

    Voting in Oregon is very easy, the system in place is quite popular and is a good economy as well, reducing the costs to the taxpayers of conducting elections. The only drawback, as far as I’m concerned, is the lack of community feeling from going down to the precinct and doing your thing. It’s more than balanced by the convenience and economy of the system, though.

  73. 73
    fuckwit says:

    @Baud: You have my sympathy. Hey, we have Dianne Feinstein here, so I feel yer pain.

  74. 74
    fuckwit says:

    @Kay: Because they are, disproportionately, black.

  75. 75
    Kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    What makes no sense to me is why the right to vote would not be automatically restored once you serve your time and your other civil liberties are restored. It’s like saying that someone has to wear a monitoring ankle bracelet for the rest of their lives even after their sentence ends, just because they once committed a crime.

    That’s why I don’t get it. It seems arbitrary and mean-spirited. The defenses on Sullivan’s site were so weak: “because they have shown a propensity to BREAK the law so therefore may not elect lawmakers” It just sounded like a lot of words to cover ” why? because we have the power to do so!”

    A couple of years ago some study came out that said that former felons voted for Democrats. My husband is blunt. If you say something to him he thinks you mean it, he doesn’t see political subtext. So we were out and a local Republican asked him “did you see that study where felons vote for Democrats?”, it’s BAD, right, he’s supposed to apologize or be ashamed? He said “great! I’m glad they’re re-entering after prison.” Which is true. We DO want them to re-enter after prison. They’re less likely to re-offend if they do that. It was just amusing to see this whole political…thing fly right over his head :)
    He’d be like “vote! get a job! go back to school! We’re pulling for you!”

  76. 76
    Steeplejack says:

    @Kay:

    When conservatives argue that voting is just like cashing a check or any other commercial transaction, they believe it.

    Oh, I bet they’re a hell of a lot more careful about accepting/cashing checks in their business than they are about running elections.

  77. 77
    fka AWS says:

    Did I just see a comment get deleted? Librarian?

  78. 78
    Yatsuno says:

    @fuckwit: I will say this: a lot of what’s being said about B0oker was also said about Maria Cantwell since she was from Microsoft and would be all pro-business. She’s turned into quite the progressive voice in the Senate. So I’m willing to give Cory a little latitude here.

  79. 79
    The Other Chuck says:

    When I see the judge’s name, I think of John C. McGinley, who would be so awesome to get the message through. “Hello, Clue-o-gram, anybody home? *whistle*HEY! I’m talking to you!”

  80. 80
    Mike in NC says:

    @IowaOldLady:

    We’re only scared of national id’s until we want to screw someone.

    I recall that after 9/11/01 there was much discussion of adopting a National ID Card, but somehow it never gained much traction. Fortunately.

  81. 81
    Mike in NC says:

    OT: Picked up the Sunday newspaper this morning and “Parade” magazine fell out. On the cover was Michelle Obama, with her arms exposed and looking mighty uppity and all that. Wonder how many wingnuts flew into a rage and threw their coffee cups against the kitchen wall?

  82. 82

    So the GOP’s 2014 campaign stategy is to make it more difficult for people to exercise their RIGHT TO VOTE, no high speed internet for schools, AND take away access to health care? Sounds like a winner to me!

  83. 83
    Yatsuno says:

    @The Ancient Randonneur:

    “I’ve never once been invited to the White House to talk about policy, you know? So where’s he been a leader?” Grimm asked.

    FEE-FEES, DAMMIT! IT’S ALL ABOUT HOW THE SKEERY BLAH GUY HURT MAH FEE-FEES!

  84. 84
    Kay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    That’s why we have things like Motor Voter, same day registration, permanent absentee ballots, absentee voting by right, and early in person voting. There are plenty of places where voting is easier today than it was 20 years ago,

    That’s true, and I’ll absolutely give you early voting. I love early voting.

    I don’t “count” motor voter, because access to voting used to be bipartisan, and I think the whole dialogue has changed. I sometimes do conference calls with voting rights people, mostly just listen, and the League of Women Voters people mourn this. They harken back to a time when they had GOP members.
    I think the era of laws like motor voter is over. Motor voter involved a lot of tussling, too. Republicans wanted motor vehicle agencies and Democrats wanted social services agencies. They compromised, but they both got some of what they wanted.

  85. 85
    TR says:

    Conservatives really are just like toddlers, in that they get all worked into a tizzy over imaginary problems they create in their own heads but expect the grown ups to take care of chasing away the boogeyman and making them feel safe.

    Except with conservatives, they expect you to fuck over innocent real people in order to assuage their delusions.

  86. 86
    Baud says:

    @Kay:

    I once looked at the vote tally for motor voter. It wasn’t all that bipartisan. Pretty lopsided towards the Dems.

  87. 87
    TR says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    If there’s one thing you’re qualified to assess, it’s stupidity. You seem to have a black belt in dumbass.

  88. 88
    rikyrah says:

    Kay,

    thanks for the post.

    The replies, for the most part, have been on point.

  89. 89
    TR says:

    @srv:

    Booker is running against the NJ head of Americans for Prosperity in the general election. He could eat a baby live on TV and he’d still get my vote.

  90. 90
    Felonius Monk says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Wonder how many wingnuts flew into a rage and threw their coffee cups against the kitchen wall?

    All of them.

  91. 91
    Kay says:

    @Baud:

    There’s a big fight now over the ACA. The question is does motor voter include the ACA? The Obama Administration says “yes” (I think they have the better legal argument) and conservatives are freaking out because it’s 30 million voters! “Dear God, MORE voters!” They’re horrified.

    CA, NY and a one other state have already decided they’re offering registration with health insurance sign-up.

    Republicans in the House managed to somehow mention ACORN, Rush Limbaugh is making shit up, in other words, it’s like every other voting fight.

    It will be litigated! I’m sure there’s a libertarian lawyer crafting the Tenth Amendment argument as we speak. It’s probably like mandated broccoli consumption. Slippery slope to tyranny.

  92. 92
    Baud says:

    @Kay:

    LOL.

  93. 93
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @TR: Luckily both sides eat dead babies…

  94. 94
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @The Ancient Randonneur: They can sign up for the Red State Trike Force using their home broadband, dammit.

    Everyone’s got home broadband, right? I mean, how much can it cost?

  95. 95
    Roger Moore says:

    @Kay:

    I don’t “count” motor voter, because access to voting used to be bipartisan, and I think the whole dialogue has changed.

    I think it’s part of a broader trend of the Republicans lacking any kind of positive agenda. They are no longer really trying to accomplish anything themselves. They have no vision of creating, improving, or even maintaining anything. I think they’ve genuinely given up on any kind of positive program; all they have left is destruction. They can”t even try to build up their own voting base, so all they’re left with is the same general program of trying to obstruct the other guy. I think it’s the underlying reason for Cleek’s Law; they’re so bereft of ideas that the only kind of program they can come up with is the opposite of what the liberals want.

  96. 96
    pluege says:

    “They [republicans] simply don’t give a shit whether people are wrongfully disenfranchised or not.”

    What are you talking about? OF COURSE republicans give a shit that people are disenfranchised. Disenfranchisement IS the republican goal.
    (you are correct that republicans don’t give a shit whether the disenfranchisement is wrongful or not, as long as its accomplished.)

  97. 97
    Kay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I think it’s part of a broader trend of the Republicans lacking any kind of positive agenda.

    It’s an adjustment process for everyone. That they’re crazy, I mean.

    One can hear the bewilderment in the League of Women Voters members. They’re radical Leftists now. The women who were universally lauded as good government people. Same women, new label. The conference calls are officially “nonpartisan” so I love that we all go along with that little charade. There are no Republicans on those calls.

  98. 98
    Roger Moore says:

    @Kay:

    The conference calls are officially “bipartisan” so I love that we all go along with that little charade.

    I always thought of LWV as non-partisan rather than bipartisan. They’re supposed to be in favor of ballot access and well informed voters, but not take positions on issues that don’t pertain to the electoral process itself.

  99. 99
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I think it’s part of a broader trend of the Republicans lacking any kind of positive agenda.

    I think that’s the understated (by the media) admission underlying voter suppression. Republicans know they can’t win a fair fight. See also: The Language of Lutz and the way Paul Ryan wails when anyone calls his voucher program a voucher program.

    I see Grover Norquist is now trying to say Keystone is all we ever needed to solve unemployment. I never know where the line is between delusion and lie with these people. Boehner is probably dumb enough to have convinced himself of this, Norquist is so nutty I’m not sure.

  100. 100
    rikyrah says:

    @TR:

    Booker is running against the NJ head of Americans for Prosperity in the general election. He could eat a baby live on TV and he’d still get my vote.

    BWA HA AH AH AH AH HA HA HA HA HA

  101. 101
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @srv: Cory Booker, worst liberal since Hitler:

    Pfffft. Everybody knows that. The question is, is Booker slightly better than, or even worse than Obama.

  102. 102
    gene108 says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    I’ve seen wingnuts argue, and I am not making this up, that there is no right to vote in the Constitution.

    Because the Wingnut Constitution stops at Amendment 10, though some reformed Wingnut Constitutions are willing to include Amendments 11 and 12 as also being Constitutional; the other 15-17 Amendments that were added after ratification are not really part of this nation’s laws.

    Also, too I don’t think it’s as weird as wing-nuts wanting to repeal the 17th Amendment and return the election of Senators to the state legislature, because in their minds this will somehow stop the Imperialist Federal Government from trampling State’s Rights.

  103. 103
    JoyfulA says:

    @J R in WV: I saw that story (http://t.co/4t7HUjnCoq) this morning and tweeted it. An amazing series of local official misconduct.

  104. 104
    Chris T. says:

    This is a recurring pattern with conservatives. When Ohio put in new voting restrictions in 2006 Republicans made absolutely no effort to put voters on notice or train poll workers.

    Remember the old beer commercial where a bunch of people drinking Advertised Brand Beer put up a wall to a house, and then they all high-five each other as the camera cuts away? I think it was Dave Barry who suggested that after the camera cuts away, the wall continues its trajectory and comes crashing down on the other side.

    That’s your Republican legislature, passing laws and high fiving each other as the walls come crashing down…

  105. 105
    e.a.f. says:

    all these different “rules” for voting are simply a method to ensure a lot of people don’t get to vote. If a third world country, can organize an election to vote, it is beyond me why the U.S.A. is having such a big problem. Many countries, to avoid people voting twice, which is the excuse we keep hearing from different quarters, is simply have them press one of their fingers in a dye. It works in many countries.

    As to identification, in B.C. we use driver’s licenses, medical cards, utility bills, library cards, and in the last election for some areas, prescription bottles. In some economically deprived areas people to not have much in the way of identification but they do have their prescription bottles, which are filled in their own neighbourhoods.

    There isn’t a lot of voter fraud in U.S.A elections. The problem seems to be getting people to go out and vote. A democracy will not endure if people do not vote regularly. It is not unreasonable to conclude the republicans and fellow travellers do not want a democacy. It might be better if the Americans put a potatoe in it, the next time the go to critize another country about that countries “democracy”.

  106. 106
    Logan Brown says:

    I can’t wait to see how badly the @#$#^$#^! idiots in the General Assembly here in Raleigh NC screwed up the voting process. They seem to be irritating the last 12 non racist Republicans to either vote Democrat in 2014 or simply not show up.

    Holder should be able to kick the legal daylights out of these new laws here. I hope he can do it quickly, the Republicans have already screwed over the students at Appalachian State in Boone because Boone people are liberal. That same voter repression is coming to a college campus near you. It will be really interesting to see what the Young Republicans have to say about it when they have problems voting…

  107. 107
    Roger Moore says:

    @e.a.f.:

    If a third world country, can organize an election to vote, it is beyond me why the U.S.A. is having such a big problem.

    The ability to carry out elections is more about desire than anything else. If a country is having a hard time doing a good job of it, it’s probably because there’s somebody who doesn’t like the expected results and is hoping to avoid them by messing things up. In this case, those people generally have a (R) after their names.

  108. 108

    When Ohio put in new voting restrictions in 2006 Republicans made absolutely no effort to put voters on notice or train poll workers.

    Same thing happened in Tennessee. Tennessee Republicans insisted on voter ID, botched the job OF COURSE, and made national news … one of the worst cases was when former Dem. Congressman Lincoln Davis was actually turned away from the polls in the 2012 primary, having been removed from the rolls by accident.

  109. 109
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Oh, that isn’t even the half of it. Before this is over, they will be backing the idea of giving extra votes to people who own certain kinds of property

    An extra “3/5”, to be precise.

    It’s just how they roll.

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