“Two competing schemes”

Alabama has come up with a “vouching” proposal where voters who lack the newly required ID are supposed to get two (mostly white) election officials to “vouch” for them in order to vote a regular ballot. “Vouching” has a long and sordid history in this country so the NAACP is fighting the provision.

Wanted to highlight one part of the NAACP lawyer-letter to the Secretary of State in Alabama, because for one thing it’s clever lawyering but perhaps more importantly it goes to the fact that in some states “Democrat” is just proxy for “black voters.” The NAACP wanted to bring out the racial animus behind this law. Here, they do that by quoting from a federal judge in an unrelated Alabama corruption case. Scroll down to # 5 in the NAACP letter if you want to see the cite.

It’s a crazy story. Briefly, several Alabama lawmakers were brought up on federal corruption charges. It was alleged that gambling lobbyists were buying the lawmakers because gambling lobbyists wanted a referendum on electronic bingo on the ballot in Alabama.

Some other Alabama lawmakers wore a wire for the FBI to record the corrupt pro-gambling lawmakers. However, the lawmakers who were wired to nail the corrupt lawmakers inadvertently captured their own conversations regarding how they needed to keep the AA vote down in the 2010 elections to retain a GOP majority.

The supposed anti-corruption lawmakers wore the wire not because they wanted to help the FBI catch corrupt lawmakers, but because they did not want the pro-gambling imitative on the ballot because they believed black people would come out for a referendum on electronic bingo, that would drive AA turnout in 2010, and those black voters might retain or elect more black lawmakers who also happen to be Democrats.

Here’s the section of the opinion on the corruption case.The judge is trying to determine whether the racist Alabama lawmakers are credible to act as witnesses against the corrupt Alabama lawmakers:

As a preliminary matter, the court finds that Beason and Lewis lack the credibility that the government sought to establish. The evidence introduced at trial contradicts the self-serving portrait of Beason and Lewis as untouchable opponents of corruption. In reality, Beason and Lewis had ulterior motives rooted in naked political ambition and pure racial bias.

The court finds that Beason and Lewis lack credibility for two reasons. First, their motive for cooperating with F.B.I. investigators was not to clean up corruption but to increase Republican political fortunes by reducing African-American voter turnout. Second, they lack credibility because the record establishes their purposeful, racist intent.
One of the government’s recordings captured Beason and Lewis discussing political strategy with other influential Republican legislative allies. A confederate warned: “Just keep in mind if [a pro-gambling] bill passes and we have a referendum in November, every black in this state will be bused to the polls. And that ain’t gonna help.” The participants predicted: “Every black, every illiterate” would be “bused on HUD financed buses.” Beason agreed: “That’s right. This will be busing extra. . . . Because you gotta have somebody to pay for those buses.” One participant replied that casinos would provide “free food” and gambling certificates to get black voters to the polls. In a separate conversation, during which Lewis asked whether the predominantly black residents of Greene County were “y’all’s Indians?,” Beason responded by derisively referring to blacks as “Aborigines.”

The court finds that Beason and Lewis cooperated with the F.B.I. in order to secure political advantage. The evidence at trial showed that black communities in Alabama tend to support electronic bingo. The evidence further demonstrated that black voters tend to be Democrats. Indeed, Beason’s and Lewis’s scheme was predicated on their belief that blacks supported electronic bingo and Democratic candidates.

By preventing SB380 from appearing on the 2010 ballot, Beason and Lewis believed that black voters would stay home on election day, thereby increasing Republican chances to take control of the state legislature.
The evidence indicates that Beason and Lewis sought to inculpate the defendants primarily to neutralize a potential political threat. Beason’s and Lewis’s political objective undercuts the anti-corruption motive they advanced at trial.
The racially discriminatory purpose expressed in the recordings further undermines Beason’s and Lewis’s credibility. It is, perhaps, unsurprising that politicians have political motives to disrupt and defeat legislation advanced by opponents. But Beason, Lewis, and other influential Republican politicians did not target Democrats generally in their opposition to SB380; they plainly singled out African-Americans for mockery and racist abuse.
Beason’s and Lewis’s statements demonstrate a deep-seated racial animus and a desire to suppress black votes by manipulating what issues appeared on the 2010 ballot

The Beason and Lewis recordings represent compelling evidence that political exclusion through racism remains a real and enduring problem in this State.

Furthermore, Beason’s and Lewis’s wrongful motivations are relevant to the political corruption at the heart of this trial. As detailed below, the government has proven the existence of an illegal vote-buying conspiracy by a preponderance of the evidence. The government rightly seeks to prosecute illicit bribery in the guise of campaign contributions.
At the same time, the discriminatory intent expressed by Beason, Lewis, and their influential legislative friends represents another form of corruption infecting the political system.
The purpose of their competing scheme was to maintain and strengthen white control of the political system. This form of race discrimination is as profoundly damaging to the fabric of democracy as is the bribery scheme the government seeks to punish.

110 replies
  1. 1
    piratedan says:

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that white GOP politicians have racial motivations for enacting legislation; why for years Alabama has been a shining example of race relations in our country…….

  2. 2
    jl says:

    Oligarchies have always been with us. We need to remember that. We need a nomenclature that allows us to refer to different kinds of oligarchy. These two sleazers were operating to maintain a old-school petty oligarchy. Or maybe on the state level, so, call it meso-oligopoly. Probably others can do better at thinking up some good names.

  3. 3
    jl says:

    Forgot my question for Kay: I have read news stories that describe the very predictable results of these voter ID schemes. One that I remember is poll workers illegally giving little ad hoc quizzes on miscellaneous stuff to people they were supposed to help with their ID requirements. The poll workers thought, or claimed to have thought, that all the crap they were asking was part of some process, but that was shown to be BS.

    Is that kind of stuff going to be evidence in future cases? Wasn’t part Kennedy’s reasoning that obviously, that an ID process would be super easy as pie to make little burden on people trying to prove their qualification to vote?

  4. 4
    MomSense says:

    @jl:

    We need a nomenclature that allows us to refer to different kinds of oligarchy.

    Assholigarchy seems to fit.

  5. 5
    efgoldman says:

    @MomSense:

    Assholigarchy seems to fit.

    And you win the early-afternoon intartoobz.

  6. 6
    Kay says:

    @jl:

    It was in Arkansas and I haven’t read anything other than a headline. The problem is they’re introducing subjective elements by making this more and more complicated.

    I have run into this type of thing as a pollworker. I think of it as “belt and suspenders” pollworkers. They will ask for ADDITIONAL documentation, which I believe implies that the voter is somehow suspect and puts the voter in a place he or she doesn’t belong, where they’re accommodating someone’s personal suspicious nature. If it says “utility bill” as sufficient ID it means “utility bill”. Done. Get them voted and on their way. They can’t ask the voter for something “better”. They do it because they’re overcautious and IMO they are the sort of people who like to order other people to produce papers.

    I think they have to follow the statute exactly.

    No adding requirements. If it is complicated, that is the fault of GOP lawmakers and they have a duty to either train pollworkers that laws have to be followed exactly or stop writing these stupid laws to appease their base’s imaginary fears of voter impersonation fraud.

  7. 7
    patrick II says:

    @MomSense:

    It is clearly an oligarchy based, in the traditional southern manner, on race. Of course that cannot be true since the Supreme Court just last year said it isn’t true despite history, current facts (such as the one cited in this post) and the 15th amendment.

  8. 8
    efgoldman says:

    At the same time, the discriminatory intent expressed by Beason, Lewis, and their influential legislative friends represents another form of corruption infecting the political system.
    The purpose of their competing scheme was to maintain and strengthen white control of the political system

    But…. but…. racial discrimination in this country is over, isn’t it? No less than the Chief Justice has told us so!

  9. 9
    boatboy_srq says:

    The supposed anti-corruption lawmakers wore the wire not because they wanted to help the FBI catch corrupt lawmakers, but because they did not want the pro-gambling imitative on the ballot because they believed black people would come out for a referendum on electronic bingo, that would drive AA turnout in 2010, and those black voters might retain or elect more black lawmakers who also happen to be Democrats.

    Four thoughts.

    1) Spartan ethic redux. This is more proof that the GOTea thinks the only crime/sin/whatever is not committing the act but getting caught committing the act.

    2) This whole sad series of events makes it even more clear that the GOTea thinks that it’s perfectly OK to prevent Those People from participating in society.

    3) This is the converse of state prohibitions on SSM on a ballot. SSM prohibitions are targeted at the (white) Conservatist FundiEvangelical voter, to encourage those volk to get to the polls; for this case the gambling initiative was to be kept off the ballots to dissuade black voters in particular. Humph.

    4) The mentions in the quoted article of ‘The participants predicted: “Every black, every illiterate” would be “bused on HUD financed buses”’ just makes it even more despicable – and makes very clear that the state-level GOTea has the full expectation that the federal government is inherently opposed to them and instead supporting Those People. Normally this is heard in opposition to UI, SNAP, WIC and other programs: in this case there’s the full expectation that HUD is a partisan entity engaged in disenfranchising the Rightful Righteous Caucasian Xtian Real Patriotic Ahmurrcans™ through fraudulent electoral processes. The level of paranoia on display is remarkable, and it’s no wonder that “voter fraud” is such a rallying cry if this is their expectation.

    Shorter version of all four items: wankers, one and all.

  10. 10
    MomSense says:

    @patrick II:

    It was also especially striking given the findings in evidence regarding the Texas ID law and the 8-10-12 hour waiting times we experienced or saw with our own eyes in the 2012 election. I had a friend who wrote about her experience as a poll watcher in Miami-Dade with the long lines. She was completely overwhelmed by seeing both the worst and best of humanity that day.

    The killer about the Supreme Court is that it was five assholigarchs who did that. It only takes 5 people to disenfranchise how many?? It’s not supposed to be this way.

  11. 11
    jl says:

    @Kay: Thanks. But I think that we will find that many laws will be written, or revised, so that are strategically written to encourage subjective elements, and in state with a lot of partisan political control over who runs the elections, the problems of noncompliance by poll workers just will not go away, for reasons that are very inscrutable on one level, but obvious on another. I’m just wondering how much influence this history will play a role in getting some of the bad court cases changed.

  12. 12
    Kay says:

    @MomSense:

    I loved Justice Ginsburg for her “I told you so” after the VRA decision. Good for her. Enough politeness and “collegiality”. Call them out.

    I went to an event where she was the speaker shortly after Justice Roberts was confirmed, and she called him “our new young Chief” in a kind way. It was all gracious professionalism.

    Quite a change in tone there over the years.

  13. 13
    jl says:

    @MomSense:

    ” The killer about the Supreme Court is that it was five assholigarchs who did that. It only takes 5 people to disenfranchise how many?? It’s not supposed to be this way. ”

    There was a famous mathematician refugee from Nazi Germany who was quite eccentric. He almost blew his citizenship hearing because he claimed he had found at least one easy way the Constitution could allow conversion of the U.S. from a democracy to a dictatorship. He was really eager to explain to the judge so this horrible possibility could be eliminated, and his friends had to hustle him out of the hearing room before he blabbed this stuff.

    So, sometimes I wonder whether someday by hook or crook (especially be political crook) we will find out that he was correct.

  14. 14
    Linnaeus says:

    @jl:

    I’ve been calling it neofeudalism. There are some problems with the term, but I think it more or less captures what’s going on.

  15. 15
    MomSense says:

    @Kay:

    RBG is a champion! They should be called out. If it was ignorance on their part, it was certainly willful. I think it more likely that “strict construction” of the constitution is really the polite way of saying they would like to return to a constitution that is strictly for white guys who own property.

  16. 16
    MomSense says:

    @jl:

    Unfortunately, I think he was correct.

  17. 17
    Morzer says:

    Let’s just hope that this latest sleazy racist vote-suppression gambit by GOP fires up the very voters whose rights they are trying to take away. It seems to have had that effect elsewhere. I can’t help feeling that the GOP is heading for the mother of all falls on this one.

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    Alabama has come up with a “vouching” proposal where voters who lack the newly required ID are supposed to get two (mostly white) election officials to “vouch” for them in order to vote a regular ballot

    I long for the good old days of Bush v. Gore, when applying equal protection to voting was all the rage.

  19. 19
    Kay says:

    @jl:

    You know, there’s two schools of thought. There’s the “fight the intent behind these laws” and then there’s the practical “just get everyone ID and worry about whether the poll workers are idiots”.

    I’m really torn, because if we give up the moral, lofty argument that voting is a right and these laws are wrong we’re almost abandoning the whole voting rights struggle and turning it into an administrative “problem”. I don’t think that will do it for people who have been historically targeted by these laws. The bigger wrong matters. Partly it matters because the real passionate, committed voting rights advocates are centered on the bigger wrong. It would be nice to think those who aren’t targeted by the laws would put a lot of time and energy into efficient administration of the laws, but “we” (I’m not targeted by the laws) probably won’t because the larger moral issue doesn’t affect us.

    I’ll get there anyway you want, but I have to say that (most) rural white Democrats here only responded to this when they thought it would harm the ability of Democrats to win elections, because Democrats need black voters in Ohio. That’s okay, but it isn’t going to sustain them as allies in a long fight. It’s transactional. They want THIS so they’ll help with THIS. People don’t really rally ’round transactional, practical “solutions” without something more at stake.

  20. 20
    Redshift says:

    I especially like that the judge referred to the witnesses’ ally as a “confederate.” What? It’s a perfectly accurate legal term, right?

  21. 21
    Tommy says:

    I will keep saying this over and over here. My mother has more money then you can spend in a lifetime (to all the oligarchy comments here — which I don’t really disagree with). She is a Republican (although more a Bob Dole Republican then a current day Republican — couldn’t pay her to listen to Rush nor watch Fox Noise). She runs elections in her district. After EVERY election she calls me in tears more people didn’t vote.* Sad beyond words (turning to anger lately BTW) . My mom is all the way across the state from me (Illinois) but the voting is the same in her district as it is in mine.

    That is to say we require no ID and the process is almost faster then ordering a Big Mac through a drive-through. Now we live in smaller districts but I’ve never had to wait in line to vote. I mean not behind a single person in line. And in fact the polling stations are set-up to handle, and this is an estimate, many times the voters we get (maybe 10, or 20 times more) with almost no waiting.

    I like to say we got voting down to a science. I also like to say I wish everybody had what I had, maybe they’d vote more. But alas they don’t where I live.

    Voting just shouldn’t be hard in this nation (see the series of Daily Shows interviews Jason did in India). Ugh. Ugh. This topic, making it harder to vote, might be at the VERY TOP OF THE LIST of things that piss me off that I in fact have a solution to. Most things that piss me off, well I am not always sure what we should do. Here I am pretty sure what we do.

    *She could care less who you vote for I might add!

  22. 22
    Morzer says:

    @Tommy:

    How would your esteemed maternal parent feel about legally requiring people to vote, as they do in Australia, for example?

  23. 23
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @MomSense:

    assholigarchs

    Brava!

  24. 24
    Kay says:

    @Redshift:

    I did too. Snicker, snicker. It’s probably an indication of feelings of powerlessness that we’re noticing these things :)

  25. 25
    Roger Moore says:

    @Kay:

    They do it because they’re overcautious and IMO they are the sort of people who like to order other people to produce papers.

    I don’t think “overcautious” covers it. They’ve concluded that the person doesn’t deserve to vote, and they’re looking for an excuse to say no. I think that summarizes a lot of the voter ID mindset. They’re looking for ways to disqualify people who they think shouldn’t be voting rather than testing to see if people are qualified.

  26. 26
    KG says:

    @Kay: why make it an either/or question? There are plenty of good reasons to see that people who don’t have the IDs get them, especially when we are talking about basic state IDs. Doing that doesn’t mean we have to give up the higher moral arguments

  27. 27
    TR says:

    These idiots were wearing a wire for the Feds and still talked openly about this?

    Once more, I can’t decide if they’re more evil or stupid.

  28. 28
    Morzer says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Absolutely true. Overcautious has nothing to do with it. Those buffoons are the master race in their own minds and they aren’t going to let a little thing like being in a minority in a democracy interrupt that vision.

  29. 29
    MomSense says:

    @Tommy:

    It is not an accident that in some places the voting experience is very, very different from yours. They want to make it as difficult as possible for certain people to vote.

  30. 30
    Tommy says:

    @Morzer: I honestly don’t know. Never asked her that question. I will.

    My gut, she would say she was against it. You have a right to vote so therefore you can vote by not voting. But I don’t know.

    My mother isn’t a hermit, but not so good on the Internet. I sent her pics a few times in the last elections from places where voting lines were around the block (a few from a friend and also a client in Cleveland). Where it took hours 8+ to vote. She was horrified.

    Well let me just say this. If on elections and sane gun control (mom all in here as well) we can’t get anything done I think we are just FUBAR (fucked up beyond all reason) as a nation.

  31. 31
    Morzer says:

    @TR:

    Plato argued that evil arises from ignorance – and the GOP is probably the best available evidence that he was right.

  32. 32
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Roger Moore: BINGO.

    It also shows when someone they fully expect to be qualified jumps through all their hoops just because. You should see the looks I get (shock, surprise, etc) when I go to the polls and pull out all the supporting docs (DL, passport, etc): obviously they think a white male would never expect to be challenged. Pity they can’t peer over my shoulder and see how I’m voting. OTOH, the volk outside pushing their favorite KKKandidates are completely nonplussed when I laugh at them and keep going.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    “Vouching” has a long and sordid history in this country so the NAACP is fighting the provision.

    Alabama is filled with racist shitstains. Quelle Surprise!

  34. 34
    MomSense says:

    @Tommy:

    If on elections and sane gun control (mom all in here as well)

    Sounds like the Republican party left your Mom a long time ago. Any way you can rescue her from the dark side?

  35. 35
    Morzer says:

    @Tommy:

    I’ve heard suggestions that voting could be legally required, with a “None of the above” mandated to appear on the ballot at all elections.

    I think that on gun control we need to learn from the NRA and organize more effectively. Only when politicians fear us more than they fear the NRA will anything get done. Personally I’d like to see the NRA labeled child-killers and sponsors of domestic terrorism for profit and publicly called out every time there’s a shooting incident. We outnumber these goons by a factor of 10 or more to 1. We can win this, if we fight hard and relentlessly. Right now, we have waves of indignation and outrage, but the politicians know that these will pass. The NRA practices total war 24/7, so the politicians grovel to them. We can change that and we should.

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Linnaeus: It’s what the “Libertarians” are really all about. Unlimited “freedom” for a few to oppress the many.

    The French Solution is how you deal with these maggots.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore: On target.

    Fire for effect.

  38. 38
    Tommy says:

    @MomSense: Yes. Clearly. I think that is their goal. Heck objective.

    Happy story. In last Presidential election I left the voting booth. I might have had a super liberal tee-shirt on. I think Blue Majority or something. An African American came up to me outside, where do I vote? He had moved, this voting didn’t move with him so when he went to where he thought he could vote, they told him no, go here. He was offered a ride.

    Ended up in front of me. I said inside.

    I waited around and he voted.

  39. 39
    efgoldman says:

    @TR:

    Once more, I can’t decide if they’re more evil or stupid.

    Yes, yes they are.

  40. 40
    Kay says:

    @jl:

    First, I don’t think this is what you’re saying, you’re talking about using facts to build a legal case, but just to give you an idea of the “split” I’m talking about, between the “pragmatic” and the “principled” and why I want to really look at it.

    This is an extreme example of the pragmatic side, which some of the “principled” bigger-picture people might find off-putting:

    It’s true: Voter ID laws are horrible. They are “voter suppression”; “elegant racism”; and, according to a federal judge, discrimination. The threat of voter fraud is a myth regularly conjured up for partisan advantage.
    And yet, Republican-controlled state legislatures keep enacting them. Defeated Democrats may be right on the merits, but — wish fulfillment aside — they’re just not going to win this fight. So what, short of surrender, are they supposed to do? In the case of voter ID, and voter fraud more broadly, the focus on being right is hampering the party.

    Lordy. I just find it clueless. For one thing, he’s not paying attention. His solution is to expand voting to make up the difference (I guess!) but even that doesn’t recognize what’s happening. We’d love to expand early voting. The problem is Republicans are contracting it. Tea Party Republicans in Ohio now call early voting “a limitless window” which is just a lie; it’s not “limitless” at all, it’s 29 days. It’s expressly and specifically limited. The fact is they know AA voters organize around early voting, and they want to limit it because that’s what AA voters do.

    That also doesn’t “take care” of the problem, because the problem isn’t the potential vote count for Democrats, it’s the denial of an individual’s right to participate, and WHY that individual is being targeted.

  41. 41
    MomSense says:

    @Morzer:

    It’s not just the NRA, it’s the fact that they represent a bunch of defense manufacturers who need markets for the weapons that they modify for sale to civilians. Even gun manufacturers are afraid to cross them for fear of being crushed. We are up against the military industrial complex.

  42. 42
    jl says:

    @Kay: I see your point. But the courts do apply cost-benefit tests to the issue, sometimes by nicer sounding names like ‘compelling public interest’, and ‘appropriate burden’ But seems like plenty of evidence developing to show to some judges, including on SCOTUS, and say in way that respects to court: WRONG MUCH, were you, (fool), huh?

  43. 43
    Morzer says:

    @MomSense:

    No, we aren’t up against the military industrial complex. It’s the gun manufacturers and the NRA death merchants. If we go after them, the rest of the MIC isn’t going to care – they’ll still have their contracts to supply the military. Put pressure on and keep it on – and the politicians will crack. The NRA knows this and is relentless. We rely on the latest outrage being the tipping-point – but it never is and never will be, because we get angry for a week, maybe two weeks and then we move on to something else. Only when we go after the NRA and the politicians relentlessly and make the politicians fear us more will anything be done.

  44. 44
    The Lodger says:

    @jl: Meso as in Mesozoic?

  45. 45
    jl says:

    @Kay: thanks again. This guy lists a lot of good pragmatic measures that would improve election, and that are very good to promote o their own merits. So, I don’t understand his argument that it has to be one or the other.

    Have to also admit that I form a visceral dislike to arguments that include things like ‘well it’s wrong but popular in the polls so what can you do?’, or ‘Yeesh, you don’t want to get all wonky and try to educate people do you, that is such a turn off?” Suggests to me either a weaselly passive-aggressive or servile and helpless attitude.

  46. 46
    Kay says:

    @jl:

    They do, but I wouldn’t want to go in that direction right now because the Wisconsin opinion gets closer to the real issue.
    The Indiana SCOTUS decision was all about “just the FACTS ma’am” and we all went along that the FACTS were just not in yet, but since that time the facts are in, so I’d like to reach the real issue, if at all possible.

    The real issue is why did conservatives invent a crime and then start writing laws to solve it, on or about the year 2000? I think judges are less reluctant (now) to take a look at that.

    Ohio is going to picture ID. We were one of the first ID states. There’s no voter fraud crime wave since we solved the fake fraud problem that would indicate we now need PHOTO ID, in addition to our 5000 word ID statute. They’re restricting further with each pass.

  47. 47
    Roger Moore says:

    @Kay:

    Defeated Democrats may be right on the merits, but — wish fulfillment aside — they’re just not going to win this fight.

    There’s the key wrong position. The assumption is that the Democrats can’t win, so they need to accommodate themselves to the new Voter ID world. I agree with the need to accommodate ourselves to the Voter ID rules, but only to extent that they are the official rules we’re working under. We need to make sure as many people as possible can vote, even if that means getting them IDs they wouldn’t need under fair rules. What we shouldn’t do is give up the fight to overturn the rules. We need to keep fighting them in court, and we need to make passing laws that undo them a high priority when we have the ability to do so. Both of those things require that we not give up the rhetorical fight and accept that Voter ID is acceptable.

  48. 48
    jl says:

    @The Lodger: scopic, but I think I see your angle, and it fits.

  49. 49
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Kay: I am an election officer in Virginia. I see the same thing, and it’s ALWAYS the republican election officers that do it. The Democrats are always just “got the required ID? OK, say your name, thanks.”

  50. 50
    Kay says:

    @jl:

    I hate the breeziness of it. Once you accept that we’re all going to join hands and help Republicans better administer their biased laws, you’ve pretty much ceded the voting “rights” issue, IMO.

    “Right, privilege, whatever! GOTV!”

    The Presidential commission he cites didn’t say that. They said “we are focusing on administration”. They didn’t take “rights” off the table, for Christ’s sake.

  51. 51
    jl says:

    @Kay:

    OK, so I think I see your point. File the inevitable problems away as facts to present when they come in handy, but never make that the focus of your argument. Is that right? Then, I would agree

    ” They’re restricting further with each pass. ”
    Which is another reason I do not like Lurie’s argument. He talks as if this were a game played in a fixed environment. His approach sounds like a clever and efficient finesse, and maybe it is in the short run. But eventually, his bright idea will get gamed and chumped by a wily and ruthless opponent who can adapt strategy and tactics.

  52. 52
    Kay says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    I agree. I had what amounts to a hissy fit in the 2008 primary on exactly that issue. Everyone hated me. I get it, lawyers are a pain in the ass, but at the very least Republicans could put some goddamned effort into reading the rules. There was a lot of eye-rolling and sighing going on in response to my objections to them adding whatever they felt like, like I’m the one who added this whole obstacle course.

  53. 53
    Anoniminous says:

    @Linnaeus:

    I use it too. The great thing is people immediately grasp what is meant by “neofeudalism” without a lot of argy-bargy.

  54. 54
    Morzer says:

    @Kay:

    I’d like to see the Democrats propose a national voting ID card that can only be used as voter ID for all state and national elections, plus measures to mandate that they can be obtained for free at various federal institutions throughout the states.

  55. 55
    Kay says:

    @jl:

    I wonder about it, because it isn’t the approach Democratic Senators take. I went to the field hearings in Cleveland on voting rights, Sherrod Brown and Dick Durbin met with AA community leaders prior to the hearing and that room was dead serious. It was somber.

  56. 56
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Kay: Judge Adelman’s decision in the Wisconsin case was great. He simply applied the Anderson/Burdick balance test used In Crawford stocked it with a metric shit ton of facts, and found that that over 300K people in WI did not have IDs and that there was virtually no ID fraud. An easy case with a balancing test. I think the decision will be quickly affirmed at the 7th Cir. and that the Supremes won’t touch it.

  57. 57
    tsquared2001 says:

    @Kay: But that is just dumb. I appreciate the suspenders & belts reference but I have vouched for at least 8 voters over the years and that is all it took. Sign here and here is the new voter’s ballot, says the poll worker and please, take a sticker.

  58. 58
    Morzer says:

    @tsquared2001:

    Think about this way though: even if the process were always as easy as you say, it’s still adding a certain amount of time to cast an individual ballot. That means less time for others to vote – and the GOP have been doing everything they can to restrict voting hours as well. For the GOP, there’s more than one way to screw over the “wrong” voters.

  59. 59
    D58826 says:

    Some what OT but great news, esp for the popcorn vendors – Herman Cain has announced he might run again in 2016!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  60. 60
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Kay:

    If it is complicated, that is the fault of GOP lawmakers and they have a duty to either train pollworkers that laws have to be followed exactly or stop writing these stupid laws to appease their base’s imaginary fears of voter impersonation fraud.

    Unfortunately, this assumes that the GOP lawmakers are interested in having open, fair elections. We have more than enough evidence to suggest otherwise. They aren’t writing these restrictive laws to appease the fears of their base. Their base wouldn’t have any such fears if the GOP lawmakers hadn’t cooked them up and served them for dinner. The whole thing is self-serving at the legislative and big-money levels. The base has little to do with it, except as useful idiots who eat what they’re given.

  61. 61
    Anoniminous says:

    @Kay:

    If they want to reverse voting restrictions then they need to get off their asses and vote. You are having a state election in November. In 2010 Ohio had a ~45% voter turnout which was higher than the 41% nationally. But. Still. Ohio had 66.9% turn-out in 2008 and 64.6% in 2012.

    The key to winning Ohio is the AA vote because they are the Margin of Victory.

    ETA: And white voters need to get off their asses and vote too. Also.

  62. 62
    Linnaeus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    It’s what the “Libertarians” are really all about. Unlimited “freedom” for a few to oppress the many.

    Yep, been saying that for years. Back in my college days, I used to run with a conservative/libertarian crowd (hey, I was young and I said goodbye to all that after I graduated) and even then I didn’t go as far as some of my acquaintances did. Then when I learned a lot more about what conservatarianism was really about (in grad school) it became much clearer to me that “freedom” (for most of us) has very little to do with it.

  63. 63
    Linnaeus says:

    @Anoniminous:

    I use it too. The great thing is people immediately grasp what is meant by “neofeudalism” without a lot of argy-bargy.

    Exactly. It’s a rhetorically effective term.

    And there’s been some good scholarship that takes the concept seriously and examines the theory and practice of neofeudalism.

  64. 64
    Morzer says:

    Interesting observation from Kevin Drum:

    http://www.motherjones.com/kev.....atic-presi

    Normally, the country gets steadily more liberal during Republican presidencies and steadily more conservative during Democratic presidencies. This is, presumably, because voters get increasingly tired of whoever’s in power and more open to the idea that the other guys might have better answers. But this time that hasn’t happened. There’s too much noise in the Gallup chart to draw any definitive conclusions, but if you compare the numbers now to the average from the last few years of the Bush presidency, the country has actually gotten a bit more liberal. That’s something that rarely happens six years into a Democratic presidency.

    The trend is more noticeable on social issues, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. On gay rights in particular, the country has plainly moved in the direction of more tolerance, and conservatives are just flatly out of step. As this trend continues—and it’s inexorable at this point—the conservative position strikes more and more people as not merely misguided, but just plain ugly. And you don’t self-ID with an ideology that you think is ugly.

  65. 65
    Anoniminous says:

    @Linnaeus:

    there’s been some good scholarship that takes the concept seriously

    Rhetorically and Cognitively = WIN!

  66. 66
    kindness says:

    Gotta love that judges explaination. No doubt he will be primaried next time he’s up for election.

  67. 67
    Baud says:

    @kindness:

    Federal judge, so no.

  68. 68
    tsquared2001 says:

    @Morzer: In Minnesota, voting is exactly that easy. We lead the nation in voting every year but even then, its a high of 60 to 70% turnout. Even before the Republican war on voting, 30% of Minnesotans didn’t vote and it can be as high as 60% of non voters in other states.

    The war on voting has already brought out the spiteful side of America – look at Virginia and North Carolina. Gonna fuck with my right that I wasn’t even gonna exercise? Fuck that noise.

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @tsquared2001: It is NOT dumb. Not everyone is as conscientious as you are. Some are outright unscrupulous. The cat needs to be watching the mice…that’s what the Voting Rights Act is all about. The South is infested with ethically challenged racist filth. So is SCOTUS. They need to be watched. Constantly.

    VIGILANCE! ETERNAL VIGILANCE! (rolls glowing blue eye in socket)

  70. 70
    Ruckus says:

    @Morzer:
    If they can’t get you coming, they’ll get you going.
    There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

    @tsquared2001:
    It isn’t that you helped in a few specific instances, it is adding one more layer on top of one more layer on top of one more layer, of possibilities of stopping the wrong people from voting. If someone goes to the polling place and no one there knows them, do they then still get to vote? Voting used to be pretty seamless, now in many places it is much less so, to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
    I stood in line for 4 hrs to vote in 2004, in a middle class, mostly white neighborhood in central OH. There were no new procedures but it was a generally democratic part of town and there wasn’t any effort taken to make voting work for the number of people voting and there were those efforts made in other parts of the city. I went first thing in the morning but someone coming after work or dinner would not have the time before the polls closed. It was pathetic and it was obvious, the attempt to rig the vote.

  71. 71
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @tsquared2001:

    Well, I am happy for Minnesota, but think of the impact of having to get 2 people to vouch for you. That’s going to slow down voting significantly – and in areas where the GOP has already made it inconvenient at best as well as cutting voting hours while eradicating early voting as much as they can. Think of this as a time and motion approach negatively applied so as to minimize efficiency.

  72. 72
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Ruckus:

    There’s more than one way to skin a cat.

    I really, really hate that expression. I was raised by a series of excellent and highly principled cats from an early age -and the one surefire way to send me into a killing frenzy is to treat a cat with cruelty.

  73. 73
    Kay says:

    @tsquared2001:

    Sign here and here is the new voter’s ballot, says the poll worker and please, take a sticker.

    “Vouching” was used as a poll test because all the voting officials were white. They literally did not know the black voters. It goes to segregation and the fact that black people weren’t allowed to be poll officials and in Alabama, they still are under-represented as poll officials, even in majority-black precincts. It’s just an opportunity for subjective bias to be introduced, and it runs through the whole system as it is. White voters would be vouched for. Black voters would not. It’ll be hard to elect an AA in Alabama if the white voters vote and the black voters don’t.

    The end game here is not so much to stop AA’s from voting. It’s to stop AA’s from getting elected. That’s why it compounds, and why it took such extraordinary measures to turn it around. They couldn’t change state law because they couldn’t affect the process as to a white politicians AND they couldn’t get black people elected. They couldn’t build a bench, amass constituencies and issues, gain power in any real way. It was profound, and it rippled.

    It’s going to repeat with Latino voters. In the same letter is a reference to a law Alabama passed that same session on housing. It targeted Latinos. It was overturned by a federal judge, but the legislative debate centered around insulting views of Latinos as a group.

  74. 74
    tsquared2001 says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The dumb reference was to the poll workers – I bet those mostly volunteer poll workers don’t give half that effort at their paying gig so its kinda stupid to sweat your neighbors.

  75. 75
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Ruckus:

    I stood in line for 4 hrs to vote in 2004, in a middle class, mostly white neighborhood in central OH.

    I spent two hours in line in downtown Columbus. People in some of the suburbs just waltzed in and voted. Since I was living in German Village and the SSM Amendment was on the ballot, few of my neighbors were going to go home without voting. OTOH, I could see how it could cause a less motivated person to just give up and go home.

  76. 76
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):
    Gahanna for me.

    Friend still lives there and worked hard for President Obama to get elected both in 08 and in 12. The precincts in and around Gahanna went for the president. Leaning democratic.

  77. 77
    BBA says:

    @Morzer: They have a national voter photo ID card, issued to every eligible voter by the national election authority, in Mexico.

    Therefore it’s an evil foreign idea. Why do you hate America?

  78. 78
    Morzer says:

    Kay, could you liberate a couple of my comments from moderation, please?

  79. 79
    rikyrah says:

    Kay,

    thanks again for keeping us informed about this affront all over the country.

  80. 80
    Roger Moore says:

    @Morzer:
    I suspect that Republican intransigence is largely to blame for their failure to pick up ground. Normally, the President stays front and center in the news, so he picks up primary blame for everything that goes wrong. When the opposition is as vigorous and obnoxious as the Republicans have been, they keep themselves front and center in the news and wind up sharing the blame. You can’t fight all-out and avoid attention.

  81. 81
    tsquared2001 says:

    @Kay: @ruckus Well, ain’t that a completely different definition of vouching. Plus, they knew those black voters. They might have pretended not to but knew them all the same.

    I appreciate the point about building a political bench. Hadn’t thought of it in that light.

    Ruckus – all I can say is that I wouldn’t do anything for four hours unless it involved beer and music.

    Living in a good government state might have skewed my perspective.

  82. 82
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I wonder whether the GOP are now so publicly and persistently extreme on all manner of issues that even our pathetic media are unable to keep the both sides do it farce agoing. It’s noticeable that the GOP just can’t handle scrutiny of any sort in a convincing manner.

    Thanks for the moderation liberation, Kay!

  83. 83
    Roger Moore says:

    @Morzer:

    I’d like to see the Democrats propose a national voting ID card that can only be used as voter ID for all state and national elections

    Federal ID is going to get a huge fight from the crazy Christianists, who see it as The Mark Of The Beast. Seriously.

  84. 84
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Doesn’t everything from apple pie to zoetropes get a huge fight from those assholier than thou people?

  85. 85
    tsquared2001 says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers): No, not two people only one. And you can do it on election day. And I don’t have to show ID and neither does the person I am vouching for. And the line is only 30 minutes long even in a presidential year. Good government – you get what you pay for.

    Seriously, you couldn’t pay me enough money to live in any of those crappy states.

  86. 86
    Kay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    When the opposition is as vigorous and obnoxious as the Republicans have been, they keep themselves front and center in the news and wind up sharing the blame. You can’t fight all-out and avoid attention.

    I get such a kick out of watching it because it’s so undisciplined and self-interested. It wasn’t always like that. They were a team. Now it’s like they have this whole section of feckless self-promoters. Their 2016 primary will have 37 people in it, 27 of whom have run before and have absolutely no interest in any job outside grifting and ego-stroking self-promotion. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Duck Dynasty guy enters. “We prayed on it, and I just feel there’s support for my candidacy out there”.

    We all had to pretend Donald Trump was going to be President. It’s just no holds barred. They are lost without a central, unifying figure to impose order. They can’t self-police.

  87. 87
    Ruckus says:

    @tsquared2001:
    Without beer and music.
    Try standing in line in November, sort of freaking cold, looked like rain, outside a small church, with a slightly larger parking lot than that of an NYC 7-11 with several hundred of your newest best friends, some of who are pretty fucking cranky after about 2 hrs but wouldn’t say anything because church. How many people were way late for work? I personally know of at least one. How many left? I don’t know but I saw a few. How many didn’t stop or couldn’t find a place to park? Fifty percent plus one is all it takes.

  88. 88
    Ruckus says:

    @tsquared2001:
    If conservatives have their way it is any state they can get their hands on. And if they get just enough power they will take this federal. No one is safe, as someone once said it takes eternal vigilance to insure a democracy is maintained.

  89. 89
    Ruckus says:

    @Ruckus:
    What I was trying to imply was that being a minority is an obvious way segregate voters, especially if you still have ways in place to keep minorities poorer and with less opportunities, but that it is not the only reason that it is tried. Was it successful in the case I sited above? I don’t know but the precinct went for the idiot son by a slim margin. Should it have? Don’t know but in 08 and 12 it went for the president. I’ll leave it to you to decide.

  90. 90
    Roger Moore says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):
    I think the biggest thing is just that the Republicans are demanding attention. They don’t have an obvious leader who’s going to be their next presidential candidate, or second tier people who are going to be obvious cabinet secretaries. Because of that, every ambitious Republican, no matter how ridiculous their ambition, is trying to get as much attention as possible in hopes of running for President in 2016. Those of them who are in Congress are doing it by being as publicly obnoxious as humanly possible. That just doesn’t work if the plan is to let the President take the blame for everything that goes wrong in the country so his party falls into disrepute.

  91. 91
    BBA says:

    @Ruckus: One of the benefits of living in the Urban Hellhole is that poll sites are within walking distance of one’s apartment. Nobody cares about parking, not even the few who have cars.

  92. 92
    efgoldman says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):

    …that even our pathetic media are unable to keep the both sides do it farce agoing.

    Not for lack of trying.

  93. 93
    Belafon says:

    @Roger Moore: Plus, how are you going to restrict voting rights if you dn’t control the database?

  94. 94
    Ruckus says:

    @BBA:
    There is an upside to being able to walk everywhere or have good public transport when it’s needed.
    My POS van stays parked on average 6 days a week. Put gas in about every other month. And here in the suburban hellhole parking is still free and unrestricted.

  95. 95
    tsquared2001 says:

    @Ruckus: In 2012, I was in line for thirty minutes, with my new vouchee but it was snowing so I get some style points, right?

  96. 96
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Kay: All they’re left with is the grifters. The Benny Hinns, the Rick Warrens, all the other vile Christianist con men.

  97. 97
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Linnaeus:

    it became much clearer to me that “freedom” (for most of us) has very little to do with it.

    Pretty much how the “Socialist” and “Workers” in “National Socialist German Worker’s Party” were there just for show.

  98. 98
    Ruckus says:

    @tsquared2001:
    You can do a half hour standing on your head.
    I thought you said you walk right in and vote, easy, peasy? A half hr seems like a wait. Not a huge one but other than 04 in OH I can’t remember waiting for more than a very few minutes. Of course in CA I vote by mail so any wait is on my terms. As it stands right now I’ve been waiting a couple of weeks. Voting today.

  99. 99
    Kay says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I love how it works out, because political media have to take each candidate seriously. That’s the rules of the game. The bottom tier bring the top tier down to their level. Remember when they were jeering at the gay soldier and the “serious” candidates were like deer in the headlights?

    After the debate, Talking Points Memo reporter Evan McMorris-Santoro caught up with Jon Huntsman. When asked about the incident, Huntsman said the booing was “unfortunate.” McMorris-Santoro also talked to a Perry representative, who used similar language, calling it “very unfortunate.”

    I love that set-up, where the “real” candidates have to tread so carefully around the clowns.

    “I too am quite concerned about the President’s birth certificate”.

    It cheapens all of them, and they know it.

  100. 100
    Roger Moore says:

    @Belafon:

    Plus, how are you going to restrict voting rights if you dn’t control the database?

    There are plenty of ways that don’t involve stripping the right to vote. You just make voting sufficiently difficult and annoying in places that tend to vote the wrong way that people stay home. To start with, you make the precincts really big. That gives you more choices of inconvenient, inaccessible, or dangerous places to put the polling place. Make sure the polling place is tiny and doesn’t have enough poll workers, voting stations, or ballots for the number of people expected to vote there. There are all kinds of dirty tricks you can use if you want to.

  101. 101
    MomSense says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Big fan of mad eye moody!!

  102. 102
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    VIGILANCE! ETERNAL VIGILANCE! (rolls glowing blue eye in socket)

    That’s “constant vigilance”, not “eternal vigilance”, TYVM.

  103. 103
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @tsquared2001:

    Alabama has come up with a “vouching” proposal where voters who lack the newly required ID are supposed to get two (mostly white) election officials to “vouch” for them in order to vote a regular ballot

    The TWO vouchers for the looters and moochers is from Kay’s piece about Alabama Republicans, nefarious and vote-suppressing schemes thereof. You may well be luckier, but my point was that if one person vouching slows the line down, what do you think two will do?

  104. 104
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Roger Moore:

    The eternal vigilance quote is attributed to various persons:

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Leonard_H._Courtney

  105. 105
    Roger Moore says:

    @Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers):

    The eternal vigilance quote is attributed to various persons

    Sure, but not to anyone who has an electric blue eye spinning around in its socket. That makes it entirely clear who you were talking about, and he emphasized constant, not eternal, vigilance.

  106. 106
    Morzer (0th of His PseudoName and Founder of the Walter Sobchak Peacekeepers) says:

    @Roger Moore:

    You never met Leonard H Courtney, did you? They didn’t call him Ol’ Blue Eye for nothing, you know.

  107. 107
    J R in WV says:

    @TR:

    Both, stupid AND evil, it so often goes hand in hand.!!!

  108. 108
    The Lodger says:

    @Roger Moore: If voters have to produce more then one kind of ID because an election official is being “careful,” that implies the official believes he can keep asking for different forms of ID until they discover one that the voter doesn’t have or didn’t bring, at which point the official can claim that sufficient valid ID wasn’t produced. In the words of the great detective Nero Wolfe, “Pfui.”

  109. 109
    The Lodger says:

    @Morzer: This could be fun.

    I’ve always considered Leavenworth a federal institution.

  110. 110
    MomSense says:

    @Roger Moore:

    It is constant vigilance but we knew who he was talking about.

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