All together now

This week:

Civil rights groups have spent a decade fighting requirements that voters show photo identification, arguing that this discriminates against African-Americans, Hispanics and the poor. This week in a North Carolina courtroom, another group will make its case that such laws are discriminatory: college students.

Joining a challenge to a state law alongside the N.A.A.C.P., the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department, lawyers for seven college students and three voter-registration advocates are making the novel constitutional argument that the law violates the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 from 21. The amendment also declares that the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.”
There has never been a case like it, and if the students succeed, it will open another front in what has become a highly partisan battle over voting rights.

You guys knew about this already because we covered it here in 2013.

Here is the complaint. (pdf)

One thing I did not know but learned from the complaint is that North Carolina had one of the lowest voter participation rates in the nation until 1991 when they changed their election laws to allow more convenient access to the ballot. Big success! Well, if your goal is to increase access it was a big success. If your goal is to shut it down not so fabulous. I don’t know that the students will succeed but my general approach is anything that increases public awareness of new voting restrictions is good for voting enthusiasts.

I also think we have to recognize the Moral Monday folks for their role in keeping voting rights front and center in North Carolina:

Led by the North Carolina NAACP and its charismatic president, William Barber, Moral Mondays has brought thousands of people to weekly rallies against the state legislature’s Tea Party agenda, and over 60,000 (some said 80,000) one cold Saturday in February. A representative mix of black and white, old and young and in-between, has called out the legislature for its attacks on voting rights and abortion rights, its rejection of Medicaid and expanded unemployment benefits, and its embrace of fracking.
The energy and vision of Moral Mondays have rotated around a remarkable blend of rhetoric: religious, constitutional, and moral, focused on the familiar idea that a society shows itself in the way it treats the most vulnerable. There is something almost liturgical in participating, a reaffirming of community through shared language.

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69 replies
  1. 1
    Mnemosyne says:

    Another pitch for VoteRiders, if people are interested in donating. The news feed on their front page has pretty good ongoing coverage of voter ID issues.

  2. 2
    geg6 says:

    Love this and love me some Moral Mondays. Sure wish we had something like that here in PA. Oh well. I’m going to be working to elect Tom Wolfe and hope that, somehow, some way, that one of the state houses goes Dem (highly unlikely, but we actually have a real challenger to the long time GOPer state senator here). Gotta get rid of Corbett. Gotta.

  3. 3
    Roger Moore says:

    making the novel constitutional argument that the law violates the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 from 21.

    And I’m sure that 5 judges on the Supreme Court will be happy to tell them that those words don’t actually mean that people that age can vote, and that the part saying Congress can enforce the measure with appropriate legislation doesn’t mean that Congress is permitted to do anything about it.

  4. 4
    c u n d gulag says:

    I met Rev. William Barber many times when I lived – and organized anti-war/torture/rendition and pro-civil rights rallies – in NC, before moving back to Upstate NY.

    He is a fine upstanding man.
    One even an old Agnostic like me can hold in the highest respect.

    Please help to support his efforts.

  5. 5
    scav says:

    @Roger Moore: Just springs to mind that our corporate people overlords get full voting rights and moral authority over others at birth, no waiting period required. They don’t even have to provide written (let alone photo identification) anymore lest it injure their convenient princess-level moral consciences.

  6. 6
    Kay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    This is one though where the point really is the fight. At the very least it will put students on notice that their rights are in play.

    There is nothing left to lose. They increase the restrictions with each pass. Ohio has no voter impersonation fraud, and has a perfectly good voter ID law which was hugely contentious and difficult to administer properly. It took years.

    They attack the Ohio law that they wrote every six months. Now they say they need photo ID and not just photo ID but certain kinds of photo ID. All of a sudden early voting is impossible to administer, and plus it isn’t “secure”.

    They made up this problem. Thus, they will never be able to solve it.

  7. 7
    Josie says:

    This is an article I saved from DKos that contains some clips of Rev. Barber’s speeches – very inspirational.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....ots-Nation

  8. 8
    VidaLoca says:

    About 3 weeks ago, I had the good fortune to attend a workshop put on by Rev. Barber for trade-union and community activists in Milwaukee. The workshop was part of an effort the “Moral Mondays”/”Historic Thosands on Jones St.” people are making to spread the word on what they’re doing in N.C. and how they’re going about doing it.

    Overall, the presentation was highly impressive. Barber covered their analysis of the historical period we’re in (“Third reconstruction”, see here), their political program, and their strategy for building organization. The workshop was part of a national “road trip”; Barber mentioned that he had been elsewhere in the midwest doing the same presentation the previous day.

    Two thoughts on the presentation I heard:

    1. It’s interesting that the MM model is taking off in the South (N. Carolina of course; I’ve read that they are starting up in Georgia and Florida as well though I can’t confirm progress in those places so far). There, you have a strong moral/religious tradition, but unions are very weak (Barber even made a comment to us at one point along the lines of “man, if we had the union tradition down there that you have up here”). In northern states where unions (or at least union history) are relatively stronger, and moral/religious tradition relatively weaker, you see the growth of strategies such as the Working Families Party (which are more union-driven and union-funded).

    2. The biggest distinction between the two models that I saw is that the MM strategy is emphatic, even strident, about making a set of moral demands on the power structure. That’s their political program and it’s almost biblical in its reach and its references. Coming from a moral tradition that’s to be expected no doubt, and it appears to be very effective in corroding the legitimacy of the power-holders as it wins allies among centrist (even Republican) elements. But, they studiously avoid taking a position on “vote for politician X rather than politician Y”. There are tactical advantages in that (such as, winning over centrists that might agree on the moral issues but think that your garden-variety N. Carolina Democrat is not worthy of support; avoiding complications with the tax-exempt status of elements in their coalition) but at the end of the day you have to have a plan to win and if you’re not taking power you’re not winning. On the other hand the WFP model, while it couches its program in moral terms, is highly focused on maneuvering to take power.

    In that context, I read the following article about their “freedom summer” tactic with interest. It’s a GOTV campaign that consciously echoes the civil rights movement and it’s clear that they’re putting any agnosticism about elections that they may have held, in the past. But the question still remains: if they aren’t putting their people in those offices, what’s the point of GOTV? It can only be to get the Republicans out, and that’s a fine idea as far as it goes but I’m not aware that the record of the N. Carolina Democrats on the MM’s moral issues is anything to envy.

    Frederick Douglass used to say that “power concedes nothing without a demand”. They’ve got the demands, and they’ve got the muscle to back them up. These are serious people with a serious plan in mind. But at the end of the day, you have to take the power as well as make the demand and that part of their vision is not obvious.

    All of that said, what they call a “program of moral demands” I would call “class warfare.” And it’s about goddamn time.

  9. 9
    rikyrah says:

    Rev. Barber is the REAL DEAL, and everytime I see him on tv, I smile. He’s righteous.

    Glad to see that the college students see what’s being done to them.

    Kay, in case you didn’t know, they just expanded voting here in Illinois. They lengthened the number of Early Voting Days, lengthened the time for Early Voting during those days, and we’re about to do same day registration on Election Day.

    The GOP accused the Democrats of doing this to help the Democrats, in particular, the Governor – they’re probably right, but I don’t care. I think the changes have been good.

    This past election was the first time that Illinois allowed 17 year olds who would be 18 by the November election to vote. They really have done reach out to the schools. I suspect this program will be in overdrive beginning in September when schools open once again.

  10. 10
    Tommy says:

    I went to college in my home state but well outside of my district where I first registered to vote. Then out of state for grad school. In both places it was pretty easy to register to vote. This was in the 80s. I wonder if it would be that easy today.

  11. 11
    VidaLoca says:

    For those of you that might be interested, some articles on Moral Mondays:

    Slate magazine: The Left Fights Back. Gotta love it for the title alone.

    The Nation:What’s Next for Moral Monday Movement?

  12. 12
    VidaLoca says:

    For those of you that might be interested, some You Tube videos on Moral Mondays. These are all over the web but the examples I chose below were all put together by MM and released to the media and the web. They have a highly sophisticated in-house media operation to leverage the effectiveness of their tactics.

    YT video #1
    YT video #2
    YT video #3

  13. 13
    Tommy says:

    @rikyrah: I bet there might be another state that does voting better then IL but not sure what it is. I am pretty proud we seem to try to make it easy to vote. Heck I like to joke I can vote faster then I can order a Big Mac.

  14. 14
    Mnemosyne says:

    @VidaLoca:

    But, they studiously avoid taking a position on “vote for politician X rather than politician Y”. There are tactical advantages in that (such as, winning over centrists that might agree on the moral issues but think that your garden-variety N. Carolina Democrat is not worthy of support; avoiding complications with the tax-exempt status of elements in their coalition) but at the end of the day you have to have a plan to win and if you’re not taking power you’re not winning.

    As Kay knows, I’m suspicious of activism that’s not allied to elections ;-) but I do think that Rev. Barber probably is following the right path here. He’s leaving room open for local politicians to ally themselves with Moral Mondays (and thus garner those energized voters for themselves) instead of the other way around. If Democrats in North Carolina are smart, they’re showing up to these events and picking up on the good reverend’s rhetoric.

    I can’t remember which famous Democrat said it (Truman?), but it was something like, My job is to find the parade and then run like hell to get to the front of it. That’s what politicians should be doing with the Moral Mondays movement.

  15. 15
    Kay says:

    @rikyrah:

    I read that, thanks. Registering high schoolers is fun. They take it really seriously. We had a group of them come thru a local candidate forum in 2012 and they were great. We have an “honors” government teacher at the high school who brings them a lot of real life stuff. She has had my husband in to do the 4th Amendment, which mostly consists of him having them repeat the phrase “am I free to go?” :)

  16. 16
    raven says:

    @Tommy: When I cam home in Sept 1969 I was 2 months short of my 20th. Got thrown in jail for underage drinking abut couldn’t vote for 14 months. That was in the great state of Illinois. (of course the voting age was federal)

  17. 17
    MattR says:

    Jeff Tarte, a Republican state senator who supported the voter-ID law, said lawmakers did not intend to keep younger voters away from the polls. He said they were trying to prevent students from submitting absentee ballots in their home states and also voting in North Carolina. “Not that they would necessarily,” he said, “but why even offer that possibility to occur?”

    Just once, I would like to see a reporter follow up by asking how the law Tarte supports would prevent that scenario from occurring. How does having to present a US passport (which could have been issued when the student lived with his parents) as a requirement to vote in a NC election prevent any student from also requesting an absentee ballot in his home state?

  18. 18
    rikyrah says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    As Kay knows, I’m suspicious of activism that’s not allied to elections ;-) but I do think that Rev. Barber probably is following the right path here. He’s leaving room open for local politicians to ally themselves with Moral Mondays (and thus garner those energized voters for themselves) instead of the other way around.

    Like that Republican Mayor who is trying to get Medicaid expanded in North Carolina because if it doesn’t, the local hospital – a real economic engine for his small town – will probably close. He’s been on MSNBC shows, explaining his position, and his hookup with Rev. Barber.

  19. 19
    Kay says:

    @VidaLoca:

    Thanks. I have to think about that. I know one of Barber’s responses to Republicans is that he opposed Democrats when they went the wrong way on these same issues, and that appears to be true.

    It’s a big idea, “fusion” politics, but he’s right when he says he didn’t invent it:

    “We may not have come over on the same ship, but we’re in the same boat now,” Barber often paraphrases King. In Barber’s view, the banner for economic justice—one that defies racial lines—lies almost exactly where King dropped it.
    Like King, Barber’s strategy is to “dramatize” disparity by humanizing it.
    “I have a face and I have a name. My name is Phillip Diehl and I live in Mocksville,” a man announced at a recent rally, as Barber stood behind him on stage.
    Diehl, a barrel-chested white man, had recently been laid off and was about to lose his unemployment benefits. “Under the new unemployment law, the maximum benefit is going to be $350 per week,” Diehl says. “That’s roughly $1,400 a month. Add up your monthly incomes, your gas, your groceries, your car payment, your house payment. It is way over $1,400 a month.”
    “When they cut health care, that’s not a black issue,” Barber boomed later. “that’s a people issue. When they cut unemployment, that hurts everybody.”

  20. 20
    Ash Can says:

    @rikyrah:

    The GOP accused the Democrats of doing this to help the Democrats, in particular, the Governor – they’re probably right, but I don’t care.

    I don’t either. No one should. If more eligible voters voting means you’re going to lose, then UR DOIN IT RONG.

  21. 21
    VidaLoca says:

    @Kay: Consistent with the point you’re making here, Barber made the claim that white people are now joining up in the state NAACP, that a couple of the N.C. mountain region NAACP branches are majority white. I’ve seen a little bit of that area, it’s predominantly white and (outside of some of the cities) not well-to-do by any means. If what he says is true, it’s a profound change.

    The article you linked is correct: again and again, he hammers the point about economic justice across racial lines. The videos I linked support that view: those crowds and the speakers are not all people of color by any means.

  22. 22
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @VidaLoca: Thanks for all the great links. Barber is really impressive.

  23. 23
    Tommy says:

    @Ash Can: Exactly. I often joke that if more people voted and my party lost then maybe, as you said, you are doing something wrong.

  24. 24
    Kay says:

    @VidaLoca:

    Right, but there’s a bit of a counter-argument (which I’m sure you’ve heard from younger people) that this can be portrayed as “color blind” (not that that’s what he’s saying, but that’s how it could be twisted) and they object to that because some of these issues are about race or ethnicity; discrimination in housing, employment, etc.

    I get that one can hold both ideas at the same time, and I’m sure Rev. Barber does too, but I understand that objection and find it persuasive. I think they should make that clear and they do! :)

    It comes up in voting rights all the time, in fact, it’s present in this lawsuit. It’s the NAACP, the ACLU AND college students. The opponents of the Supreme Court case that gutted the VRA were really varied: AA, Latinos, Asian, Native Americans…. the list of opponent orgs went on and on.

  25. 25
    Mnemosyne says:

    @rikyrah:

    I will freely admit, when it comes to stuff like healthcare or unemployment benefits or wage stagnation, I don’t really care anymore who gets the credit. I just want it fixed. And if Rev. Barber is able to give enough cover to local Republican politicians that they can get things like the Medicaid expansion passed, I’m perfectly happy with that.

  26. 26
    VidaLoca says:

    @Mnemosyne: The article that Kay links in her comment above makes reference to “scorecarding” that MM has done on all the members of both houses of the NC legislature. They brought these score sheets to the presentation I attended and the difference is striking, the Democratic legislators are voting on the side of the angels 80% and more of the time while the Republicans are doing so 10% and less of the time. It’s also striking how many more Republican legislators there are than Democrats. So I certainly agree in part with your point: based on their proven record these are Democrats that you’d want to support and a big GOTV campaign would be a way to do that.

    What about the Republican incumbents though? A GOTV campaign disfavors them, it’s true. But what to replace them with? I’m not too impressed by

    local politicians [who] ally themselves with Moral Mondays (and thus garner those energized voters for themselves) instead of the other way around. If Democrats in North Carolina are smart, they’re showing up to these events and picking up on the good reverend’s rhetoric.

    because these sound like opportunists to me. If they haven’t figured out which side of the moral equation they want to be on before the winds of change start blowing, how can we trust them to keep themselves straight once the winds of change die down? The world is too full of smart Democrats who pick up on rhetoric when it’s convenient.

  27. 27
    Tommy says:

    @Mnemosyne: I am in the same boat. When Bush was in office I wasn’t hoping he failed. I mean you got to be a sick fuck IMHO to wish the country goes downhill just to prove you are right.

  28. 28
    VidaLoca says:

    @Kay: Right, what the young people you reference are talking about is the fight against white supremacy and they’re right: it’s an issue that exists separately and district from the issue of economic injustice.

    Barber doesn’t side-step this at all, in fact just the opposite: he took pains to make it clear at the start of his presentation (as I noted, a presentation to a bunch of labor people and community activists) that the only way you could make any progress on the economic issues that the labor people always gravitate towards (as they often quickly downplay the issues of national oppression) is if you take up the fight against white supremacy. He calls the fight against white supremacy “the fight for civil rights” which I think is completely justifiable on its face, AND has the added benefit of linking up with a lot of historical tropes that resonate with people.

  29. 29
    Roger Moore says:

    @VidaLoca:
    IMO you have to be at least willing to give people who say the right things a chance to prove they mean it before casting them out. In the long run, the only thing that will keep a politician voting your way is the votes to keep them in office. If they’re beholden to your group, they’ll keep voting your way. That’s the way democracy works.

  30. 30
    Kay says:

    @VidaLoca:

    on the economic issues that the labor people always gravitate towards (as they often quickly downplay the issues of national oppression)

    I think that’s true.

    The truth is they need one another in this state. We just failed to get enough signatures for the constitutional amendment on voting rights. The last time we did a voting rights referendum petition it was during the SB5 petition process and labor was doing those, so we just added the voting rights to that effort – literally asking the same people to sign both (plus the Obama campaign people were working on the voting petition). It made a huge difference having labor involved. In this state we need everyone. One group can’t do it alone.

  31. 31
    VidaLoca says:

    @Roger Moore: OK but here’s the point: MM has been in existence for 8 years, and intensively so since the Republicans won control of the legislature in 2010 and the governorship in 2012. They have large demonstrations in Raleigh every Monday while the legislature is in session and when it isn’t they have demonstrations in the rest of the counties in the state. That’s a lot of work, and somebody has to step up and do it, and prove in the process whether they do or don’t have the qualities it would take to be a leader and the kind of leadership they offer.

    So, why not put people like that in power?

    I have nothing against “people who say the right things” but why can’t they get to the back of the line and prove they mean what they’re saying before they get the control?

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    @VidaLoca:

    If they haven’t figured out which side of the moral equation they want to be on before the winds of change start blowing, how can we trust them to keep themselves straight once the winds of change die down?

    I disagree that politicians should be primarily concerned with morality, even morality that we like — to me, that’s what got us here in the first place and got people like Michelle Bachmann elected. If a politician is going to use his/her power to get Medicaid expanded to their state, I don’t really care if they want to do it because of a deep moral conviction about healthcare being available to all or because it will prevent the local hospital from closing down and they’ll lose all of those voters. I just want them to do it.

    IMO, part of democracy is that we the people have the responsibility to keep those “winds of change” blowing in the direction we want. If we abdicate that responsibility, then we get the politicians we deserve.

  33. 33
    efgoldman says:

    @rikyrah:

    Like that Republican Mayor who is trying to get Medicaid expanded in North Carolina because if it doesn’t, the local hospital – a real economic engine for his small town – will probably close.

    Do you mean :::gasp::: that actions actually have consequences? Hoocuddahnoed.

  34. 34
    Mnemosyne says:

    @VidaLoca:

    So, why not put people like that in power?

    You can’t just put people in power. They have to run and be elected, and a lot of the people doing that kind of community organizing don’t want to deal with that hassle.

    Yes, in the long term, the people participating in Moral Mondays should be recruited to run for office, but that could take 10 or 15 years to get them to the statewide level. Why not use the politicians we have in office now while we wait for the new recruits to get up to speed?

  35. 35
    gene108 says:

    North Carolina had one of the lowest voter participation rates in the nation until 1991 when they changed their election laws to allow more convenient access to the ballot.

    Anybody know what those changes were?

    I got signed up to vote in my NC high school library spring of my senior year, in 1992. I was 17 and could vote in the primaries, because I would be 18 by Nov 1992.

    Also, in looking for the Election Laws changes from 1991, I found this thread at the bottom of Page 2 of one of my Google search. Link

  36. 36
    Tommy says:

    @efgoldman: Amen. My mom was in the ICU last year for five weeks. She had to go to a hospital in another state. When I’d walk in the parking lot, and this is the only large town (200,000) in an area where several states connect, I was stunned by cars with plates from those four states. I couldn’t even wrap my mind around the size of the hospital. It took up a few city blocks. But I also assumed it had to be the number one employer in the town and the money it generated must be staggering.

  37. 37
    ruemara says:

    God forbid we focus on the real infringement of rights happening in this country.

  38. 38
    efgoldman says:

    @ruemara:

    God forbid we focus on the real infringement of rights happening in this country.

    God must have forbidden it, because it’s the god-botherers who are doing the infringing.

  39. 39
    Cassidy says:

    @Kay: it has to be “color blind”. If not, white southerners tend to get defensive and spiteful.

  40. 40
    VidaLoca says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You can’t just put people in power.

    Oh yes you can.

    First of all let’s narrow the terms of the argument: we’re agreed that politicians who are in office and have proven that they are on our side should be kept in office until they prove that they are not on our side. So we’re talking about open seats where you’re intending to defeat a Republican.

    Certainly we agree that you can take people out of power, that’s what elections are about. So what we’re disagreeing about is how the fill the vacuum that results. And I’m saying that it is reasonable to favor people who have proven that they have what it takes to be leaders: you recruit them to run, you train them to run, you give them the tools, you help them win. We do this here, albeit on a very small scale — but I’ve seen it work and when it does the results are impressive. No doubt, it’s not for everyone: if a given person doesn’t want to run, you need to find someone else who does. No doubt, you won’t always succeed in that search and when you don’t, sure, take a chance on someone who can talk the talk — find out if they can walk the walk and if they can’t, as you say, fire them.

    This worked during Reconstruction — why can’t it work now? Why the fetish about “politicians we have in office now”? The good ones are thin on the ground, do you want to promote a mediocrity just because they are holding a chair down in some legislative body or other?

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    @VidaLoca:

    And I’m saying that it is reasonable to favor people who have proven that they have what it takes to be leaders: you recruit them to run, you train them to run, you give them the tools, you help them win. We do this here, albeit on a very small scale — but I’ve seen it work and when it does the results are impressive.

    There is an election in four (4) months. Can you get those people recruited, trained, and financed in time to run this November?

    If not, then I don’t think we’re saying very different things — it takes time to recruit and run new leaders. We should be doing it, but we also need to continue to use the politicians who are in office right now rather than wait around for the day that your new recruits win their elections in 2015 or 2016 or later. We need to be doing both things.

  42. 42
    Kay says:

    @gene108:

    They are: early voting, “one stop” voting, same day registration and out-of-precinct voting (I assume this means a provisional ballot that is counted when the voter’s address can be verified and of course when it can ALSO be verified that they didn’t vote in two precincts).

    There is no rational reason to oppose early voting. People love it and it’s more secure than an absentee ballot. It makes the whole system better, because it reduces the crush on election day. Here, they don’t even have to hire anyone. There have to be two workers at the Bd of Election all the time anyway, and they’re both managers (not hourly). It just adds hours to their regular duties.

  43. 43
    VidaLoca says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I disagree that politicians should be primarily concerned with morality, even morality that we like — to me, that’s what got us here in the first place and got people like Michelle Bachmann elected.

    Fair enough, although Rev. Barber makes the point that part of the problem with Michelle Bachmann vis-a-vis morality is that the right wing has highjacked the moral space and made it a discussion under their terms of their issues. And one of the goals of MM is to get it back, using (I believe) the significance of morality in Southern culture as a leverage point. If we could reclaim the moral debate it would be a significant change.

    But OK, let’s let morality go for a moment. I don’t come from any kind of a moral background at all so what I’d call the MM platform is “class warfare” and it makes a huge difference to me what side of that equation you’re on. Now you’re right, there is such a thing as practical politics and if a legislator were to vote to prevent a local hospital closing down that would make me think of looking for a different politician to take out at the next election. It is, after all, a target-rich environment out there. But I think we have to keep track of who are our allies, who are our enemies, and who are our temporary friends-of-convenience.

  44. 44
    Roger Moore says:

    @VidaLoca:

    So, why not put people like that in power?

    Because they derive their moral authority in part from not being in it for personal advancement. If they turn around and run for office themselves, they wind up looking like a bunch of hypocrites and lose the moral authority that makes the movement work. Their best chance is to be a formally non-partisan group that lays down fundamental principles and judges politicians by how well they adhere to them, but that doesn’t try for power themselves.

  45. 45
    gene108 says:

    @Kay:

    They are: early voting, “one stop” voting, same day registration and out-of-precinct voting (I assume this means a provisional ballot that is counted when the voter’s address can be verified and of course when it can ALSO be verified that they didn’t vote in two precincts).

    I think some of those changes came in the early 00’s, after the 2000 census and more attempts were made to expand voter participation.

    I do not recall early voting as a possibility in the 1990’s.

    That’s why I was curious about the 1991 changes. I was wondering, if I benefited by getting registered to vote in my high school. I should check with my brother or sister-in-law. They went to the same high school and graduated 4 years earlier.

  46. 46
    J R in WV says:

    Any organization that seeks to limit or reduce voting, seeks the destruction of the American way of life. They are as anti-American as those insects that flew airplanes into the Trade Center towers.

    They are as wicked as the lynch mobs led by that guy called Jim Crow.

    I include the male justices of the Supreme Court in that description. What they did to the Voting Rights Act was just wrong, and was unAmerican in the extreme. The same for their votes in Citizens United giving corporations personhood (for God’s sake, how stupid do they think we are?) and then followed-up giving those corporations religious beliefs! I am amazed at the blind stupidity of their decision making!

    They will never regain the moral high ground they (most of them anyway) could have held before that decision was handed down.

    They will go into the history books as the terribly flawed anti-democratic pawns they have shown themselves to be. I do not have the skill to describe the working of their minds.

  47. 47
    VidaLoca says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    There is an election in four (4) months. Can you get those people recruited, trained, and financed in time to run this November?

    We did that here with three State Assembly candidates in the summer of 2012. To be fair about it, we had scoped out the races ahead of time and had some people in mind, but that was the summer of the recall and so we didn’t get much moving until the middle of June — for an election that was settled in the primary in August. So I’d say under the right circumstances it can be done but I’ll grant your main point: it isn’t easy.

    The big difference is that we were organized and ready to jump when we saw a chance. MM does not seem to be looking at this mix of issues the way we do. That’s just a difference between us and them and I’m not sure what it’s based in — I offered some speculations above but I’m hesitant to draw firm conclusions.

  48. 48
    Kay says:

    @VidaLoca:

    I keep returning to it because it is so broad. I don’t know if he’ll make any progress but boy, he is attempting to tie a lot of ideas together. You have to admire how ambitious it is. You almost hate to take it down to a campaign level.

    For example. In your initial comment, it never once occurred to me that southern states might organize in churches because they never had unions. These broad themes just woosh right by me :)

  49. 49
    VidaLoca says:

    @Roger Moore: That’s a key question that I have about the MM strategy. There’s not much question that it’s working, a look at a few You Tube videos will give a flavor of that, and the legislature’s popularity rating is down around 18%. So they have to be doing something right. Rev. Barber makes a point similar to yours about moral authority, and as I noted above there are tactical reasons as well why they would want to avoid the appearance of being interested in power, in making the transition from an organization that was raising issues of morality to one that was raising issues of politics.

    But what you’re talking about in your comment, and what they seem to be tending toward in their strategy, is a sort of a “moral referee” that stands above the fray and sanctions politicians based on a review of their voting record while not getting directly involved in holding power per se. A “conscience” if you will. Not to object to innovative thinking, but are there other examples, either in US history or history anywhere else for that matter, of such a thing working successfully?

    I’m curious to see how that will work out for them.

  50. 50
    Mnemosyne says:

    @VidaLoca:

    It really depends on the state, though — our primaries in California were on June 3rd. North Carolina’s primary was on May 6th. So, really, the MM people would have had to do their recruiting by January or February at the latest to get their folks on the ballot in time.

  51. 51
    VidaLoca says:

    Sorry all, I have to go. I’ve enjoyed the conversation; best wishes.

  52. 52
    rikyrah says:

    There is no rational reason to oppose early voting. People love it and it’s more secure than an absentee ballot. It makes the whole system better, because it reduces the crush on election day. Here, they don’t even have to hire anyone. There have to be two workers at the Bd of Election all the time anyway, and they’re both managers (not hourly). It just adds hours to their regular duties.

    Well, in our jurisdiction, we just take the best trained equipment managers and put them in the early voting sites. Have people who you have confidence in from over the years, and have a select group that know what they’re doing. We are also transitioning to EPolls – where everything is done via computer.

    I love Early voting, and it makes no damn sense to me to be against it, IFFFF ‘voter fraud’ is the reason – that’s bullshyt. Early Voting, Same Day Voting – are the only times where you HAVE to show a picture ID in Illinois. By virtue of you voting Early or doing same Day registration/voting – you are presenting a photo ID, but the list of ID is extensive.

    In Illinois, on election day, if you’ve voted before, you don’t ever have to show an ID. Only if it’s your first time voting.

  53. 53
    rikyrah says:

    I appreciate the moral approach, and I think a lot of our Northern Brethren don’t appreciate the subversiveness of that appeal. What is better to throw in the face of those evangelicals, than this Black Preacher, calling on the good book, and talking about community, morality, and ‘ what would Jesus do?’

    THAT is the reason that, for now, they’re not going after Power, per se. They’re going AFTER the powers-that-be.

    White Northerners don’t understand the appeal of morality, based in a full throttle religious progressiveness. They are unfamiliar with it, but I see what Rev. Barber is doing, and ICAM.

    It is FUCKING IMMORAL to be denying your fellow citizens access to healthcare.

    PERIOD.

    Which is why I had no issue with those folks in Florida using that dead woman’s story about how being denied access to healthcare killed her.

    THIS IS A MORAL ISSUE.

    VOTING IS A MORAL ISSUE.

    So, when Rev. Barber has folks stand up there, that are our Elders, talking about how they were held back by Jim Crow ‘back then’, and NOW, in 2014, they are STILL being held back, that’s a MORAL issue.

    Don’t sleep on the Moralness of it.

    You might not be religious, so you want to intellectualize it. I don’t give one inch of moral ground based on religion to those sociopaths in the evangelical church. I’ll whip out my Bible and the social gospel teachings of Jesus in a nanosecond on those creeps.

  54. 54
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: And people say there’s no difference between Quinn and the republican who’s running. Right. I may hate Quinn for screwing with my pension benefits, but he’s still 100x better than any republican.

    Like we would be expanding voting rights if we had a republican governor.

  55. 55
    rikyrah says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Rauner has already said he doesn’t believe in the minimum wage. He tried walking it back, but he said it, and when someone tells you who they are – believe them.

    They haven’t asked him about the Medicaid expansion.

    He wants to destroy the teacher’s unions.

    Oh, I know him.

    I am disappointed in Quinn, but I would never vote for Rauner.

  56. 56
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah:

    When someone tells you who they are, believe them.

    I love that phrase.

    P.S. I”m not sure it’s possible not to hate even a democratic governor in Illinois when our financial situation is as bad as it is. But Quinn didn’t cause that.

  57. 57
    rikyrah says:

    @WaterGirl:

    P.S. I”m not sure it’s possible not to hate even a democratic governor in Illinois when our financial situation is as bad as it is. But Quinn didn’t cause that.

    I don’t hate Quinn.

    But, what I find wrong is those who talk about Quinn without including Michael Madigan in the sentence. Pat Quinn, sure, not the best politician in the world, but he could have had ideas that would have revolutionized Illinois and it wouldn’t have mattered because Michael Madigan BLOCKED ANY AND EVERYTHING HE WANTED TO DO.

    Madigan has been as obstructionist to Quinn as the Republicans have been to President Obama.

    He blocked everything with regards to Quinn in order to grease the skids for his baby girl to run for Governor. I don’t see how folks don’t bring that up everytime there’s a story written about Governor Quinn.

  58. 58
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: That’s what I don’t understand. She obviously isn’t going to run for governor when the state finances are this bad, so how does that even make sense?

  59. 59
    rikyrah says:

    @WaterGirl:

    He didn’t know that she wasn’t going to run back when Quinn first won. But, he had to sabotage Quinn from day one in order to give her an opening.

  60. 60
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: I’ll buy that. But why continue to sabotage Quinn once that became clear?

  61. 61
    rikyrah says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I honestly think that Madigan wouldn’t mind it if Rauner won, but you can’t stay the Speaker of the DEMOCRATS in the House if you admit that. He wants to be able to blame someone, anyone, for doing the rotten shyt that his ass wants to do to the little people.

    I say no. He’s going to have to be responsible for his actions.

  62. 62
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: Huh. So you think what really matters to Mike Madigan is that he’s the powerful speaker of the house. So it’s all a power game and he doesn’t really care about the people of Illinois? But how does he expect to stay in office and remain the speaker if he’s screwing his constituents?

    You clearly see him close-up in a way that I do not see from here in champaign-urbana. I’ve always just been grateful that he’s a democrat, not a republican.

  63. 63
    rikyrah says:

    @WaterGirl:

    So it’s all a power game and he doesn’t really care about the people of Illinois? But how does he expect to stay in office and remain the speaker if he’s screwing his constituents?

    Facts are, if demographics were destiny, Madigan should have been long gone.

    He’s the Irish Representative of a district that turned majority Latino YEARS AGO.
    I don’t understand why the Latinos don’t find one of their own to run against him, but there’s not enough Irish left in that district to fill a McDonald’s parking lot.

    But, there he is, and it doesn’t seem like he’s going anywhere unless he dies or retires.

    HE is the one that blocked anything Blago wanted to do. Sure, Blago was a crook, but maybe he had one or two good ideas. We’ll never know because Madigan blocked him at every turn, and folks blamed Blago and not him.

    If Barack Obama had been elected to the Illinois House instead of the Senate, we would have never heard of him.

    In the Illinois Senate, he was mentored by Head of the Illinois Senate – Emil Jones.

    You think Madigan would have mentored a bright Black legislator?

    Hell no.

    The only reason that he supported Barack Obama for Senator was to get him out of Illinois. Because, if Barack Obama hadn’t of run for Senator, he might have run for Governor.

  64. 64
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: Are you in Chicago? I think you guys get news about politics in Illinois at a different level than we do here. I grew up in Chicago, but I left in 1972.

  65. 65
    rikyrah says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Chicago born and bred. Only left for college and graduate school.

  66. 66
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: I don’t read the local paper, but I don’t think they write about Madigan. I catch national news on the internet. As we talk, I am realizing I don’t pay all that much attention to what’s happening in Illinois, but I sure as hell would be if we had a governor ultrasound or they were trying to limit voting opportunities instead of expand them. I tend to think of myself as well informed, but it seems I’m not when it comes to state politics.

  67. 67
    rikyrah says:

    @WaterGirl:

    As we talk, I am realizing I don’t pay all that much attention to what’s happening in Illinois, but I sure as hell would be if we had a governor ultrasound or they were trying to limit voting opportunities instead of expand them.

    The thing is, we have Chicago to balance out the rest of the state, IMO.

    I’m upset about the pension plan because I’m tired of workers bearing the brunt of it, all the while they won’t write legislation to stop the double and triple dipping of a many an elected official.

    I’m upset about folks trying to screw over the workers, who have, for years, had their money taken away from their salaries. I know the teachers in Chicago have ALWAYS had their money taken out. Now, the legislature allowed King Richard II and his cronies to phuck with that money, but it’s not the teacher’s fault. They paid their monies.

    I’m not even mad at the public employees, who have had their monies taken away from them. If both Dems and Republicans didn’t want to raise taxes to pay their obligations, how is that the employees – who had their money taken from them – and are only looking for the state to match what they legally said they were going to do. I think it’s ridiculous that they don’t raise the state income tax – of course it should be PERMANENTLY RAISED.

  68. 68
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: There are a lot of conservatives downstate, but thankfully I live in a college town so there’s not so much of it right around me, but they are in my district.

    I am one of the people who is getting screwed by the pension stuff, and it’s definitely not our fault that the state wasn’t doing what they were supposed to. They were certainly taking out my money for retirement, and even took out money for the 3% raise each year, so how they think they can take it away is beyond me! I try not to think about it too much because it enrages me, so I’m trying to conserve my rage for if it’s actually upheld in court.

    They need to raise state taxes. In what world does it make sense to cut state taxes when the state is broke?

  69. 69
    rikyrah says:

    @WaterGirl:

    They were certainly taking out my money for retirement, and even took out money for the 3% raise each year, so how they think they can take it away is beyond me! I try not to think about it too much because it enrages me, so I’m trying to conserve my rage for if it’s actually upheld in court.

    Well, all eyes on the Illinois Supreme Court to see what they will do.

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