Voting rights and wrongs

Went to a great voting rights panel at Netroots Nation. Nina Turner is running for Ohio Secretary of State and Maggie Toulouse Oliver is running for New Mexico Secretary of State. Jocelyn Benson ran for Michigan Secretary of State in 2010.

tina turner

Candidates running for Secretary of State will discuss voting rights issues that come up in the states and what participants can do to help fight back against Voter ID laws in their own states.

Nina Turner is very passionate about voting rights, knows her stuff and was also (incidentally) the favorite of county Democrats here when they met her along with some other state candidates recently. Maggie Toulouse Oliver focused more on the administrative role of a secretary of state, although Oliver is no slouch on the passion part either. Sometimes those two issues are separated – competent administration of elections and the history and meaning of voting – (example of that here) but I disagree with that approach. We can vigorously defend the right to vote and also focus on “good government” administration of elections. Smart, competent voter-centered process protects the right to vote, as a practical matter. Those aren’t two distinct issues. In Pennsylvania in 2012, Republicans attacked the right to vote AND monumentally screwed up the administration of their new voter ID process. They were suppressing the vote and also very bad at running elections.

This was a fun event for me because voting rights make my heart go pitter-patter and I immediately go into oppositional/adversarial posture when listening to people who compare the right to vote to buying booze or using an ATM. This was an extremely well informed crowd – throwing around “HAVA” and “Crawfordwith ease– in other words, my people. I could relax and enjoy the discussion because it wasn’t full of people screeching about mysterious white vans pulling up to polling places and disgorging hordes of fraudulent voters or the ever-popular “there are people who died still on voter rolls so that must mean dead people voted.”

The two candidates for Secretary of State talked a bit about the office of Secretary of State and how it has changed. In the past, it was a rather low-key job because it wasn’t partisan and it wasn’t considered a stepping stone to national fame and the speaker circuit. The objective was to expand lawful access to the ballot, administer elections properly and serve voters. That has changed. An example of this higher profile is Kris Kobach in Kansas, who used the job to pursue his rather extreme legal theories on immigration and become a national advisor to Mitt Romney. It is my belief that Jon Husted in Ohio is also using the job as a stop on his way to the governor’s mansion. I don’t think these folks are interested in the hard work of administering elections in a fair and competent manner. I think they have much bigger ambitions.

I think the politicization of the job began in earnest with the Bush Administration and their “purge” of those US Attorneys who would not pursue allegations of voter impersonation fraud (because voter impersonation fraud doesn’t exist). I think voting process has really suffered as a result, and voters have been all but forgotten in the rush to put in more and more voting restrictions and lump more and more people into the “probably planning a felony” category when they show up at a polling place.

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70 replies
  1. 1
    AdamK says:

    I’m just glad I get a chance to cast a vote for Turner for something. She’s great.

  2. 2
    James E. Powell says:

    The Republicans’ overt & shameless vote suppression began sometime before 2000 when they realized that if everyone votes, they cannot win the White House.

    People like Husted do not care about anything but Republicans winning. His conduct in 2012 was brazenly partisan. He lost, they lost, but neither he nor they will ever quit.

  3. 3
    Kay says:

    @AdamK:

    She really is. I went up after and thanked her for running because you just know it will get ugly.

  4. 4
    Kay says:

    @James E. Powell:

    I think his ambition has worked in our favor a little. He moderated when the True the Vote nonsense started, because he didn’t want to be associated with that crazy when he has to run as a “moderate, business-friendly” Republican later in his career.

  5. 5
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    I’m tempted to think the fantasy voting fraud and inept election management are related. These are not people who follow evidence and attend to detail to shape their actions. They act first and then deal (or don’t deal) with the consequences.

  6. 6
    Kay says:

    @Iowa Old Lady:

    That’s true, and process protects. If you don’t believe voting is a right you’re less likely to worry about competent and thorough process. If it’s akin to getting a driver’s license, well, no big deal if it’s bungled and chaotic and no one understands the rules.

    My daughter had to jump thru the hoops in Pittsburgh when they changed the law. It was a pain in the ass- a sloppy mismanaged mess – and she has a car and a 9 to 5 job and an internet connection.

  7. 7
    pat says:

    Don’t forget that Bush probably would not have won Florida in 2000 without the shenanigans that went on in the voting process. (can’t recall all of them, but the design of the ballot and purges of voter lists were some of the things I recall.)

  8. 8
    SuzieC says:

    Go Nina Turner! I can’t wait to cast my vote for her–and against Husted–this November. Did she say how her campaign is going?

  9. 9
    gogol's wife says:

    Interesting and depressing. What you say about the politicization of the job of Secretary of the state is resonating with the article on Chris Christie that I’m reading in Vanity Fair, about how Pataki and Whitman started the politicization of the Port Authority of NY and NJ in the mid-1990s, and the deterioration that has happened since then.

  10. 10
    Emerald says:

    @pat: Bush wouldn’t have won Ohio without the shenanigans that went there on in 2004, come to that.

    I’m one of those dead-enders who thinks he actually was never elected. Which I guess makes me kind of a Bush-birther, or something.

  11. 11
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    it wasn’t full of people screeching about mysterious white vans pulling up to polling places and disgorging hordes of fraudulent voters

    White vans? Well, then they had to be fraudulent! Everyone knows that legitimate voters arrive in limousines!

  12. 12
    Xboxershorts says:

    It began in late 2004 and was launched in earnest by a Rove devised group fronted by a Republican lawyer/activist named Mark “Thor” Hearne and the totally fake advocacy group called “American Center for Voting Rights”. 2 Days after they were formed in 2005 they were called to testify to Congress on voter integrity and Voter Fraud.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.....ing_Rights

    It was a total scam and perhaps the greatest source of information on voting rights, The Brad Blog, was all over it from the beginning: http://www.bradblog.com/?page_id=4418

    It’s worth a read. Even if you don’t like Brad Friedman. he busted Thor Hearne immediately.

  13. 13
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    Just want to “rescue” this dkos post today with the redistricting/gerrymander panel with Stacey Adams on it. Truly recommend watching this video, sound goes fubar on her halfway thru but comes back, the whole presentation starts about 20 min in.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....ymandering

  14. 14
    efgoldman says:

    @Emerald:

    I guess makes me kind of a Bush-birther, or something.

    Was Texas a state when he was born?

  15. 15
    Xboxershorts says:

    @efgoldman: Bush was born? I always thought he was a golem

  16. 16
    rikyrah says:

    uh huh

    uh huh

    We need to take Rahim, Jamal, Tequan, Tamiqua, and Monique, all dressed in black, to the Whitest towns in Wisconsin. See how they like it.

    ……………………………………….

    Elections board to consider lifting ban on poll observers using cameras

    The ban on election observers using cameras at polling locations may soon be lifted in Wisconsin.

    That move, which was recommended by the Republican-controlled Legislature, is set to be considered Monday when the state elections board meets to vote on proposed changes to election observer rules.

    If the Government Accountability Board approves the change, observers might be able to use cameras to photograph and record voters and others at polling places by the Aug. 12 primary, including people getting ballots and registering to vote.

    Earlier this year, Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill allowing observers to get closer to those they are monitoring. The legislation said that observation areas at polling places can be as close as three feet from the tables where voters obtain ballots or register, or from counting locations — rather than the six feet previously required. Observers would need to remain in those areas while filming or taking photographs of voters, and photographing ballots would still be prohibited….

    http://host.madison.com/news/l.....z383DdGNQQ

  17. 17
    Kay says:

    @Tara the Antisocial Social Worker:

    White vans. Always.

    I have no proof of this, but the grain of truth behind it might be churches. Churches use those 9 passenger vans (that are often white) and AA churches do voter organizing. This is the only explanation I can come up with for the white van thing.

  18. 18
    rikyrah says:

    I love State Senator Nina Turner. She’s the real deal.

  19. 19
    Kay says:

    @rikyrah:

    They’re not going to be satisfied until someone gets hurt. Such a bad idea, filming voters. It is just going to enrage and further divide people.

  20. 20
    efgoldman says:

    Somehow, the legislature here in our smallest and most corrupt (per capita) state in the nation passed a voter ID law when nobody was looking.
    At least at our polling place, which is in an elderly housing highrise (we don’t live there), the poll workers go out of their way to make sure everybody who shows up, votes. They’ll pretty much take any piece of paper with your name on it. Of course, the fact that they pretty much know everyone who shows up, helps.
    Kay, you’re right. Ultimately we need a voting rights amendment to the constitution.

  21. 21
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    the ever-popular “there are people who died still on voter rolls so that must mean dead people voted.”

    That’s the one that always cracks me up. Have these people never had a family member die? Because I know whenever someone in my family shuffles off, the very first thing I think is “Okay, I need to notify the Secretary of State and county Elections Board.”

    I’m not sure that’s even on the handy things-to-do checklists that funeral parlors and lawyers hand out to the recently-bereaved.

  22. 22
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @efgoldman:

    an elderly housing highrise (we don’t live there)

    :-)

    Kay, you’re right. Ultimately we need a voting rights amendment to the constitution.

    This.

  23. 23
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    Much love for Nina Turner, too. She spoke to our union a few years back, very inspiring, very impassioned, as you said she knows her stuff. I wish her well in her upcoming election!

  24. 24
    efgoldman says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Kay, you’re right. Ultimately we need a voting rights amendment to the constitution.

    Once upon a time, after the CRA and VRA passed in the sixties, I wouldn’t have believed such a thing was necessary. As recently as a few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed anybody would vote against it.

  25. 25
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Another Holocene Human (now with new computer): Guys, I apologize for kind of not saying why I was posting this link here. Stacey Adams is talking about research the DLCC paid for in Georgia to find out why African Americans weren’t voting, not even for Barack Obama. They found out, among other things, that in some rural communities some people were afraid of being arrested if they attempted to vote. (Not an irrational fear considering what happened in Quitman.)

    Seriously, watch the vid and pan to her section.

  26. 26
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @rikyrah: You are right, this is some shit. They are trying to intimidate voters the way they harass and intimidate women walking into Planned Parenthood.

    I always thought of the “no cell phone” rule in the polling place to be a PITA but jeez, back up offa me when I’m voting!

  27. 27
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @efgoldman:

    Yes. I have naïvely believed, most of my life, that when a VRA or CRA or Social Security passes and becomes the Law of the Land, we can kind of mark that off as an issue to worry about and move on to the next thing. When the Supreme Court affirms a woman’s right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade, I interpret that as meaning, good, women have the legal right to abortion, next issue? It kills me that we are having to fight and re-litigate these old battles again and again. Makes a person very tired.

  28. 28
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I feel this. When people say “we’re winning,” I think about abortion and, for god’s sake, birth control, and I’m not so sure.

  29. 29
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Speaking of planned parenthood. On Monday (or whatever day it was) Sean Hannity was talking about the Hobby Lobby decision and saying that women don’t have to worry cause they can get their birth control at Planned Parenthood for free, so what is the problem? The very next day he had that Lila Rose beeeeoch on reporting that she had done another undercover Planned Parenthood investigation where they were “encouraging” 15 year olds to engage in S&M and other such stuff after reading “50 Shades of Grey”. When you listen to the tapes they were doing no such thing.

    So which is it Sean? Should women be able to get their birth control for free at Planned Parenthood or do you want to see them shut down? You can’t have it both ways. Or perhaps you can because you are a fucking republican.

  30. 30
    VidaLoca says:

    @rikyrah: @Kay:

    Agreed, this is a really bad idea. Rikyrah, thanks for the link. I had not heard that this was going on.

    The good news, if that’s what you want to call it, it that the final call on this is being left to the Govt. Accountability Board. They have played a relatively sane and neutral role in the shenanigans here so far, and for that have come under attack by the extremists. I think it’s somewhat likely that they will pay attention to the advice of their staff members who are urging rejection of the rule change.

  31. 31
    KG says:

    @efgoldman: the sad thing is we have four voting rights amendments already in the constitution.

  32. 32
    efgoldman says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Makes a person very tired.

    That’s exactly what the RWNJs count on, especially at the state level. That, and the five Savonarolas.

  33. 33
    Kay says:

    @VidaLoca:

    It will backfire. Ordinary voters will hate it. We get complaints when they have to declare a Party publicly to get a primary ballot. They don’t want to answer “Republican, Democrat or issue-only?”

    People will think it’s intrusive and offensive. Please proceed, Republicans.

  34. 34
    Roger Moore says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    That’s the one that always cracks me up. Have these people never had a family member die? Because I know whenever someone in my family shuffles off, the very first thing I think is “Okay, I need to notify the Secretary of State and county Elections Board.”

    Not to mention that there are simple, practical concerns about the timeframe involved. The voter rolls have to be prepared some time before the election, out of a purely practical need to have things ready in advance*. If somebody dies between the deadline for updating the voter rolls and the election, they’re going to stay on the list.

    *Not to mention the real fraud that would happen if people could be removed at the last minute; corrupt voting officials would fraudulently purge the rolls at the last minute to prevent anyone registered with the wrong party from voting.

  35. 35
    VidaLoca says:

    @Kay: There is no way the extremists want to be messing with voters in Waukesha/Washington/Ozaukee counties. Those are their people. So either they’re trying to demonstrate to their base that they’re trying to do “something” (in the wake of having their formal vote suppression plan turned down in court last month) while expecting that the GAB will reject this new scheme — or they’re actually serious about coming into Milwaukee and pulling this stuff. In which case you’re right, somebody could indeed get hurt.

    There have to be easier ways to get your 15 minutes of fame and an appearance on Sean Hannity’s show but whatevs…

    I passed the link from rikyrah along to the woman in our circle who organizes our voter registration / voting integrity. If she responds in a timely manner I’ll share any information I get from her.

  36. 36
    rikyrah says:

    July 17, 2014
    Scott Walker Jobs Chief Defends Companies Who Used Taxpayer Funds to Outsource WI Jobs

    On the same day that Scott Walker released a shameful and completely false ad attacking Mary Burke and her record of success at Trek, Walker’s top economic official was defending companies who used taxpayer funds to ship Wisconsin jobs overseas.

    Speaking to reporters yesterday, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation CEO Reed Hall, a past board member at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and a Tea Party donor to Scott Walker, defended outsourcing saying, “We are in a global marketplace and some companies, to be successful financially, need to outsource.”

    Both the Menomonee Falls-based Eaton Corporation and the Plexus Corporation in Neenah reportedly received millions in financial rewards from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to create jobs in Wisconsin, only to layoff workers whose jobs were outsourced to facilities in foreign countries.

    Hall went on to say, “I’m sorry that they temporarily had to outsource some jobs, but I think ultimately over the long-term its gonna be a great win for Wisconsin with both these companies.”

    Yesterday, the Racine Journal Times slammed the “astonishing” failure of WEDC to ensure that Wisconsin tax dollars are used to grow Wisconsin jobs, and called on WEDC to require participating companies to pay the state back if jobs leave the state.

    http://wisdems.org/news/press/.....o-used-t-2

  37. 37
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @Roger Moore: my dad called up after my mom passed. He was told to wait for their process as the rolls couldn’t be adjusted just on a phone call. Same thing when you move – the act of registering elsewhere is the appropriate clerical action.

  38. 38
    efgoldman says:

    @rikyrah:

    “We are in a global marketplace and some companies, to be successful financially, need to outsource.”

    The 10 second ad writes itself:
    “Scott Walker promised thousands of jobs. Instead he paid Eaton and Plexus to send thousands of Wisconsin job overseas!”

  39. 39
    rikyrah says:

    @efgoldman:

    and if the Dems dont do an ad like this, they deserve to lose. the ad literally writes itself.

  40. 40
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cheryl from Maryland:
    I would expect and hope that death certificates would be automatically and routinely shared with the voting people, but I can imagine that might not always happen.

  41. 41
    VidaLoca says:

    @efgoldman: You know, you’d think that that would be the ad they’d write and they probably (almost certainly) will. After all, this is a campaign and in a campaign that’s what you do: spend money on ads. It’s what money is for. Theoretically you could do other more useful things with money but that’s not how it’s done anymore.

    To be fair, I believe there’s supposed to be polling coming out this week on the Walker campaign. It will capture the scandal over the John Doe investigation (prosecutors allege that Walker is at the center of a criminal conspiracy to violate Wis. election laws). It will capture the court decision invalidating Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage. It won’t capture this issue because it’s too recent but it will give an idea of a trend and that trend may prove what I’m about to say to be completely wrong. Let’s hope so.

    Because, you have to understand that the people who will pay any attention to the ad you’re imagining — or any other ad like it — were already going to vote against Walker. And the people who were going to vote for Walker won’t pay any attention to that ad or any other. Simple as that. This place is so truculently, implacably divided that ads won’t make much difference. Issues in general won’t make much difference. Undecided voters are vanishingly few and honestly I don’t think that many of them are capable of deciding whether or not to come in out of the rain. The election won’t be won on issues it will be won on GOTV.

  42. 42
    efgoldman says:

    @VidaLoca:

    you have to understand that the people who will pay any attention to the ad you’re imagining — or any other ad like it — were already going to vote against Walker.

    If they vote.
    GOTV almost always wins in truly contested elections. Maybe the write-itself ad gets out more anti-Walker votes. The TeaHadi RWNJs are going to vote anyway.

  43. 43
    Bill Arnold says:

    @rikyrah:

    If the Government Accountability Board approves the change, observers might be able to use cameras to photograph and record voters and others at polling places by the Aug. 12 primary, including people getting ballots and registering to vote.

    Personally, the only (likely) in-person voting fraud I’ve heard of even second hand is via my Democratic mom (who worked that election, sometime in the 1980s), and it was Republican Satmar (?) Hasidic yeshiva students going to three locations on election day, and almost certainly voting in all three locations; one of the students outlined their election day itinerary and their leader told them out loud what row to vote (Republican).
    I have a feeling that they would not have been happy being recorded. Probably would have been antisemitism accusations. Privacy violations go both ways; I think a lot of (mostly-white) suburban voters would freak out if there were observers of color recording them as they went through the process. (“To reinforce the sanctity of the voting process”).

    photographing ballots would still be prohibited….

    Betcha that if this happens, there will be pictures of ballots posted (probably anonymously) on the web.

  44. 44
    Joel Hanes says:

    @Emerald:

    I’m one of those dead-enders who thinks he actually was never elected

    I’m another.

  45. 45
    VidaLoca says:

    @efgoldman: Well, your mouth to God’s ears I guess. There was no shortage of ads when Tom Barrett ran against Scott Walker in 2010 and there wasn’t any shortage of ads when he ran the same campaign again 20 months later in 2012. Somehow it came up short, but like I say, I have no fear that the ad won’t get made.

  46. 46
    rikyrah says:

    remember the working mother who got arrested for letting her 9 year old daughter play in the park?

    she just shoulda told the folks that she was doing ‘FREE-RANGE’ parenting.

    Poor working Black mother does it, it’s child abuse and neglect.

    White middle-class folks do it, it’s FREE-RANGE parenting.

    ………………..

    Free-Range Parenting
    It’s a new, hands-off approach to raising kids. Should you give it a try?

    By Lisa Zamosky
    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
    WebMD Archive

    Would you let your 9-year-old son ride the New York City Subway system alone? Columnist Lenore Skenazy did, and then she wrote about the experience in the New York Sun. What followed was a storm of media attention and a mix of accolades and accusations from parents everywhere. A new movement also grew from Skenazy’s bold move: It’s called free-range parenting.

    Almost as a backlash to the overbearing, over-scheduling “helicopter” parent, free-range parenting is based on the notion “that we can give our children the same kind of freedom we had [as kids] without going nuts with worry,” Skenazy says. “When you let children out, all the good things happen – the self-confidence, happiness, and self-sufficiency that come from letting our kids do some things on their own,” she says.

    Sounds great, but even non “hovering” moms wouldn’t dream of doing what Skenazy did.

    Liz Jereski, a mother of two living in Los Angeles, says simple requests from her 5-year-old son bring into question how much autonomy she can safely allow him. Recently, Jereski’s son wanted to race her downstairs in their apartment building. “I would take the elevator and he would take the stairs,” she says of the game her son proposed. “And I’ll think it’s fine, but then I think, no it’s not fine, because he’ll be out of my sight and something could happen. There’s a little voice telling you, ‘You know better and you shouldn’t do that.’”

    There was a time when letting young children walk to school alone, ride their bikes around the neighborhood unsupervised, and hang out in the park didn’t seem like irresponsible parenting. In fact, if you grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s (and earlier, of course), you probably remember going out to play after school and being expected to return home only when the street lights turned on. But as more families had both parents working outside the home, supervised after-school activities became increasingly necessary. What resulted was a shift in our culture that requires kids to be under constant adult surveillance.

    http://www.webmd.com/parenting.....-parenting

  47. 47
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @efgoldman:

    Oh yes. I know part (maybe the largest part) of their strategy is to wear us down. Gotta hand it to them, they know how to play a long game, and they have staying power. We need to take the appropriate lessons instead of demanding all our ponies right naow.

    Illegitimi non carborundum. :-)

  48. 48
    efgoldman says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    We need to take the appropriate lessons instead of demanding all our ponies right naow.

    Well, the most recent appropriate lesson is Harry Reid getting the Senate Dems to shitcan the filibustering of Federal judges. It’s allowed Obama to fill an awful lot of empty seats, and start bringing the judiciary back, slowly, over time.

  49. 49
    J R in WV says:

    I’ve spent evenings doing phone bank work for a candidate. It’s very disheartening. Phones disconnected, no answer, hostile reception.

    It was such a relief when someone would say, “They’re the democrat, aren’t they?” I would say sure, and they would answer “Then they’ve got my vote!”

    What a boost. Some people got it, some don’t.

    One reptile said “I can’t vote for anyone who wants to kill babies!” I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about at first. Then I said “No one wants to kill babies, no one. Any one that tells you that is lying!” That was like lighting a fuse!! Things went downhill fast after that.

    Sometimes I think human beings don’t deserve democracy yet. Maybe a few more centuries of royalty, or something. Then I get over that and get back to work.

  50. 50
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @efgoldman:

    Yes, it’s a good thing.

  51. 51
  52. 52
    Helen says:

    @J R in WV:

    One reptile said “I can’t vote for anyone who wants to kill babies!”

    The appropriate response to that would have been “I know, right? The Republicans want to send all of those babies back to Central America where gangs and drug dealers will kill them. Horrible, isn’t it?”

    Of course that’s easy for me to say. I’m one of those people who always thinks of the PERFECT comeback after it can be delivered.

  53. 53
    Don K says:

    @Roger Moore:

    In MI, those over 65 automatically get mailed an app for an absentee ballot, and the previous residents of my house got their apps in the mail like clockwork before every election. I was sorely tempted, but I figured they might actually check the sig against the one on file …

  54. 54
    Anne Laurie says:

    @rikyrah: On the other hand, as far as I can follow the evidence chain, “free-range parent” Lenore Skenazy is the one who first brought Debra Harrell’s plight to the attention of a larger community. (Skenazy’s blog post was credited by both Jon Chait in NYMag and Radley Balko at the Washington Post, IIRC.)

    Yes, it’s criminally stupid that a middle-class white woman can blog about the kind of parenting that gets a poor African American woman arrested, but let’s not make the mistake of attacking Skenazy instead of the bad laws that put Harrell and her daughter in jeopardy in the first place.

    Speaking of which, Huffington Post has a story about a YouCaring campaign to help Harrell out. I’ve been trying to figure out if this is legit, before I front-page it…

  55. 55
    burnspbesq says:

    @efgoldman:

    we need a voting rights amendment to the constitution.

    We have a voting rights amendment: the 15th. The problem is five guys with a peculiar definition of “appropriate legislation.”

  56. 56
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Kay: A white van is the most common type of van. If you tell people to look for white vans, they will see them everywhere.

    This came up in connection with the DC snipers (remember those guys?) There were conflicting reports that they were in either a white van, or in some particular make of car. I remember an article somewhere pointing out on Bayesian grounds that it was almost certainly the car and not the white van, because the prior probability of seeing white vans around regardless of any connection was so high (and the article was right). But people were terrified of white vans for a while.

  57. 57
    burnspbesq says:

    We’re spoiled rotten in CA. We’ve had a fantastic Secretary of State for the last 12 years. Alas, she is term-limited.

  58. 58
    Helen says:

    I have lived in NYC for 30 – oh my gosh – 1 years. I have never had a problem voting. That is one thing that NYS does well. And I have a real problem with those who say that in-person voter fraud is possible. NYC has 9,000,000 people. I go to my voting place every year and there are 2 or 3 people who live in my building who are working the polls. I show up at 6 am to “Good morning, Helen.” How in the world does this not happen everywhere?

    Seriously? the only time I ever had to even wait was the first time Obama ran. I got to the local library at 5:45 and there was an actual line; a block long. Yeah cuz we were motivated. At 6 they opened the doors and by 6:15 I was out of there.

  59. 59
    Kay says:

    So this is the recent Wisconsin decision. Keep in mind we are now 15 years out from when national Republicans started accusing black people in Milwaukee of voter impersonation fraud. Milwaukee is ground zero for this lie. That’s where it started:

    Fifteen years to prepare for this. Here’s what the state had:

    The state had a very skilled lawyer, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, making the case for the photo ID law

    “The defendants could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past,” Adelman’s decision states. “If it is occurring in Wisconsin to any significant extent, then at trial the defendants should have been able to produce evidence that it is.”

    Van Hollen, however, also asserted that the photo ID law could prevent other forms of voter fraud. As Adelman notes, “the defendants do not adequately explain how that could be so.”

  60. 60
    VidaLoca says:

    @Kay: Yeah Adelman kind of chewed Van Hollen up and spit him out.

  61. 61
    rikyrah says:

    I have lived in the same neighborhood for a decade.This year was the first time my polling place has moved. Same judges every election. They might not know my name, but they remember who comes with you. There is no in person voter fraud.

  62. 62
    efgoldman says:

    @Don K:

    I figured they might actually check the sig against the one on file …

    Since my stroke in 2011, my signature doesn’t match the one on file from anytime before that. I’ve never been hassled, anywhere.

  63. 63
    Kay says:

    @VidaLoca:

    It doesn’t even make sense as addition. Voter impersonation fraud wouldn’t create a new voter. It just replaces one voter with another person. It’s not even + 2 votes. The only way it works as addition is if the (real) voter doesn’t vote then it’s + 1 rather than zero. Why woudn’t they just get the real voter out to vote? Why go to all this trouble renting a mysterious white van and recruiting a mob of replacements?

    It’s the worst GOTV strategy ever :)

  64. 64
    Kay says:

    @rikyrah:

    Well, in Ohio, we’d have to bring in the impersonators in from out of state because they could just vote under their real names where they live if they live in this state and that’s the same + 1 for the statewide total. So this has to be a multi-state conspiracy. I don’t know where or how I would find these impersonators.

  65. 65
    David Koch says:

    Thanks for the report Kay. We ❤ you.

  66. 66
    efgoldman says:

    @Kay:

    I don’t know where or how I would find these impersonators.

    Silly person! from deepest, darkest parts of Cleveland, Akron, Toledo… If you know what I mean, and I think you do.

  67. 67
    MomSense says:

    My Mom volunteers for Nina Turner’s campaign. She also gave her campaign some money which is a big deal for my Mom. My Mom met her about two years ago at a fundraiser in Akron and they had a long conversation about their Moms. My Mom is an atheist but Nina Turner has definitely achieved something like demi-God status.

  68. 68
    Fake Irishman says:

    @burnspbesq: You could always promote her — DiFi and Jerry Brown won’t be around forever…..

  69. 69
    burnspbesq says:

    @Fake Irishman:

    My sense (which could be well off the mark) is that Bowen isn’t interested. She ran for what used to be Jane Harman’s seat in Congress in 2012 and came in third. She’s in her late 50s and has been in public service for 22 years. Time to become a BigLaw partner and set herself up for retirement. Or go teach: I imagine she could set off a nice little bidding war among USC, UCLA, Loyola, and UC Irvine if word got out that she was interested in teaching corporate law.

  70. 70
    gene108 says:

    @efgoldman:

    Ultimately we need a voting rights amendment to the constitution.

    By my count there are already 4 voting rights amendments to the Constitution.

    1. The 15th Amendment bars keeping people from voting based on race
    2. the 19th Amendment bars keeping people from voting because they are women
    3. There’s the one abolishing poll taxes
    4. There’s the one that says everyone over the age of 18 can vote.

    What we need is a civic sea change in our attitudes towards voting.

    (a) A good chunk of Americans – basically conservatives – are in favor of restricting voting rights and treating voting as a privilege, because it helps their side win. All the stuff about voter fraud or whatever it was they cooked up to defend the Florida voter purge, in 2000, comes down to the fewer people, who can vote the easier for conservatives to win and the less conservatives have to bow to non-conservative stuff 70% of the population supports, like raising the minimum wage.

    (b) A good chunk of the population does not bother to vote. They do not care about politics or thinking voting will make a difference. You could take away their right to vote and it would not matter to them, as it is something they do not think benefits them.

    (c) Some folks are generally not happy about restrictions on voting, like voter ID, but they have driver’s licenses, so they can manage without too much difficulty.

    (d) This leaves a very, very small subset of Americans, who actually care about expanding access to voting and defending the four Constitutional amendments that are in place to protect our rights to vote.

    (e) And I think the judiciary, for whatever reasons, has decided to continue to take a very narrow view of what constitutes violations of the four voting rights amendments above. Despite the country’s history, in the 19th century, of turning a blind eye to institutional barriers that effectively disenfranchised blacks, without explicitly stating that was the intent, the rulings in favor of voter ID laws and gutting the VRA, shows the same pattern of taking a very narrow view of what limits people’s ability to exercise their right to vote.

    Honestly, if the courts had a very broad view of not infringing on people’s rights to vote, we would not have issues about restrictions that are coming in place. They would be struck down at the first judicial challenge, making it pointless to even bother trying to put them into law.

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