Cue Adam Serwer: the cruelty is the point. In a story that deserves a Netflix series, the estranged daughter of Thomas B. Hofeller sifted through her dead parent’s USBs and external hard drives and found a curious document: a study concluding that a citizenship question on the 2020 census would make gerrymandered districts ever more impregnable. He also wrote the DOJ letter stressing that the question would — get this — enforce the Voting Rights Act. Continue reading
When Floridians by a sixty-five percent margin voted on an amendment in November automatically restoring voting rights to hundreds of thousands of former felons, I hope they foresaw the catastrophe. No way would the Florida GOP allow almost a million former felons, most of whom are people of color, back on the voting rolls without a fight. The adverb in my first sentence matters; the amendment was, unusually, crystalline in word and intent, mandating an automatic restoration.
To Governor-elect Ron DeSantis and his colleagues, however, “automatic” is a point of view. At an elections conference a couple weeks ago, the state said it has, according to the Tampa Bay Times, “stopped transmitting documents counties use to remove convicted felons from the rolls.” Legislators need more time. Indeed, DeSantis has already said he wants the legislature to write “implementing rules,” which means a two-month delay until the session opens in March. Election supervisors are fuming:
All this talk about the legislature is baffling to elections supervisors and civil rights groups, who say the amendment was designed to be self-executing. The state Supreme Court unanimously approved the amendment’s language as clear and specific, saying voters could understand that the point was to “automatically” restore the affected population’s voting rights.
“I don’t think you need the legislature,” Manatee County election supervisor Mike Bennett told TPM.
A self-described “strong Republican” who tried to enact felon rights restoration during his 12 years in the state Senate, Bennett called himself an “advocate” for Amendment 4. As Bennett noted, the Senate Ethics & Elections Committee won’t have its first meeting until March, and any proposed measures will then have to pass the House, the Senate, and be approved by DeSantis.
“That process will take more time whereas if the secretary of state’s office handled it and came up with the definitions and clarifications, they could do it much faster,” he said.
Without uniformity and guidance, the possibility exists that men and women who show up to vote will, ye gods, fall into the GOP trap of committing voter fraud:
“On January 8 people are going to be coming to my office trying to register to vote,” Bennett said. “And I want them to be able to register to vote but I don’t want them to commit another crime accidentally.”
For the percentage of my readers who believe in the new federalism, the results look inevitable: counties with Democratic mayors will move quickly to answer the will of voters, while counties with Republican ones will stop short of outright defiance. Advocates of the new Confederacy will always find support.
Ninety minutes ago, walking into my regional library and early voting location to pick up a copy of an Olivier bio, a well-chosen Cuban mulatto no older than 21 or 22 wearing a Vance Aloupis shirt asked if I’d voted.
“I hope you voted Republican.”
“Sure didn’t,” I said.
“I thought you wanted bipartisan solutions. To make this country great.”
“I don’t. I want to be as partisan as possible.”
His mouth fell open and he walked away. Clearly this wasn’t in the scripted responses he expected.
Life is made of small victories.
Stacy Abrams, former minority leader of the Georgia House, stands a chance of winning the race for governor of that state, which is why the GOP wants to stop people from voting for her. Continue reading
If you don’t like the effect, George Clinton said, don’t produce the cause:
In a bid to aggressively prosecute illegal voting, the Justice Department has sent sweeping subpoenas to 44 counties in North Carolina requesting all of their recent voting records. State election officials say the move will overwhelm their resources and prevent them from preparing for early and absentee voting for the November midterms. And civil rights advocates worry that eligible voters will be intimidated and deterred from voting as the administration amplifies its prosecutions of immigrants it says voted illegally….
…Civil rights groups say the fraud charges and new subpoenas could intimidate eligible voters, particularly immigrants, into staying home in November. They compared the request for the voting records to a June 2017 request by Trump’s now-defunct election integrity commission for sensitive voter data from all 50 states. “They couldn’t get it done that way so now they’re doing it this way,” said Allison Riggs, vice president of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a voting rights group based in Durham. “It’s a massive fishing expedition. The scope of it is stunning.”
Coming after a federal court’s decision that there is “insufficient time” before the November midterms to redraw the state’s gerrymandered map, common sense would conclude that the Trump administration and its Justice Department will use its full powers to demolish voter turnout.
Good luck, North Carolina.
This is bad. John Roberts, who cut his teeth in the Reagan Justice Department writing briefs and memos arguing for the gutting of voting protections, realizes his career ambitions. In a majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, the U.S. Supreme Court supports Ohio’s efforts to purge voters from rolls after failing to vote. The case, Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, involved the state’s right to do so after voters failed to return a card signifying a change of address. Continue reading
Now that Governor Rick Scott has announced a Senate challenge to William Henry Harrison confidante Bill Nelson, his record as an opponent of voting rights should hand Florida Democrats a victory. The Miami Herald compiled a dandy list of Scott’s systemic efforts to rid himself of black and college-age voters:
▪ The state ordered Pinellas County in 2013 to stop the use of remote sites as a convenience for voters to submit mail ballots, but Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark defied the order and the state backed down.
▪ Scott’s Division of Elections blocked a request by the city of Gainesville to use the student union at UF as an early voting site in 2014, saying it was not a government-owned community center. The site was not used.
▪ Judge Walker in 2016 struck down a state law that rejected mail ballots if a voter’s signature on the ballot envelope did not match a signature on file. In a state with millions of older voters, the judge said the rule “categorically disenfranchised thousands of voters.” They can now update their signatures.
▪ Scott refused to extend the voter registration deadline in 2016 after ordering evacuations due to Hurricane Matthew. The Democratic Party filed suit and won a six-day extension.
The judge in that case also was Walker, who called Scott’s logic “poppycock” and said: “No right is more precious than having a voice in our elections.”
Pin these items on your fridge with magnets. Couple this fact sheet with the news yesterday that a federal judge declared grifter/Kansas secretary of State Kris Kobach in contempt of court and I can feel the ground shifting as far as public awareness goes about this longterm GOP project to disenfranchise.