Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Poll Exams...Poll Taxes...Voter ID....same purpose -VOTER SUPPRESSION...the GOP Plans for 2012

There truly is no difference between Poll Tests, Poll Taxes and the hysteria being whipped up by the GOP about ' Voter Fraud'. Under the guise of 'Voter Fraud', the GOP is doing their best to create all these laws that will limit the Democratic Party's voting base. This is a deliberate and concerted effort. They don't care about 'Voter Fraud', because, for all their yelping about 'Voter Fraud', look at the DOJ Statistics. During the Bush years, they couldn't pull together enough of the so-called ' Voter Fraud' cases to fill a schoolbus.

But, DELIBERATELY went about IGNORING the ACTUAL voter suppression of minorities and young people through voter caging and other GOP schemes- the repeated challenges and attempts to gut the Voting Rights Act.

Think it's not deliberate, take a look:

from ThinkProgress:
REPORT: In 22 Statehouses Across The Country, Conservatives Move To Disenfranchise Voters

In statehouses across the country, Republican lawmakers are raising the specter of “voter fraud” to push through legislation that would dramatically restrict the voting rights of college students, rural voters, senior citizens, the disabled and the homeless. As part of their larger effort to silence Main Street, conservatives are pushing through new photo identification laws that would exclude millions from voting, depress Hispanic voter turnout by as much as 10 percent, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars. In the next few months, a new set of election laws could make going to the polls and registering to vote significantly more difficult — in some cases even barring groups of citizens from voting in the communities where they live.

Conservative legislators across the country have said these laws are necessary to combat alleged mass voter fraud. But these fears are completely overblown and states already have tough voting laws on the books: fraudulent voters face felony charges, hefty fines, and even lengthy prison time. In Missouri, for example, voter fraud carries a penalty of no less than 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Yet conservatives have insisted on finding a legislative solution to a non-existent problem. In states like Indiana, where an ID law passed in 2005, both nuns and college students have found themselves turned away from the polls. Similar laws are on the books in eight other states and that number could expand dramatically in coming months. ThinkProgress examined these efforts in eight states:

NEW HAMPSHIRE: In the most egregious example of voter disenfranchisement legislation in the country, state Rep. Gregory Sorg (R) has introduced a bill that would bar thousands of college students and service members from voting in the communities where they live and attend school. According to New Hampshire House Speaker William O’Brien (R) the legislation is nececessary because there “are kids voting liberal, voting their feelings, with no life experience.” A diverse coalition of young veterans, libertarians, conservatives, and progressives have organized against the bill. Both state politicians and local law professors have said the law is unconstitutional, citing “Newberger v. Peterson — a 1972 federal district court decision that ruled the state cannot bar college students from voting in New Hampshire even if they intend to leave after graduation.” Sorg told a public hearing that he had not read the decision and did not “care” for it.

MINNESOTA: Republican representatives have introduced two separate bills in the statehouse that would require voters to present photo identification at the polls. The more expansive of the bills would end same-day voter registration and create a large electronic database which would scan voter’s IDs. Conservatives have said the bill is necessary to end alleged voter fraud in the state, claims that the Minnesota County Attorneys Association have called “frivolous.” Other groups, including the ACLU and Common Cause, have raised concerns about the bill’s constitutionality, feasibility, and cost. Gov. Mark Dayton (R) has indicated that he will not sign the legislation.

Read the rest of their report. How ridiculous is it? Well, Texas, which has more financial problems than nearly any other state in the country, feels ' voter fraud' is more important than it financial crisis, and one of the first things on Governor Good Hair's list was a Voter ID bill. They are so obvious, they don't even try and hide it. Guess who are the only groups exempt from the more stringent new law: GUN OWNERS AND THE ELDERLY - the folks the GOP believes vote for them. Yes, they actually WROTE these exceptions into the law, but I bet, come 2012, the ELDERLY who ARE NOT WHITE, won't be exempt....I dunno...just my suspicion.

Now, one of the few good things Charlie Crist did as Governor was his restoration of voting rights for former felons.

So, what has the new crook of a Governor done?

Rick Scott Returns Florida to Reconstruction-Era Racist Voting Law
Remember the 2000 election debacle, when Florida became the laughingstock of the nation? It wasn't just punch-card ballots that caused our fair state such embarrassment. It was the wrongful purging of thousands of voters from the rolls because they were misidentified as felons.

That mishap brought to light the painful fact that Florida had the largest number of disenfranchised felons in the nation -- a disproportionate swath of whom were African-American. This was no accident. And Rick Scott knows it.

Yesterday, Scott and his Cabinet passed an archaic rule requiring nonviolent felons to wait five years after completing their sentences before applying to have their voting rights restored. This
means citizens won't be able to participate in the most basic tenet of our democracy, despite having paid their debt to society. Why such a bizarre punishment? Why, if they are free to move into our neighborhoods, get jobs, and pay taxes, can't they vote?

Quick history lesson, courtesy of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University: Florida's felon disenfranchisement laws were first passed in the years immediately after the Civil War. Legislators, having just freed the slaves, didn't want black men -- nearly half the state's population -- to have too much political power. So lawmakers passed Black Codes, outlawing minor offenses they thought ex-slaves would be likely to commit. Prison camps filled up with black men convicted of petty crimes. Then legislators took away the voting rights of felons.

This was a common disenfranchisement tactic used throughout the South, and it worked. In 2004, about 19 percent of Florida's African-American population could not vote because of the felony restriction.

So, now they're back to the Reconstruction Era in Florida....this is who the GOP IS - they can't win with ONE MAN-ONE VOTE, so they try and make as many laws as possible to cut off the franchise to as many groups as possible.

The shining of the light on the schemes in New Hampshire seems to have resulted in pushback against them.

From the Union Leader:
Voting bills draw public protests
State House Bureau Chief
Friday, Feb. 25, 2011

Secretary of State William Gardner came out Thursday against two bills that change state voting laws to eliminate Election Day registrations and that would bar students from voting in the towns where they attend college.

The House Election Law Committee held public hearings that drew close to 200 people, including the League of Women Voters and more than 100 college students who oppose the changes.

In prepared remarks, Sorg referred to students as "transient inmates . . . with a dearth of experience and a plethora of the easy self-confidence that only ignorance and inexperience can produce." He argued that his bill, HB 176 (click for link to status and text), would end unfair domination of local elections by students. He said the state should revert to laws that were in place in the 1950s, before state and federal court decisions said students living in a town have a right to vote there.

His bill would require students to vote in the towns they lived in before college throughout their academic career, saying that is where their official domicile rightly would be.
Students, who chanted "Kill the bill" outside the State House at noon, waited for nearly five hours for a chance to testify. Among them was Rhylan Bruss, of Bradford, who plans to attend the University of New Hampshire in the fall. He said the bill would deny him a basic constitutional right.

"This robs us of our ability to affect the country we're living in," he said. "The youth of our country are as diverse and well-informed as anyone in this chamber."

The New Hampshire bills have been shelved - for now.

If you recall in 2008, so much of the success in the Obama Campaign was the campaign's ability to bank votes in Early Voting.

So, what do we see coming out of the battleground state of Ohio?

Ohio Secretary of State Wants to Shorten Period for Mail-In and In-Person Early Voting
By Julie Kent. Published
on 02/28/2011 - 9:48pm
The convenience of mail-in ballots is what helped Barack Obama carry Ohio in the 2008 presidential election. Now, Ohio's new Republican Secretary of State, Jon Husted, is gunning to reduce the period of time that Ohio voters have to vote by mail.

Husted also wants to introduce online voter registration. He calls these reforms "modest but important", and wants them in place before the November 2012 election. Specifically, he'd like the legislation passed by June so that they can do a few "dry runs" in 2012.

Husted said:

"We believe what we have put in place takes into account all of the major issues that have been brought forward to us to make sure that elections run smoothly.

I'm satisfied if these issues are enacted we will in a much better position to have elections that people can have confidence in 2012, than we were in 2008."

Democrats have said that Husted's proposal "limits access" for voters and could discourage voting, especially in large urban counties.

10 other states already offer or will soon be offering online voter registration. Husted's plan would also allow for change of address forms to be submitted online.

Husted also wants to get rid of the five day period between the start of early voting and the voter registration deadline of 30 days efore Election Day. This is a time when people can register to vote and vote on the same day.

Instead of the early voting beginning 35 days before Election Day, Husted wants 21 days by mail and 16 days in-person.

Understand this - all of these measures are anti little 'd' democratic.

But, this is who the GOP is, and who they've always been. They haven't changed since Poll Tests and Poll Taxes...they just come up with new names for their schemes.

They can't win elections fair and square, so they are back to their usual attempts at THIEVERY for 2012. You will have to be on alert.

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