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This week in the war on voting is a joint project of Joan McCarter and Meteor Blades

U.S. District Judge Peter C. Economus ruled against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted this week, ordering him to reinstate early, in-person voting on the three days before Election Day. The eight-page decision was a victory for Democrats and made permanent a previous ruling reinstating the early voting days Husted had eliminated for the 2012 election but that the court had put back in place only for that election.

Rick Hasen at the Election Law Blog explains:

The background is complicated but here are the basics at this stage. Following all the fights over early voting in 2012, the Ohio legislature passed a new set of more restrictive voting laws for 2014 and beyond, including cutting back on early voting the weekend before the election (leading to a separate Voting Rights Act section 2 lawsuit claiming this discriminates against African-American voters in part because of the “Souls to the Polls” voting done on the Sunday before election day). However, when Ohio did its cutback on early voting this time, it did not repeal the earlier law (which was the focus of the earlier dispute in this case) giving overseas and military voters (UOCAVA voters) who happen to be in Ohio just before Election Day the option to vote on those three days before election day.

The judge concluded that because Ohio continues to treat UOCAVA voters better than other voters, the same equal protection problem exists.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the decision is more than a victory for the Democratic Party, "it's a victory for the democratic process."

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, also a state representative from Catawba Island, said the ruling shows how important the last three days of early voting are to ensure equal access to the ballot.

"The Ohio Democratic Party has never lost one of these cases in our fight to protect voting rights for all Ohioans. It's time Jon Husted and John Kasich set aside their partisan loyalties and embrace voting rights," Redfern said in a statement.

Husted's Democratic opponent in the November elections is Nina Turner. In a press release, she said: "It is unfortunate that we must continuously rely on federal courts to protect Ohioans' ballot access instead of the elected officials who have been charged with that responsibility."

More in the war on voting can be found below the orange butterfly ballot.

Dems seek way forward on Voting Rights Act Amendment after Eric Cantor's loss: The amendment has been stalled for months because partisans in both parties aren't happy with various provisions of the proposed changes drafted as a consequence of the U.S. Supreme Court's evisceration of the crucial Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act last June.

The Voting Rights Act Amendment was introduced by Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and Democratic Rep. John Conyers. And while Cantor had not expressed support for it, he has previously said that he wants to restore the voter protections the Court obliterated. That stance, several accounts have suggested, is a product of Cantor's trip with Rep. John Lewis to Selma, Alabama, site of a bloody 1965 clash between peaceful civil rights marchers and billyclub-swinging police. Lewis, 24 at the time, had his skull fractured during the protest.

Ari Berman, who has assiduously followed voting issues at The Nation since 2011, wrote that the amendment "was written specifically with Cantor in mind, watered down on the key issue of voter ID to attract GOP support. I was told recently from a well-placed Capitol Hill source that Cantor planned to eventually announce his support for the bill, but was waiting for the right strategic moment."

So far, no committee hearing has been scheduled for the amendment, and with Cantor soon to lose his post as House Majority Leader to an as-yet-unknown replacement, the process is up in the air. Although Conyers and Sensenbrenner remain publicly optimistic, a good bet is that no hearing or vote on the amendment will happen this year.

A.G. Holder says he will consult with Native tribes on increasing voter access. Tribal leaders expressed satisfaction over the attorney general's pledge. One objective will be to require state and local officials to set up at least one polling site at a place that tribal governments choose.

Long distances, especially in sparsely populated states or parts of states where Indians and Alaskan Natives live, are a particular problem needing resolution. Several Alaskan villages have gained permanent absentee ballot status for all residents because of this problem. But in Montana, tribal members of three reservations have sued to get county officials to set up satellite voting offices because of the long distances they otherwise have to travel. Sad that it takes a lawsuit to when county officials whose job it is to provide everyone a chance to vote take the attitude that Indians don't count.

NAACP objects to Alabama voting rule changes:

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is protesting Alabama election rules that require voters without photo identification to either prove their identities or have election officials vouch for them. [...]

“It is deeply problematic that Alabama’s secretary of state is trying to resurrect an unconstitutional and illegal relic of the Jim Crow South,” said Ryan P. Haygood, director of the defense fund’s political participation group. “Discriminatory voucher tests, which Congress explicitly banned along with literacy tests when it passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, has no place in modern-day Alabama.”

The defense fund says the state's photo-identification and voucher law could keep as many as 500,000 registered voters from casting ballots because they don't have the required state-issued identification such as a driver’s license, identification card issued by Alabama motor vehicle department, or a passport.

513 Mississippians had no ID at the primary polls: In the wake of Mississippi's June 3 election, the first in which a voter ID was required, Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said 513 Mississippians had to cast affidavit ballots because they lacked proper identification. The votes of at least 177 of these affidavit voters were counted when they returned later to show their IDs. But 298 ballots were not counted because people did not return by the deadline. Thirteen affidavit votes were turned down for other reasons, including some because the person casting was not registered.

Hosemann said the process shows that voter ID is no big deal since 400,000 people turned out at the polls. But Larry Norden, deputy director of the Democracy Program at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice, said people who otherwise may have voted stayed away.

"That doesn't mean there weren't a lot of people without IDs who didn't vote," he said, although he said such figures are hard to prove.

Colorado D.A. drops first case in Secretary of State's voter fraud campaign. Five months after first being asked to dismiss the case, the Republican district attorney of Arapahoe County has decided not to prosecute a person who it had charged procured false information on a voter registration form. The penalty for a conviction could have been $5,000 and up to 18 months in the county jail.

The would-be voter, who was not a citizen, had claimed that Mike Michaelis, who was being paid $10 an hour to register voters, had filled out the registration for her, which is illegal for canvassers to do. The woman is one of 155 registered voters who the Republican secretary of state considered suspicious.

Michaelis's lawyer had provided documents showing that the handwriting on the registration form was the same as on the woman's ballot. But repeated requests for a dismissal based on that evidence didn't move the district attorney to drop the charge until the media started asking questions. The district attorney's office had told the woman that they wanted her to be a witness in the case. She was informed that she would not be prosecuted despite the evidence showing that she filled out the form and falsely declared herself eligible to vote.

Secretary of State Scott Gessler had previously claimed as many at 16,000 non-citizens were registered to vote in Colorado. That number was 100 times more than the number Gessler finally sent to district attorneys throughout the state. In Boulder County, the district attorney found that none of the 17 people whose names Gessler sent him had voted illegally. Gessler sent the Arapahoe County district attorney, George Brauchler, 41 names. He found only four he thought were worthy of prosecution. The dismissal of the Michaelis cut that to three.

Opinions

Josh Spivak writes on election laws that prevent elections.

New York Times editorial: More voting games in Ohio.

Timm Herdt writes the California's top two primary is a failure.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for doing this round up. (9+ / 0-)

    Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

    by Catskill Julie on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 09:22:45 AM PDT

  •  win the fight. bring Dems to/light! (0+ / 0-)

    decent wages don't eliminate jobs. Republicans eliminate jobs; and workers, and prospects, and then excuse it all and call for more austerity. there is no end to their ignorant, arrogant avarice. only political dinosaurs support their treachery.

    by renzo capetti on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 09:23:32 AM PDT

    •  State Senator Nina Turner (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson, clecinosu

      a frequent guest on the Ed Show on MSNBC, must be breathing a sign of relief that early voting in Ohio is back.  And the Dems should be too.  The key is for Turner to have the funds to run a campaign to use this issue of voting rights to spike turnout amongst Democratic voter, who have a low turnout rate in off year elections.  And for the very voters whose voting rights are at stake, to turn out and stop this insanity.

      Republican Husted has a fund raising lead over Turner $2.8 millions to $500,000.00.

      http://www.cleveland.com/...

      If you would like to throw Turner a few  bucks, go here:

      http://www.ninaturner.org/

      Go Nina!

      "The quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn't say 'give me your english-speaking only, Christian-believing, heterosexual masses'

      by unapologeticliberal777 on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 09:38:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The teathugs were NOT going to do anything (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuck utzman, Eric Nelson

    about the Voting Rights act this year. Could bring it up in the Senate & make the evil Rs vote against it.

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 09:32:04 AM PDT

  •  Disagree on one thing - while the courts's (3+ / 0-)

    ruling is welcome, it's not necessarily permanent.  

    If the legislature changed the law to eliminate those three days FOR EVERYONE it would cure the equal protection problem.

    Which is why the Voter's Bill of Right is still important (among other reasons).

    •  Yes. It only makes it permanent under... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, ManhattanMan

      ...current law.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 09:57:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If they make it harder... (0+ / 0-)

      ...for servicemen to vote then they are Osama-loving Jihadi traitor terrorists. And we should call them out as such.

      I am only half-snarking.

      I am already surprised that the anti-Christian attack on Sunday voting was not called out. This was specifically designed to stop CHRISTIANS from voting. It is persecution.

      We need a photoshop of Husted in a Roman Emperor's  robe throwing people to the lions...

  •  The Republican "Autopsy" in action (0+ / 0-)

    When you're ideas always fail and hurt most Americans - change them or suppress the opposition.

    I think the "Autopsy" determined they should double down on the Republican Sabotage Plan of inauguration night 2009, right on through to 2016, blaming Obama and Democrats for the damage all the way to the polls.  

    "The philosophy of conservatism is inevitably doomed by its adherents' willingness to accept bluster as a sign of character and thick-headed devotion to meaningless symbols as sign of moral fiber." (Albert Einstein)

    by Jim R on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 11:14:24 AM PDT

  •  Why are we ignoring Trammell? (0+ / 0-)
  •  298 people in Mississppi (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    lose their right to vote, and the Secretary of State says that's "no big deal".

    You know what's "no big deal"? Voter fraud. Like, as in "zero". Not 298.

    What is fucking wrong with these people???

    Mediocrity cannot know excellence ~ Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 11:51:28 AM PDT

  •  republicans desperate to prove the guilt of.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    ..Dems for election fraud that they themselves are alone in perpetrating get shut down - good:

    Gessler’s staff identified 155 noncitizens who were registered to vote. Among them, 35 people — out of 3.5 million registered voters statewide — had cast ballots. That’s .001 percent of Colorado’s voting population.
    And it is not just random overzealous persons, it's the actual republican candidates and DA's committing these crimes:
    Gessler – who’s running for governor – and Brauchler are both Republicans.
    Republicans attack on canvassing. registration and anything else to block voting:
    Michaelis, an independent, said his brush with the law has chilled him from political involvement, at least for now.
    There should be criminal penalties for this much more often than there is - imo

    And Cantors loss could be taken as a hurdle, or it could be taken as an opportunity. Dems (more and louder - that is) could rally around Rep. John Lewis and make a lot of noise about the GOP and Jim Crow. Like Nina Turner (who I hope defeats Husted for SoS) is doing very successfully in Ohio.

    so it is very good news to see one of the many corrupt republican SoS John Husted and Kasich take a much needed loss. - heavy fines would be nice too; prison time, even better

    Despite the Shelby county &^*@^, this is very good to see:

    "These conditions are not only unacceptable, they're outrageous," Holder said. "As a nation, we cannot — and we will not— simply stand by as the voices of Native Americans are shut out of the democratic process."

    After consulting with tribal leaders, his office will seek to work with Congress on a potential legislative proposal, Holder said.

    I hope AG Holder keeps and section 2 & 3 of the VRA in constant action, blanketing the racist election officials on the right, and Dems do NOT depend on cooperation from republicans like Cantor to come up with a new section 4 formula to put the teeth back in section 5.

    Bash the republicans over the head  with VRA section 2 & 3 until the GOP beg to come to the table to fix section 4 formula for a strong meaningful section 5 VRA protection we need.
     Put preclearance back where it so demonstrably belongs. Expand pre-clearance to more territories this time around; covering the GOP in more precincts/states in the south, north, east and west where republicans have enacted or attempted Jim Crow laws.

    Republicans have proven that "justice" Roberts could not be more wrong. The republican party require more oversight not less

    And I do mean on their knees begging
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Thx MB for this weeks installment and Joan McCarter too on this work

  •  We should prepare ourselves... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    ...for eventual defeat on Voter ID.

    We can't fight teh stoopid. Too many people (wrongly) think that requiring ID at the polls is reasonable. We may win court cases, but sooner or later referendums and legislation will force huge numbers of voters to either have ID or not vote.

     We need to mitigate the damage instead.

    Our response should be threefold:

    1) Make it easier to get IDs.

    2) Require IDs for various Federal benefits (this forces poor people to get them, so they will have them at election time).

    3) Change the Help America Vote Act so that provisional and affidavit ballots are more likely to get counted. That way people who still show up with no ID won't be disenfranchised.

    #1 and #2 could probably be done by Executive Order and would not require Congress.

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