Posts tagged "Early Voting"

schmurple:

workingamerica:

While he thought you weren’t paying attention, Gov. Scott Walker and his legislative allies made it harder for Wisconsinites to vote in the 2014 election.

Thanks Ron Kind for the catch. http://bit.ly/1jFytQ8 http://ift.tt/1t1cy8W

Wisconsin is going to lose its place as the state with the second highest voter turnout.

(via thepoliticalfreakshow)

crooksandliars:

(Credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

They can’t win elections on their ideas, so they’re going to rig them in their favor every way they can.
[…]
With an enormous number of individuals drifting from outrageous, narrow-minded, classist, racist, and sexist Teabagger concepts, Teapublicans are doing everything in their power to get their numbers up – even if that means asserting outlandish voter ID laws into place, despite their massive defects.
These new Voter ID Laws, with ironically a slew of Republicans fumbling behind them, complicate voter locations, dates, voter times and confuses the general election system,deliberately to befuddle the voting structure.

Since 2013, 9 states have approved procedures directly affecting when and how people vote, oddly making voting more problematic for statistically demonstrated voters who don’t vote Republican. Embarrassingly, the same Republicans who claim Democrats are “not upholding the American way of life” and ruining the American dream are simultaneously attempting to sabotage the voting system. Wouldn’t you want to make it easier for individuals to vote properly if you cared about democracy? Not in Teapublamerica.

Some of these severe voter ID laws include obligatory proof of citizenship other than a normal ID card, such as a birth certificate, or passport. Some individuals would find recovering or verifying a birth certificate to be exceptionally difficult, because once it’s lost either due to circumstances such as a natural disaster or simply misplacing the document – it can be a complicated, costly and prolonged process to reclaim another. Particular individuals, mostly elderly voters of color, have even reported never receiving one. Whereas statistically it is the lower-class whom is more likely to either not have either document, or not have the financial means to obtain another.

Laws like these were recently upheld in Kansas and Arizona, and will unquestionably make the voting process more difficult for individuals who could have otherwise flashed a normal ID. Republicans claim this will level out and unify the voting system ( you mean, intentionally lean it more towards your end of the field? ) and the same ID you obtained through your state department, and have used to drive, acquire alcohol and vote so many times before will no longer be sufficient.
Meanwhile in North Carolina, Democrats are fighting feverishly to reverse the nation’s most restrictive voter laws. These laws in specific established rules to make it not just more complicated to prove citizenship, but more complicated for people to register to vote ( usually younger individuals ), cast provisional ballots, vote absentee and reduces the number of early voting days. So, if you have a dreadfully busy schedule, or two jobs and a family like many low income families, good luck getting that vote in early, voting at all or even registering yourself.

In Ohio and Wisconsin, weekend voting, which has statistically been preferred by the working class, black voters and low-income voters was cut drastically by Republicans who demanded the measures were essential, limiting the time that polls are open; how voter friendly.

Wisconsin State Senator Dale Schultz was a rarity of the Republican Party when he disagreed with the measure and claimed that they were “fiddling with mechanics rather than ideas.” He also stated that he felt the legislation was wearisome, “Making it more difficult for people to vote is not a good sign for a party that wants to attract more people.”. Schultz surprisingly voted against the bill.

Jon A. Husted, Ohio Republican Secretary of State however defended the unjust slew of legislations claiming that,“Every voter should have an equal opportunity to vote under the same set of rules.” What an ironic statement, since in February Ohio reduced early voting by one week, placed new restrictions on absentee ballot applications, and also same day registration and voting abilities. However, amidst all of the moves to limit voting ease of access for new and current voters, Husted believes that the laws will somehow aid in the “equal opportunity” to vote.

Overcomplicated registration, voting hours, absentee forms, irregular voting dates, and problematic voter ID systems will undoubtedly prevent some individuals from voting, obstruct the already congested registration and absentee voter process and result in longer lines at already time consuming poll sites.

“They know when they are taking away early voting exactly who it’s affecting,” said Ed FitzGerald, the executive of Cuyahoga County and a Democratic candidate for governor.

Although many of these ridiculous measures will not take place until 2016, Democrats and voting experts alike are concerned about the voting system being convoluted for no reason other than the Republican need to hinder Democratic leaning voters out of the system. While Dems battle over the Affordable Care Act, bogus commercials, advertisements claims and dramatic propaganda funded by Republican donors such as the Koch Brothers over healthcare laws, Republicans are also coming from behind and attacking voter systems themselves.

North Carolina Students Protest Harsh Voter ID Bill. Courtesy of colorlines.com

North Carolina Students Protest Harsh Voter ID Bill. Courtesy of colorlines.com

“What we see here is a total disrespect and disregard for constitutional protections,” stated the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina N.A.A.C.P. and leader of the Moral Mondays movement, which disagrees with voter law changes.

Just last year, central provisions to the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in the voting system, were luckily denied by the Supreme Court.What sort of democracy loving individual would want to alter a piece of legislation that prohibits voter discrimination?

The slapped down provisions consisted of Southern Republicans attempting to pass legislation that would allow the “alteration of election laws prior to approval.” Who, other than a sore loser who doesn’t want the American people to be heard, would want to alter election laws without any oversight?

While Republicans claim the harsh voter ID laws are needed to help voter ID fraud, to ” bring greater uniformity to a patchwork election system” and attempt to gain back immense numbers of supporters lost by botching the voting system Democrats have continuously been fighting to make it easier for people to sign up to vote, and cast their votes while even implementing a secure online voting system. These systems have already been effective in California, Colorado and Maryland, while States like Arizona and Kansas attempt to limit voting as much as possible to targeted Republican supporters – very democratic.

As uncompromising conservative candidates belittle people of color, immigrants, women and lower-class individuals, it’s no surprise that in the midst of self-mutilation, Republicans are obviously trying to alter the game with their selfish needs in mind – as always.

The GOP doing the usual voter-suppressing routines. 

Ohio voters will no longer be able to take part in early voting on Sundays or weekday nights, according to hours set by Secretary of State Jon Husted.

The AP reports voters will only get two Saturdays to cast early, in-person ballots during the statewide election this fall.

In a release on the “fair and uniform voting hours,” Husted explained the goal of cutting back on opportunities for early voting.

“In 2014, absentee voters will have the option of voting in person for four weeks, or they can vote without ever leaving home by completing the absentee ballot request form we will be sending all voters,” Husted said. “Our goal is to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat and to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity in the voting process no matter which method they choose.”

The cuts to early voting hours could negatively impact African-Americans and voters who take part in “Souls to the Polls” drives after church on the Sundays leading up to Election Day, MSNBC reports:

There’s little doubt that cuts to early voting target blacks disproportionately. In 2008, black voters were 56% of all weekend voters in Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s largest, even though they made up just 28% of the county’s population.

“By completely eliminating Sundays from the early voting schedule, Secretary Husted has effectively quashed successful Souls to the Polls programs that brought voters directly form church to early voting sites,” said Mike Brickner, a spokesman for the Ohio American Civil Liberties Union, in an email.

On the Sunday ahead of the 2012 elections, voters faced extremely long lines at polling locations in Ohio. That year, early voting in the state had been reduced from the five weekends before the election to only the weekend right before Election Day.

See the entire release on the decision here.

h/t: Paige Lavender at The Huffington Post

Today Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will introduce legislation to strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last June invalidating a critical section of the VRA. The legislation, known as “The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014,” represents the first attempt by a bipartisan group in Congress to reinstate the vital protections of the VRA that the Supreme Court took away.

In the Shelby County v. Holder ruling on June 25, 2013, the Court’s conservative majority struck down Section 4 of the VRA, the formula that compelled specific states with a well-documented history of voting discrimination to clear their voting changes with the federal government under Section 5 of the VRA. The two provisions were always meant to work together; without Section 4, Section 5 became a zombie, applying to zero states.

Section 4 covered nine states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia) and parts of six others (in California, Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota) based on evidence of voting discrimination against blacks and other minority groups dating back to the 1960s and 1970s. Since the Shelby decision, eight states previously covered under Section 4 have passed or implemented new voting restrictions. This includes onerous new laws in states like North Carolina and Texas, which the Justice Department objected to under other provisions of the VRA (Sections 2 and 3).

The Sensenbrenner-Conyers-Leahy bill strengthens the VRA in five distinct ways:

1: The legislation draws a new coverage formula for Section 4, thereby resurrecting Section 5. States with five violations of federal law to their voting changes over the past fifteen years will have to submit future election changes for federal approval. This new formula would currently apply to Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Local jurisdictions would be covered if they commit three or more violations or have one violation and “persistent, extremely low minority turnout” over the past fifteen years.

The formula is based on a rolling calendar, updated with a current fifteen-year time period to exempt states who are no longer discriminating or add new ones who are, creating a deterrent against future voting rights violations. It’s based on empirical conditions and current data, not geography or a fixed time period—which voting rights advocates hope will satisfy Chief Justice John Roberts should the new legislation be enacted and reach the Supreme Court.

The new Section 4 proposal is far from perfect. It does not apply to states with an extensive record of voting discrimination, like Alabama (where civil rights protests in Selma gave birth to the VRA), Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, which were previously subject to Section 5. Nor does it apply to states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that have enacted new voting restrictions in the past few years.

Moreover, rulings against voter ID laws—like in Texas in 2012—will not count as a new violation. Voter ID laws can still be blocked by the Department of Justice or federal courts in the new states covered under Section 4, but that will not be included as one of the five violations needed to keep the state covered. This exemption for voter ID laws was written to win the support of House majority leader Eric Cantor and other Republicans.

2: The legislation strengthens Section 3 of the VRA, which has been described as the Act’s “secret weapon.” Under Section 3, jurisdictions not covered by Section 4 could be “bailed-in” to federal supervision, but plaintiffs had to show evidence of intentional voting discrimination, which is very difficult to do in court. Under the new Section 3 proposal, any violation of the VRA or federal voting rights law—whether intentional or not—can be grounds for a bail-in, which will make it far easier to cover new states. (One major caveat, again, is that court objections to voter ID laws cannot be used as grounds for “bail-in” under Section 3.)

3: The legislation mandates that jurisdictions in all fifty states have to provide notice in the local media and online of any election procedures related to redistricting changes within 120 days before a federal election and the moving of a polling place. This will make it easier for citizens to identify potentially harmful voting changes in the forty-six states not subject to Sections 4 and 5.

4: The legislation makes it easier to seek a preliminary injunction against a potentially discriminatory voting law. Plaintiffs will now only have to show that the hardship to them outweighs the hardship to the state if a law is blocked in court pending a full trial. There will be a preliminary injunction hearing on North Carolina’s voting law in July 2014, before the full trial takes place July 2015.

5: The legislation reaffirms that the attorney general can send federal observers to monitor elections in states subject to Section 4 and expands the AG’s authority to send observers to jurisdictions with a history of discriminating against language minority groups, which includes parts of twenty-five states.

The bill is certain to have its critics, including on the left. Voting rights supporters will argue, justifiably, that the new Section 4 formula does not apply to enough states and wrongly treats voter ID laws differently than other discriminatory voting changes. Despite these flaws, the legislation represents a significant improvement over the disastrous post-Shelby status quo, which has seen states like North Carolina and Texas rush to pass blatantly discriminatory voting restrictions after being freed from federal oversight. The legislation strengthens voting rights protections in a number of tangible ways and gives the federal government and voting rights advocates new tools to combat voting discrimination.

The sponsors of the bill have a lot of credibility on this issue. Sensenbrenner, as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, shepherded through the 2006 reauthorization of the VRA—which passed 390-33 in the House and 98-0 in the Senate. Conyers first entered Congress in 1965, the year of the VRA’s passage, and has served on the House Judiciary Committee ever since. Leahy is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has recently worked with Sensenbrenner on reforming the NSA.

The problem of contemporary voting discrimination ultimately requires a solution that only Congress can provide. It was Congress, after all, that passed the VRA in 1965 in response to the failure of litigation to stop the mass disenfranchisement of black voters in the South. Yes, yes, I realize that a Congress that can scarcely do more than name a Post Office nowadays is not likely to resurrect the VRA any time soon—especially when so much of the GOP is devoted to erecting new barriers to the ballot box. But now that there’s legislation on the table, members of Congress face a choice: Do you want to make it easier or harder for people to vote? The question, and answer, is really that simple.

h/t: Ari Berman at The Nation

The Christian Action League, the American Family Association’s North Carolina affiliate, issued a statement Friday praising a restrictive new voting law in North Carolina. The group is particularly pleased with a provision eliminating early voting on Sundays. “We have always opposed voting on Sunday for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Sunday is the church’s prime time for developing the character of a nation,” said Mark Creech, the Christian Action League’s director.

He adds that Sunday voting in fact imperils our freedom because “it is a Sunday-cultivated character that makes an electorate fit to guard and preserve its liberties.”

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

Rush attacks Early Voting.

From the 08.13.2013 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:

North Carolina state Sen. Tom Apodaca, the Republican chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, is working on a package of election law changes that would curb — perhaps end — early voting, Sunday voting and same-day voter registration, the Los Angeles Times reported this weekend.

Before the Supreme Court’s ruling, 40 of North Carolina’s 100 counties needed to receive Justice Department pre-clearance before making changes to voting procedures. Without Section 4, which the Court said last week is unconstitutional, the state can now make many changes it wants without getting Washington’s approval.

Say what you will about any individual lawmaker’s motivations, there are undeniable political ramifications for curbing early voting. Research indicates that Democratic voters disproportionately use in-person early voting, while Republican voters are more likely to vote by absentee ballot, according to Chelsea Brossard at the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College.

And statistics from North Carolina back that research up: More than 1.2 million Democrats cast ballots during the 17 days of early voting in 2012, while about 800,000 Republicans did the same. African American voters were more likely to cast a ballot during the early period than they were on Election Day, according to statistics compiled by the United States Elections Project at George Mason University.

The numbers couldn’t be clearer: In 2012, blacks accounted for just 8.7 percent of absentee ballots cast in North Carolina, while whites accounted for 86.4 percent. Blacks accounted for 28.9 percent of all early votes cast; 65.8 percent of early votes were cast by white voters, according to Michael McDonald, who runs the U.S. Elections Project. Republicans made up half of all absentee voters and 30 percent of early voters; Democrats made up just over a quarter of absentee votes and 49.1 percent of early voters.

Rather than continuing to solely play defense, the Center for American Progress has released a report detailing 11 pieces of state legislation that voting rights advocates can use to go on offense in 2013:

1. Online voter registration. Less than 63 percent of Americans aged 18-34 were registered to vote in 2009, yet a Nielsen survey found that these young citizens were by far the most electronically connected, with 88 percent having an Internet connection at home. Modernizing the voter-registration process and allowing people to register online would be a boon for the overall number of voters in our country.

2. Election Day registration. Most states bar their residents from registering in the weeks just before an election—at a time when media coverage is at a fever pitch and less-engaged citizens are just starting to tune in. Some states, such as Pennsylvania, stop allowing people to register 30 days before an election. Election Day registration eliminates that barrier, helping a significant number of Americans vote. In 2008 alone, more than 1 million individuals registered on Election Day in these states. Studies have found that Election Day registration boosts turnout on average by 7-percentage points to 14-percentage points.

3. Require public schools to help register voters. Young Americans continue to vote at far lower rates than the rest of the citizenry. This year, for instance, only half of the voting-eligible population between the ages of 18 and 24 cast a ballot, compared to more than two-thirds of senior citizens. One simple way to encourage students to vote is for states to require that public schools provide voter-registration services.

4. Expand early voting. Early voting is one of the most important realms of voting rights over the past decade. It offers citizens more flexibility to vote at their convenience—not everyone can take off an hour or two from work on the first Tuesday of November—and allows election officials to spread the process of counting ballots over a number of days or weeks, rather than getting inundated all at once. It’s also a major boon for minority turnout. Many African American churches, for instance, participate in a “souls to the polls” voting drive on the Sunday before Election Day helping boost black early voting rates. Currently, 16 states don’t offer early voting.

5. Allow voters to cast a ballot in any county polling location. One of the most exciting new developments in the past couple years is the advent of polling centers. Rather than restricting voters to one assigned precinct where they must cast their ballot, a handful of counties now allow residents to vote at any polling location in their home county. Travis County, Texas, home to Austin, for example, conducted a study of its new policy after it was introduced in 2011 and found that allowing voters to cast a ballot at any of the county’s 207 polling locations led directly to a 1.4 percent increase in turnout. Approximately one in three voters ended up going to a different polling location than their usual one.

6. No-excuse absentee voting. For many Americans taking time off during the work day to vote is not an option. Fortunately for them an increasing number of states are enacting “no-excuse absentee” laws that allow anyone who requests an absentee ballot to receive one, not just individuals who will be out of town or have another reason barring them from voting on Election Day.

7. Strengthen penalties for knowingly deceiving voters. Though voter fraud is largely a myth, one form of actual election hijinks occurs when individuals or groups purposefully deceive certain voters about when or how to vote. These deceptive practices are unfortunately commonplace, such as fliers plastered in urban areas telling Republicans to vote on Tuesday and Democrats to vote on Wednesday. States should not only specifically ban deceptive practices, but classify them as a felony.

8. Outlaw voter caging. Voter caging is when an operative or group sends letters to a “target’s” home and uses any returned mail to challenge that voter’s eligibility on the presumption that they don’t live at the listed residence. For years, political operatives have used voter caging as a tactic to suppress turnout among largely minority populations. Because it’s a process that is riddled with problems, states should affirmatively ban the practice of voter caging. There are dozens of reasons why a piece of mail would be returned that are more plausible than a voter intending to commit voter fraud, including as clerical errors or military deployment, and serves primarily to suppress legitimate voters.

9. Reform the voter-challenge process. Poll watchers became a household term in the 2012 election as campaigns and outside groups like True The Vote trained thousands of volunteers to challenge voters’ eligibility anytime they suspected irregularities. When a poll watcher makes a challenge most states place the burden of proof on the voter to prove he or she is eligible to cast a ballot, a process that does little to disincentivize frivolous challenges. States therefore should pass legislation shifting the burden of proof from the voter to the challenger. In addition, states should impose penalties on individuals and groups who make frivolous challenges.

10. Restore voting rights to ex-felons. Felons in most states aren’t just barred from voting while in prison; a handful of states strip them of their voting rights for the rest of their life, even after completing their sentence. As a result, 3.1 million Americans were disenfranchised in 2008. If we as a society want to reintegrate people with felony convictions back into society after they finish their prison terms, it makes little sense to permanently brand them with a scarlet letter.

11. Enact constitutional language affirming an equal right to vote. When Wisconsin passed voter ID legislation in 2011 the only thing stopping its implementation in the 2012 election was the state constitution’s language affirming Wisconsin residents’ right to vote. Every state constitution has different language regarding the right to vote. Still, the most important thing voting-rights advocates can proactively do to prevent further attacks on voting rights such as voter ID is to strengthen their state’s constitutional language regarding the right to vote.

H/T: Scott Keyes at Think Progress Justice

One of the more stunning developments following President Obama’s re-election has been the number of ardent Republicans who have confessed that they believed the anti-Democratic propaganda from Fox News—and got so much wrong as a result.

The voting rights part of this fact-averse bubble had many dimensions: from who is and isn’t registered to vote, to when and where people wanted to vote, to what a voter must do at the polls to get a ballot, to how voter lists are updated—and who can be trusted to oversee the process.

What follows are 10 lies the Right pedaled during the 2012 campaign. Some GOP partisans, like this Nevada group, are already trying to resurrect some of these fake issues. You can be sure you’ll see more as states and Congress look at 2012’s biggest problems, such as people having to wait hours and hours to vote.

1. Non-Citizen Multitudes On Voter Rolls

Florida’s Tea Party Gov. Rick Scott was the worst offender, falsely claiming that there were 180,000 or more non-citizens listed on Florida’s voter rolls. It turned out that Scott and his hand-picked state election chief found 198 non-citizens among Florida’s 11 million voters before backpedaling from the claim. But other Republican top state election officials, in Colorado, Michigan and New Mexico, made the same claim in 2012 in an attempt to scare off legal non-white voters. This line was picked up by other GOP partisans who bought dozens of billboardsin communities of color in several swing states listing the penalty for illegal voting. The billboards came down after strong protests from civil rights groups.

2. Partisan Election Officials Are Trustworthy

Florida’s Rick Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner, Ohio Secretary of State John Husted, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and a handful of other Republicans overseeing their state’s elections are only the latest partisans who have abused their constitutional office by tilting voting rules to give an advantage to their party. We saw the same thing in Ohio in 2004, when Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell followed Florida’s Katherine Harris from 2000. Both Republicans made many decisions that hurt Democrats and elected—and then re-elected—George W. Bush.

This conflict of interest is one of the biggest problems with American elections. But there are more fair-minded ways to oversee voting, such as in Wisconsin where an independent board of retired judges runs and referees that state’s elections. And it should be noted that in Florida this year, many county-level election supervisors (who are elected) pushed back on Gov. Scott’s edicts. That’s because they see their job as serving the public rather than being partisan activists.  

3. Dead People Are Voting (For Democrats)

This propaganda line came after the Pew Center on the States issued a reportshowing that 1.8 million dead people were on state voter roles. Some in GOP circles went nuts, saying dead people would be voting for Democrats. Some newspapers also ran with the “dead voters” angle, revealing that they have little knowledge of the fact that voter rolls are maintained in an ongoing manner and how local officials take many steps to update their rolls (as people register, move and die).

4. Tougher Voter ID Laws Are Needed

Voter ID laws have been on the books for years. You need to show ID to register to vote. New voters must show an ID to get a ballot. And established voters sign in at the polls (or sign their names on mail-in ballots) under penalty of perjury. But those precedents have not stopped GOP-controlled legislatures from enactingnew laws requiring voters to show a specific form of state photo ID to get a ballot. The GOP’s big rationale is that they’re fighting voter impersonation fraud—the claim someone else is voting under another’s name. Of course, their real agenda is preventing likely Democrats in key cohorts—young people, urban residents without driver’s licenses, poor people, etc—from voting.

What the 2012 election showed was that the biggest perpetuators of fraudulent voter registration schemes were Republicans, notably Nathan Sproul, a political consultant who was hired by several state Republican Parties to register voters. Sproul’s workers had a bad habit of throwing out forms from Democrats. State parties were forced to fire him after police opened investigations. This isn’t to say that there were no cases of Democrats tinkering with registrations. But almost all of the cases reported in 2012 involved the GOP’s consultants or lone actors. No one found registration fraud on a scale affecting thousands of votes, let alone hundreds.

5. Tougher Voter ID Laws Protect Minorities 

This absurd line was pedaled by two of the Right’s biggest voting propagandists, former Bush Administration Department of Justice attorney Hans von Spakovsky (now with the Heritage Foundation) and National Review columnist John Fund. They made this claim in their new book, Who’s Counting: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote At Risk, in media commentaries, and at recruiting sessions for right-wing voter vigilante groups that obsess over the specter of illegal voters.

Von Spakovsky said that minority turnout in Georgia went up after it adopted a tougher voter ID law—a claim that handily overlooks how its Latino population has surged in recent years. But more to the point, tougher voter ID laws have given GOP groups a pathway to racially profile voters.

6. Federal Voting Rights Act Is Obsolete

This claim is really outrageous against the backdrop of all the race-based tactics the GOP used to try to defeat President Obama. In lawsuits still unfolding in federal court—and at the U.S. Supreme Court—Republican lawyers are arguing that the U.S. is now a post-racial society, which means that Civil Rights Era laws such as the federal Voting Rights Act are no longer needed.

This year, the two authorities under the Voting Rights Act—Justice Department and a federal appeals court in Washington—found that the new voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina were racially discriminatory, preventing them from taking effect. The Washington court found that Texas’ congressional and state redistricting plan also was discriminatory—and rejected it. And the Justice Department was part of litigation in Florida over that state’s efforts to curb registration drives and limit early voting, all because the GOP-led measures disproportionately would impact those state’s minority voters.

Moreover, while some Republicans in the 16 states that are all or partly regulated by the Voting Rights Act—such as Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott—have led the attack on the Voting Rights Act and accused the Obama Justice Department of rampant partisan manipulation of the law, other Republicans in those same states have proposed changes in election law and procedures that have been approved by the Justice Department. So the GOP dislikes the law when it blocks their agenda but likes it when it doesn’t.   

7. Early Voting Is Not Wanted or Needed

This was another absurd claim that was made by top Republican election officials in Florida and Ohio—and was the subject of litigation that, at least in Ohio’scase, lasted until just days before the presidential election. Both Florida and Ohio saw efforts by Republicans, in their legislatures and by their secretaries of state, to limit weekend voting options in the final weeks of the 2012 election. In Ohio, a federal judge was so incensed by Secretary of State John Husted’s intransigence that at one point he ordered Husted to appear in his courtroom to personally explain why he ignored court orders.

In Florida, the GOP-controlled legislature has purposely limited the number of early voting locations—which was also a problem in 2008—and then tried to cut back on the total number of hours of weekend voting in 2012. After litigation led by voting rights groups, the state slightly adjusted the early voting schedule. However, these political decisions were directly responsible for the hours-long lines in both swing states this year.

8. Obama Disenfranschised Overseas Military Voters  

Another aspect of the Ohio litigation over early voting was the claim by Republicans and Fox News that the Obama campaign’s lawsuit to preserve early voting on the final weekend before Election Day disenfranschised overseas military voters. This lie was based on very twisted logic—if you could even call it that. Until 2011, all Ohioans could vote on the weekend before Election Day. But Ohio’s GOP-controlled Legislature passed a law that only allowed for overseas military members and their families to vote on that final weekend in November 2012. The Obama campaign sued, saying that did not treat all Ohio voters equally under the law.

Various Fox News on-air hosts said that Obama was seeking to prevent members of the military and their families from voting in the presidential election, a multi-dimensional untruth and smear. If anything, the Obama campaign lawsuit—which was victorious—would allow all Ohioans, at home and overseas, to have more voting options. (Ohio, like all states, gives troops overseas more time to return their ballots because of mail and delivery delays).

9. One Million GOP Poll Watchers Are Coming

The GOP’s voter vigilante squad, led by the new group, True the Vote, claimed that it would train and send 1 million polling place observers to swing states to be on the lookout for anything resembling (to them) voter fraud and to stop illegal voting. That didn’t happen. There was no invasion of Republican voting posses descending on thousands of local precincts in swing states.

True the Vote is not going away, but it needs to be seen for what it is—the front guard of the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. Indeed, just as many Tea Partiers elected to the House in 2010 were unseated in 2012, this Republican cadre’s outsized claims should not be taken seriously.    

10. Obama Will Steal The Election Electronically

The Republican National Committee made this claim in letters to a half-dozen top state election officials in swing states one week before Election Day. A top RNC lawyer cited isolated problems with paperless voting machines as a sign that Democrats were poised to electronically flip votes from Romney to Obama to steal the election. State election directors in Nevada and North Carolina responded with forceful letters, saying the RNC’s concerns and theory was unsupported by facts and vote-counting procedures.

Of course, what the RNC was doing was seeking to undermine the public’s confidence in a process that was headed toward re-electing Obama.

h/t: Steven Rosenfeld at AlterNet

In the lead up to the 2000 presidential election, Florida’s Republican Secretary of State Katherine Harris hired a private company to create an error-laden “scrub list” of so-called ineligible voters, eventually wrongly purging as many as 7000 voters from Florida’s rolls — or 13 times George W. Bush’s post-Supreme Court margin of victory. Moreover, because Harris’ list “invariably target[ed] a minority population in Florida” that was overwhelmingly likely to vote for Al Gore, it is likely that her voter purge gave the presidency to Bush. Four years later, Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell engaged in similar shenanigans to suppress the vote in his crucial swing state — including at one point saying he would reject voter registration forms if they were not printed on 80-pound thickness cardstock.

This election, the role of Kathrine Harris and Ken Blackwell is played by Ohio’s new Republican Secretary of State, Jon Husted. Here are just a few of the steps Husted took to try to swing Ohio’s crucial electoral votes to Mitt Romney:

It does not have to be the way.

H/T: Ian Millhiser at Think Progress Justice

During his keynote speech at an election law symposium at University of Toledo on Friday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) claimed two recent court decisions restoring early voting on the last three days before the election was “un-American.”

Husted has sought to restrict early voting, even openly defying a court order to lift the ban on voting on the last three days before Election Day. Once the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal, Husted immediately capped voting hours at just 16 hours for the entire three day period, down from 24 hours in 2008.

Husted asserted that every vote would be counted fairly and accurately, saying that voting in Ohio is “easy” and “anybody who says that there are residents in Ohio being barred from the right to vote is irresponsible.” Husted has certainly had to contend with many such “irresponsible” people. Though the court restored this three day period of voting, Husted has still prevented Ohioans from voting on evenings or weekends throughout October. 

H/T: Aviva Shen at Think Progress Justice

Two federal courts said that the Ohio Republican Party’s effort to reduce opportunities to vote early must not go into effect. And the Supreme Court rejected an attempt by Ohio Republican officials to reinstate a GOP-backed law taking away three days of early voting just this week.

Now, just two days after the conservative Roberts Court turned away Husted’s bid to reinstate the anti-voter law, he is still finding new ways to cut back early voting:

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted swiftly limited early voting hours on those crucial three days to 8 am–2 pm on Saturday, November 3; 1–5 pm on Sunday, November 4; and 8 am–2 pm on Monday, November 5. That means Ohio voters will have a total of only sixteen hours to cast a ballot during those three days. And before the weekend before the election, Ohio voters will still not be able to cast a ballot in-person on nights or weekends.

In 2008, the most populous counties in Ohio allowed more time for early voting—both in terms of days (thirty-five) and hours (on nights and weekends in many places). For the three days before the election, early voting locations were open for a total of twenty-four hours in Columbus’s Franklin County (8-5 on Saturday, 1-5 on Sunday and 8-7 on Monday) and 18 and a half hours in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County (9-1 on Saturday, 1-5 on Sunday, 8:30-7 pm on Monday). During those final three pre-election days in 2008, 148,000 votes were cast and “wait times stretched 2 1/2 hours,” reported the Columbus Dispatch.

There is a simple explanation for why Ohio Republicans are so determined to cut back early voting. Early voters are more likely to be minorities and are more likely to have lower incomes. They are also much less likely to have jobs that give them the flexibility to take time off to vote on election day. According to a recent Ohio poll, President Obama leads 57 percent to 38 percent among people who already voted, but is tied at 43 percent with Mitt Romney among likely voters who have yet to cast their ballot.

h/t: Ian Millhiser at Think Progress Justice

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is siding with Democrats in refusing to block early voting in the battleground state of Ohio.

The court on Tuesday refused a Republican request to get involved in a dispute over early voting in the state on the three days before Election Day.

The campaign of President Barack Obama and Ohio Democrats sued the state over changes in Ohio law that took away the three days of voting for most people, but made exceptions for military personnel and Ohioans living overseas. Democrats say nearly 100,000 people voted in the three days before the election in 2008.

A federal appeals court ruling reinstated voting on the weekend before the election and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court.

h/t: Huffington Post