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Hullabaloo


Thursday, December 27, 2007

 
Not Like They're Stopping With The Vote Suppression Effort

by dday

I know that Digby has done a lot of work on the coming Republican emphasis on bogus claims of "voter fraud," turning the tables on Democratic concerns about our elections and giving a pretense to increased voter suppression and intimidation. The Supreme Court is about to weigh in on some cases that are very central to this effort.

The Supreme Court will open the new year with its most politically divisive case since Bush v. Gore decided the 2000 presidential election, and its decision could force a major reinterpretation of the rules of the 2008 contest.

The case presents what seems to be a straightforward and even unremarkable question: Does a state requirement that voters show a specific kind of photo identification before casting a ballot violate the Constitution? [...]

"It is exceedingly difficult to maneuver in today's America without a photo ID (try flying, or even entering a tall building such as the courthouse in which we sit, without one)," Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner, a Ronald Reagan appointee, wrote in deciding that Indiana's strictest-in-the-nation law is not burdensome enough to violate constitutional protections.

His colleague on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, Bill Clinton appointee Terence T. Evans, was equally frank in dissent. "Let's not beat around the bush: The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by certain folks believed to skew Democratic," Evans wrote.


These cases are a solution in search of a problem. Indeed there have been virtually no credible documented cases of voter fraud almost everywhere in the country. This idea to institute this voter ID law came right out of the Justice Department and directly from the lead villian in these matters, the guy who but for 9 second pro forma Congressional sessions might be sitting on the Federal Election Commission by now.

(Hans) Von Spakovsky was the voting counsel in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division from 2003 to 2005. In that role, he supported Georgia's voter photo identification law despite the objections of four of the five government attorneys on a panel set up to make sure the Georgia law complied with the Voting Rights Act, who warned that the law would hurt minority voters because they were less likely to have photo IDs, according to former Justice Department officials. "Spakovsky played a major role in the implementation of practices which injected partisan political factors into decision making," said six former Justice staffers in a letter to senators.

Von Spakovsky, like other Republicans, argues that such strict voter ID laws are needed to combat fraud. Von Spakovsky's election administration experience includes sitting on the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections, which administers elections in the largest county in Georgia.

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School asserts that von Spakovsky's partisan bias extends beyond his signing off on the Georgia bill. Citing recently released E-mails, it says that he tried to quash the U.S. Election Assistance Commission's efforts to support voting ID rules in Arizona and tried to cancel a research contract on the impact of and need for voter ID. (He would not comment for this story.)


It's a real simple plan. The idea is to put these laws in place, under-report them to the populace, and use them to invalidate the votes of hundreds of thousands of low-income and elderly citizens, many of whom vote Democratic. All this to stop the "scourge" of non-existent incidents of voter fraud. Which is a fake scourge whipped up by the Republican noise machine and absolutely tied to this sudden demonization of illegal immigrants.

Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita (R) said voter fraud was something he was asked about "almost daily" by constituents. "At the Kiwanis Club, the chamber of commerce groups, people would say, 'Why aren't you asking who I am when I vote?' " Rokita said.


This, by the way, is why we must continue pressing for answers in the US Attorney probe. The firing of the eight federal prosecutors is intimately tied to their unwillingness to pursue B.S. vote fraud cases. If that investigation, and the look into who was giving the orders to fire, is pushed aside for the sake of bipartisan comity or a desire not to confront the President, then we'll never see the reality of the politicization of justice and the use of federal prosecutor offices as an arm of the RNC. Which will make it that much easier for these needless voter ID laws to be adopted nationwide, expanding the voter suppression.


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