Voter Restrictions

The steady disenfranchisement of the american people.

Texas AG threatens to arrest monitors observing US election

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe has monitored several previous elections in the US. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

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State Attorney General calls international group’s plan to watch for fairness at the polls ‘legally irrelevant in the United States’

The Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott, has threatened to arrest international election monitors invited by liberal groups to observe the conduct of next month’s presidential vote in states accused of attempting to disenfranchise minorities.

Abbott has written to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe warning that its monitors have no right to monitor the vote even though they have observed previous US elections.

“The OSCE’s representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offence for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance,” he said. “Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.”

The OSCE is sending 44 observers to voting stations across the US at the request of various groups, including the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union, because of “an unprecedented and sophisticated level of coordination to restrict voting rights in our nation”. These include attempts by several states, including Texas, to introduce voter identification laws and other measures blocked by federal courts which have ruled they were motivated by racial discrimination.

Well, we’re finally regarded as a nation that cannot conduct honest democratic elections, as reported in this article from the Guardian U.K., and as essentially verified by conservatives’ reaction to this action by the OSCE.  Isn’t that something to be proud of.  Brought to you by the same Party that increased our deficit by getting our nation’s credit rating lowered.  There is a lot more to read in this article, so please click here to read it all.

Virginia won’t investigate Republican Operative arrested for dumping voter registrations

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The State Board Of Elections says it will not ask Virginia’s Attorney General to investigate the case of a Republican Party contract worker, accused of throwing voter registration forms in the trash.

State Senator Donald McEachin, who is chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, asked the attorney general to investigate following the arrest of Colin Small.

Small was a contractor hired by the Republican Party of Virginia to conduct voter registration drives.

He was charged after investigators say as many as nine applications he collected were found in a trash bin behind a Harrisonburg store.

WTVR’s complete story, with embedded video can be seen by clicking here

and thanks to VLTP Facebook member David Noyes for finding this update.

Audio Reveals Romney Behind Employer Layoff Threats if Obama Wins

In audio of a conference call, Mitt Romney can be heard instructing employers on how to tell their employees who to vote for, and the consequences to their job if Obama wins.

Click here to listen to the full audio if you want to hear Romney answer questions from small business owners in this recorded presidential candidate town hall series sponsored by the conservative group NFIB.

The concluding remarks encourage business owners to talk with their employees about voting.  Please click here to go right to these remarks.

According to the Working blog at In These Times, Romney said, “I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope, I hope you pass those along to your employees.”

Thanks to Citizens United, these kinds of scare tactics are legal, and they should sound familiar. Employers have been using these same kinds of threats to keep unions out of the workplace for decades.

It isn’t a coincidence that in recent weeks there has been a rash of Romney supporting billionaires warning of layoffs if Obama wins.

To read more of this excellent investigative report and get the details on how 3 specific corporations have told their employees how they should vote, please click here

 

Ohio Bleeding

Paula Garfield is a 30-year veteran teacher of special education for Columbus city schools.  She was recently elected as an Ohio Education Association Delegate, and received the Columbus Education Association’s Outstanding Member of the Year award.  She was highly involved with We Are Ohio, and is a guest speaker for Ohio Women’s Democratic Caucus, War on Women, and others.  This is Paula’s blog, and it is a beautifully eloquent posting.  Paula is a member of our Facebook group–Resist The Privatization of America, where she posted this article. 

Thank you Paula.

With 24 days until the Presidential election, I spent a total of 26 hours of my weekend travelling across the State in Ohio, speaking at 3 events regarding Educators for President Obama: Women, laborers, middle class, elderly, minorities, college students,  teachers, firefighters, police, unions, pensions, postal service: we all have the same attackers. Their tactics consist of the war on women, replacing public schools with private for profit schools,replacing free public schools with the Kasich (K-suck) voucher system  attacking and dismantling of free public appropriate education, destroying planned parenthood, holding jobs for ransom.

The same Republicans try to make sure that measures don’t get by the House of Representatives and thus cannot get to the Senate .Since the Republican Party controls the House, it serves the Corporations  and not “We the People,” who elected them to represent us.

I talked about Right to Work -for less-, Voter ID Laws and other means of voter suppression across the USA in Republican governed states as I canvassed on Sunday. I knocked on doors for all Congress Reps in my voting area, delivered signs, got the appropriate forms to those  who have relocated to Columbus, Ohio.  I answered questions from a Canadian, who works here in the area, who was in disbelief about what is happening to America in comparison to Canada’s rights, freedoms.

I am just now sitting down, after finding all my lawn signs for my makeshift Democratic ballot, destroyed…some burned, some shredded.I am cleaning up what the wind scattered across my complex. I am just off the phone trying to hook up voters with signs in the district/area with field leader contacts across the state, and staring at 122 emails, all of which I must answer from people wanting to know what they can do to help because some have awakened, and have realized the impact on them, their children, their futures, their homes, their lives.

There is a great deal more covered in Paula’s article, Ohio Bleeding.  I highly recommend clicking here to read all of it.

GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal Widens: Arrest in VA–Video

“A man originally reported to have been working for the Republican Party of Virginia was arrested by the Rockingham County, VA Sheriff’s office on Thursday and charged with attempting to destroy voter registration forms by tossing them into a dumpster behind a shopping center in Harrisonburg, VA.

Prosecutors charged him with four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications and one count of obstruction of justice,” and more charges could be forthcoming, according to officials…

“Some of those questionable applications included address changes for existing voters, such that FL election officials  worry voters could find themselves disenfranchised come Election Day. In Florida, as in many states, provisional ballots cast at precincts other than where voters are officially registered will not be counted. So changing the addresses on voter registrations without voters’ knowledge is a serious crime with potentially very serious consequences.
…”It was PinPoint Staffing, in fact, which reportedly hired the man Strategic blamed for the fraudulent registration forms turned in originally in Palm Beach. But while PinPoint continues to seek workers for GOP-related efforts around the country, and as Sproul’s (Strategic Allied Consulting) operations continue in “as many as 30 states”, it is the Republican National Committee’s response to the entire affair, including to the arrest today, that may be the most troubling…Sproul’s firms, including what appeared to be a “clone” operation of Strategic Allied Consulting, calling itself Issue Advocacy Partners, were still found working for Republicans and Rightwing ballot initiatives in at least 10 states. Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported that, in fact, Sproul was still “hiring workers for a voter canvassing operation this fall in as many as 30 states.”

…”Strategic was said to have been hired by state Republican Parties, at the request of the RNC, for voter registration drives in five states (Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado) and for “Get Out the Vote” campaigns in Ohio and Wisconsin. When both RNC and state GOP officials claimed to have fired them, it seems they didn’t really mean it.

In the LA Times report late Thursday Sean Spicer, the RNC’s Communications Director, confirms that it may have only been Sproul who the party claimed to be “boldly” cutting ties with. The operations Sproul created for the Party beginning in August, the ones that led to fraudulent voter registrations in Florida and destroyed applications reported in Colorado and Nevada as well, are still in place.

“After Sproul was dumped,” the LA Times reports, “the registration operation that he assembled continued working under the supervision of party officials, Spicer said. He said the workers will continue to do get-out-the-vote work until the election.”
The firing of Sproul and Strategic Allied Consulting was a deception.

Strategic Allied Consulting “was registered as a corporation last June out of the same law office run by top-level Republican National Committee election attorneys where both Karl Rove’s American Crossroads Super-PAC and the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity are also based.”

“In one YouTube video that went viral last month (click here to view), a young Colorado registration worker — who, it turned out, had been working for Sproul’s Strategic Allied Consulting on behalf of the state GOP — is seen doing exactly that.
Al Sharpton weighed in on this in his Block the Vote series of reports on MSNBC.  Please click here to watch this video.
Please click
here to read the entire story–there is a lot more to this– as reported by Brad Friedman, who gets a shout out from VLTP for providing the finest coverage of this expanding story.

North Carolina Advocates for Justice endorses ALEC Members – UPDATED, and it’s worse

Despite posting this to NCAJ on their Facebook page, there has been no response from anyone at NCAJ.

memo to self:  research NCAJ and see if they are what they claim to be.

updates: NCAJ endorsed candidates Marilyn Avila and Jamie Boles confirmed  as members of ALEC

 

“The North Carolina Advocates For Justice was formed more than 45 years ago by a small group of trial lawyers who wanted to protect peoples’ rights. Today, the North Carolina Advocates For Justice has almost 4,000 members and is one of the top protectors of individual rights in North Carolina. NC Advocates For Justice members represent those injured by the wrongdoing of others, workers fighting for their rights in the workplace, the disabled, those addressing family problems, consumers, those in debt, and those accused of crime.

“The North Carolina Advocates for Justice accomplishes its mission through effective advocacy work in the NC state legislature advocating for the rights of all citizens, through the development of over 40 professional development seminars annually to help attorneys improve their skills, and through the administration of a variety of public outreach and education initiatives aimed at enhancing public understanding of the US legal system. The organization’s Legal Affairs Committee also monitors the development of law and serves as a trial attorney advocate to the State Bar.”

The above is quoted directly fromo the NCAJ web page located at http://www.ncaj.com/page/about/?submenuheader=0

I want to emphasize that NCAJ is a good organization doing a lot of good work.  But it’s a shame that these well-intentioned attorneys did not bother to do their “due diligence”.  Included in their recommendations are a number of ALEC members:

Dist. 37 – Paul Stam–member Civil Justice Task Force–Art Pope‘s (who used to be, and may still be a member of  ALEC) “boy” in the legislature.

Dist. 40 – Marilyn Avila–possible member–confirmed attending ALEC 2011 Annual Meeting, not on any task forces confirmed member of ALEC

Dist. 52 – Jamie Boles–possible member–confirmed attending ALEC 2011 Annual Meeting, not on any task forces confirmed member of ALEC

Dist. 53 – David Lewis–possible member–confirmed attending ALEC 2011 Annual Meeting, not on any task forces

Dist. 68 – D. Craig Horn – member Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force

Dist. 77 – Harry Warren–possible member–confirmed attending ALEC 2011 Annual Meeting, not on any task forces

Dist. 79 – Julia Howard–member Health and Human Services Task Force

Dist. 86 – Hugh Blackwell – member Civil Justice Task Force

Dist. 90 – Sarah Stevens–was a member of the Public Safety and Elections Task force which was disbanded because of the Stand Your Ground legislation and the Trayvon Martin murder.

Dist. 108 – John Torbett–possible member–confirmed attending ALEC 2011 Annual Meeting, not on any task forces

Dist. 117 – Chuck McGrady–possible member–confirmed attending ALEC 2011 Annual Meeting, not on any task forces.

We know from ALECexposed and Common Cause releases that Mr. Horn is a member of ALEC’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force.  But looking at the extensive information provided by the NC Legislature, we can look at every member of the state legislature and see what bills they have introduced and how they have voted on every bill,

In the case of Mr. Horn More →

Ohio Republicans Appeal To U.S. Supreme Court To Curtail Early Voting

From AlterNet  By Steven Rosenfeld

Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State John Husted is deteremined to stop upwards of 100,000 Ohioans—many of whom are African-American churchgoers who live in the state’s cities—from voting on the Sunday before Election Day in November…

…“Secretary of State Jon Husted today announced that he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to make the final determination on whether the General Assembly of the State of Ohio or the federal courts should set Ohio election laws,” Husted’s website said. “Husted will be appealing the Friday decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Obama v. Husted.”

As we’ve previously reported, Secretary of State Husted is a former ALEC member and voter suppression legislation is a key ALEC initiative being pursued nationwide.  In addition to Husted, Governor Kasich and PUCO Chairman Todd Snitchler are also ALEC alumni and working in Ohio pursuing their conservative agenda and model bills.

Read the full AlterNet article here

ANALYSIS: Georgia leaders depend on the same well for ideas

From the Rome News Tribune, by Walter C. Jones

Georgia citizens are discovering that many of the laws passed in Georgia relating to prison, criminal justice and privatizing prisons and public education are taken directly from ALEC’s play book.

“ALEC is the well conservative leaders in Georgia dip their bucket into when they’re looking for ideas.

“When Sonny Perdue was governor, he took an ALEC concept called the 65 Percent Solution and pushed it through the General Assembly. It requires schools spend at least 65 percent of their budgets in the classroom and no more than 35 percent on administration.

“Dozens of school boards have won waivers from the law because expenses like school buses, libraries and lunchrooms are counted as administration. Many education advocates are calling for repeal of the law, arguing that experience has shown that adhering to it has done nothing to improve student performance.”

Read the entire article here

GOP Firm Now Said to be Facing Criminal Probe in CO

            photo and caption from The Brad Blog

Evidence suggests Nathan Sproul’s Strategic Allied Consulting, hired by the RNC, now under second criminal investigation…

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler still isn’t done shaming the great state of Colorado with conspiracy theories, not by a long shot, as displayed at a wingnut “voter fraud” conference late last week in Denver. That, even as he has, publicly at least, completely ignored what now appears to be an actual criminal conspiracy, with actual evidence, concerning actual voter registration fraud (albeit by a Republican outfit, so perhaps it doesn’t count), acknowledged by his own office to be officially under criminal investigation by prosecutors in his state…

With Gessler speaking as a member of a panel titled “Stealing Elections: What the Left Doesn’t Want You to Know About Voter Fraud.” Brad Friedman offers up the following from John Tomasic of the Colorado Independent:  Gessler claimed voter fraud had affected the outcomes of elections, that there is evidence of “organized” voter fraud, that Democrats are intentionally registering noncitizens to vote, and that his critics willfully ignore evidence that these crimes are being committed.

To read the entire blog by Brad Friedman, please click here.
Brad Friedman and his Brad Blog have had exemplary coverage of this (among many other) story.

But let’s add some corroboration to this story from Denver’s FOX 31 TV.  A week or so ago we re-posted the video Volunteer Busted Only Registering Romney Voters. (click on blue words to view the video)

According to TV31, in Colorado, the state GOP has spent $466,643 — roughly half its total budget — with Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm in question.

Already this year, the RNC has funneled more than $3.1 million to the company, just formed in June by Nathan Sproul, an Arizona voting consultant who has run other firms that have been accused of dumping registration forms filled out by Democrats and other improprieties aimed at helping Republican candidates.

And FOX31 Denver has confirmed that the young woman seen registering voters outside a Colorado Springs grocery store in a YouTube video, in which she admits to trying to only register voters who support Mitt Romney, was indeed a contract employee of Sproul’s company.(note from Ron;)  State criminal probes are a good start, but when election laws are broken by one corporation in 6 states, it is the job of the Department of Justice to step in to investigate and prosecute interstate violations like this,

 

 


Another Voting Rights Victory in Ohio: Restoration of Early Voting on the Weekend Before the Election

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruledon Friday that Ohio must make early voting during the three days before the election available to all voters if it’s available to military members and voters who live overseas. The ruling upheld a lower court’s decision.  The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling is available here [PDF].

…In late August, U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus ruled against the Ohio Republicans and ordered that their restrictions on Early Voting for all, in those three days, be immediately lifted.

Sec. of State Husted attempted to work around that order, issuing a directive to county election officials, instructing them that they didn’t need to set new hours for voting during that weekend, because he intended to appeal Economus’ ruling.

Economus was not happy and ordered Husted to personally appear before him. A chastened Husted filed a motion apologizing to the court in early September.

…Husted has claimed he believes in uniform voting standards across the state. If so, he could issue a directive ordering all counties to open their doors over the weekend before the election for liberal access to voting for all.

There is a lot more information in this article.  Please click here to read about all of the ramifications and “wiggle room” in this case.