Sep 16, 2013

Wisconsin's Photo ID Trial in November Is First Using Section Two of Voting Rights Act

Bettye Stitts Jones was a life-long fighter for civil rights
whose battle is joined. She was the lead plaintiff in
Jones et al. v. Deininger et al. (Case 2:12-cv-00185)
The world will be watching Wisconsin on November 4, 2013 as the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin takes up challenges to the photo voter ID law.

This is the first trial in the country post-Shelby County v. Holder using Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Act last summer, as noted by The Advancement Project.

During the debate for the first renewal of the Voting Rights Act in 1970, Rep. William McCulloch (R-Ohio) blasted the Nixon administration for attempting to gut the Act.

Fourth-three years later, five GOP Supreme Court justices accomplished Nixon's objective in the infamous Shelby County v. Holder (June 2013) decision.

To contemporary eyes, it's appears alien to watch the hard-won achievements of the Civil Rights Movement come under such blatant attack.

In 1970 McCulloch spoke against the segregationists using "more sophisticated machinery for discriminating against the black voter," a prospect that McCulloch and every fair-minded American dreaded.

On November 4, 2013, two federal civil rights cases—Frank et al. v. Walker, (Case 11cv1128), and Jones et al. v. Deininger et al. (Case 2:12-cv-00185)—will challenge the Scott Walker administration and the Republican Party's Wisconsin photo voter ID law under Section Two of the Voting Rights Act, among other claims made by plaintiffs.

The two cases have been consolidated for trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

As anti-voting rights forces (the Republican and Tea Parties) employ new sophisticated machinery for discriminating against the wrong kind of voters showing up to vote—photo voter ID, curtailing early voting, repressing registration drives and on and on—the Republican Party and voter obstruction operatives want to call the racist ex-Milwaukee cop, Michael Sandvick and other last-minute witnesses to defend the photo voter ID law.

The Wisconsin photo voter ID was passed with sole Republican Party support against unanimous Democratic Party and civil rights groups' opposition.

The pro-voting forces will present social scientific evidence demonstrating the "severe and undue burden on the fundamental right to vote under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution; [violations of] the Twenty-Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution as an unconstitutional poll tax; and [violations of] the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in arbitrarily refusing to accept certain identification documents," as specified in the Jones' complaint filed in February 2011.

To give you an idea how petty and disdainful Republicans will be, consider their reaction to the death of Bettye Jones, an original co-plaintiff in Jones et al. v. Deininger et al. (Case 2:12-cv-00185).

Bettye Jones passed away on October 31, 2012 while the photo voter ID law was enjoined by two separate Wisconsin state courts, and thus her case was taken off the federal Court calendar and held in abeyance.

Mrs. Jones was a resident of Brookfield, Wisconsin, and was eligible to register and vote in Wisconsin elections.

The 76-year-old mother moved to Wisconsin in 2011 to live with her daughter whom she loved.

She lacked the certified birth certificate to obtain a Wisconsin-issued driver's license or other photo identification that would allow her to vote under the Republican-passed photo voter ID law.

The Republicans claimed falsely that Mrs. Jones had qualifying ID all along and that Mrs. Jones did not live in Wisconsin when she passed away. The Republicans sought to dismiss Jones et al. v. Deininger et al. (Case 2:12-cv-00185 on this basis.

These are lies, and indicative of the disrespect Republicans have for African-American families.

Mrs. Jones moved to Wisconsin in 2011 to live with her daughter! But Wisconsin Republicans did their worst to see this civil rights champion lose her right to vote. In reality, "Bettye was an inspiration to all of us who knew her. A fighter for civil rights her whole life - from helping integrate Ohio's schools to electing the first African American mayor of a major city, she spend this last year of her life fighting Wisconsin's onerous photo ID law that would have prevented her from voting had she and her daughter not taken the extraordinary measures they did," as was noted after her passing.

Has the Republican Party no shame? No sense of decency? Wisconsin Department of Justice staff really need to ask themselves if they wish to be associated with this contemptible effort to obstruct civil rights.

From the Advancement Project:
Bettye Jones and her daughter Debra Crawford, detail the long struggle to get a Wisconsin photo ID for Bettye, who was born in the segregated south and never issued a birth certificate. Bettye was the lead plaintiff in an Advancement Project lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's photo ID law.

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