Oct 19, 2013

Texas Obstucts Women from Voting; Effort Similar to Wisc AG's Failed Suit

Civil rights violations are our business: GOP
Update: Barbara Arnwine and Eleanor Smeal explain the GOP's war on women voting: "The assault on voting rights is a naked attempt to suppress the votes of minorities, students, the elderly, and the poor. But don’t be fooled. This War on Voting is an essential part of the War on Women."

In 2008 Wisconsin's Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen tried to push through the courts a new constitutional requirement to vote: An exact match of a voter's name on the databases of various government bureaucracies.


The GOP voter obstruction effort failed miserably, though Van Hollen later showed no shame in trying to stop our sacred right to vote, efforts for which Van Hollen will be well-compensated in the private sector at a cushy GOP firm, (Van Hollen is not seeking reelection in 2014.)

"Nothing in state or federal law requires that there be a data match as a prerequisite for a citizen's right to vote," Judge Maryann Sumi said in dismissing Van Hollen's lawsuit (J.B. Van Hollen v. Government Accountability Board (GAB) et al (2008)) that tried to use the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) as a voter suppression tool.

In October 2008, it was reported by WisPolitics that Reince Priebus (then Wisconsin and now national GOP Chair) and Wisconsin McCain-Palin co-chair Van Hollen met before and at the 2008 National Republican Convention in St. Paul to discuss this new voter obstruction effort which would was employed by the Van Hollen-headed Wisconsin Department of Justice during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Now, Texas is employing the Priebus-Van Hollen strategy to obstruct voting, requiring an exact and up-to-date name match on Photo Voter ID, per newly enacted Texas GOP law.

The New Civil Rights Movements notes: "Think Progress reports that as of November 5, Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name. It sounds like such a small thing, but according to the Brennan Center for Justice, only 66% of voting age women have ready access to a photo document that will attest to proof of citizenship. This is largely because young women have not updated their documents with their married names, a circumstance that doesn’t affect male voters in any significant way. Suddenly 34% of women voters are scrambling for an acceptable ID, while 99% of men are home free."

Van Hollen had denied any contacts with the Republican Party and the McCain campaign about Wisconsin's invented 2008 voting rule in the GOP's failed lawsuit, a denial that was contradicted by WisPolitics‘ audio recording revealing Van Hollen promising this 2008 legal action to Priebus on alleged "voter fraud" during an address at the 2008 Republican National Convention held in St. Paul.

Texas GOP Attorney General Greg Abbott, Wendy Davis' likely opponent for governor in 2014, has had much to say about new voting requirements and other GOP obstruction schemes, now under challenge by the U.S. DoJ under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, to the chagrin of voting rights poseur and lede Republican bullshitter, James Sensenbrenner. Abbott is running the Reince Priebus playbook.

Writes Dave McNeely:

"In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party's electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats," says the (legal) brief filed by Abbott's office, (defending Texas gerrymandering). "It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan redistricting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates."

Abbott also accused Jose Garza, a lawyer for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, of unethical behavior for telling Latino voters to go ahead to the polls even without the now-required photo ID in a Sept. 14 election in Edinburg to fill a city council vacancy.

It is "unethical for a lawyer to advise someone to violate Texas law," Abbott said. "Confusing and misleading Texans in order to create an unnecessary lawsuit is disgraceful."

Garza hotly shot back that he had never encouraged Texans to violate the law, but to cast provisional ballots if they can't get a photo ID. He said he thinks the law is unconstitutional, and if they are refused that would be grounds for a legal challenge.

"Do not stay home and allow a discriminatory law to suppress your vote and voice," Garza said. "That is my message to Edinburg's voters."
Abbott says he needs to stop voter fraud and ensure the integrity of Texas elections.

As the world looks at American politics, wondering vaguely if the US has lost its collective mind in allowing the Tea Party suicide caucus to threaten the world economy, it also cast dubious eyes on the American commitment to voting rights in a democracy, wondering in the words of Teresa Wiltz in The Guardian if this is "2013 or 1953?"

It's 1953, only worse.

In the words of Joel Bleifuss, editor of In These Times, enterprising and corrupt voter obstruction efforts by GOP operatives, including five sitting jurists on the U.S. Supreme Court judges, have in dismantling voter protections imposed on America a "gift to both the billionaire political hobbyists who gave us the Tea Party Congress and the noisy charlatans who push for cynical 'anti-voter-fraud' legislation that is crafted to suppress voter turnout."

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