Jun 25, 2016

Fight Against Republican Voter Obstruction Continues

Fighting Republican efforts to "to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government," (Richard Posner, Frank v. Walker).

Since 2011 Wisconsin Republicans have engineered mandatory photo voter ID and dozens of other election laws to obstruct as many non-Republican voters as possible.

This is an imperfect method of voter obstruction, but one which demonstrably is used to suppress the total number of voters likely to cast non-Republican votes.

Voting rights advocates are pursuing many actions against Republican voter obstruction laws enacted across the country by Republican-led states to achieve desired electoral outcomes for a favored political party, the Republican Party.

One action pursued by voting rights workers is in the federal court system, in which voting rights attorneys make legal claims under the Fourteenth Amendment and Section Two of the Voting Rights Act.

North Carolina

On June 21 in North Carolina, a federal judicial panel in the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, heard oral argument in North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP; Emanuel Baptist Church; Covenant Presbyterian Chruch; Barbee Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Inc.; Rosanell Eaton; Armentia Eaton; Carolyn Coleman; Jocelyn Ferguson-Kelly; Faith Jackson; Mary Perry; and Maria Teresa Unger Palmer v. Patrick Lloyd McCrory, et al (2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55712).

The voting rights plaintiffs challenge North Carolina's Republican-enacted voter suppression law, North Carolina House Bill 589 (2013), a comprehensive voter obstruction effort composed of many of the voter obstruction initiatives used in Wisconsin, Texas and other Republican-led states.

The North Carolina case is fast-tracked.

Gov. McCrory is an anti-voting rights Republican governor working to stop minority and college-aged voters from voting in an effort to consolidate Republican political control of North Carolina.

Voting rights advocates are watching North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v.
Patrick Lloyd McCrory to gauge the federal courts' inclination to uphold Fourteenth Amendment claims of liberty and Due Process against incursions by Republican-led states.

North Carolina has a sordid and violent racist history of lynchings, beatings, Jim Crow laws and other liberty-destroying practices aimed at black citizens which leave minority populations particularly vulnerable to voter obstruction efforts.

Now, Latinos and college-aged voters join blacks in being targeted for exclusion from voting by Republican voter obstruction laws in North Carolina.

Anna Baldwin, an attorney with the Voting Section, Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Dept of Justice, argued on June 21 the "cumulative" consequence of numerous North Carolina Republican voter obstruction provisions has both the intent and effect of obstruction of minority and college-aged voters in North Carolina.

Other voting rights attorneys arguing the case, (16-1468), before the federal panel include Penda Hair and Allison Riggs who spoke to the discriminatory intent and effect of North Carolina's voter obstruction law.

Three voting rights cases were ordered consolidated for trial in 2015: North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP v. McCrory; League of Women Voters v. North Carolina and United States of America v. North Carolina.

Earlier this year Republican U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder allowed the North Carolina obstruction laws to take effect.

The federal panel hearing the case is composed of federal judges: Diana Gribbon Motz, James A. Wynn Jr., and Henry F. Floyd.

Wisconsin cases before the federal courts are One Wisconsin Institute v. Nichol (U.S. District Court of the Western District of Wisconsin (Case 15-cv-324)) and Frank v. Walker.

As with North Carolina, Wisconsin Republicans are hostile to minority and college-aged citizens who vote against Republicans.

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