Jan 25, 2013
Update: Wisconsin's Scott Walker is not repulsed by the GOP notion -- proposed to be enshrined in law -- that a minority of voters ought to legally defeat a majority of voters for president. Walker says he’s open to considering the GOP electoral college vote rigging scheme
The voter obstruction programs of the Republican Party across the nation in the last election ought to have made clear Republican Party's hostility to the democratic foundation of the our republic.
The Republican Party has tried to prevent as many undesirable people from voting, as it could for years.
The Democratic Party has no such voter disenfranchisement program.
For the Democrats, a citizen's right to vote is sacred.
Now, Republicans in Virginia and other battleground states are pursuing an effort to rig the election for GOP presidential nominees by dismantling the majority-of-citizens'-votes-prevails practice in states' electoral college votes.
Republicans gerrymand the congressional districts and then allocate electoral votes based on gerrymandered maps. Statewide popular votes total would no longer matter.
So, Obama winning the popular vote in Republican-rigged states would nevertheless result in Obama gaining a substantially less electoral vote total, throwing the election to the Republicans.
This is unAmerican; and one hope for a backlash against this shameful and unAmerican effort.
May 6, 2009
From the Brennan Center, WA Governor Signs Voting Rights Restoration Act
Gov. Gregoire signed a bill restoring the right to vote to people living with criminal records, and eliminated the requirement that people pay all fees and fines, plus hefty surcharges and interest, before becoming eligible to vote. 'Simply put, the right to vote should never hinge on one's wealth or economic status,' says Erika Wood, Director of the Center's Right to Vote Project. 'The Voting Rights Restoration Act now eliminates this modern-day poll tax in Washington.'
Apr 29, 2009
And from SCOTUSblog:
Early on in the discussion of the 'bailout' option, Justice Kennedy commented that the Court has 'some latitude' in interpreting the law, and hinted that the Court might use that discretion to find a way to make it more practical for a government unit subject to the law to conduct its elections. He also suggested, later, that if the 'bailout' provision were found to be 'an illusion,' the Court might make 'a construction of the Act' that would make it work.
A focus on Kennedy’s reaction was evident, after other Justices clearly seemed to be lining up — perhaps in equal but opposing blocs — on Congress’ power to keep Section 5 on the books for another generation.
If, in fact, it turns out that there are four votes to strike down the extension of Section 5, the question would remain whether Justice Kennedy would be willing to put himself in the position of providing a majority to invalidate a statute that even he conceded had been 'very effective.' He provided some reasons to doubt that he would — if there were an acceptable alternative . And, in the past, he had said that racial bias is a continuing problem in American society.
Suddenly, I feel less optimistic on this case than at the beginning of the day.
---The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a potentially landmark case challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its 2006 congressional reauthorization.
Most Republicans hope for a Court decision that would declare certain voting districts free of the mandates of Section 5 helping to fight racial discrimination.
The plaintiffs challenge the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006) (reauthorizing Section 5) in Northwest Austin (Texas) Municipal Utility District Number One v. Gonzales (08-322)).
Many argue more broadly that since we just elected a black president, we don't need voting rights protection.
Those taking this position [Not Rep. James Sensenbrenner. See Voting Rights Act has passionate, strong advocate in Sensenbrenner (Marrero, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel).] take it without any sense of history, like the last presidential election.
GOP voter suppression
The GOP used every voter suppression trick in the book to obstruct voters, like blacks, who looked likely to cast their lot against the GOP.
And the GOP tried to cover the suppression program with outlandish cries of "(perpetrat(ion) of) one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy," as John McCain ludicrously asserted. See Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast's Drinking the Kool-Aid: How Cries of Voter Fraud Cover Up GOP Election Theft.
In Wisconsin, we had Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's (John McCain 2008 co-chair) voter obstruction program.
Van Hollen's obstruction suit was tossed out of court, with the judge noting (p. 13) that federal election law still recognizes the force of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, much to the chagrin of Republicans. That judge also ruled that voting was not conditional on bureaucrats' lists matching perfectly, as the Republicans argued here.
Some 50 percent of blacks in Milwaukee County would fail that GOP-desired mandate, forcing them to cast provisional ballots.
From Andrew Hacker's piece in the New York Review of Books (September 25, 2008).
A Wisconsin survey published in 2005 was more precise (in the GOP effort to prevent Democratically-voting blacks from voting). No fewer than 53 percent of black adults in Milwaukee County were not licensed to drive, compared with 15 percent of white adults in the remainder of the state. According to its author, similar disparities will be found across the nation.  [ John Pawasarat, The Driver License Status of the Voting Age Population in Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute, June2005), p. 1.]Voting Rights Act
When Congress reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in 2006, it found an array of obstacles to minority voting nationwide.
As a New York Times editorial notes today:
The election of the first African-American president last year was an undeniable sign of racial progress. But even that breakthrough cannot ensure that legislative districts will not be gerrymandered, voting rolls purged or election procedures modified at the state and local levels in ways that diminish the rights of minorities. For that, as Congress wisely recognized, we still need the Voting Rights Act.
The GOP knows it cannot win without obstructing the American people from voting. That its attempts are failing will not stop their shameful assault on Americans.
The case before the Court today may be decided on a more abstract question of congressional authority (and not on a Test of History v. Progress), or a Justice Roberts-imposed changed standard of judicial scrutiny that would weaken civil rights protection. but it looks likely that the latest foolish endeavor to weaken civil rights legislation will fail.
See SCOTUSBlog for updates.