Tag Archives: voter suppression

Trial of proof-of-citizenship voter registration law ends, decision of court to follow

Closing arguments in the Kansas proof-of-citizenship voter registration law case were Monday. Testimony ends in Kansas voting law trial. U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson said she couldn’t say when she would issue an opinion but that she was aware this year’s elections were quickly approaching. She gave attorneys until April 16 for any final legal filings in the case.

The GOP’s voter suppression specialist, Secretary of State Kris Kobach (above), returned to court on Tuesday for a contempt hearing for violating the judge’s orders. Judge harshly criticizes Kobach during contempt hearing:

A visibly angry federal judge on Tuesday blasted Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach for his office’s failure to ensure that certain voters are notified that they are eligible to vote in the upcoming election while a lawsuit over a state voting law makes its way through the courts.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson criticized Kobach during a hearing on a motion from The American Civil Liberties Union to hold Kobach in contempt of court for not updating the state’s election guide or ensuring that county election officials send postcards to residents who registered to vote at driver licensing offices without providing proof of citizenship. Tuesday’s hearing came after seven days of testimony in the ACLU’s challenge of the state’s voter registration law.

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Kris Kobach and his ‘proof of citizenship’ law on trial

GOP voter suppression specialist, Kris Kobach, is unbelievably the Secretary of State of Kansas. He is the author of  the so-called “Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act,” Prop. 200 in 2004, provisions of which require proof of citizenship to register to vote and presenting a photo I.D. to receive a ballot.

In 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sitting en banc in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council, held that the requirement to provide proof of citizenship to register to vote is invalid as preempted by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) — but the requirement to provide voter identification at the polling place is valid. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in a 7-2 decision, with Justice Antonin Scalia delivering the Court’s opinion, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that Arizona’s proof of citizenship requirement is preempted by the NVRA.

Kris Kobach had enacted a similar law in Kansas, the Kansas Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) Act in 2011.

The response of Kobach to the Supreme Court ruling, along with a series of hanger-on Arizona Secretaries of State, all Republicans, was to set up a dual voter registration system, one for the NVRA federal voter registration form which would allow citizens to vote only in federal races (denying them their right to vote in state and local races),  and one for state voter registration forms, that require proof of citizenship, and allow voter to vote in all races and ballot measures.

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Evil GOP bastards are trying to negate the AIRC so the legislature does redistricting maps again

SCR 1034 (.pdf), sponsored by Senator Yarbrough, would alter sections of the citizens initiative that established the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

Among the changes are an increase in the number of Commissioners to eight, selected directly by legislative leaders rather than the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, which would lead to partisan gridlock because it also requires a supermajority vote of the AIRC to adopt a map (unlikely), which would then allow the legislature to refer its own alternate maps to the ballot (by simple majority vote), and if approved by the voters, would supersede the maps drawn by the Commission. Thus the legislature is back in the redistricting business again! Bwahahaha!

The Senate Government Committee approved the resolution on a 4-3 partisan vote on Wednesday. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, GOP proposal would restructure Arizona redistricting:

Critics warn that a plan to alter the membership of a commission responsible for drawing Arizona’s congressional and legislative district maps is designed to fail.

Senate President Steve Yarbrough conceded that by increasing the number of members on the Independent Redistricting Commission from five to eight, it’s likely that the commission would face gridlock.

“That is indeed going to create a probable 4-4 (vote) by my own estimation, but that is by design,” the Chandler Republican told the Senate Government Committee, which approved the resolution on a 4-3 partisan vote Wednesday.

Requiring a supermajority to approve maps during redistricting, a highly-contentious process that creates district maps that will be used for the next decade, will require commissioners to find true bipartisan consensus, Yarbrough said.

“I want the most bipartisan and fair process that we can design,” he said.

This is a bald-faced lie. Keep reading for the true reason.

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Partisan gerrymandering cases headed to the U.S. Supreme Court

There has been a lot happening in partisan gerrymandering lawsuits lately, and luckily Rick Hasen at Elction Law Blog has put together a summary of where these cases stand today that will save me a lot of time. The State of Play on Partisan Gerrymandering Cases at the Supreme Court:

Back in 2004 the Supreme Court in Vieth v. Jublelirer split 4-1-4 over what to do about claims that partisan gerrymandering violates the U.S. Constitution. Four Justices said it was non-justiciable, four Justices said it was justiciable and raised a variety of challenges, and Justice Kennedy, in the middle, agreed with the Court’s liberals that the cases were justiciable, but agreed with the Court’s conservatives that the proposed standards didn’t work.  He essentially told everyone to keep working on the issue and come back, maybe looking at the First Amendment, maybe history, and maybe computers.  The cases at or coming to the Court seek to satisfy Justice Kennedy in various ways.

Here’s the state of play; the Supreme Court heard argument in October in Gill v. Whitford involving a challenge to state legislative districts in Wisconsin. Gill raises a partisan gerrymandering challenge under the Equal Protection Clause, and the McGhee/Stephanopoulos “efficiency gap” figured in (but was not the entire basis) for the analysis. Last month, the Court somewhat surprisingly also agreed to hear full argument in Beniske v. Lamone, a case challenging a Maryland congressional district as a partisan gerrymander under the First Amendment. I explained in this LA Times piece why the Court might have agreed to full argument in Benisek v. Lamone. Argument in the Maryland case will be later in the Spring.

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Good news, bad news for voting rights

While the media fixates on a gossipy insider book on the Trump White House, there is some good news that you may have missed.

The Secretaries of State of numerous states refused to cooperate with Donald Trump’s fraudulent voter fraud commission headed by the GOP’s voter suppression specialist, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and several lawsuits were filed, including by members of the commission.

This was all too much for our Dear Leader who gave up and pulled the plug on his fraudulent voter fraud commission. Trump abolishes controversial commission studying alleged voter fraud:

President Trump announced Wednesday that he is disbanding a controversial [and fraudulent] panel studying alleged voter fraud that became mired in multiple federal lawsuits and faced resistance from states that accused it of overreach.

The decision is a major setback for Trump, who created the commission last year in response to his claim, for which he provided no proof, that he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 because of millions of illegally cast ballots.

The commission met only twice amid the series of lawsuits seeking to curb its authority and claims by Democrats that it was stacked to recommend voting restrictions favorable to the president’s party.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there is “substantial evidence of voter fraud” and blamed the ending of the commission on the refusal of many states to provide voter data sought by the panel and the cost of ongoing lawsuits.

This slack-jawed hillbilly from Arkansas is, as always, full of shit. And score one for the Resistance.

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Gordon Promises to Oust Secretary of State and End Voter Suppression

Mark Robert Gordon, an Arizona native, has 25 years of experience as a voting rights watchdog.

Mark Robert Gordon, an Arizona native, has 25 years of experience as a voting rights watchdog.

Mark Robert Gordon, a Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, vowed to end the voter suppression tactics and partisan politics that have infected the office that serves as the chief elections officer for Arizona.

He called Republican incumbent Secretary of State Michele Reagan “a Grinch who stole democracy,” at the recent Democrats of Greater Tucson meeting.

Reagan and GOP legislators “are supposed to promote democracy and protect the vote. They did just the opposite,” he said. “The people we have in Arizona running our election system are among the worst violators and offenders of voting rights in the country.”

Arizona was one of only seven states listed in federal court for intentionally restricting the opportunity to register and vote. Under the Voting Rights Act, the state was subject to pre-clearance by the Justice Department before making any voting changes.

Travesties

But that went out the window with the 2013 US Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder that gutted the Voting Rights Act. Gordon said that since then, the following travesties have happened:
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