Tag Archives: voting rights

Texas Voter ID law again struck down for purposeful racial discrimination

The Houston Chronicle reports that Federal judge again tosses out Texas voter ID law:

A federal judge who has compared Texas’ voter ID requirements to a “poll tax” on minorities once again blocked the law Wednesday, rejecting a weakened version backed by the Trump administration and dealing Texas Republicans another court defeat over voting rights.

You can read the 27 page opinion and order  HERE (.pdf).

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos rejected changes signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott this summer as not only lacking but also potentially chilling to voters because of new criminal penalties. The new version didn’t expand the list of acceptable photo identifications — meaning gun licenses remained sufficient proof to vote, but not college student IDs.

Instead, the changes would allow people who lack a required ID to cast a ballot if they signed an affidavit and brought paperwork that showed their name and address, such as a bank statement or utility bill. Those revisions were supported by the U.S. Justice Department, which under President Barack Obama had joined Democrats and minority rights groups in suing over the law.

But that position has changed with President Donald Trump in charge, who has established a “fraudulent voter fraud commission” to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 elections. In February, the Trump Justice Department abandoned the argument Texas passed voter ID rules with discrimination in mind and said changes signed by Abbott should satisfy the courts.

Texas first passed the voter ID law in 2011, the same year the GOP-controlled Legislature adopted voting maps that were also struck down as discriminatory [in mid-August]. See Rick Hasen, Breaking: 3-Judge Court Issues Latest Order in Texas Redistricting Case (Congressional Seats), Finding Continued Intentional Racial Discrimination. You can read the court’s 107-page order here.

UPDATE: The Texas Tribune reports:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton revealed Friday that Gov. Abbott won’t ask lawmakers to redraw the state’s congressional map — found by a federal court this week to discriminate against Latino and black voters — in a fresh round of legislative overtime.

Instead, Paxton is appealing the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court and trying to keep the boundaries intact for the 2018 elections, according to his filing to a panel of three judges in San Antonio.

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Federal judge gives Trump’s fraudulent ‘voter fraud’ commission the go ahead

A federal judge on Monday cleared the way for President Trump’s fraudulent “voter fraud” commission to proceed in gathering personal data on the nation’s voters. The 35 page order and opinion is HERE (.pdf).

The New York Times reports, Judge Clears Way for Trump’s Voter Fraud Panel to Collect Data:

[Trump’s fraudulent “voter fraud” commission], which was created after the president falsely claimed that millions of illegal votes cost him the popular vote in 2016, has come under siege from many organizations that have filed lawsuits accusing the commission of violating federal privacy laws. The judge’s decision on Monday delivered a setback to the opposition, which has objected to the commission’s expansive request for the personal and public data about the country’s 200 million voters.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, which filed the suit, sought to stop the commission from acquiring the voter data, claiming that the panel should have conducted a privacy impact assessment before asking states for the personal information. But the judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of Federal District Court, said the panel did not qualify as a federal agency, so it was not required to conduct and publish a privacy assessment.

So this is a narrow ruling based on a statutory technicality, not a sweeping endorsement of the commission.

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Trial begins in challenge to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce bill to deny your constitutional right to citizen initiative (Updated)

Yesterday I posted about the signature gathering efforts for the referendums currently circulating out there challenging onerous changes to Arizona’s citizen initiative process passed by our lawless Tea-Publican legislature to effectively render the citizen initiative process impossible unless financed by big corporate dollars, i.e., the Arizona Chambers of Commerce, the evil bastards behind these bills to take away your constitutional rights as a citizen of Arizona.

One petition is from Grassroots Citizens Concerned (R-01-2018), and two other petitions are from Voters of Arizona (R-03-2018 and R-04-2018). These are grassroots efforts, and I have not heard from either group how their signature gathering is going to date. They have an August 8 deadline to file.

UPDATE: The Arizona Capitol Times now reports Campaign to overturn citizen initiative restriction dead:

Foes of new restrictions on the ability of people to propose their own laws have suspended their effort to used paid circulators to gather signatures to quash the law.
Campaign manager Joe Yuhas said this afternoon that all the financial resources of Voters of Arizona are being funneled into convincing a judge that one of the changes violates the state constitution. What that means, he said, is no cash for anything else.

Yuhas said that, strictly speaking, the political campaign to refer — and overturn — what the legislature did is not over. He said volunteers continue to try to get the 75,321 valid signatures on each of two separate petitions.

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Referendum to block ‘vouchers on steroids’ bill is on track to qualify for the ballot

Good news is so rare these days, but here is some good news . . . let’s hope. Arizona group says school voucher bill repeal is on track:

A group that opposes a major private school voucher expansion bill signed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey says it is on track to collect enough signatures to place the law on hold.

Save Our Schools spokeswoman Dawn Penich-Thacker says the group isn’t releasing an exact count of the number of signatures it has collected. But she said the all-volunteer effort should have well above the minimum of 75,000 signatures by the Aug. 8 deadline.

“We know we have enough petitions out in the field, we know exactly who has them and we have enough out that if there was such a thing as 100 percent we could be getting more than 150,000 back,” Penich-Thacker said in an interview late last week.

Opponents say vouchers siphon money from the state’s underfunded public schools and the expansion will allow wealthy families to use state cash to send their children to private and religious schools. They also say vouchers won’t cover total costs at many private schools, meaning people of average means won’t be able to use them.

* * *

If the effort succeeds, the voucher expansion will be put on hold until voters can weigh in during the November 2018 election.

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Trump’s fraudulent ‘voter fraud’ commission is on hold pending a court ruling on privacy

The New York Times reports that three lawsuits have already been filed against Trump’s fraudulent “voter fraud” commission. 3 Lawsuits Filed Against White House Panel on Voter Fraud:

[T]he White House panel investigating claims of voter fraud and other irregularities was hit with a salvo of lawsuits on Monday that accused it of violating federal privacy laws and illegally operating in secret.

Three lawsuits, filed separately by civil rights groups, underscored the depth of opposition by the Trump administration’s critics to the panel, the Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, even before it formally meets. The commission’s official mandate is to look at flaws in federal voting systems and practices that could encourage fraud and undermine public confidence in elections.

But advocacy groups and many Democratic leaders have called it a Potemkin exercise intended to validate President Trump’s groundless claim that millions of illegal ballots cost him a popular-vote victory in November. The true goal, they say, is to lay the groundwork for Congress to place strict qualifications on registering and voting that would primarily suppress opposition to Republican candidates for office.

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In response to public opposition, Secretary of State Michele Reagan now says she will not comply with Trump’s fraudulent ‘voter fraud’ commission

Last Friday, Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan was an all too compliant foot soldier for Donald Trump’s plan for voter suppression. She agreed to turn over “publicly available” voter information data to Trump’s fraudulent “voter fraud” commission.

Then came the firestorm of public opposition and the recognition that other secretaries of state were not so blindly willing to turn over their voter registration rolls to Trump’s fraudulent “voter fraud” commission.

As of Saturday morning, more than half of all US states – 29 at last count – had refused to comply with the commission’s requests, saying they are unnecessary and violated privacy, according to statements from election officials and media reports. 29 States Refuse To Give Data To Voter Fraud Panel.

As a result, Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan has done an about-face and on Monday said the state will not provide extensive voter registration information to Trump’s fraudulent “voter fraud” commission. Arizona to oppose handing over voter information to Trump commission:

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan said Monday she is rejecting the Trump administration’s request for extensive voter information, saying it isn’t in the state’s best interest. [Or anyone else’s.]

Her decision, announced late Monday as the July 4 holiday neared, comes after nearly a thousand people had complained by email to her office about the possibility the state would hand over voter data to a commission looking into allegations of voter fraud.

It’s also a reversal from her position last week.

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