Category Archives: Voting Rights

Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature loses in court again

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has blocked efforts by Gov. Doug Ducey and the Republican-controlled Legislature to create new exceptions to laws that require disclosure of campaign finance spending. Ruling restores expanded oversight by Clean Elections Commission over campaign finances:

In a ruling released Wednesday, Judge David Palmer said a 2017 measure unconstitutionally conflicts with a 1998 voter-approved law designed to reduce the influence of money on politics.

Wednesday’s decision most immediately limits the ability of political parties to spend unlimited dollars on behalf of their candidates without disclosing the expenditures. It also voids some exemptions that lawmakers created in campaign finance laws, like allowing people to pay the legal fees of candidates without it counting against the legal limit of how much financial help they can provide.

But attorney Jim Barton, who represented those challenging the 2017 law, said the most significant part of the ruling is it restores the right of the voter-created Citizens Clean Elections Commission to police and enforce campaign finance laws against all candidates and their donors, not just those who are running with public financing.

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GOP election fraud in North Carolina 9th congressional district

Republicans purvey the myth of in-person voter fraud at the polls, for which there is no evidence to substantiate their conspiracy theory.

If voter fraud is going to occur, it will occur with early voting mail-in ballots. The hand-full of voters prosecuted for “double voting” in Arizona are snowbird residents who voted in their home state and also voted in Arizona. None served time.

But what happened in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district is not about voter fraud (the media really needs to stop using this term incorrectly). This is an actual case of election fraud — the stealing of an election by the GOP — through voter suppression of minority voters’ early mail-in ballots.

The Washington Post reports, North Carolina election-fraud investigation centers on operative with criminal history who worked for GOP congressional candidate:

[A] local operative named Leslie McCrae Dowless ran his command center for Republican Mark Harris in the 9th Congressional District primary this spring.

Dowless sat at a desk at the back of one of the strip’s vacant storefronts, where he oversaw a crew of workers who collected absentee ballots from voters and updated the Harris campaign on the numbers, according to Jeff Smith, who is the building’s owner and a former Dowless friend.

Smith provided his account about the primary campaign to state investigators, who are examining whether Dowless’s activities then and in the general election violated North Carolina’s election laws, which allow only individual voters or designated close relatives to mail a ballot.

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GOP authoritarians are engaged in a coup against democracy (Updated)

Two years ago after authoritarian Tea-Publicans in North Carolina lost the governorship, we witnessed outrageous Tea-Publican tyranny: a GOP legislative coup against democracy in North Carolina (excerpt):

Daily Kos reports, North Carolina Republicans execute legislative coup against democracy itself:

Last month, Democrat Roy Cooper unseated Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, while Democrats also gained a majority on the state Supreme Court, breaking the Republican stranglehold on North Carolina’s state government. Now, though, Republicans have used the pretext of a lame-duck special legislative session—ostensibly convened for disaster relief—to advance a slew of measures that radically curtail the authority of the governor and even the high court itself. This nakedly partisan plot is unprecedented in modern state history. Indeed, you have to go back to the 1890s to find a parallel, when reactionaries violently introduced Jim Crowafter a multiracial coalition of progressives briefly won power.

The scope of the GOP’s war on democracy is stunning. In this special session, Republicans enacted a new law that removes the governor’s party’s control over all the state and county boards of election. That same measure also makes previously nonpartisan state Supreme Court races into partisan contests and requires state constitutional challenges to first go before the Republican-dominated state Court of Appeals. The legislature has passed another bill awaiting McCrory’s signature that would require state Senate approval for the governor’s cabinet appointees. This bill would also slash the governor’s number of executive branch appointees from 1,500 to 425 and eliminate the governor’s ability to appoint members of the state Board of Education and the University of North Carolina’s board of trustees.

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Republicans lose their minds over Arizona election losses

The political parties are once again headed in opposite directions on the right to vote. Democrats want to make voting easier to increase participation, and Republicans want to make voting more difficult based upon unfounded conspiracy theories of voter fraud.

Even the slow counting of ballots, because of the time it takes to verify signatures on early mail-in ballots, has engendered new conspiracy theories among Republicans.

Here in Arizona, GOP lawmakers are already opening bill folders to take aim at the slow counting of ballots, the chain of custody of ballots, and emergency voting centers. The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Slow vote count spurs talk of changes in election laws:

Arizona’s prolonged vote count has borne a batch of proposed law changes designed to speed up the process and instill more confidence in the system.

It took a week in Arizona for a victor to be declared in the U.S. Senate race, which garnered national attention both for its competitiveness and the ensuing frustration of being unable to determine a winner for nearly seven days. And Arizona’s final legislative race wasn’t declared for a full 13 days after the election.

That slow count is at the core of voters’ frustration with Arizona elections, since the lengthy process naturally invites skepticism about results, Republican lawmakers say. [Skepticism created by President Trump and other Republicans who falsely claim that elections are rigged, and voter fraud is rampant without any evidence to support this baseless claim.] But GOP concerns extend to questions about the use of emergency voting centers and ballot curing, a process by which voters can assure their mail-in ballots count toward the final tally.

Democrats have accused their colleagues across the aisle of playing a key role in fanning suspicion in the election process – chiefly by accusing Democrats of “stealing the election,” in the words of top officials with the state Republican Party.

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Arizona Supreme Court sides with GOP voter suppression of citizens initiatives

While you were distracted by the long Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend, the Arizona Supreme Court finally issued its opinion in the “Outlaw Dirty Money” initiative case. Arizona Supreme Court ruling supports legal tactic used to keep initiatives off ballot:

The Arizona Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a legal tactic used by those seeking to keep voter-proposed laws off the ballot. [“The only issues we must decide are the constitutionality of §19-118(C) and the propriety of the trial court’s exclusion of the non-appearing subpoenaed circulators’ petition signatures.”]

The Court’s opinion is narrowly tailored. “As our decision does not turn on whether the Committee strictly complied with § 19-118(C), we need not determine the constitutionality of the strict compliance requirement of § 19-102.01(A).” The “strict compliance” constitutional challenge is left to another day.

In a unanimous ruling Wednesday, the justices reaffirmed the right of people to craft initiatives and seek to have them approved.

“And we are reluctant to impede such civic efforts,” they said.

But Justice John Lopez, writing for the court, said there is nothing unduly burdensome about requiring paid circulators to register and provide an address where they can be subpoenaed. Lopez said throwing out the signatures collected by those who don’t show up in court does not impair the constitutional rights of people to propose their own laws.

This is fundamentally anti-democratic, and wrongly decided. The valid signatures of voters who legally signed the petition in good faith are disenfranchised if the circulator cannot be located or fails to appear in court, for any reason. This legal tactic invalidates the otherwise valid signatures of voters given in good faith through no fault of their own.

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