Stacking the Voting Deck for Partisan Advantage

During his acceptance speech upon winning the 2012 presidential campaign, President Barack Obama uttered a throwaway line that ‘we need to do something” about voter suppression. Much as Obama did nothing after saying he would take action on gun control in the wake of the tragic shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords and broke many other campaign promises in his first term, a good bet is that Obama will take no significant action on voter suppression in is second term.

I have previously blogged on voter suppression but new information keeps turning up in the multi-faceted attempt to keep voters who are very likely to vote Democratic away from the polls. i will follow with aother blog devoted to the question of whether voter suppression backfired on the GOP in the 2012 election.

1) A Michigan law attacks the League of Women Voters and other voter registration bodies by requiring volunteers to attend training sessions but makes no provision for scheduling or paying for such sessions.

2) The federal judge who invalidated parts of Florida’s law on voter registration on May 31, 2012, said it had “no purpose other than to discourage” constitutionally protected activity.

3) When the Obama administration led the effort to collect enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot repealing restrictions on absentee voting, the GOP-controlled legislature repealed its own law, although out of apparent spite, it left intact a related measure that prohibited early voting on the three days before an election. The law was clearly designed to discourage the tradition in black churches of busing worshippers from church to the polling place. Sunday, of course, is only two days before the Tuesday election.

When the Ohio legislature repealed the last three days of early voting, it exempted the military, thereby booby-trapping the Bush v. Gore provision that voters could not be divided into discrete classifications. A partisan majority on the U.S. Supreme Court wanted to have its cake and eat it too by stopping the vote count in Florida while George W. Bush held a slim lead but specifying that its decision should not be held as a precedent. A judge in the Ohio case held that if the military could vote, all registered voters could vote.

Based on past voting patterns, the military tends to vote Republican, so by suppressing the African-American vote and increasing the military vote, the Ohio legislature and the governor got a two-for.

4) A New Hampshire bill that required those without a photo ID to fill out an affidavit was vetoed by Governor John Lynch.

5) The Justice Roberts-led Supreme Court became a participant in voter suppression, when, in the case of Crawford v. Marion County in 2008, the Court ruled that Indiana’s photo ID law was constitutional on the basis of ballot protection. In the Crawford case, not a single case of voter impersonation fraud was presented.

6) A reporter followed the efforts of a Pennsylvania resident to secure a photo ID. It took hours for her to go through the procedural hurdles, obviously designed to discourage as many people as possible from trying to get a photo ID. No government should treat its residents so shabbily.

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