Republicans Plan Weird and Extreme Voter Suppression Tricks for 2014

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When President Obama spoke about voting rights on Friday, he pointed out that the severity of the Republican Party’s attack on voter rights is the most serious it has been in the past 50 years.

President Obama also addressed the Republican Party’s marketing ploys to justify laws that everyone knows are intended to suppress the vote.

While recognizing that we need reasonable rules to ensure the integrity of our elections, President Obama said he is against requiring ID that millions of Americans don’t have.

On the question of voter fraud, President Obama used something Republicans don’t believe in – evidence based data.

One recent study found only 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation in 12 years. Another analysis found that out of 197 million votes cast for federal elections from 2002 to 2005 only 40 voters out of 197 million were indicted for fraud…. Now for those of you who are math majors… the percentage is 0.00002 percent.

Occasionally, Republicans are forced to walk back a vote suppression policy.  For example, Ohio Republicans backed down following a public outcry when they tried to financially penalize the state’s largest county for sending out absentee ballots.

Still, there is no tactic too extreme or too low for the Republican Party to try if they can get away with it. These extend beyond the already unacceptable restrictions on voter and registration ID, shorter voting hours, eliminated weekend voting, reduced or eliminated early voting, reduced or eliminated absentee voting, and eliminated same day registration.

Right Wing media likes to publish stories of reports showing rampant voter fraud. The only problem is the numbers don’t show voter fraud at all.

Last week North Carolina’s Board of Elections released a report which concluded that 35,570 North Carolinians who voted in 2012 had names and birthdates that matched voters in other states. The board also said it found 765 voters whose names, birthdates and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers matched people in other states.

Naturally, the right wing pounced on the report as “proof” that 35,570 people voted twice.

It’s surprising how many real and living people in America share a name and a birthdate, as shown in Michael P. McDonald and Justin Levitt’s study, Seeing Double Voting: An extension of the Birthday Problem.

On the specific case of this report, Levitt told election lawyers in an email:

I would be very interested indeed in how many of the 35K alleged double voters are the results of mistakes or mistaken assumptions  …. I’m going to bet on the vast majority evaporating upon closer scrutiny.

The lesser number of 765 voters had the additional data point of the last four digits in their social security number matching someone in another state is disconcerting and merits further investigation. However, without further investigation, one cannot automatically assume these are cases of double voting.

Part of this can be explained by clerical errors.  Clerks may mistype the spelling of someone’s name, or mistype their birth data.  Experts say this happens frequently.

People move from one state to another, but can show as registered to vote in two states.  Here is how that happens.  States submit data on voters to a centralized voter cross checking database, such as the one designed by Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach.

States submit data on registered voter. A voter moves and registers to vote in their new state.  However, the state they moved from hasn’t flushed the voter’s record yet. Apparently it takes several election cycles for that to happen.  The fact that data isn’t up to date would explain how false positives can occur.  It also explains how inflated numbers can happen.

It does not produce evidence of voter fraud.  As the Institute of Southern Studies reported, Kobach’s office admitted it “couldn’t provide any evidence of a single instance in which the Interstate Crosscheck’s data had led to an actual legal charge of voter fraud.”

There’s the suppression by voter purge tactic, for which Rick Scott is especially famous. Just the number of voters Scott erroneously purged as felons  in 2012 exceed the total number of actual fraud cases in both of the studies President Obama cited.  This doesn’t include the number of people wrongfully purged as non-citizens. It also excludes a number of people that Scott tried to purge after the legal deadline.

Moreover, purging eligible voters is not limited to Florida.

Kansas is investigating what led to an erroneous purge of 4,838 from Cherokee County voter rolls in 2011.  According to Cherokee County Clerk, Rodney Edmonson, people were wrongly purged because they hadn’t voted in two consecutive or state elections, which is not a cause for purging under Kansas law.  The problem doesn’t end there.  Under Kansas law, when a name is selected for removal from the rolls, a confirmation must be mailed to the home in question to verify if the person has moved.  If there isn’t a response to the mailing, that is when a person can be purged from the rolls. However, the confirmation mailing was not sent to most, if not all, of the people wrongfully identified to be purged.

Voter gestapo organizations like the Voter Integrity Project (financed by NC’s Koch friend, Art Pope) are trying to purge voters with pre-election challenges.

In Buncome County, The voter Integrity project tried to get 182 people purged last month. The Board of elections rejected 86 of those challenges.

The 95 remaining challenges  were considered during a 20 minute meeting last week.  According to Asheville-Buncombe League of Women Voters, 85 of the people named during that meeting are registered at a homeless shelter.  If they were homeless, they probably didn’t know about the meeting which would explain why they didn’t appear at it.

Some states have given election gestapo groups like True the Vote and the Voter Integrity Project additional powers on Election Day.

In North Carolina, Art Pope’s election gestapo, the Voter Integrity Project, now has the power to challenge any voter in any district.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, gave the Koch Brother funded True the Vote and other “poll observers” the new power of standing as close as 3 feet from voters  while they are registering to vote and as they are processed by election officials.  This is a form of intimidation because it means these “observers” will be standing in close physical proximity as they are being processed.  Also, voter rolls are public information, but under this new rule, “poll observers” can match a face to a specific name and address.

Local officials are using a variety of tactics guaranteed to create even longer lines.

In one Florida county, half the voting locations  were eliminated. It comes as no surprise that occurred in a district comprised mainly of minority voters.  If the same number of people are voting, but there are dramatically fewer locations at which to vote, wait times will increase substantially.  It also means people will have to travel further to vote, discouraging more voters.

As if that wasn’t enough, some poll places in Dade Country, Florida won’t allow  voters to use restrooms.  This may not sound like a bit deal – unless voters must also wait in line for several hours in order to vote.

Having access to restrooms is something many of us might not realize is a human right.  In California, some activists  are fighting a policy of closing public restrooms several hours a day on the basis that it violates the human rights of homeless people who really have no other acceptable option.  Interestingly, this is roughly the same duration for which certain voters in Miami Dade would be denied access to a restroom.

For some voters, this restriction amounts to a physical bar that will be impossible to overcome in the name of exercising their right to vote.

Image: The Political Carnival

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20 Replies to “Republicans Plan Weird and Extreme Voter Suppression Tricks for 2014”

  1. Well, then there is the “move the polling place every election”, “station police cars prominently”, “move the polling places off of bus routes so people have to walk long distances”.

    I would really like to have the Democratic Party start stationing people of color as poll watchers out in the burbs and rural areas. Lets see if they can overcome their fear of people of color and vote.

  2. Ah just another way that the GOP practices policies of “Domestic Terrorism” to help bring down the USA. How much longer will this be allowed by the American people?

  3. This is not a sustainable strategy and extremely short sighted. This whole voter suppression strategy is going to backfire on them guaranteed. It will drive people to the polls simply out of the need to defy this craziness. The repugnant party knows that they are not a national party anymore. At best they are a regional party. As time goes by they won’t even be that. All we have to do to win is show up.

  4. These same people will scream bloody murder about their perceived 2nd amendment infringements.However when our hard fought right to vote is being denied, they are strangely silent.
    Any attempt to restrict the vote is a slap in the face of all who have put on a uniform and fought and died for this country.Yet these same people call themselves patriots.I call them traitors,cowards,and false patriots.
    It is our constitution also.The only way it will be taken from us,to quote Charlton Heston,is from my cold dead hands.

  5. Why, oh why, don’t the Dems shout this stuff from the rooftops every day until the election? Why do they sit back and meekly allow the GOP to get away with this garbage? Why don’t the Dems use republican voter suppression as the centerpiece of their party’s election efforts? Why aren’t the Democratic officials talking about this at every opportunity? Why aren’t they inundating the news media with facts about republican dirty tricks? When will the Dems wake up and realize that the GOP will never play fair and that the republicans need to be called out (every day) as the cheating, manipulative miscreants that they are? Come on, Dems–you have to take back the political narrative if you don’t want the country in GOP hands.

  6. Why would anyone want to be in a party that has to lie, cheat, and steal to gain office is beyond me. No wonder right wing media only hire crooks, liars and losers it’s all they got.

  7. Anyone with imagination will know the last 4 digits of a SS number do not belong to only one person. Its the 5 digits preceeding that may be different.

    Once again the gop shows it lacks any brains at all.

  8. I’m glad that Senator Reid and Representative Pelosi are exposing the republicans as the racist party. They use code words to rile up the base, and since they can’t win, suppress the vote. 2014 is a very important year for our coalition. President Obama has given us the key to a successful coalition, now it is up to us to expand it and change it depending on the state’s demographics. If we really want change, it is up to us. GOTV 2014

  9. Well, when people have “accidents” and mess their pants and floor, then the GOP can clean it up. People can vote and walk away and they made the mess.

  10. Reading this makes one’s blood boil to the same extent as when Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were brutally murdered by Mississippi’s KKK for registering people of color to have their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO VOTE.
    Hundreds of thousands laid down their lives, fought bloody battles, stood up against racial tyranny FOR THE RIGHT TO VOTE.
    And this Supreme Court 5 corporatist ideological punishers of the downtrodden, fundamentalist extremist men hiding behind black robes, GUTTED the Voting Rights Act of 1965 so their degenerate teabagger/republiKKKlan/extremist/segregationist cult party would benefit from EVISCERATING EVERYONE ELSE’S FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS.
    The solution: Vote straight Democrat. VOTE AGAINST every single name with an (R) next to it to OVERTURN the draconian, unAmerican, Oligarch-based laws that bought our Government. ORGANIZE. MOTIVATE. MESSAGE. INFORM. MOBILIZE. PROTECT OUR RIGHTS. AND VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. We MUST win the Congress!

  11. Wear extra large “scohz more room” pants and have a water bottle in your crotch area. What now? Are they going to turn your away for looking like you have an erection??
    Not sure how a woman would do this?

  12. Yes they most certainly are using every last trick in the book to ward off as long as is possible their demographic death spiral. To be honest though I do not see why the conservatives are doing this. This demographic advantage for the democrats is not spawning a political headwind like I thought it would by now. Somehow someway the conservatives keep winning elections. I fear with the democratic base unmotivated the next couple of election cycles are set up to be potentially disastrous for us progressives. I just saw a poll on the Bloomberg ticker showing two republicans ahead in a California state election. Yikes!

  13. This is an example of the de-evolution of Idiots! The GOP is turning into primordial slime right before our eyes!

  14. These kind of tactics, derived from desperation and stupidity are the only way the rethug morons have any chance at all to win an election because they sure can’t win on their merits. I guess dinosaurs die slowly.

  15. True, there is no Republican tactic too extreme or too low against alleged voter fraud, but where is the Democrats’ vocal indignation, outrage? Well, as the Bible says, there is a time for everything, I imagine, a time to sit and complain quietly, and a time to stand up, go out….and march, demonstrate, to make noise. Otherwise, God help us… in the fall elections!

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