Republican voter suppression tactics

Arizona-style GOP "audit" clown show coming to NC

You've no doubt read about the bogus "audit" going on in Arizona to "find more votes" for Trump in a state he lost. It's basically performative politics that's really only designed to spread misinformation and mistrust of our election process (and roll in dollars for the unqualified firm conducting the audit).

The Daily Beast (via Raw Story, if you don't subscribe) has a piece this morning on GOP legislators from other states hanging out in Arizona to see how they can organize similar efforts in their own state, including states Trump won.

Blueprint for a more democratic North Carolina

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More than just bullet points:

The more than 20 state and national experts contributing to the report explore initiatives for North Carolina in six areas:

Improving voter registration and list maintenance;
Ensuring voting access and protecting voting rights;
Strengthening local election infrastructure;
Promoting fair redistricting and equal representation;
Heightening transparency and combating corruption;
Ensuring fair and impartial courts.

Looking at #2 & #3 in particular, the NC GOP seems to be doing the exact opposite. They are more concerned about adding vigilantes poll watchers to eyeball and intimidate voters than helping local election boards meet their needs, and now they are moving to block private donors from assisting those folks. Why? Because most of that private funding went to densely-populated areas where that money was needed the most, which just happened to also be heavily-Democratic areas. Let's dig into the report itself to look at list maintenance recommendations:

NC GOP unveils "election integrity" committee to attack voting rights

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Soon to be renamed "Buck's Clusterf**k":

The committee will be chaired by Buck Newton, a former state senator from Wilson who ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2016. Other members include GOP officials, lawyers and political consultants from across the state.

During a panel at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Whatley said the absence of voter fraud in North Carolina last fall was due to the NCGOP’s disproportionate spending on legal resources — the party spent three-quarters of its annual operating budget on legal expenditures, he said — to scrutinize the electoral process.

And a big chunk of those legal expenditures went to arguing in the (US) Supreme Court that a deadline extension on receipt of mail-in ballots, made necessary by Louis DeJoy's relentless attacks on the US Postal Service, was unnecessary and an invitation to voting fraud. Or something along those lines. But guess what? Republican voters were strongly represented in those late mail-in ballots:

NC GOP goes after mail-in voting with a vengeance

When voting on Election Day is no longer acceptable:

The county board of elections shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, a list in at least triplicate, of all absentee ballots issued under Article 20 of this Chapter returned to the county board of elections to be counted, which have been approved by the county board of elections, have not been included on the certified list prepared pursuant to G.S.163-232, and which have been postmarked by the day of the statewide primary or general election or county bond election and have been received by the county board of elections not later than three days after the election by 5:00 p.m. on the day of the statewide primary or general election or county bond election.

In case you're new to this game, the strike through sections are being removed, and the underlined sections added. In the minds of Republicans, a postmark is no longer relevant. Proof that you voted on time is no longer relevant. Keep in mind, Republicans (via Trump and DeJoy) screwed up the Postal Service, a big reason why that 3-day grace period had to be extended last November. And their "fix" for this problem is to throw out thousands of eligible ballots. Veto, with extreme prejudice.

The crushing burden of Voter ID on people of color

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Not everybody lives in the mainstream:

Nearly three dozen states require voters to show identification at the polls. And almost half of those states want photo IDs. But there are millions of eligible voters who don't have them. A 2012 survey estimated that 7 percent of American adults lack a government-issued photo ID.

While some organizations have sued to overturn these laws, a nonprofit organization called Spread The Vote has taken a different tack: It helps people without IDs get them. And people over 50 years of age have presented some of their biggest challenges.

Just a quick personal anecdote: when we had to move my mom into a nursing home, it was right at the beginning of a primary early voting period. When she asked me if I would take her to vote, my brain was pushed into overdrive as I tried to figure out "how" to make it happen. Yes, she could change her voter registration thanks to same-day voting. But her driver's license still had her home (house) address. So I would need to take her to the DMV and get that fixed before doing anything else. When I told her that, she just said, "Forget about it, that's too much." I briefly contemplated just taking her to vote under her old, no-longer-valid registration. But then I remembered pricks like Jay DeLancey and McCrory's goons who challenged voters all over the state, and didn't even mention the idea to my mom. Understand, this is somebody who already had ID and voted regularly. A lot of folks are further behind:

Corporate irresponsibility has led to our voting rights crisis

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Whether it's an "unintended" consequence or not hardly matters:

State legislators across the country who have pushed for new voting restrictions, and also seized on former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of election fraud, have reaped more than $50 million in corporate donations in recent years, according to a new report by Public Citizen, a Washington-based government watchdog group.

Telecom giant AT&T was the most prolific, donating over $800,000 since 2015 to authors of proposed restrictions, cosponsors of such measures, or those who voted in favor of the bills, the report found. Other top donors during the same period include Comcast, Philip Morris, United Health, Walmart, Verizon, General Motors and Pfizer.

The mentality behind these donations is the same problem that put Trump in office for four years: If you will accomplish what I need to be done, I don't care what else you do, however cruel, inhuman, or undemocratic. Republicans (especially those in North Carolina) have cleverly carved themselves a niche, catering to the desires of wealthy business execs (see doctors subjugating nurse practitioners), which gives them the power to wage their ugly culture wars on minorities and the poor, not to mention LGBTQ+ folks. And it's long past time we ignored this factor:

Uncle Joe is pissed about GOP voter suppression efforts

McConnell may have just lost his filibuster barricade:

President Joe Biden on Thursday in his first formal news conference since taking office blasted Republican-controlled state legislatures that are seeking to restrict voting access, labeling those attempts “sick” and “un-American.”

“This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle,” Biden said, referring to laws that enforced racial segregation in the South. “This is gigantic, what they’re trying to do, and it cannot be sustained.” Biden said he would “do everything in my power” to prevent those changes from going into effect.

Strained analogies aside (wouldn't an eagle be more dangerous?), I'm glad to see the President is not only angry about this, but angry for the right reasons. This is not just political maneuvering on the part of Republicans, it is an age-old effort to suppress the rights of African-Americans and other people of color, using disingenuous points of attack. Here's more from a real President:

Democracy on hold: Late Census data puts NC Municipal elections in limbo

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And you can thank the incompetent Trump administration for the delay:

Raleigh, Cary and other North Carolina cities like Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem, may have to push back their 2021 local elections and keep current local leaders in office past their original terms. Cities that elect local leaders by district must update those districts after every new U.S. Census.

On Friday the U.S. Census Bureau announced it won’t be releasing district data until Sept. 30, which is after the traditional filing date for candidates to run in this year’s elections.

Just to give you an idea of how bad this is, most municipal redistricting plans are finalized by mid-June. They won't even be able to start the process until a few days before many of them would be holding the actual election. Raleigh held its 2011 municipal election on October 11th of that year, and they scheduled this year's for the 5th. And I have to say, this statement brought a face-palm and an eye-rub:

Blame the Republican Party for what happened yesterday

As usual, Rob Schofield hits several nails on their heads:

The list of important politicians who have known for years that Donald Trump was and is a criminally dangerous liar, race-baiter and traitor, and a malignant threat to American democracy is a long one.

And still, throughout almost all the last four-plus years, each of these individuals has not just stood passively by as Trump has run roughshod over the Constitution and countless core democratic values and norms, but affirmatively and cynically egged him on and/or aggressively defended him.

Before we talk about insurrection, let's scroll back a few days to see what Republican irresponsibility has accomplished. Trump's threatening phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State was actually set in motion almost a year ago, when Senate Republicans refused to punish him for making a threatening phone call to a foreign government leader. In both cases his personal political gain was at the root of his behavior, and both cases featured abuse of the power of his position. Back to the failed coup:

Federal Appeals Court overturns ban on Voter ID in NC

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Using a bad argument to accuse somebody else of using a bad argument:

The 4th Circuit ruling puts aside arguments by civil rights groups that sued over the law. They contended, in part, that the current voter ID rules can’t be carried out because previous courts declared Republicans approved a 2013 voter ID law with intentional racial discrimination in mind.

“The outcome hinges on the answer to a simple question: How much does the past matter?” Circuit Judge Julius Richardson wrote in the opinion, citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision. “A legislature’s past acts do not condemn the acts of a later legislature, which we must presume acts in good faith.”

The thing is, that "later legislature" is composed of many of the same bad actors that wrote the 2013 law that was struck down. Phil Berger, David Lewis (who resigned this previous Summer after lying to a bank official), Warren Daniel, and several other lesser ticks that have burrowed into the legislative body. Their goal (vote suppression) has not changed one iota from seven years ago, and they have literally never acted in good faith. Back to the judges:

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