Monday, August 10, 2015

The voting rights panhandlers are at it again

With another Presidential election looming, the gratuitous pandering has begun anew.   The demagogues are out in full force promoting the idea that minority voting rights are being suppressed.

Hilary Clinton, the current Democratic and overall frontrunner, weighed in on the topic in an article called, "Clinton slams Republicans for trying to limit voting", that read in part:

"...We have a responsibility to say clearly and directly what's really going on," Clinton said in a speech at the Texas Southern University in Houston, a historically black college. "What is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people and young people from one end of our country to the other." 

 She attacked four current and former Republican governors by name, saying each had signed laws or taken steps to make it harder for minorities and young people to vote. Texas Gov. Rick Perry - who entered the presidential race Thursday - signed a law that a federal court said was written to discriminate against minority voters and applauded the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that gutted portions of the Voting Rights Act, Clinton said. She criticized Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for cutting back early voting and signing legislation making it harder for college students to vote, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for vetoed legislation to extend early voting; and said that state officials oversaw a "deeply flawed purge of voters" ahead of the 2000 election when Jeb Bush was serving as Florida governor. 

 "Today, Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting. What part of democracy are they afraid of?" Clinton said. "I call on Republicans at all levels of government with all manner of ambition to stop fear mongering about a phantom epidemic of election fraud and start explaining why they're so scared of letting citizens have their say." In addition to calling on Congress to restore portions of the Voting Rights Act, she said the U.S. should implement bipartisan recommendations to shorten voting lines. She also unveiled two of her own initiatives, backing a broad expansion of early in-person voting and the implementation of automatic voter registration. Clinton wants every state to offer no fewer than 20 days of in-person early voting, including opportunities to vote on evenings and weekends. Such a change, she said, would reduce long lines on Election Day and give more Americans the chance to cast a ballot. 

"If families coming out of church on Sunday are inspired to go vote they should be free to do just that," she said. She also noted early voting is more secure, more reliable and cheaper than absentee voting...."

Mrs. Clinton is running the 'Republicans hate poor people' play.  It's not true, but it's sadly effective. Republicans love poor people just as much as Democrats do and for the the same reason - their votes. They just get fewer of them than Democrats do.

The Daily Signal published an article earlier this year called "Don't Think Voter Fraud Ever Happens?  Here Are 5 Cases From 2015 That Will Make You Think Again"

"Despite being only six months into 2015, there have already been a slew of sometimes bizarre stories about voter fraud across the country. They show just how far some people will go to cheat the system. Here are a few of the most outlandish stories:

 1. Madison County, Ga. Mohammad Shafiq of Madison County, Georgia, was none too happy with Madison County sheriff candidate Clayton Lowe. So Shafiq started campaigning for the other candidate by submitting fraudulent voter registration cards supposedly for new voters, apparently intending to eventually vote under those registrations. The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation. We’ll respect your inbox and keep you informed. Sign Up When the fraud was detected, he coerced a couple to sign affidavits falsely saying they had registered themselves. He was charged with two counts of voter identification fraud, two counts of perjury, and three counts of tampering with evidence. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years probation and a fine of $6,750.

 2. Magoffin County, Ky. During the November 2014 election for county judge-executive, Larry Perkins of Magoffin County, Kentucky, saw fellow resident Simon Marshall with a crisp, new $50 bill. When Perkins asked Marshall—who had limited intellectual ability—where the money came from, Marshall replied, “It is Election Day.” A judge threw out the results of the election, which was decided by only 28 votes, citing evidence that “people sold their votes” as well as numerous other violations of election rules, including a lack of required information on applications for absentee ballots, precinct officers failing to document how they identified voters and improperly helping people vote, and residents casting early ballots when there was no Republican election commissioner present as required. The judge ruled the election was the result of fraud and bribery.

 3. Turkey Creek, La. In a close election, Mayor Heather Cloud of Turkey Creek, Louisiana, was voted out of office by a margin of only four votes. It was later revealed, however, that a campaign employee working for challenger Bert Campbell had paid $15 each to four mentally impaired individuals in exchange for their promise to vote for Campbell. Following Cloud’s challenge to the results of the election, a Louisiana Court of Appeals ordered the four votes struck and a new election held. In the aftermath, Cloud won the election and the campaign employee pleaded guilty to illegal electioneering. The guilty plea carried with it a six month suspended jail sentence, 18 months probation, $500 fine, and $2,000 in restitution to Mayor Cloud.

 4. Fort Worth, Texas Hazel Woodard, a Democratic precinct chairwoman candidate in Fort Worth, Texas, was concerned that her husband would not make it to the polls to vote for her. So, she simply had her teenage son vote in his place in an election in 2011 before the state’s new voter ID law was in place. The impersonation at the poll went unnoticed until the husband showed up at the same polling place later that day and tried to cast a second ballot in his name. Hazel recently pleaded guilty to impersonation fraud at the polls, and was sentenced to two years of deferred adjudication probation. 

5. Perth Amboy, N.J. A lot of elections between candidates are close—but New Jersey politician Fernando Gonzales won his seat on the Perth Amboy City Council by only 10 votes. A judge found that his wife, Democratic Chairwoman Leslie Dominguez-Rodriguez, took advantage of nursing home residents, including a blind man, a resident who could not remember her address or voting, and others who testified Dominguez-Rodrigues coerced them into voting for her husband. A Superior Court judge overturned the election results and ordered a new election be held. Sandoval County, N.M. One prosecution resulted from a voter trying to show how easy it is to commit voter fraud. To prove his point, Eugene Victor of Sandoval County, New Mexico, voted twice. Victor first voted at the polls under his own name, and then waited until the next day to do the same thing under his son’s name. After getting away with impersonation fraud without being detected, he turned himself into the authorities. Victor pleaded no contest to the felony charge of false voting, and is currently serving 18 months probation."

Not mentioned in that article, or hardly anywhere else in the mainstream for that matter, is the spectacular case of Melowese Richardson who was convicted of voter fraud in Ohio and welcomed back to society upon her release by prominent Ohio Democrats and the Good Reverend Al Sharpton. Below is a portion of an article from on the subject:

"....Remember Melowese Richardson? She was a poll worker who used her position to vote for Obama multiple times. She is one of the few who ever gets caught for voter fraud and was sentenced to five years in prison. 

 CINCINNATI – A long-time poll worker who admitted to illegal voting was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday and received a rebuke from the judge, who cited her criminal past.Melowese Richardson, 58, pleaded no contest to four counts of illegal voting in 2009, 2011 and 2012. One count charged her with voting for her sister, who is in a coma. Four other counts were dropped in exchange for Richardson’s plea.During a passionate sentencing speech, Hamilton County Judge Robert P. Ruehlman laid out a laundry list of past charges against Richardson – from witness harassment to theft to assault – as Richardson stood before him. That was only eight months ago. For some reason, she has already been released.At an event that was all about voting law, Ohio Democrats invited a person guilty of multiple counts of voter fraud to speak – to “welcome her back” and applaud her.They invited her up to the stage, like some sort of hero. Democrats seem to oppose any changes in the law that make it harder to cheat. Their embrace of Melowese Richardson shows where their intentions actually lie."

A family member and I once discussed the topic of man made global warming.  My position was that the science is completely unsettled.  He conceded that point and then quickly added that we should err on the side of caution if there was even a chance the scientific evidence  supporting the man made thesis was right.  My suspicion is that he would tend towards the argument that voter suppression is alive and well.  But I suspect he wouldn't accept the same 'err on the side of caution' against potential fraud argument from me, even in view of the concrete evidence.  I could be wrong though.  I hope I am.

Now back to Mrs. Clinton's recent stump speech.  I wonder if she thinks those fresh-out-of-church families should be able to go get a drivers license, or visit the tax commissioner's office, or call their local school board's office on Sunday morning if the spirit similarly moves them.  The answer is - of course she does if there's a vote to be had because of it.

All the pandering aside, The Voting Rights Act of 1965 made it illegal to deny a citizen the right to vote.  Limiting the number of hours of early voting, or requiring a form of picture ID, or not allowing Sunday voting, are not close to suppression.  Not close.  Especially given the all the lead time.  The election is over a year away and the rules are known.  With that much time to plan, anyone who might be inconvenienced would only be inconvenienced, not suppressed or denied.  (By the way, if you want to know what voter suppression really looks like, see my post from October of last year. That was the real deal.  It was systematic and hateful. We all, black,white, and other, owe the people who fought that fight a debt of gratitude for forcing our country to take a good look at itself and summon the courage to change.

If we could only force our politicians (Republican and Democrat) as well as the various self interested demagogues, to take the same hard look.


No comments:

Post a Comment