This year, voting is more than just the core responsibility of citizenship; it is an act of defiance against malicious political forces determined to reduce access to democracy. Millions of ballots on Tuesday — along with those already turned in — will be cast despite the best efforts of Republican officials around the country to prevent them from playing a role in the 2012 election.
Even now, many Republicans are assembling teams to intimidate voters at polling places, to demand photo ID where none is required, and to cast doubt on voting machines or counting systems whose results do not go their way. The good news is that the assault on voting will not affect the election nearly as much as some had hoped. Courts have either rejected or postponed many of the worst laws. Predictions that up to five million people might be disenfranchised turned out to be unfounded.
But a great deal of damage has already been done, and the clearest example is that on Sunday in Florida, people will not be allowed to vote early. Four years ago, on the Sunday before Election Day, tens of thousands of Floridians cast their ballots, many of them black churchgoers who traveled directly from services to their polling places. Because most of them voted for Barack Obama, helping him win the state, Republicans eliminated early voting on that day. No legitimate reason was given; the action was entirely partisan in nature.
The author of that law, as The Palm Beach Post revealed last week, was Emmett Mitchell IV, the general counsel for the state Republican Party. Under his guidance, party officials in Florida got thousands of perfectly eligible black voters purged from the rolls in 2000, and got a law passed last year that limited registration drives and early voting days. A federal judge struck down the registration limits, but not before they drove down the numbers of new registrants.
3:02 p.m. | Updated MIAMI – In a state where legal action often goes hand in hand with presidential elections, the Florida Democratic Party filed a federal lawsuit early Sunday to force the state government to extend early voting hours in South Florida.
The lawsuit followed a stream of complaints from voters who sometimes waited nearly seven hours to vote or who did not vote at all because they could not wait for hours to do so.
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, local election supervisors in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties, where queues sometimes snaked out the door and around buildings, said they would allow voters to request and cast absentee ballots on Sunday. Voters in three other Florida counties also will be able to pick up and drop off absentee ballots. State election law permits election offices to receive absentee ballots through Tuesday so long as they are cast in person.
But later on Sunday, Miami-Dade’s county election supervisor closed down the line for absentee ballots at its Doral office after two hours because too many people showed up. …
Last year, Mr. Scott and the Republican-controlled State Legislature pushed through a measure to cut early voting from 14 to 8 days and do away with voting on the final Sunday before Election Day. Because more Democrats cast their ballots early than Republicans, the move was viewed by Democrats as an effort to blunt Democratic turnout.
Do not hesitate.
Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section in Washington, D.C., at 1-800-253-3931 or (202) 307-2767.
Also: Obama Campaign Voter Hotline 1-800-311-VOTE; or Election Protection 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
Concerning a Hearing on Demurrer – Writ of Mandate for Dummett v. CA Secretary of State Debra Bowen, held on October 26 in the Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento, here is the Minute Order Adopting Tentative Ruling:
The demurrer therefore is sustained without leave to amend. Judgment of dismissal shall be entered in favor of respondents.
The successful demurrer relied on earlier, nearly identical Birther challenges, Noonan v. Bowen and Keyes v. Bowen, both of them also losers. Conclusion: “The Secretary of State has no mandatory duty to make a factual determination as to whether President Obama is eligible to hold or run for office of President of the United States.”
In Dummett, the State argued:
Here, the Court should make the same determination it made in Noonan. Nothing in the latest opposition brief compels a different result. Indeed, in large part the opposition appears to have been “copied and pasted” verbatim from the unsuccessful opposition in Noonan.
Noonan was brought by Pamela Barnett of the Obama Ballot Challenge collection of coconuts, representing herself, because no lawyer would have her. Petitioner Edward C. Noonan was represented by Gary Kreep.
The Dummett challenge was brought by John Dummett, represented by Gary Kreep and his heir apparent, Nathaniel Olesen. Their Opposition was filed on October 12. Olesen advised Dummett following the hearing:
After Gary and I presented our arguments the judge took the matter under submission instead of affirming the tenative. This means that we won the hearing and the case will continue. …
I guess not.
Most Americans have never heard of the National Response Coordination Center, but they’re lucky it exists on days of lethal winds and flood tides. The center is the war room of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where officials gather to decide where rescuers should go, where drinking water should be shipped, and how to assist hospitals that have to evacuate.
Disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions of “big government,” which is why Mitt Romney wants to eliminate it. At a Republican primary debate last year, Mr. Romney was asked whether emergency management was a function that should be returned to the states. He not only agreed, he went further.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.” Mr. Romney not only believes that states acting independently can handle the response to a vast East Coast storm better than Washington, but that profit-making companies can do an even better job. He said it was “immoral” for the federal government to do all these things if it means increasing the debt.
It’s an absurd notion, but it’s fully in line with decades of Republican resistance to federal emergency planning. FEMA, created by President Jimmy Carter, was elevated to cabinet rank in the Bill Clinton administration, but was then demoted by President George W. Bush, who neglected it, subsumed it into the Department of Homeland Security, and placed it in the control of political hacks. The disaster of Hurricane Katrina was just waiting to happen.
EXCLUSIVE: Romney Campaign Training Poll Watchers To Mislead Voters In Wisconsin
Mitt Romney’s campaign has been training poll watchers in Wisconsin with highly misleading — and sometimes downright false — information about voters’ rights.
Documents from a recent Romney poll watcher training obtained by ThinkProgress contain several misleading or untrue claims about the rights of Wisconsin voters. A source passed along the following packet of documents, which was distributed to volunteers at a Romney campaign training in Racine on October 25th. In total, six such trainings were held across the state in the past two weeks.
One blatant falsehood occurs on page 16 of the training packet, which informed poll watchers that any identification cards from a voter “must include a photo”, despite the fact that Wisconsin’s voter ID law has been blocked by multiple state judges for this election.
The training also encouraged volunteers to deceive election workers and the public about who they were associated with. On page 5 of the packet, Romney poll workers were instructed to hide their affiliation with the campaign and told to sign in at the polls as a “concerned citizen” instead. As Kristina Sesek, Romney’s legal counsel who just graduated from Marquette Law School last year, explained, “We’re going to have you sign in this election cycle as a ‘concerned citizen.’ We’re just trying to alleviate some of the animosity of being a Republican observer up front.”