Tags » Voter ID Laws

New Hampshire AG Clarifies Voter ID Laws Ahead Of Special Election

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire attorney general’s office is clarifying voter identification laws in the state in advance of a Tuesday special election. 128 more words


Trump Administration Backs Texas Voter ID Law In Court

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Trump administration says Texas has scrubbed its voter ID law of any potential discrimination and wants a judge who once compared the measure to a “poll tax” on minorities and the poor to resist further action. 383 more words


Why Voter ID Laws Are Actually A Good Thing

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Elite Daily It seems nowadays as soon as somebody even mentions ‘voter ID laws,’ a great deal of controversy ensues. 10 more words


Rev. William Barber: "Voter Suppression Hacked Our Democracy" (and stole 2016 election)

Despite this good news, Barber noted that those elected through the racially biased plan remain in power. The new SCOTUS decision also did not rule in favor of special elections this year to correct the gerrymandering, he said.

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Rev. William Barber: "Voter Suppression Hacked Our Democracy"

Friday, June 16, 2017 By Mary Claire Blakeman, New America Media | News Analysis
Although alleged Kremlin connections may ultimately sink Trump's Presidency, Rev. William Barber II contends that homegrown voter suppression poses a greater threat to US democracy than Russian election tampering. "Voter suppression hacked our democracy long before any Russian agents meddled in America's elections," said Barber, who has gained national interest through his vocal opposition to restrictive voting laws.
The Right's Redistricting Strategy: Popular Vote Doesn't Matter Pointing out that Hillary Clinton bested Donald Trump by almost 3 million votes, some Democrats salve their wounds from the 2016 election loss by repeating the mantra, "She won the popular vote!" Meanwhile, Donald Trump obsesses about that vote tally so much he refuses to drop the dubious claim that millions of illegal ballots cost him that popular vote victory. Both views are irrelevant to the right wing kingmakers who have funded voter suppression and redistricting efforts for decades. That's because they long ago adopted a key insight about US elections: the popular vote doesn't matter. As far back as 1980, the late conservative activist Paul Weyrich told a group of religious-right ministers, "I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people … As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." Notably, in addition to helping found the conservative Heritage Foundation, Weyrich also cofounded the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has enjoyed Koch-brothers funding to craft and promote the passage of voter suppression laws in numerous state legislatures. Tea Party's Multi-Millionaire In his book, The Third Reconstruction, Rev. William Barber, II, explains how ALEC's playbook was adapted to reshape North Carolina's elections when stringent voter suppression laws were enacted by Republicans who rode the Tea Party wave into office in 2010. Multi-millionaire Art Pope and his allies funded efforts to gerrymander voting districts to favor his ultraconservative agenda by "stacking and packing" black voters into as few districts as possible. As Barber wrote, "Henceforth and forevermore, they thought, the popular vote wouldn't matter. A majority of North Carolinians could vote against them, but they would still maintain power by winning a majority of the districts." As a result, North Carolina's congressional delegation shifted from having seven Democrats and six Republicans to its current makeup of 10 Republicans and three Democrats. That redistricting strategy, however, is beginning to unravel in North Carolina where the Supreme Court has now ruled against racially gerrymandered legislative and congressional districts three times already this year. It remains to be seen whether the strategy will continue working in other states. -- Mary Claire Blakeman
In fact, Barber recently announced that he will step down as president of the North Carolina NAACP this month to assume a new role as president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach and will co-lead the Poor People's Campaign. That campaign -- to reignite the one begun by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., almost 50 years ago -- seeks to reorder national priorities to address systemic poverty, racism and the war economy. Bolstering the effort are recent US Supreme Court decisions that rejected Republican redistricting plans aimed at illegal racial gerrymandering. States With Highest Poverty "We're looking at Putin's strongman tactics and not at our own race-based voter suppression tactics," Barber said. "But we have to demand attention. What the states with the highest voter suppression have in common is that they also have the highest rates of poverty." Barber developed his critique after spending years building a broad-based social justice coalition and leading the Moral Mondays movement that coalesced in 2013 to combat escalating voter suppression tactics in North Carolina. In that state, Republican legislators passed restrictions so blatantly designed to keep black voters away from the polls, the courts eventually charged that they targeted African Americans with "almost surgical precision." For instance, legislators reduced early-voting opportunities after analyzing data showing poor and minority citizens were significantly more likely to cast their ballots prior to election day. They often did so to avoid missing work or as part of Sunday "Souls to the Polls" drives at black churches. In Greensboro, NC -- where student sit-ins to integrate the Woolworth's lunch counter helped catalyze the civil rights movement in the 1960s – authorities cut early-voting sites from 16 to only one. That pattern was repeated around the state where a total of 158 similar sites were eliminated. In the name of preventing so-called voter fraud, legislators created photo ID restrictions that disproportionately affected minorities and young people, such as those without driver's licenses. Also affected were elders born in rural areas where birth certificates were not issued or were lost. They included many African Americans born in segregated hospitals. Meanwhile, no such ID requirements were applied to absentee ballots -- a voting method used more often by white voters, and one more susceptible to fraud. Voter Suppression on Steroids Although North Carolina's voter ID laws have been labeled the worst in the nation, dozens of other states have passed similar legislation -- particularly after the US Supreme Court's 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That law required federal "preclearance" review before certain states could change their voting laws. As Ari Berman, author of Give Us The Ballot reported in the Nation magazine, by the time of the 2016 presidential election, there were 868 fewer polling places in states with a long history of voter discrimination, such as Arizona and Texas. Already this year, legislators in 31 states have introduced close to 100 bills to limit access to registration and voting, according to the Voting Laws Roundup 2017 report by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU's School of Law. "After Shelby they went on steroids in terms of voter suppression legislation," Barber said. "That's the real hacking of our system." While Barber and members of the Moral Mondays movement participated in civil disobedience to protest voter suppression in North Carolina, he also led the state's NAACP to fight it in the courts. In one of those cases -- North Carolina v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP -- the civil rights organization chalked up a victory. On May 15, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) let stand a lower court ruling against the restrictive voting measures. "This victory is powerful because it proves they cannot hide under the guise of photo ID," Barber said. "They tried to say it was a voter ID bill, but it was really a monster voter-suppression bill and this case makes that very, very clear." He added, "One thing we learned is that when you fight in the courts and in the streets, you win." Supreme Court Rulings Voting-rights advocates also cheered a May 22 SCOTUS decision that rejected North Carolina's 2011 redistricting plan because legislators used race as the basis for drawing boundaries in two congressional districts. That had the effect of diluting African American voting strength in the state. Then on June 5, the court found that 28 state legislative districts were also illegal racial gerrymanders. Despite this good news, Barber noted that those elected through the racially biased plan remain in power. The new SCOTUS decision also did not rule in favor of special elections this year to correct the gerrymandering, he said. "This ruling means we have an unconstitutionally constituted legislature that has been passing unconstitutional laws," he said. "This legislature is not legitimate because they cheated and would not be in office. We would not have this extremist super majority in the state legislature. We also have people in Congress, who would not be there if we did not have this race-based redistricting plan. Yet they're there." The Brennan Center for Justice supports Barber's view about the impact of gerrymandering on the makeup of Congress. After analyzing data for the 2016 election, as well as the 2014 and 2012 cycles, the center released its Extreme Maps report, report, which found that "extreme partisan bias in congressional maps account for at least 16-17 Republican seats in the current Congress -- a significant portion of the 24 seats Democrats would need to gain control of the House in 2020." In light of this report and other studies on voter suppression, Barber argues that far more public attention needs to be focused on this issue. "It should be troubling to all Americans when extremists deliberately suppress the vote and redistrict in ways that the people elected do not represent the true diversity of the population," he said. "It's undemocratic, it's unconstitutional, and it brings up all kinds of questions regarding the integrity of our elections." Voter Fraud "Infinitesimally Small" Some of those questions about election integrity are being argued in the courts -- such as the legal fights over redistricting in Texas and the decision by the Supreme Court to hear a case this fall that will determine if the state of Ohio wrongfully removed thousands of voters from its rolls prior to the 2016 election. Other arguments are roiling in coffee shops and the Twitterverse as President Donald J. Trump uses his unfounded claims about "the millions of people who voted illegally" to justify creation of a Presidential Commission on Election Integrity to investigate alleged voter fraud. That task may prove difficult because even Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the new commission's vice chair, has found that this type of fraud is infinitesimally small. As US News and World Report noted in an article published this past January, "When … Kris Kobach, a longtime proponent of voter suppression efforts, reviewed 84 million votes cast in 22 states in a search for double voting, only 14 instances of fraud were referred for prosecution, which amounts to a 0.00000017 percent fraud rate." "This commission is a distraction," Barber said. "It's a disgrace that in a democracy where it's been proven time and time again that voter fraud is non-existent that we would allow our tax dollars to be used to chase a ghost." Whether efforts to suppress votes come from executive actions at the White House or legislation in state houses, Barber counsels voting-rights advocates to continue pressing to counteract them. "The strategy remains the same," he said. He continued, "You expose what they're doing through direct action, make sure the public is aware of them -- and make sure these laws are examined under the microscope of the constitution." "Much of this sinister work done in these state houses is not talked about," Barber added. "That is why I say it is more dangerous than Russian hacking. Going forward they have to know that for anything they pass, we will take them to court. They will not be able to hide in the shadows."
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.


Mary Claire Blakeman is a former staffer for Pacific News Service, New America Media's parent news organization. She has written for such news media as Mother Jones, Ms., The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle.

Alert: H370/H372 Relative to Voting Laws in Massachusetts


Submit written testimony against these voter id bills, which will result in voter suppression in the state of MA. Hearing at the State House on June 8, 2017 at 1PM in A-2. 1,450 more words

Racism and Homophobia: A Reflection on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

I spent most of my life pretending to be someone I am not.

I often found myself having to carefully choose which parts of my identity I presented, rarely existing in a space where I comfortably felt all of who I am: a queer East Asian-Brazilian American woman. 859 more words

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Racism and Homophobia: A Reflection on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

MAY 25, 2017

Taissa Morimoto with National LGBTQ Task Force Holley Law fellows in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

I spent most of my life pretending to be someone I am not. I often found myself having to carefully choose which parts of my identity I presented, rarely existing in a space where I comfortably felt all of who I am: a queer East Asian-Brazilian American woman. Growing up in a predominately white, middle-class neighborhood meant that assimilation was necessary for social survival. Assimilation is a different experience for each person, but for me, it entailed not eating during school hours, laughing at racist jokes, and not engaging in perceived East Asian stereotypical interests. Assimilation essentially took the form of misdirected hatred towards myself. For too long, I was deprived of important parts of my culture because of comments made by classmates and because I feared being bullied. When I indulged in parts of my own culture, I was ridiculed and shamed. Yet as white people began to appropriate and immerse themselves into East Asian culture, it was considered en vogue. This trend continues tirelessly. Chinese-American food blogger Clarissa Wei said it best: “In a weird turn of events, people were making money and becoming famous for eating the things I had grown up with and had been bullied for.” I heavily relied on my being Brazilian to combat the assumptions and stereotypes I experienced daily. When people asked, “What are you?” or “What language do you speak,” I told them I was Brazilian and spoke Portuguese. I would briefly revel in the satisfaction of their disappointment with my answer and their lost opportunity to discuss their trip to Japan or show off the two Mandarin words they know. They proceeded to do so anyway. The internalization of shame of my identity grew significantly when I came out in high school. I experienced even more instances of microaggressions, though the form of harassment shifted from being bullied to being eroticized as an East Asian woman and fetishized as a queer woman. While walking down the school hallway holding my girlfriend’s hand,  boys would yell at us, egging us to kiss in front of them. Despite the ongoing harassment, once I came out as queer, I immersed myself in the LGBTQ community. I did everything I could to do all things queer. Unfortunately, I experienced microaggressions from white LGBTQ people as well. Among LGBTQ white folks, I would get questions such as, “Do you speak Asian?” and comments such as, “You are going to be my new best friend, my Christina Yang.” Instead of challenging them, I put up with their ignorance because I believed they were supporting me in ways my East Asian community never had. Although I consciously chose to be a part of a community that I felt was largely racist, the alternative was choosing a community that I felt was largely homophobic. I did not feel like I had meaningful options. My experiences are not unique. I know I am not alone in feeling that my identities clash with each other throughout daily life. According to a national survey of LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islanders (API), 89% of respondents agreed that homophobia and/or transphobia is a problem in the broader API community and 78% of respondents agreed that API LGBTQ people experience racism within the predominately white LGBTQ community. Many queer API growing up or living in the U.S. have felt like they don’t quite fit in with any group. It is likely that I would have never recognized how similar my experiences were to others if I had not attended the National LGBTQ Task Force’s Creating Change Conference in 2017. During the day-long racial institute for LGBTQI API people, I sat among some of the most beautiful, brilliant people. I realized that, in a single day, I had met more queer API people than I had met in my entire life. And, contrary to what I had been taught my entire life, I realized that I can choose my family. The portrayal of a monolithic API experience is dangerous and isolating. For decades, it led me to believe that I did not belong to the API community – that my experiences were too different and not relatable. But, meeting so many queer people with diverse histories and experiences at Creating Change inspired me to live authentically. For me, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM) is about celebrating those differences. Though most API have experienced racism and microaggressions, our experiences are infinitely diverse. AAPIHM is about shattering the shame and becoming my authentic self, even if it often runs amiss with feelings of familial obligations and expectations that have been instilled in me. It is about coming to terms with the fact that I will always love my family who does not accept a huge part of who I am. But, I am tired of feeling as if I must choose one part of my identity over another. AAPIHM is about how my identity has shaped my experiences growing up in the US. I want to celebrate it by acknowledging the racism that still exists in this country. For me, AAPIHM is about learning our collective history in this country and using it to become a better advocate. This year, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is about coming home to myself.