The American Bear


Sponsor Of Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Defends Romney, Says ‘Lazy’ People Also Shouldn’t Vote


As Pennsylvania’s strict voter ID law returns to the lower court for reconsideration, its original sponsor, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-PA), told KDKA Radio Wednesday morning that his law will only disenfranchise “lazy” people, like the ones Mitt Romney was talking about in the leaked video of a private fundraiser.

When asked about the voter ID law’s disenfranchisement of the750,000 Pennsylvanians who cannot get IDs, Metcalfe cited Romney’s offhand dismissal of the 47% of the country who will never “take personal responsibility and care for their lives” as proof that those people don’t deserve the right to vote:

HOST: Are you absolutely convinced…that the methods to implement this law are effective and will in fact make sure no legitimate voter will be disenfranchised?

METCALFE: I don’t believe any legitimate voter that actually wants to exercise that right and takes on the according responsiblity that goes with that right to secure their photo ID will be disenfranchised. As Mitt Romney said, 47% of the people that are living off the public dole, living off their neighbors’ hard work, and we have a lot of people out there that are too lazy to get up and get out there and get the ID they need. If individuals are too lazy, the state can’t fix that.

[The] inescapable point that’s out there is that, thus far, since March, the state has only issued about 7,000 IDs to vote, and even the lowest estimate of people who don’t have ID in the state—and this comes from the state—is 100,000. And the state has said repeatedly they don’t expect to issue more than a few thousand more IDs. So you’re looking at a huge gap in the number of people who don’t have the kind of ID they need to vote. So, come Election Day, it’s going to be a mess. And that number could be as high as a million people here in Pennsylvania. Vic Walczak of the Pennsylvania ACLU, Could Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Help Romney Win Race? Up to 1 Million Voters Face Disenfranchisement

Rep. John Lewis: 'Make Some Noise' on New Voting Restrictions - The Atlantic


The Civil Rights movement in part was about securing the right to vote. Today, the fight is over the means of voting. Are you surprised or disappointed that there isn’t more public protest or condemnation over what’s happening?

I am surprised, shocked and deeply disappointed that there isn’t more public protest or condemnation of what has happened in America. People are not being beaten and trampled by horses or tear gassed, people are not being shot and killed. The obstructions are not as obvious, but the effect of what state legislatures and party officials are doing will damage the integrity of our political process for generations to come, if it is not corrected. As a people and as a nation, we are too quiet. All of us should be up on our feet. There should be public outcry. There should be a sense of righteous indignation over what is happening during this election season. We should not just roll over and allow it to happen. Lawyers, political scientists, scholars, activists, teachers, ministers, seniors, farmers and ordinary citizens should be speaking up, speaking out and making some noise about what is happening in America.

Great interview with Rep. Lewis.  Hope you will read it all.

The Gray Lady’s Voter Suppression Quandry | Scott Horton

In the midst of a recent deposition under oath in a lawsuit in which he was seeking to recover money he believed he was owed by the Florida G.O.P., former state party chair Jim Greer used vivid language to describe the situation inside the party when he stepped down. As the Tampa Bay Times summarizes it, he:

denounced some party officials as liars and ‘whack-a-do, right-wing crazies’ as he described turmoil in the months before his resignation. Greer said some GOP leaders were meeting to discuss ways they could suppress black votes while others were constantly scheming against each other.

Greer, again under oath, detailed a December 2009 meeting with party general counsel Jason Gonzalez, political consultant Jim Rimes and Eric Eikenberg, then-governor Charlie Crist’s chief of staff, at which “the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting.” Florida then went on to enact some of the nation’s most aggressive anti-voter legislation, hiring consultants to prune allegedly ineligible voters from the rolls and threatening civics teachers with prosecution for attempting to register young new voters. The Justice Department is challenging the legislation as a violation of federal voting-rights legislation. The G.O.P. has put forward similar legislation in many battleground states, for purposes it rarely attempts to disguise. In remarks to the Republican National Committee, for instance, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai was perfectly candid about the objective of the legislation: It would “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

The G.O.P.’s aggressive tactics in the lead-up to the 2012 elections have clear outcomes: reducing the number of eligible voters and discouraging or outright intimidating voters on the periphery, especially blacks and Hispanics. In a tight election, such tactics could well skew the results a few percentage points in the Republican Party’s favor. They also underscore the Republican Party’s turn toward its right-wing fringe and away from groups, like Hispanics, who form an increasing share of the electorate. Instead of recognizing America’s changing demographics, the Republicans are attempting to lock in the old demographics by electoral legerdemain.

In defending itself, the G.O.P. has thrown up a smoke screen about the “voter fraud” against which these measures theoretically would guard. However, they have failed to present any serious evidence of such fraud. (In fact, the highest-profile recent cases of voter fraud all involve elected G.O.P. officials.) [++]

Including as many Americans as possible in our electoral process is the spirit of our country. It is why we have expanded rights to women and minorities but never legislated them away, and why we have lowered the voting age but never raised it. Cynical efforts at voter suppression are driven by an un-American desire to exclude as many people and silence as many voices as possible. Charlie Crist (via azspot)

(via randomactsofchaos)

Rep. John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon, on the Struggle to Win–and Now Protect–Voting Rights in U.S. via Democracy Now!

When I was growing up, my mother and father, my grandparents and great-grandparents were always telling me, “Don’t get in trouble. Don’t get in the way.” But I was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks and others to get in the way, to get in trouble—good trouble, necessary trouble. And we all must find a way to have the courage to get in trouble, to do our part.

Take a time-out to watch this amazing interview.

BREAKING: Department Of Justice Sues Florida Over Voter Purge


The U.S. Justice Department is suing Florida after the state disregarded the federal government’s request to suspend its voter purge campaign. In a letter to the Florida Secretary of State, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez argues that Florida is violating the National Voter Registration Act and the Voting Rights Act. “Please immediately cease this unlawful conduct,” Perez writes. The full text of the letter is available HERE. –Think Progress

Dirty Tricks in Full Effect in Wisconsin | The Ed Schultz Show: Blog

The dirty tricks are in full effect in Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters are reporting receiving robocalls that claim voters who signed recall petitions or voted to recall Governor Scott Walker are not required to vote again tomorrow, June 5th. This is incorrect information. Regardless of whether you signed petitions or voted previously, you still need to vote in the June 5th recall election.

In addition, there are groups pretending to be protectors of voting rights who are already spreading misinformation on voting, and they may be out tomorrow attempting to intimidate voters waiting in line to vote. Sometimes they will be wearing official-looking clothing or jackets that have things like ‘Election Protection’ printed on the back. As mentioned on the Ed Schultz radio show today, you do not need to justify your presence at the polling place to anyone. You are not required to show anyone proof that you are registered. You are not required to talk to anyone other than the friendly people sitting at the polling place desk or table.

Outside the polling place, you are allowed to videotape or photograph anything you like. If anyone harrasses you, you can take their picture, report them to election officials, or even call the police. Inside your polling place, report any troublemakers to election officials.

After voting has closed, your polling place becomes an open meeting. You are allowed to peacefully observe, and more.

Do not be intimidated, do not turn away from your right to vote for any reason.

Florida suspends Gov. Scott’s voter purge efforts


Florida’s election supervisors announced their decision Friday evening to stop the controversial effort of Governor Rick Scott’s (R) administration removing names off the state’s voter rolls, according to The Palm Beach Post

Spurred by the Department of Justice delivered a letter to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner that the name purging was illegal, the state’s Supervisors of Elections president Vicki Davis acknowledged the numerous mistakes located in purging eligible voters off the rolls. 

“There are just too many variables with this entire process at this time for supervisors to continue,” David said. 

One area serving as the prime example of the Scott administration’s mistakes is Miami Dade County, a predominantly Democratic area. 1638 people in the county were flagged as “non-citizens” by the state. However, at least 359 people already provided information proving their citizenship. An additional 26 people were identified as citizens by the county itself. 

Supervisors acknowledged that they failed to send letters to those individuals getting removed from the voting rolls that would have given them 30 days to provide proof of citizenship to vote. 

The Justice Department gave Detzner until this Wednesday to respond to their letter. The Florida Secretary of State indicated that he would respond on time, but said his state “will continue to act in a responsible and cautious manner when presented with credible information about potentially ineligible voters.” 

Palm Beach Elections Supervisor Rejects Florida's Voter Purge List

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher, a former Democratic state representative, told ThinkProgress in an interview that while the state of Florida sent her county 115 names of voters it considered “sure matches” with a list of non-citizens, her office determined the list’s documentation to be “not credible” and has not sent out letters asking for verification of citizens to any of those voters.

(Source: sarahlee310)

Court of Appeals: Wisconsin voter ID law to remain blocked during recall elections


An appeals court ruled Thursday that Wisconsin’s voter ID law would remained blocked during the state’s upcoming recall elections, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

“The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to decline our certification means, as a practical matter, that there will be no definitive court ruling before the May 8 and June 5 recall elections,” the District 4 Court of Appeals said. “Given that the briefing period in this appeal has just begun, there is no realistic possibility that this court will issue an opinion before the June 5 election.”

Wisconsin’s voter ID law was passed by the Republican-led state legislature last year and requires voters to present a state-issued photo ID when they cast ballots in federal, state and local elections. Other photo IDs, such as college ID cards and veteran ID cards, cannot be used.

The law was blocked last month by two separate state appeals courts, who ruled the law was unconstitutional because it abridged the right to vote.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice appealed both decisions. But the state Supreme Court refused to take up the cases, which were consequentially sent back to the appeals courts.

“Once again, Wisconsin has been given a temporary reprieve from the efforts by Scott Walker and his Tea Party extremists to keep eligible voters from being able to exercise their franchise,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said in response to the ruling.

(via sarahlee310)

ALEC: We will stop being gun nuts now | Alex Pareene

ALEC is now shutting down its “Public Safety and Elections” task force. ALEC’s Public Safety and Elections task force’s goals were twofold: to improve “public safety” by making it easier for citizens to carry guns everywhere they go and to shoot certain people without fear of arrest or prosecution, and to improve elections by making it harder for politically undesirable types to exercise their right to vote. (Why were gun rights and voter disenfranchisement the purview of one task force? Those two issues really have very little in common besides being of supreme importance to paranoid white people.)

What happened is, people suddenly noticed that self-defense laws had recently become much more “robust” (slash-”insane”) in lots of states after this guy in Florida named George Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed black teenager named Trayvon Martin and then somehow was not arrested. These new self-defense laws were widely blamed for the police reaction, or non-reaction, and while the NRA had predictably lobbied for them in the various states where they passed, it turned out that ALEC had been instrumental in drafting these laws and others like them that had nothing to do with being “pro-business” but everything to do with quietly remaking the nation into a right-wing paradise.

So major corporations began abandoning ALEC, because they hadn’t signed on for the full right-wing culture war. While Coca-Cola has a vested interest in, say, stopping public health initiatives, there’s no compelling profit-based reason for it to support the dismantling of gun control legislation. People do not get thirstier when they are carrying concealed firearms, as far as I know. Kraft does not, as a company, have any interest in making it more difficult for poor people to vote.

So! ALEC is giving up on the items of its agenda not directly related to helping giant corporations make as much money as possible without fear of lawsuits or union agitation. Because those are less “hot-button” issues.