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Media Matters: Two New Reports (Further) Debunk Right-Wing Media Claims That Voter ID is "Colorblind"
-By Sergio Munoz
July 23, 2012- Last week, two new reports -- released by the Brennan Center of Justice at the NYU School of Law and the University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication, respectively -- further undermined the conservative media's discredited claims that voter ID laws do not have a discriminatory impact on persons of color and are not intended to be discriminatory on the basis of race. These reports are timely because as restrictive voting rules in conservative-leaning states increasingly materialize, civil rights advocates are noting that these state laws look very much like poll taxes- voter suppression tactics long prohibited. In response, the right-wing media has recycled multiple messages to disavow the impermissible racial discrimination of these laws.
Right-wing media try many different smokescreens in addition to just denying the racial effect of voter ID laws and redistricting altogether. For example, they have disputed the veracity of data to the contrary, argued that these tactics are not in fact barriers, and raised the specter of voter fraud, which experts have demonstrated is practically non-existent. However, it is still the first defense -- that these efforts have no racial effect -- which feeds most effectively into the right wing's preferred "colorblind" narrative.
Deriding "Obamacare" was bad, but Romney's support for voter suppression laws disrespects the group's entire legacy
-By Joan Walsh
July 12, 2012- I have to admit, I started out giving Mitt Romney some credit for agreeing to address the NAACP. I’m a sucker for the make-nice gesture in this age of political division and cruelty. Republican presidential candidates have been known to snub the group’s annual gathering: Bob Dole did in 1996, and while George W. Bush attended in 2000, when he was promising to be a compassionate conservative, he skipped it in 2004, when it was clear that he was not.
I knew Romney’s visit was mainly designed to make him appear reasonable to white swing voters who are a little worried about the GOP’s wingnuttery when it comes to our first black president. Still, I thought it was a mildly reassuring symbolic gesture that might serve to keep the chasm between African-Americans and the GOP from turning into a dangerous canyon.
-By Ramit Plushnick-Masti and Pete Yost (AP)
July 10, 2012- HOUSTON -- Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday he opposes a new photo ID requirement in Texas elections because it would be harmful to minority voters.
In remarks to the NAACP in Houston, the attorney general said the Justice Department "will not allow political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious right."
Under the law passed in Texas, Holder said that "many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them – and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them."
"We call those poll taxes," Holder added spontaneously, drawing applause as he moved away from the original text of his speech with a reference to a fee used in some Southern states after slavery's abolition to disenfranchise black people.
The 24th amendment to the constitution made that type of tax illegal.
-By Melanie Eversley
July 9, 2012- Texas' controversial voter ID law goes on trial in Washington starting today, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and other news organizations.
The trial before a panel of judges starts this morning in U.S. District Court in downtown Washington. In the lawsuit Texas v. Attorney General Eric Holder, the state asks the court to approve its law requiring that voters produce a government-issued photo card, and also asks the court to strike down a section of the Voting Rights Act that requires states with a history of voter discrimination to get approval for new voter plans. Student IDs are not accepted under the Texas law.
Democracy NOW! Civil Rights Icon Rep. John Lewis on Struggle to Win, and Now Protect, Voting Rights in U.S.
DemocracyNow.org - We spend the hour looking at the bloody struggle to obtain — and protect — voting rights in the U.S. with the civil rights icon, now 13-term Georgia Congressmember, John Lewis. During the 1960s, Rep. Lewis was arrested more than 40 times and beaten almost to death as he served as chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, marched side-by-side with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., helped organize the Freedom Rides, campaigned for Robert Kennedy's presidential bid, and spoke at the 1963 March on Washington. He has just written a new memoir looking back on his more than fifty years of political involvement, "Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change."
-By Jeff Spross
July 3, 2012- Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) bucked his fellow Republicans on Tuesday by vetoing a voter ID law crafted by GOP members of the state legislature, the Detroit Free Press reports:
Among the bills vetoed was one requiring photo ID for first voter registration or to obtain an absentee ballot, a requirement that African-American activists claimed was an attempt to deter voting by the urban poor.
Snyder said in a statement that “he appreciates the issue of ensuring voters are eligible and U.S. citizens, however this legislation could create voter confusion among absentee voters.”
Laws requiring residents to present state-issued photo IDs tend to disproportionately effect low-income American citizens — who also tend to vote Democratic — because they often lack the resources and the time to acquire the proper documentation.
—By Kevin Drum
June 26, 2012- Via Ed Kilgore, we learn today that voter suppression is alive and well in Iowa. On his first day in office after winning the 2010 election, Gov. Terry Branstad reinstituted a long and laborious process that prevents most released felons from voting:
Henry Straight, who wants to serve on the town council in the tiny western Iowa community of Arthur, is among those whose paperwork wasn't complete. Straight can't vote or hold office because as a teenager in Wisconsin in the 1980s, he was convicted of stealing a pop machine and fleeing while on bond.