Our Common Good

Scott Tranter, Republican Consultant: Voter ID And Long Lines Help Our Side

Republican campaign consultant Scott Tranter appeared on a panel Monday hosted by the Pew Center on the States to discuss the long lines and voter ID controversies that plagued the 2012 election. In his comments, Tranter seemed to imply that he believed these issues were helpful to Republicans and should be pursued for that reason.

"A lot of us are campaign officials — or campaign professionals — and we want to do everything we can to help our side. Sometimes we think that’s voter ID, sometimes we think that’s longer lines — whatever it may be," Tranter said with a laugh.

Tranter owns Vlytics, a company that was paid more than $3,000 by former presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign for “data consulting.”

Note that she does not identify any cases of fraud by Democrats while we have news reports of Republicans who were arrested for attempting voter fraud and filling in ballots.

think-progress:

But photo ID is NOT required in Iowa.

Update posted:

After ThinkProgress published this story, the Romney campaign scrubbed the original training video from the web. It has since been replaced with an alternate video that does not mention photo ID.

I missed some of the story, but on Al Sharpton’s show tonight they were talking about this and in that segment, mentioned having someone outside so that if someone pulled up in a care with an Obama or other Dem candidate bumper sticker on their car, the outside person could take a picture of the person/people in the car to send to an inside person, who could then more carefully scrutinize those voters.   - SarahLee

Early this month, a federal judge partially overturned Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, ruling that the state couldn’t require voters to show photo identification at the polls until after the 2012 election. But the ruling has not stopped the state from running ads suggesting otherwise—ads that have disproportionately targeted urban and minority communities that tend to vote for Democrats.
In English, the billboard pictured above reads: “This election, if you’ve got it, show it.” It is one of 58 billboards erected by Pennsylvania’s Republican-led Department of State, mostly in Democratic-leaning Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Though Latinos make up only 6 percent of the state’s population, about 20 percent of the billboards are in Spanish. Similar Spanish-language ads appear on public buses.
[…]
Before the court overturned Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, the state had already publicized it with TV ads, thousands of mailers, and numerous billboards and bus advertisements. In the weeks since, the state has taken down some of those ads. But one Spanish-language billboard saying, “If you want to vote, show it,” remained up for many days. And the state has not sent out mailers to clarify the altered circumstances. Voting-rights advocates accuse state elections officials of sowing more confusion with the new billboards.
"What our groups are concerned about is that the billboards are not sending voters the message that the ID is not needed for this election," says Marcia Johnson-Blanco, codirector of the Voting Rights Project. Her group is fighting back with its own ads, which say that people without IDs can still vote this year.
(via Pennsylvania Officials Accused of Running Misleading Voter ID Ads | Mother Jones)

Early this month, a federal judge partially overturned Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, ruling that the state couldn’t require voters to show photo identification at the polls until after the 2012 election. But the ruling has not stopped the state from running ads suggesting otherwise—ads that have disproportionately targeted urban and minority communities that tend to vote for Democrats.

In English, the billboard pictured above reads: “This election, if you’ve got it, show it.” It is one of 58 billboards erected by Pennsylvania’s Republican-led Department of State, mostly in Democratic-leaning Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Though Latinos make up only 6 percent of the state’s population, about 20 percent of the billboards are in Spanish. Similar Spanish-language ads appear on public buses.

[…]

Before the court overturned Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, the state had already publicized it with TV ads, thousands of mailers, and numerous billboards and bus advertisements. In the weeks since, the state has taken down some of those ads. But one Spanish-language billboard saying, “If you want to vote, show it,” remained up for many days. And the state has not sent out mailers to clarify the altered circumstances. Voting-rights advocates accuse state elections officials of sowing more confusion with the new billboards.

"What our groups are concerned about is that the billboards are not sending voters the message that the ID is not needed for this election," says Marcia Johnson-Blanco, codirector of the Voting Rights Project. Her group is fighting back with its own ads, which say that people without IDs can still vote this year.

(via Pennsylvania Officials Accused of Running Misleading Voter ID Ads | Mother Jones)

The Court of Appeals decision was unusual because the court didn’t just issue an opinion, it also ordered Hargett to “immediately advise the Shelby County Election Commission to accept photo library cards issued by the City of Memphis Public Library.”

Hargett’s appeal argues that his act of simply filing appeal papers stays that order until the Tennessee Supreme Court weighs in. Communications Director for the state’s courts Michele Wojciechowski said whether or not Hargett’s filing actually stays the Court of Appeals decision is a matter of law for Tennessee’s Supreme Court to decide.

For now, Hargett is advising the Shelby County Election Commission as follows:

“On the advice of our counsel in the [Tennessee] Attorney General’s office, voters in Shelby County who present Memphis library cards will be allowed to vote with provisional ballots – and those ballots will be marked to indicate the type of ID provided. If the Supreme Court upholds the appellate court’s ruling, those ballots will be counted with no further action needed by the voters. However, if the Supreme Court strikes down that provision, then the voters will still have up to two days after the election to go to their local election commission offices with proper identification in order to have their votes counted.”

According to the Brennan Center For Justice, Tennessee is one of 14 states to pass restrictive voting laws that could impact the November 6 election. A Republican-controlled state legislature passed the law requiring voters show a photo ID at the polls in 2011 and a Republican governor signed it. Memphis Mayor AC Wharton, a Democrat, sued on behalf of two women who tried to vote with library cards in the August election.

Despite an Oct. 2 ruling by a Pennsylvania judge putting the state’s new voter ID law on hold, a series of misleading ads and announcements is creating confusion and fear among residents two weeks before Election Day

abaldwin360:

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson ruled that election officials can still ask voters to produce photo identification, but not require it as a condition of casting a ballot. Simpson, who called photo ID a reasonable and non-discriminatory requirement, said there wasn’t enough time before the Nov. 6 election to ensure that voters who lacked photo ID would not be disenfranchised by the change in the law.

That critical detail in Simpson’s opinion — that photo ID is not required in this election — has been lost in much of the $5 million advertising campaign by the Pennsylvania Department of State, voters rights advocates charge. On buses, one ad displays a photo ID with “SHOW IT” in big block lettering. In smaller type, it says photo ID is not mandatory. Moreover, state officials acknowledge that it was not until Tuesday, a full two weeks after the court opinion, that the last of the pre-decision billboards announcing photo ID as a requirement came down.Confusion has been deepened by an announcement that accompanied October bills sent to 840,000 customers of PECO, the Philadelphia power company, saying that voters must have a valid photo ID. Company officials said the newsletter started going out to customers a couple of days before the court decision.

Irwin Aronson, an attorney for the The Lawyers Coordinating Committee of the AFL-CIO, a group of 2,000 volunteer labor attorneys working on elections rights issues in key states, said that the act of poll workers even asking for photo ID could end up suppressing the vote in some communities.

read more

More of this this election year’s GOP strategy - if you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em.

Obtaining a state-issued ID is a lot harder than some people might think. Agnes Laughter, an elder from the small rural town of Chilchinbeto on the Navajo Nation, tried time and time again. But Laughter, who only speaks Navajo, was told she didn’t have the right documentation. Determined to not be defeated, she enlisted the help of a dozen volunteers to help with gathering documents, and providing interpretation and legal assistance so that she could finally get her ID. Countless others on the Navajo Nation remain in a similar predicament.

This video, produced by our Flagstaff-based community journalist Hillary Abe, illustrates why voter ID is an impediment to casting a ballot.

For more on the restriction of Native Americans’ voting rights, read Aura Bogado’s “Democracy in ‘Suspense’: Why Arizona’s Native Voters Are in Peril.”

(via Just How Hard Is It for a Navajo Elder to Get Voter ID? [VIDEO] | The Nation)

A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday issued a ruling on the state’s voting law that will allow poll workers to ask for photo identification but will still allow voters to cast a ballot without subsequently having to show an ID.

The ruling strikes down two provisions of the law that would have required voters to without identification to show their IDs within six days of voting or appear before the county board of elections. The state will also still be allowed to educate voters about the new identification requirement.

The preliminary injunction by Judge Robert Simpson only applies to the election this November. Simpson said he would schedule a trial on the merits of the law at a future date.

While celebrating the partial victory, civil rights groups are still worried that having the state ask for photo identification could create chaos at the polls unless Pennsylvania properly educates poll workers. The NAACP announced it would “work to ensure that poll workers do not wrongly enforce the law, and that all counties are monitored on Election Day.”

A Commonwealth Court judge ruled today that Pennsylvania’s controversial new voter ID law can remain mostly intact for the November election, but will impose a very narrow injunction that will allow even those without identification to vote.

In his ruling, which is widely expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court, Simpson ordered an injunction that would target the portion of the law that deals with provisional ballots.

As written, the law said voters who do not bring proper photo ID on Election Day can cast a provisional ballot. They would then have six days to bring in the required photo ID for their votes to count.

But as he had indicated last week during hearings in the case, Simpson decided that the law does not disenfranchise voters simply because it requires poll workers to ask for photo ID. Rather, the risk comes when a voter casts a provisional ballot but then cannot obtain the necessary identification in time.

As a result, Simpson decided that for the November 6 election only, voters without appropriate photo ID could vote, but would no longer have to produce identification within six days, as their votes would be counted.

Seven Things You Need To Know About The GOP War On Voting | Eclectablog

If you’re aware of the GOP’s unprecedented effort to stop eligible voters from casting a ballot this November, you should probably thank Ari Berman, contributing writer at The Nation and the author of Herding Donkeys:The Fight to Rebuild the Democratic Party and Reshape American Politics.

For more than a year, Berman has been waging a one-man war on the GOP’s voter suppression efforts. In this Q and A with The National Memo, he explains how this coordinated effort to deny the vote to core members of Obama’s winning coalition from 2008 could still swing the 2012 election, despite some recent victories in federal court.

[…]

Even if the laws aren’t particularly effective in stopping voting, could they still affect turnout?

Nate Silver has found that voter ID laws can reduce turnout by two to three percent among registered voters, which is certainly more than enough to swing a close election. He projects that Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, for example, will reduce voter turnout by 2.4 percent and provide a net 1.2 swing to a Republican candidate. That may not be enough to shift the presidential election, given Obama’s 8-point lead in the state, but it could influence the outcome in other races, particularly down-ballot. The scary thing is that we won’t know the impact of these laws until after the election — at which point it will be too late to do anything about it. At the very least, we’re looking at a lot of confusion and possible chaos on Election Day in important battleground states.

Is there any sign these efforts will let up if they fail in 2012?

No chance. Until Republicans recruit candidates who can win over a younger and more diverse electorate, they will continue to pass laws to shape an electorate in their favor. Six Republican Attorneys General are also attempting to challenge the Constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a very important provision that forces parts or all of 16 states with a history of discrimination to clear voting changes with the federal government or a federal court in Washington, before the Supreme Court. If Republicans succeed in overturning or significantly weakening Section 5, it will be a huge setback for voting rights — equivalent, in some ways, to what the Citizens United decision did to campaign-finance reform. Hopefully the Supreme Court won’t let that happen. In lieu of the laws passed since 2010, we should be strengthening the Voting Rights Act, not weakening it.

Since 2010, Republicans have changed the voting rules by demanding proof of citizenship to register to vote, restricting voter registration drives, curtailing early voting days, passing government-issued photo ID laws, disenfranchising ex-felons and purging the voter rolls. All of these steps reduce voter turnout.

It’s tough to pick the most egregious law, because there are so many, but the most disturbing tactic, to me, is disenfranchising ex-felons. Florida and Iowa did this following the 2010 election, essentially telling a specific group of people that after they served their time and paid their debt to society, they still cannot get their voting rights back unless they wait seven years (in Florida) or specifically petition the governor (in Iowa). That’s un-American to me.

The voter purges are also very alarming, because once you’re removed from the voting rolls your only option would be to cast a provisional ballot, which there’s no guarantee will be counted. In Florida in 2000, 12,000 registered voters — 41 percent of them African-American — were wrongly identified as felons and kicked off the voting rolls. That voter purge could have very well cost Al Gore the election.

Nate Silver has found that voter ID laws can reduce turnout by two to three percent among registered voters, which is certainly more than enough to swing a close election. He projects that Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, for example, will reduce voter turnout by 2.4 percent and provide a net 1.2 swing to a Republican candidate. That may not be enough to shift the presidential election, given Obama’s 8-point lead in the state, but it could influence the outcome in other races, particularly down-ballot. The scary thing is that we won’t know the impact of these laws until after the election — at which point it will be too late to do anything about it. At the very least, we’re looking at a lot of confusion and possible chaos on Election Day in important battleground states.

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court denied the state’s request to immediately hear its appeals of two trial court-level rulings invalidating a voter identification law, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.

[…]

“There will be no voter ID law in effect for the presidential election on Nov. 6,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Lester Pines said in a phone interview. His Madison firm represented the League of Women Voters Wisconsin Education Network in one of the cases.

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard G. Niess, who presided over the League case, in March ruled the law requiring otherwise eligible voters to present a government-issued photo identification before being allowed to cast their ballots was an unconstitutional burden.

In Tennessee, a new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls explicitly excludes student IDs.

In Wisconsin, college students are newly disallowed from using university-provided housing lists or corroboration from other students to verify their residence.

Florida’s reduction in early voting days is expected to reduce the number of young and first-time voters there.

And Pennsylvania’s voter identification bill, still on the books for now, disallows many student IDs and non-Pennsylvania driver’s licenses, which means out-of-state students may be turned away at the polls.

In 2008, youth voter turnout was higher that it had been since Vietnam, and overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. This time around, the GOP isn’t counting solely on disillusionment to keep the student vote down.

In the last two years, Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed dozens of bills that erect new barriers to voting, all targeting Democratic-leaning groups, many specifically aimed at students. The GOP’s stated rationale is to fight voter fraud. But voter fraud — and especially in-person fraud which many of these measures address — is essentially nonexistent.

None of the new laws blocks student voting outright — although in New Hampshire, Republican lawmakers almost passed a bill that would have banned out-of-state students from casting a ballot. (The leader of the State House, Bill O’Brien, was caught on tape explaining how the move was necessary to stop students from “basically doing what I did when I was a kid: voting as a liberal.”)

And in some states, education officials are trying to limit the damage. In Pennsylvania, for instance, many universities are either reissuing IDs or printing expiration stickers to make current cards valid, according to a survey by the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group.

But every additional barrier makes a difference to students, said Maxwell Love, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. “It’s the little things that make voting harder that are going to affect apathetic students … This is like literally slamming the door on youth engagement.”

[…]

Pennsylvania is a swing state; it’s also the state with the most out-of-state students in the country.

Out-of-state students are particularly vulnerable, Kaiser-Jones said, because they otherwise have no need to get in-state ID.
“You can do anything else in Pennsylvania with a driver’s license from another state,” he said, “except vote.”