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Republicans Rigging Federal Elections

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I'm picking up a thread from on a bill that recently passed the House That Only Represents White Republicans. The vote came down 228-196 along party lines to pass the Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006, requiring voters to furnish photo identification before being given a ballot.
A typical problem with these bills is that they require that the identification be paid for, placing an undue burden on the poor. With 30,000,000 people considered by the government to be living in poverty in the United States -- people who rarely vote for Friends Of The Wealthy and Business Friendly Republicans -- would be forced to ask the state to pay for the ID, assuming they could manage the time off work (assuming they have work) to deal with another layer of bureaucratic crap when their primary concern today is feeding themselves and their children.

The role of government in our lives is to make living our lives easier, not harder. Not to advance conservative or liberal ideals -- to help those of us that need the help the most. This bill only hurts these people and stifles Americans ability to be heard and have free and open elections.

The bill does not address the price for the cards, leaving it up to the states to decide, meaning many could use the federally mandated national ID card as an excuse to make up budget shortfalls. Any reason would fly.

But these issues are minor when compared to the legal challenges the bill will almost certainly face in the coming years.

In October of last year, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction baring the enforcement of a voter identification law in the state of Georgia. The NAACP and ACLU fought the law on the grounds that in violated the constitutional rights of people lacking ID to vote.

Although this federal law disguises itself as a way to keep illegal immigrants from voting, the truth was laid bare in that the Georgia law was intended to filter out minorities, who often vote for Democrats.

Because of the notorious past abuses regarding voting in the state of Georgia, the Justice Department was required under the Voting Rights Act to approve any changes to state election law. Unfortunately, because we are living under a far-right-wing Republican administration, the Justice Department has been diluted with the least brightest of us and has turned its back on its responsibility to protect the voting rights of American citizens in favor of advancing partisan agendas.

The DoJ found nothing wrong with the Georgia law, and allowed it to pass unchallenged. A number of state and federal courts have done the job Justice was supposed to do, however, and put the law down.

Despite the Republican contention in GA that the laws intended purpose was to reduce election fraud, Georgia's Secretary of State Cathy Cox said at the time that there has not been a proven case of vote fraud in the entire state in nearly a decade. If there had been, they might have something going for it. But alleged is not proven. (Source)

If this wasn't a significant warning sign for Republicans in Congress, then things just got worse for them this past week when another version of the Georgia law was again shot down by the courts.
State Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford Jr. ruled that the photo ID requirement disenfranchises otherwise qualified voters and adds a new, unconstitutional condition to voting."

"This cannot be," Bedford wrote, pointing out that a photo ID is not required to register to vote in Georgia.
The rebuke was as strong as I've ever seen by a Judge in my life, with Bedford writing that "Any attempt by the Legislature to require more than what is required by the express language of our Constitution cannot withstand judicial scrutiny."

This is not the end of the argument sadly, as 24 states have laws requiring some form of identification to vote, and seven require a photo ID.

But with Georgia's law being soundly rejected at every single venue, even with revisions, it is not without hope that the federal legislation, and the other states as well shall fall by the wayside under GA's precedent as a conservative attempt to influence the outcome of elections by disenfranchising people that will vote against them.

Thanks BlueNC for the heads up on this.
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Sep 26, 2006, 8:48:00 AM
Nice pick up ... yes, it looks like we're in for decades of litigation, with We the People stuck in the middle of the mess. And for those of "We" who happen to be poor or dark-skinned, the mess will be even thicker.


Apr 27, 2009, 12:19:00 AM
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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.