President must lead the charge

In a recent blog for the Washington, D.C.-based The Hill, Lucy Zhou asserts that a greater executive role is now needed to safeguard Americans’ right to vote.
May 20, 2014

 

In her post, “How to advance voting rights through executive action,” Zhou notes how voters across the country scored significant victories in the past few weeks, such as a federal judge saying Wisconsin’s voter ID law violated the Voting Rights Act.

“At a time of historic dysfunction and congressional inaction, it is not enough to rely on the courts,” wrote Zhou, who is a research associate in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. “It is high time for a greater executive role in safeguarding the right to vote. President Obama has the authority to act, and he must.”

To read the whole blog, CLICK HERE.

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Comments

Harry Kovaire

This woman appears to meet the U-T's high standards of guest blogging as established by "The Dining Divas."

Zegota

First we need a President that understands, respects and honors the Constitution...

Mystic Michael

As an honors graduate of Harvard Law School and a former professor of Constitutional law at the University of Chicago, I'd say he's got that first point covered pretty nicely.

As for the other two points, it would put things into sharp perspective to recall that the vast majority of current federal government unconstitutional over-reaches were initiated by the Bush-Cheney regime - not by President Obama:

http://www.democraticunderground...

And I rest my case.

Mystic Michael

She's correct. Now that the Supreme Court has struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, states with Republican legislative majorities are ramming new voter suppression laws down the throats of the voters at an unprecedented rate.

Fortunately the Attorney General retains all the authority he needs to take action against those astonishingly elitist, autocratic laws. Since the Section 4 prior permission clause no longer applies, however, he needs to do it on a reactive basis, as opposed to a proactive basis.

It can be done. It is being done. It must continue to be done.

Lanivan

The current Republican strategy of attempting to influence and win elections through voter suppression laws is a recent phenomenon. Conservative and moderate Republicans alike used to be strong supporters of voting rights.

There would have been no Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Voting Rights Act of 1965 without the support of Republicans like McCulloch and Senate minority leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois. For decades after the 1960s, voting rights legislation had strong bipartisan support in Congress. Every reauthorization of the VRA — in 1970, 1975, 1982 and 2006 — was signed by a Republican president and supported by an overwhelming number of Republicans in Congress.

Republicans like Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, an heir to McCulloch who as the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee oversaw the 2006 reauthorization of the VRA and is co-sponsoring a new fix for the VRA, used to be the norm within the GOP.

But since our first black president was elected and re-elected with strong margins and the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act last year, many Republican states have aggressively passed laws that would restrict, rather than expand, voters rights.

New voting restrictions took effect in nineteen states from 2011-12. Nine states under GOP control have adopted measures to make it more difficult to vote since 2013. Since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in June 2013, half of the states (eight in total) previously covered under Section 5 have passed or implemented new voting restrictions. http://billmoyers.com/2014/04/15...

Recently Obama said, “The right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago,” Obama said. “Across the country, Republicans have led efforts to pass laws making it harder, not easier, for people to vote.”

Ms. Zhou would like to see a stronger executive role in protecting and stopping the erosion of voting rights. I do too.

Tri-cities realist

Or perhaps some of us would like to protect the integrity of our elections, by making sure only those who are legal residents are allowed to vote. If you have to register to vote, could that be considered voter suppression? I mean who has the time to plan ahead for something so mundane as voting?

And here in Michigan, state ID's are free to those who can't afford them. See http://www.michigan.gov/mobi/sos...

So can't we all just admit it's not about voter suppression but rather an attempt to let illegals vote?

Mystic Michael

I can cite widely-accepted, hard statistics that voter ID fraud in this country affects no more than one-tenth of one percent of all votes cast, on a nationwide basis - if even that. Can you cite any reliable information at all that proves that it is a significant problem?

Until or unless you can, common sense would suggest that this is a "solution" in search of a problem. Moreover, the timing of these voter ID ploys is extremely suspicious: If we have a major problem with voter fraud, did it suddenly pop up from out of nowhere five years ago? If so, do you have any reliable information to support that allegation?

It's pretty clear by now that the real "problem" is that we now have an African-American president, that Democrats have been clobbering Republicans at the polls, and that the long-term demographic trends suggest that Republicans can look forward to more of the same for the foreseeable future. That's what this is REALLY about: Republicans trying to gain an unfair advantage by gaming the system - and trying to cover their slimy tracks by conning the American people. To that end, you and your conservative cohorts are simply useful idiots for the corrupt cause.

nextdoor

Why are people so afraid to show their id either they're illegal or they're voting for someone else.If you have a better excuse let's hear it.

Tri-cities realist

Crickets...

dyankee

I shake my head in disbelief of the moronic spin as to how showing a photo ID at any precinct, is surppressing the vote.

Let me translate what Democrats are really saying...."showing photo I.D. will kill our chances to continue our avalanche of voting coruption, deception and blatant fraud in getting our candidates elected." This is especially true in the inner city where voting fraud is most rampant and the best chance for Demoncrats to swipe electoral votes.

You need a photo ID to buy beer, get a passport, get on a plane, purchase a firearm, get into the White House or the Tip-a-Few after 10pm(for most people under 35) but you don't need one to vote? It defies logic and common sense.

Here we have educated adults posting on this story that requiring a photo I.D. is somehow surpressing the vote when it really is suppressing nothing less than accurate voting.

Democrats can't win on ideas, honor, or values so, the more integrity that is put into the voting process ensures their assess will be tossed out of power in short order and this scares the hell out of everyone of them including, the useful idiots that carry their water.

Mystic Michael

The continuing attempt by the Right to misrepresent the many tactics and techniques of voter suppression as a simple "debate" over the merits of voter ID is either deeply dishonest, or it is astonishingly naive and ignorant. Two things that is not are accurate and honest.

For the record, the electoral process is a very complex and multi-faceted one; one which affords corrupt state and/or local elections officials any number of "pressure points" by which they can, and currently do, attempt to manipulate and abuse the vote in order to achieve bought-and-paid-for outcomes. Some of these are in effect right now, at this very moment. They include, but are not limited to:

1. Changing polling locations. An election official can make this call just days before an election.

2. Changing polling hours or eliminating early voting days. This may be particularly problematic in urban counties where long polling lines are most likely, as Henry Grabar reported last fall.

3. Reducing the number of polling places. This raises the same problem as above, particularly when the eliminated polling places had disproportionately served minority communities.

4. At-large elections. At-large elections for school-board members or city councils often dilute the voting power of minorities who have greater influence in single-candidate district elections. In an at-large election, a cohesive voting block with 51 percent of the vote can elect 100 percent of the officials.

5. Packing majority-minority districts. Election maps drawn to push all of a community's minorities in one or a handful of districts can dilute their voting power.

6. Dividing minority districts. Similarly, election maps can slice minority communities into multiple districts so that they have no cumulative influence in any one place. The line between these two tactics is a fine one (and also illustrates why the VRA was useful for assessing facts on the ground).

7. Voter ID laws: This increasingly popular tactic, sometimes likened to a modern-day poll tax, has the potential to disenfranchise voters who don't have a driver's license, or who don't have the money or ability to obtain one (a disproportionate share of these people are minorities). Such laws can also have a disproportionate impact in cities, where many people don't own cars.

8. Onerous candidate qualifications. In 2007, a Texas provision tried to limit those people eligible to become water district supervisors to landowners who were registered to vote.

9. Changing multi-lingual voter assistance. Making it harder for non-English language speakers to vote is a good way to dilute their power.

10. Changing election dates. Another trick that may not require legislative approval.

11. Creating new elections. In 2006, the DOJ objected to a plan in the Houston area that would have eliminated some joint elections and required voters to travel to multiple polling places.

12. Canceling elections. We're not even really sure how Kilmichael, Mississippi, thought they could get away with this.

Source: http://www.citylab.com/politics/...

Tri-cities realist

Do people need an ID to get a job? It doesn't need to be a drivers license. And if they can't afford one, states have programs to offer free ID cards. Exactly how can ensuring that only legal residents vote, be considered voter suppression? Yes, it is suppressing the ILLEGAL votes.

Mystic Michael

I've already established that the voter suppression problem far transcends mere voter ID. Can you read?

deeg

We can all read your drivel, it just gets tiresome.

Harry Kovaire

Our posting pal Michael Mystic
will sometimes go all ballistic.
His prose style is such,
uses words all too much.
We wish he were more aphoristic.

Tri-cities realist

Beautiful.... And well said

Straightjacket

I believe the issue the republicans are trying to protect is that it is citizens and citizens only which should cast ballots. Illegal immigration or lets say extended stay from Aliens presents a threat to republicans. Immigrants legal or not are brainwashed into thinking democrats got their back and they should vote for them. It's the which guy goin give me a free meal ticket and housing ok I vote for dem. there is nothing wrong in identifying yourself to vote. If we provide access to obtain a state ID go get one and go vote. Just remember in the end you are only picking the color of the puppet.

Wolverine49457

The idea of not requiring an ID to vote makes perfect sense if you are trying to manipulate the system and fill it with low information voters who will pull the lever if you look the other way as I commit a federal crime. Voting is privilege once granted only to land owners as they had a “stake” in the future of the country while others could simply hop on a boat and scoot back to the UK on a whim. The underlying issue is not “rights” (notice how the socialists use that word a lot?) or being kind and welcoming to those of other lands because they love their “children” (they use that one a lot too), simply put the progressives need an overwhelming number of useful idiots like themselves in order to "democratically" usher in an era where communist and socialist forms of government rule the nation.
Unfortunately for them once in power the useful idiots become a burden, they ask for their share of the spoils. Fearing revolt against the masters at some point they will occupy not Wall Street but mounds in the forest, remember these are people who have no problem killing infants in or out of the womb given the only efforts during his time as Senator now president Obama.
Do you really think they could not reason to the public these people were a threat to national security or be convincing as they describe a violent group of domestic terrorists planning attacks on schools and daycare centers but we got rid of them for you…aren’t we simply the best!
There is a notion applauded by progressives that once pesky checks and balances like the house and senate are out of the way legislation will simply be written into existence, they control the press, the military and the nearly army like police forces so is it really that hard to beleive once in power an overbearing centralized socialist form of government couldn’t happen here in America? Sure you could protest while you still had the right but you may find failure to comply for the good of all and especially the children may result in a loss of your privilege to access electricity, food, or health care…remember they control those things too.
A government that can give you anything can also take everything including your life if you have outlived your usefulness.

Mystic Michael

OK. Turn off FOX News, drop the remote, and back away from the TV set. Slowly. Navigate away from WorldNetDaily and Breitbart.com, and back away from the computer. Slowly.

Remember: You are a beautiful, lovely butterfly. So don't be alarmed when the nice men in the white coats drop a butterfly net over you.

Harry Kovaire

Excellent work Citizen! Your pure hatred of these counter-revolutionaries and blind belief in our cause has not gone unnoticed by The Committee.

Soon, we will equip you with "more significant methods" of dealing with the opposition. In the meantime, continue cutting and pasting from the approved information sources and mocking these threats to the Revolution.

"The Constitutionalists must die so that the country can live."

Lanivan

Harry - If you are concerned about the Constitutional infringement, surely you must have something to say about all the Federal courts that are overturning voter Id laws as being unconstitutional.

Or do you think these Federal courts are too liberal? If so, how does that explain the conservative Roberts court that has overturned decades of precedence with 5-4 decisions, specifically in regards to the recent VRA ruling?

Harry Kovaire

Nice turnaround Citizen LaniVan. When everyone fears being labelled a "counter-revolutionary", then all will come to accept our methods with vigor and zeal!

Your BELIEF is proving to be quite the match for Citizen Mystic. However, don't forget that competition is part of the Old Regime thinking.

Lanivan

Huh? There you go, committing Hara-Kiri again....

Wingmaster

In all the hoppla surrounding this favorite topic of the left, have you noticed not one "better" solution has been offered by the left on how to insure people are who they say they are when voting?

The same old tired tactic of saying Repubs are trying to suppress voting! They then throw out all kinds of shiny objects for the sheeple to stare at and dazzle them with.

And so it goes, we have a dysfunctional gov't that refuses to work for the people and continues to put out issues to divide the citizens of the country by pitting them against each other thru all this nonsense bickering.

How's the Hope and Change working for us? Is it moving ALL of us Forward?

Harry Kovaire

The Hope and Change is working as planned and is moving ALL of us Forward in the intended direction.

Fear not Citizen, your suffering will last not much longer.

Mystic Michael

Don't you have this backward? If nobody has been able to prove the existence of a "problem", then where is the necessity for a "solution"? You state this as if it's a foregone conclusion that there must be a real voter fraud problem. There isn't.

I haven't thrown out any bright, shiny objects. In my previous post here, I've "thrown out" 12 representative examples of ways in which Republicans manipulate and abuse the electoral process. Every one of these tactics has already been employed at one time or another. Many of them are being used right now. Right. Now.

If you really want to know the main source of dysfunction in the government, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Which major political party with a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives has campaigned on the slogan of "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!", yet has steadfastly refused to pass any of the President's jobs bills, time and again?

2. Which party has wasted the peoples' time by conducting more than 30 meaningless votes in the House to repeal the brand new healthcare insurance law - knowing that it had been ruled Constitutional by the Supreme Court - and knowing that their repeal votes had no chance of actually repealing the law?

3. Which party has systematically abused the filibuster in the U.S. Senate to block and to stall the confirmation of scores of badly-needed federal judges and senior Executive officials - for no justifiable reason whatsoever?

4. Which party shut down the federal government for three weeks last October, bringing the government right to the brink of debt default?

5. Which party's intransigence over the routine process of raising the debt sealing resulted in the first-ever downgrading of the federal government's credit rating - thereby costing the taxpayers billions of dollars in additional and unnecessary interest payments?

And so on and on...

Republicans condemning dysfunction in the government is like the boy who killed his parents, then asked for pity because he is an orphan. They continually insist that "government doesn't work"...because they are in a position to make damn sure that it won't work!

Wingmaster

1. In Obama's first term the house has passed 27 jobs bills and a majority of House Democrats supported only five of the 27 bills. These bills have been stalled in the Senate.

The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act was opposed by 85 percent, or 164 of 192 House Democrats.

These bills, Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act, the Access to Capital for Job Creators Act, the Small Company Capital Formation Act and H.R. 1965, designed to help small businesses, received support from 83 percent of Democrats and 96 percent of Republicans in the Senate.

Please explain again which party is stalling, and playing politics?

2. Latest polls show the countries support of Obama care at a whopping 36%. So nearly two thirds of the country do not support Obama care. Seems to me, the party is trying to do the work of the people.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/...

3. Do your homework MM. Oh, I know you won't provide details because you are again playing hide the soap on the blocking of presidential nominations. Both parties block nominations as they should. It's part of the checks and balances (article II section 2) written into the constitution, ya know that old wore out document we have! Dang thing keeps getting in the way doesn't it.

4. Oh you mean when there was a funding gap and what to do about it. Again, being a Representative Republic entails what things we want to do together and how do we want to do them? Boundaries of Federal power have been debated since our founding. That was another in a series of debates about the purse strings of Fed spending.

5. The S&P down graded the AAA credit rating AFTER President Barack Obama led from behind again, this time in a domestic issue and signed legislation designed to reduce the fiscal deficit by only $2.1 trillion over 10 years. That was well short of the $4 trillion in savings the S&P had called for as a good "down payment" on fixing America's finances.

Your party has inflicted a lot of pain on the American people thru this little charade and then with willing accomplices in the media and sycophants such as yourself, broadcast mis information to disenfranchise the voters from the truth and have them believe that the demorats are the party for the people. What a fricken crock! When citizens dare challenge any of this they are label racist, homophobe, dunces, murderers, gun clutching, religious fanatics so on and so forth!

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
― Ronald Reagan

Lanivan

Talk about shiny objects! Pray tell - what does any of this have to do with Republican Voter suppression laws?

You might want to think twice about quoting Ronald Reagan - after all the Federal debt increased 186% during Reagan's 8 years. Just a quick run-down:

1. Reagan was a serial tax raiser.
2. Reagan nearly tripled the federal budget deficit
3. Unemployment soared after Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts.
4. Reagan grew the size of the federal government tremendously.
5. Reagan did little to fight a woman’s right to choose.
6. Reagan was a “bellicose peacenik.”
7. Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants.
8. Reagan illegally funneled weapons to Iran.
9. Reagan vetoed a comprehensive anti-Apartheid act.
10. Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden.

http://thinkprogress.org/politic...

Wingmaster

It's what you lefties do...introduce shiny objects. Sometime I bite, sometimes not.

Hey did you know Reagan once was a Democrat? Yup, he grew up thou!

Harry Kovaire

Very innovative! The "Big Lie" has always been a proven technique. However, you clearly demonstrate that many "Little Lies" (always enumerated in an ordered line fashion) is equally effective!

As a note of suggestion, try to hide the ThinkProgress URL with an innocuous keyword deflection (using the HTML "a href label" method).* While certainly a noteworthy and Party authorized information source, it provides our enemies with needless nits to pick.

Keep up the good work and Carry On.

* Report to the Party Training Center for necessary instruction, if needed

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