Wednesday, April 30, 2014

And Now for Some Good News

With GOP-dominated state legislatures doing everything they can to overturn the second half of the 20th century and trying to deny large swathes of citizens access to the voting booth, it is heartening to have victories like this:
In a decision that could have implications nationally and in Wisconsin's November elections, a federal judge on Tuesday struck down the state's voter ID law, saying it violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution.
What's more, U.S. District JudgeLynn Adelman made it crystal clear that the Voter ID crowd is, to state it plainly, full of horse shit:
"There is no way to determine exactly how many people Act 23 will prevent or deter from voting without considering the individual circumstances of each of the 300,000 plus citizens who lack an ID," U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote in his 70-page ruling. "But no matter how imprecise my estimate may be, it is absolutely clear that Act 23 will prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."
Adelman, who is based in Milwaukee, found the state didn't have an appropriate rationale for imposing a voter ID requirement. In-person voter impersonation — the only type of fraud a voter ID law can prevent — is nonexistent or virtually nonexistent in Wisconsin, he wrote.
"Because virtually no voter impersonation occurs in Wisconsin and it is exceedingly unlikely that voter impersonation will become a problem in Wisconsin in the foreseeable future, this particular state interest has very little weight," he wrote.
"The defendants could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past."
Hopefully this ruling bodes well for pending legal challenges to Voter ID laws in North Carolina and Texas.

I really wish that Democrats at the state level would do a better job hammering on this issue, focusing on all of the groups that will be hurt by these voting restrictions. There is a sense on the part of a lot of people that these laws are okay (even if there isn't any fraud) because it only prevents "those people" from voting, and they aren't really citizens anyway, or at least not like "we" are. If Democrats really made it clear that these laws disenfranchise racial minorities AND women of all ages and races, AND young people of all races, I think you would fire up a large coalition of people to come together and vote these guys out. It should be enough to point out the disparate racial impact and the immorality of trying to prevent fellow-citizens from voting, but, unfortunately, that's a feature, not a bug, for too many people.

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