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Fri Jun 1, 2012, 10:06 PM

 

Attorney General Holder's Challenge to Florida's Voter Purge is a Shot Across the Bow

Providing the second blow in a one-two punch to Florida's republican governor Rick Scott's moves to disenfranchise the states' minority, immigrant, and Democratic voters, Attorney General Holder warned Florida's election authorities that they look to be running afoul of both the law and regulations requiring them to submit their plans for consideration under the Voting Rights Act.

LATimes: http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-florida-election-laws-20120601,0,7018206.story

A federal judge struck down a key part of Florida’s new election laws, which would have applied to the 62 counties not subject to the Voting Rights Act.

A top lawyer for the Justice Department's civil rights division wants Florida officials to explain why they've unilaterally decided to purge the state's voter rolls of non-U.S. citizens just months before a key primary in the 2012 elections -- an apparent violation of provisions in the landmark Voting Rights Act.

In a two-page letter, T. Christian Herren, chief lawyer for Justice's Voting Rights division, told Florida's secretary of state that officials' decision to comb the rolls for foreign nationals was launched without consulting Attorney General Eric Holder or asking permission from a federal court, long-standing requirements under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Further, Herren writes, the state hasn't officially justified why it launched the scrub, which activists say is haphazard, subjective and disproportionately hurts minority voters.

At the same time, the practice is happening less than 90 days before an upcoming statewide election, which "appears to violate the National Voter Registration Act," Herren said. "Please advise whether the state intends to cease the practice ... so the can determine what further action, if any, is necessary."
The new law, enacted last year, would have required groups that register voters to submit registration forms within 48 hours or pay a $1,000 fine. The judge said that law put “harsh and impractical” restrictions on groups that work to register new voters.

“The short deadline, coupled with substantial penalties for noncompliance, make voter registration drives a risky business,” U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle wrote. “If the goal is to discourage voter registration drives and thus make it harder for new voters to register, the 48-hour deadline may succeed.”


Politico: http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/06/doj-eyes-florida-voter-roll-purge-of-nonus-citizens-124982.html

A top lawyer for the Justice Department's civil rights division wants Florida officials to explain why they've unilaterally decided to purge the state's voter rolls of non-U.S. citizens just months before a key primary in the 2012 elections -- an apparent violation of provisions in the landmark Voting Rights Act.

In a two-page letter, T. Christian Herren, chief lawyer for Justice's Voting Rights division, told Florida's secretary of state that officials' decision to comb the rolls for foreign nationals was launched without consulting Attorney General Eric Holder or asking permission from a federal court, long-standing requirements under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Further, Herren writes, the state hasn't officially justified why it launched the scrub, which activists say is haphazard, subjective and disproportionately hurts minority voters.

At the same time, the practice is happening less than 90 days before an upcoming statewide election, which "appears to violate the National Voter Registration Act," Herren said. "Please advise whether the state intends to cease the practice ... so the can determine what further action, if any, is necessary."


Both of these actions -- especially the warnings from the Justice Dept. -- send a message to the other states which might have been considering jumping on the voter purge bandwagon.

Having already challenged at least 9 other instances of restrictive and illegal voting restrictions by states in court filings -- and made inviolate the 'voter id' election procedures in both Texas and South Carolina -- the Obama Justice Dept. is sending a clear message that they will hold state governments to the letter and limits of federal law in their determination to protect voter rights and voter access to the polls.

In the letter sent by the Justice Dept. to Florida's election officials, they not only demand that Florida stop their purge of voters, but that they submit their plans, under the provisions of the Voting Rights Act, to Justice for consideration; noting that, 'the State of Florida, as a whole, is subject to the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993:


This is a clear and forceful shot across the bow of republicans' plans around the nation to 'steal the election,' as Obama's Attorney General told black clergymen this week:

|The Republic: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/CONGRESS-VOTING_8131232/CONGRESS-VOTING_8131232/

. . . Holder told the clergy leaders Wednesday that at least nine lawsuits have been filed over the last two years challenging the constitutionality of Section 5 of the act — which requires states with a history of racial discrimination to get federal approval for changes in their voting procedures — and arguing that it’s no longer needed because the states under it have made great strides in ensuring that voting access is fair and nondiscriminatory.

“I wish this were the case,” Holder said. “But the reality is that, in jurisdictions across the country, both overt and subtle forms of discrimination remain all too common — and have not yet been relegated to the pages of history.”

“In my travels across the country, I’ve heard a consistent drumbeat of concern from citizens, who — often for the first time in their lives — now have reason to believe that we are failing to live up to one of our nation’s most noble ideals. And some of the achievements that defined the civil rights movement now hang in the balance,” he said.


Holder's Justice Dept. anticipated these recent attempts to rig election results by the suppressing of vulnerable voters access, identification, and rights early on in the process. The decision by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division to nullify South Carolina's new 'voter id' law, came a week after Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, Texas, celebrating the 1965 Voting Rights Act in December.

"Are we willing to allow this era -- our era -- to be remembered as the age when our nation's proud tradition of expanding the franchise ended?' Holder asked in his Dec. 13 speech.

"Although I cannot go into detail about the ongoing review of these and other state-law changes," Holder said, "I can assure you that it will be thorough – and fair. We will examine the facts, and we will apply the law. If a state passes a new voting law and meets its burden of showing that the law is not discriminatory, we will follow the law and approve the change. And where a state can’t meet this burden, we will object as part of our obligation under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act."

"Ensuring that every veteran, every senior, every college student, and every eligible citizen has the right to vote must become our common cause. And, for all Americans, protecting this right, ensuring meaningful access, and combating discrimination must be viewed, not only as a legal issue – but as a moral imperative."

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Attorney General Holder's Challenge to Florida's Voter Purge is a Shot Across the Bow (Original post)
bigtree Jun 2012 OP
bigtree Jun 2012 #1
spanone Jun 2012 #2
Rosa Luxemburg Jun 2012 #3
Baitball Blogger Jun 2012 #4
bigtree Jun 2012 #5
Baitball Blogger Jun 2012 #6
bigtree Jun 2012 #7
Baitball Blogger Jun 2012 #8
bigtree Jun 2012 #9
Baitball Blogger Jun 2012 #12
bigtree Jun 2012 #13
Baitball Blogger Jun 2012 #14
Aerows Jun 2012 #28
DonCoquixote Jun 2012 #15
Baitball Blogger Jun 2012 #23
DonCoquixote Jun 2012 #25
Baitball Blogger Jun 2012 #26
DonCoquixote Jun 2012 #27
Baitball Blogger Jun 2012 #29
Aerows Jun 2012 #30
coalition_unwilling Jun 2012 #10
WillyT Jun 2012 #11
girty Jun 2012 #16
TBF Jun 2012 #22
bigtree Jun 2012 #24
msongs Jun 2012 #17
Zorra Jun 2012 #18
ladjf Jun 2012 #19
bigtree Jun 2012 #20
ladjf Jun 2012 #21
Aerows Jun 2012 #31

Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 10:56 PM

1. kick

 

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 10:58 PM

2. what's a recommend without a KICK!!!!

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 10:59 PM

3. Now we are talking!

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 11:02 PM

4. The Feds want to know why Florida is breaking a Federal law? LOL!

Honey, that's just the beginning. Discrimination is a way of life in Florida where good ole boys hide behind economic development programs to network with a very select group of people. Fraud and corruption are not uncommon as deals are made to expedite programs that only benefit "the right people."

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #4)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 11:11 PM

5. the feds know very well what's going on in Florida

 

. . . and they're aggressively challenging it.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #5)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 11:13 PM

6. No offense, but it's about effing time.

Long overdue.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #6)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 11:24 PM

7. you think he could challenge their new regulation before they enacted it?

 

Or, you think the couple of days they spent organizing their response was too long? This is the public response. Is it too much for you to understand that this Justice Dept. has been organizing their responses to these emerging initiatives by vote-stealing republicans since last year.?

It's inconceivable to me how the Justice Dept. would be able to preemptively block actions which haven't happened yet, and, I know enough about the process to realize that these public responses were preceded by private consultations and private investigations. Did you miss where the Attorney General indicated in Dec. of last year that his Justice Dept. had already begun their process of investigation?

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Response to bigtree (Reply #7)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 11:27 PM

8. I'm being more general than the Voter's Act. Or this particular situation.

Florida has been corrupt, corrupt, corrupt for as long as I started paying attention. What took the DOJ so long to get involved?

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #8)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 11:36 PM

9. what?

 

you do talk some twaddle.

I think my op makes clear that there hasn't been ANY delay in this Justice Dept.'s getting 'involved' in investigating and responding to Florida's voting practices.

No offense, but I can see that you're stretching to be critical here; eager to distract from the progress today, perhaps, and resume the 'Bad Obama' drumbeat on my thread? I'm not biting.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #9)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 11:42 PM

12. For crying out loud. This has been going on much longer than Obama has been in office.

Why take it so personally? It's not a reflection of Obama. It's a reflection of the DOJ.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #12)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 11:43 PM

13. not this DOJ, Baitball

 

I thought I made that clear.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #13)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 11:48 PM

14. I'm glad you feel that way. I'm glad you think things are improving because of the new leadership.

I just mourn the loss of community because the department did not act sooner.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #9)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 04:23 AM

28. I think you are missing the poster's point

 

I lived in Florida in the late 90's and early 2000's. Do you not remember hanging chads and such BS as that?

Hell, we walked around with buttons that said "I voted, I think...". There have been problems with voting in Florida since WELL before Obama was ever on the scene, and honestly, a few issues before the massive Bush problems.

No need for a knee-jerk reaction to very valid criticism of voting in Florida. Thank God someone is doing something about it, because it has been a disaster for decades - and I am speaking from experience of voting there.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #8)

Sat Jun 2, 2012, 01:10 AM

15. baitball bigtree

No need to fight, this should be glorious.

On the one hand, Florida has been a corrupt pirate's nest since long before any English even knew there was a New World. It is sometimes hard to express that yes, Florida has that much corruption.

On the other, Holder knew that there would be BILLIONS against him in Florida, so he better have the barricades locked so tight even the Devil would have a hard time.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #15)

Sat Jun 2, 2012, 10:24 AM

23. Right on both counts.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #23)

Sat Jun 2, 2012, 04:09 PM

25. thanks, that's why

I think there was some pause in Holder's act; namely because he knew he needed the equivalent of Hoover Dam to withstand the deluge. Still, he, and WE need to keep the pressure up, as the GOP knows that, electoral map or not, they cannot lose Florida, as it becoming a "Blue" state would wreck the "Southern Strategy" they have used.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #25)

Sat Jun 2, 2012, 04:23 PM

26. YOu have no idea the level of corruption that goes on in this state.

It is endemic. The right-wingers think they are entitled to the best opportunities and the best resources in the community and their merit system generally requires that a person participate in the defamation of potential whistle blowers that might expose their dirty way of life.

I just can't fucking believe how they have managed to hold onto power. They are like cancer.

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Response to Baitball Blogger (Reply #26)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 01:43 AM

27. Dude

Been here since 88, I know this state, especially the GOP. Just had my Alma Mater gutted by JD alexander, aka the man even Rick Scott sucks up to.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #27)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 10:51 AM

29. Florida: It is us and we are fucked.

Welcome to the Baitball State! New Tourist slogan.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #5)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 01:23 AM

30. Hopefully you got the message

 

that it's less "Well why didn't Obama do it sooner", and more "Why in the hell did it go on so long and Obama is the only one TOO take care of it?"


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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 11:40 PM

10. Now that a Federal Judge has ruled, Obama can send in the 82nd Airborne if

 

Scott tries to pull a George Wallace or Orville Faubus.

Funny that, Obama channeling Ike Eisenhower. Oh well, stranger things have happened.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Fri Jun 1, 2012, 11:40 PM

11. K & R !!!

 

If the DOJ does nothing else... It should at least protect Democracy.


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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jun 2, 2012, 01:22 AM

16. The Fourteenth Amendment

Part of Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment reads, "But when the right to vote at
any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of
the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial
officers of a State or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to
any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,
and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for
participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation
therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male
citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of
age in such State." This seems to suggest that a State can deny the privilege of voting to eligible voters, and count those denied because of crime, for representation and direct tax purposes. What possible authority could national government have to affect the privilege of non eligible voters? And what possible jurisdiction could any "inferior" court of the United States have in a case to which a State is party? Article III. Section 2. clause 2.
"In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and
those in which a state shall be party, the supreme Court shall have
original jurisdiction."

Is a national "Voting Rights Act" a regulation of commerce? If not, I think it would not be within the authority of national government.
Sincerely; Girty

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Response to girty (Reply #16)

Sat Jun 2, 2012, 09:22 AM

22. Are you defending Florida here -

because that is how I am interpreting your jumble of text.

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Response to girty (Reply #16)

Sat Jun 2, 2012, 10:41 AM

24. well, you know

 

. . . the Voting Rights Act, itself, was constructed to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution. The law was passed in 1965 to ensure that all eligible voters in America have an equal chance at casting a ballot.

You should also know that, as recently as last month, the D.C. upheld the constitutionality of sections of the Voting Rights which deal with reporting requirements of counties with histories of discrimination. The argument had been that, today's social landscape doesn't resemble the circumstances in 1965 which led to the passage of the protections. The court did not think the protections should be subject to some disagreement about whether discrimination still existed, or, was still pernicious enough to warrant voter protection by the federal government. They found that the protections under the Act were still necessary. That should tell you all you need to know about the prospect of your argument prevailing.

Feel free to argue around it all you want. Folks who evidently agree with you tried to have the Voting Rights Act annulled and lost . . . just last month.

also:

(2009) In a surprisingly united decision, the Supreme Court voted—8-to-1—to uphold the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One case challenged Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act shortly after it had been signed into law in 2006 by former President George W. Bush and a bipartisan Congress. The only justice to dissent from this conclusion was Clarence Thomas, who argued that the time had arrived to overhaul Section 5. This is not the first time that Thomas has stood alone in challenging the constitutionality of a provision designed to protect minority rights.

read: http://www.theroot.com/views/we-still-need-voting-rights-act

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jun 2, 2012, 02:29 AM

17. shot across the stern lol. how long as AG? Obama's been prez 3+ yrs nt

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jun 2, 2012, 02:42 AM

18. Oh, yeah! Smackdown time!



A second Obama term full of these types of actions would be a whole lot of good fun.

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jun 2, 2012, 08:20 AM

19. It's going to take more than a "...shot across the bow" to stop the steamrolling effort to give

Florida to the Republicans in November. How about a "shot mid-ship" ?

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Response to ladjf (Reply #19)

Sat Jun 2, 2012, 08:58 AM

20. Florda looks to be pushing back a bit

 

. . . so I'd expect Justice to come down hard on them if they don't comply. I also don't expect this will be the only challenge to Florida's election procedures and voting process from Justice, knowing just how corrupt republicans are in that town.

I'd think Holder is just as concerned about Florida as we are. It's his president and his job on the line, as well. He's much more of a working-class type of lawyer than folks like Ashcroft and Meese. He's not likely to just paper over the abuses he finds. I think he wants to do a good job. I'd like to think that he has the scandal-mongerers who've been hounding and accusing him of this and that in mind as he works to confront their political allies.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #20)

Sat Jun 2, 2012, 09:15 AM

21. I hope that you are exactly correct in your opinions. nt

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Response to bigtree (Original post)

Mon Jun 4, 2012, 01:27 AM

31. FL voting

 

has been screwed up for so long - and I use the term screwed up because the f-word I would like to use truly expresses my feelings, but isn't nice - I'm glad the Obama administration has taken it on. Decades of Presidents haven't.

Decades. Hanging chads were just the culmination. In 1998 we had buttons that said "I voted, I think" in some counties. I was shocked, and coming from Louisiana to say I was shocked by voting practices?

THAT is saying a hell of a lot.

Florida is about like that woman in Wisconsin Kathy Nikolaus having a headlock on voting and subverting the process, except she's one county (though admittedly, she's thrown the vote enough that it doesn't matter). Florida has a whole state full of people like her.

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