April 17, 2007
Voter ID bills coming soon

Sometime in the next few days (it was going to be today, but it got postponed), the odious voter ID bills, HBs 218 and 626 will come to the floor of the House. Never mind that claims of voter fraud are themselves frauds, nationwide and in Texas. Never mind that stringent voter ID requirements would provably disenfranchise American citizens for purposes of partisan advantage. The state GOP leadership deperately wants these measures to pass. Making it hard to register and hard to vote is apparently in harmony with their values.

What's funny, in a sad sort of way, is that in other contexts various GOP stalwarts are deeply concerned about voting rights and creeping Big Brotherism. Here's Rep. Debbie Riddle, speaking against Rep. Fred Hill's HB 2087:

"It is not wise to limit the voice of the elderly and the disabled when it comes to their right to vote."

"Except, of course, if in doing so you also keep poor and minority folks from voting, too. Then it's all right," she did not add.

And there's Rep. Dwayne Bohac speaking against HB 855 on 3rd reading:

"It goes too far. If I am going to err, I am going to err on the side of civil liberties."

(See here for more on HB855.) Which way will you err this time, Dwayne? Both these quotes are on the Capitol daily video feed. I may be able to get clips of them later - I'll update this post if I do.

This fight is a very big deal, and this may be the last time the Republicans get to push bills like these through the House. They know what the future looks like, and they're doing what they can to push it back. Sonia, Vince, and PDiddie have more.

UPDATE: Burka:

This is a bad old bill. It was part of a nationwide effort, spearheaded by Karl Rove, to suppress the turnout of racial minorities (who are less likely to have picture IDs than more affluent voters). It passed the House two years ago only to run afoul of the two-thirds rule in the Senate and may do both again. Republicans have told me that this is the most-polled bill of the session. What warped priorities the leadership has.


From Greg Abbott on down, Rs should be ashamed of themselves for pursuing this anti-small-d-democratic bill.

Amen, and amen.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 17, 2007 to That's our Lege

Just a quick update: Both HB 218 and HB 626 were voted back out of committee after resolving a point of order, and very late last night were placed back on TODAY's (Tuesday, April 17) Major State Calendar. So call you rep if you haven't yet and tell them to vote NO on both!

Posted by: Teri Sperry, TCAN on April 17, 2007 9:13 AM

"Except, of course, if in doing so you also keep poor and minority folks from voting, too. Then it's all right," she did not add.

No, she did not add that. You're absolutely right.

You do have a broader readership than the lefty netroots, Charles. You can paint all Republicans as evil people who want to take away voting rights of Democrats, and I'm sure that plays well among the frothing partisan crowd.

But, that sort of posturing does detract from the sensible, substantive complaints you have about tighter voter registration/ID requirements.

Personally, I'd like to see a more positive form of ID at polling places, I don't think that's too onerous a requirement (then again, despite 9/11, you can still get through airport security without a government-issued photo ID, so obviously not everyone shares my ID notions, on voting or security), and I don't have as my goal the disenfranchisement of anyone entitled to vote. I'm not so sure how much the front-end of the registration process needs to be tightened, and it may well be that there's a good case to be made against it. That would be much better reading than "nyah, nyah, Republicans hate Democrats who vote, nyah nyah."

Posted by: kevin whited on April 17, 2007 10:23 AM

Thanks for the lecture, Kevin. I've been making this point for two years now, and you've never addressed the substantive argument that the ID requirements have been shown to reduce voter participation among minorities, the poor, and the elderly, and that the charges of "voter fraud" that have been and are being used to justify them are themselves fraudulent. Forgive me, then, for accurately labelling Rep. Riddle in such a blunt manner. Some things are not worth my patience.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on April 17, 2007 12:21 PM

I am still waiting to hear a substantive policy reason to tighten voter ID requirements. The current system has worked well for decades with virtually no voter fraud, so what is the problem? The reality is that a picture ID requirement would be no problem for 98% of voters. However, there is a small group of elderly, minority voters (mostly loyal Democrats) who, for whatever reason, have never gotten a picture ID and probably never will. These voters will be disenfranchised by an ID requirement and - let's be perfectly honest - that is the goal of these bills.

Posted by: el_longhorn on April 17, 2007 1:24 PM

Also important to Voting Rights:
From Election Defense Alliance: ACTION Needed NOW:

Halt Holt's HR 811

Prior to Spring recess, the HCA was trying to "fast track" H.R. 811.
An unprecedented outpouring of citizen protest stopped them in their tracks.

Keep FAXING and pouring it on until Congress gets the message:

(Keep the unitary executive OUT of elections)

(The Holt bill supports them)

(Currently 85+% of our votes are counted in secret, with no citizen oversight)

From: Election Defense Alliance An ACTION Page:
Copy and Forward this Page Widely with this Link:
Halt Holt's HR 811

Feinstein Asks for All EAC Communications Processes concerning Voter Fraud

Today Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) sent a letter to Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which has oversight over the EAC, "expressing his concern over the revelations and asking her to examine the process by which the EAC report was produced. Menendez maintains that the use of the EAC to advance a political agenda is a blow to the integrity of the electoral system and that an investigation into the motivations behind the panel's report is warranted."


LATE UPDATE: Feinstein sends letter of inquiry on these matters to EAC, demanding all communications and processes leading to the alteration and/or hiding of both the EAC's "Voter Fraud" report and the report showing that Voter ID laws depress voter turnout.


Let's also keep an eye out on the READ ID bill as it too is very important.

REAL ID Act likely rejected

Texas likely to join list of states rejecting REAL ID Act

Judging by this week's House Defense Affairs Committee agendas, Texas won't be implementing the REAL ID Act this year because legislators don't want to fork over for the unfunded mandate. On Tuesday the committee will consider a resolution by Chairman Frank Corte requesting that Congress pay for the REAL ID Act if they want Texas to participate, and on Thursday they'll hear another by Carl Isett related to "refusing to implement the REAL ID Act of 2005."


But cost isn't the only reason cited in Isett's resolution for Texas' refusal to implement REAL ID:

In addition to unease about expense, provisions of the REAL ID Act raise concerns about data security and possible identity theft; the act requires statewide databases to be integrated and shared with the federal government, but does not establish clear security standards for the network nor designate an entity to control access to the system; and

WHEREAS, These ambiguities in the legislation make it more likely that information about a driver's license or ID card holder could be illegally accessed through another state's less secure system, creating a vulnerability where none currently exists and increasing the likelihood of the very threat the program was designed to minimize


Howver, the new data gathered because of Corte's changes last session has already been used by Governor Perry's Texas Fusion Center in ways that were never discussed during the legislative process. That episode was cause enough for me to oppose any future sharing of driver data until we rein in past abuses, so I'm glad to see Texas opt out of the REAL ID mess.


Posted by: Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on April 18, 2007 3:22 PM

from Bradblog: McClatchy: 'Missouri Was Ground Zero' For GOP 'Voter Fraud' Scam, Thor Hearne and ACVR at Center of Scheme

In a McClatchy article just out today, reporter Greg Gordon correctly identifies Missouri as "Ground Zero" in the Republican attempt to establish phony claims of Democratic "voter fraud" in order to institute new restrictions at the polls as part of an insidious ploy to Democratic-leaning voters from being able to cast their vote.

Posted by: Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on May 4, 2007 1:04 PM

NO Voter ID, NO Voter Suppression Bills. And, NO Data mining Democrats for political gain.

If Texas goes down with these voter suppression laws targeting Democratic women, minorities, students, poor and elderly, making it harder, if not impossible for Democrats to win in 2008 and beyond, then what are we left to do after being stripped of political power?

Among other possibilities, such as Impeachment (see below), to regain stolen political power:



Are Rove's missing e-mails the smoking guns of the stolen 2004 election?

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
April 25, 2007

E-mails being sought from Karl Rove's computers, and recent revelations about critical electronic conflicts of interest, may be the smoking guns of Ohio's stolen 2004 election. A thorough recount of ballots and electronic files. preserved by a federal lawsuit, could tell the tale.


In January, 2005, the U.S. Congress hosted the first challenge to a state's Electoral College delegation in our nation's history. At the time, the compromised security of the official Ohio electronic reporting systems was not public knowledge. But the first attempt to subpoena Karl Rove's computer files had already failed.

Now a second attempt to gain such access is being mounted as the Gonzales scandal deepens.

Congressman Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) has raised "particular concerns about Karl Rove" and his electronic communications about the Gonzales firings.

Rove claims both his own computer records and the RNC's servers have been purged of e-mails through the time the Ohio vote was being reversed. Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, has told a Congressional inquiry that Rove mistakenly believed his messages to the RNC "were being archived" there.

But the RNC says it has no e-mail records for Rove before 2005. Rob Kelner, an RNC lawyer says efforts to recreate the lost records have had some success. But it's not yet known whether communications from the 2004 election can be retrieved.

Nor is it known whether the joint access allowed to top GOP operatives Rove and Blackwell was responsible for the election-night reversal that put Bush back in the White House.

But there remains another avenue by which the real outcome of Ohio 2004 could be discovered. Longstanding federal law protected Ohio's ballots and other election documentation prior to September 3, 2006. Blackwell gave clear orders that these crucial records were to be destroyed on that date.

Prior to the expiration of the federal statutory protection, a civil rights lawsuit was filed in the federal court of Judge Algernon Marbley, asking that the remaining records be preserved. The request was granted in what has become known as the King-Lincoln Bronzeville suit (co-author Bob Fitrakis is an attorney in the case, and Harvey Wasserman is a plaintiff).

Thus, by federal law, the actual ballots and electronic records should be available for the kind of exhaustive recount that was illegally denied---or "rigged," as prosecutors in Cleveland have put it---by Blackwell, Bennett and their cohorts the first time around.

Ohio's newly-elected Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, has agreed to take custody of these materials, and to bring them to a central repository, probably in Columbus.

This means that an exhaustive recount could show who really did win the presidential election of 2004.

It may also be possible to learn what roles---electronic or otherwise---Karl Rove and J. Kenneth Blackwell really did play during those crucial 90 minutes in the deep night, when the presidency somehow slipped from John Kerry to George W. Bush.

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA'S 2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008, available at www.freepress.org and, with Steve Rosenfeld, of WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO?, from the New Press. Fitrakis is publisher, and Wasserman is senior editor, of www.freepress.org.


Sounds good to me, especially if counted soon, before Hurricane season to save our families on the coast. And, especially since the Climate is collapsing faster than scientist had thought. Who really knows when that tipping point is past? Except we know the climate is collapsing faster and faster. And, we know that the GOP are ignoring the problem.

Dear Senator Kerry, if you are waiting to be asked, then I am begging, please count Ohio's votes. And, if you won, then hire Al Gore, John Edwards, Jim Webb, Nancy Pelosi, and James Lee Witt among other caring and competent people to clean up the Bush/GOP disasters and save our Democracy and our Planet, and therefore, Us.


Heroes, sung and unsung
by David Swanson
April 7, 2007


Last night in a bar in Austin, Texas, we held a family reunion for the peace movement. The occasion was the presentation of the Camp Casey Peace Awards. Much of the evening was devoted to the incredibly powerful anti-war music of Carolyn Wonderland, Emma's Revolution , Hank Woji , and Jesse Dyen, each of whom had a crowd on their feet and moving as well as sitting and feeling like crying. Carolyn sang Willie Nelson's "What Happened to Peace on Earth" beautifully with Willie and his wife Annie sitting ten feet away and cheering.

The Nelsons were given an award for all the work they've done to promote peace and all the help they've given to Camp Casey. Cindy Sheehan presented the award. Mimi Kennedy presented an award to the amazing Jodie Evans, co-founder of Code Pink. Jim Hightower presented an award to Ann Wright and Veterans for Peace, without whom I don't think we'd have a peace movement or a Camp Casey. Ann Wright presented an award to the Crawford Peace House and its leaders, who brought peace activism to Crawford before Camp Casey and made Camp Casey work when it arrived. And Cindy gave an award to the young creator of online peace videos Ava Lowery. It would be hard to imagine a more deserving bunch.

But appreciation was handed out also to many of the people in the room, which was filled with a mix of Texans and peace activists from around the country. I was especially pleased to meet for the first time a member of the Texas state legislature, Lon Burnam. Burnam was already a hero of mine for having introduced into the legislature this year a resolution to petition the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach Bush and Cheney. Between this year and last, nine states have seen such resolutions introduced, two of which have come close to passing. The chief sponsors of those nine bills are worthy of the name hero, and really ought to be the focus of public movements to draft them to run next year for Congress. In each case, they have already served their nation better and upheld the oath taken by members of Congress better than any member of their states' delegations. They are:

Lon Burnam TX
Gerald Ortiz y Pino NM
Eric Oemig WA
Paul Koretz CA
Daryl Pillsbury VT
Karen Yarbrough IL
Jamilah Nasheed MO
Frank Boyle WI
Keith Ellison MN


Posted by: Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on May 4, 2007 3:00 PM

HOLT's HR 811 in 2008 will be Bush V Gore, Part 2

Paul Lehto sheds some light on Florida

How does giving "almost all" Florida voters "access" to paper ballots comply with equal protection from Bush v Gore (2000) which required that all voters be uniformly treated with "equal dignity" and not subject to different standards? Paperless DREs are banned only as of 2012. Diversity in the 2008 voting systems in Florida insures that more equal protection challenges can be made. I'm assuming there's a sophisticated legal strategy to protect this but it doesn't appear to me to be one strong enough to stay out of the courts.

If it gets into the Courts then we can expect Bush v Gore, part II. Last time they stayed and terminated the recount that was statewide, after denying the partial recount Gore requested below as violative of equal protection. no partial recount, no full recount. Then we "ran out of time" on the December 13 deadline, the Bush v. Gore opinion being dated december 12. So that's why Bush v. Gore effectively decided the presidency.

So, since all Holt does is propose a partial recount or partial audit, and it is after the election, what are the chances that a republican will run into a court with a copy of Scalia's opinion and order of stay saying that Bush's "apparent victory" would be irreparably harmed by a recount or audit, and getting even a lower judge to stop the recount or audit?

Stay tuned. But it's just re-runs folks. Those who don't remember their history are condemned to live their entire lives as children.


Come On Kids...MoveOn, PFAW, CommonCause...the above describes Holt's HR 811 which you all seem to still like.

For Proof Positive:

VoteRescue.org for Hand Counted Paper Ballots


TX State Rep.Burnam HB 3894 for Hand Counted Paper Ballots

Posted by: Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on May 5, 2007 2:07 PM