Voting Law Proposals and Voting Rights Efforts (1 Viewer)

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    MT15

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    This is, IMO, going to be a big topic in the coming year. Republicans have stated their aim to make voting more restrictive in just about every state where they have the means to do so. Democrats would like to pass the Voting Rights Bill named after John Lewis. I’m going to go look up the map of all the states which have pending legislation to restrict voting. Now that we have the election in the rear view, I thought we could try to make this a general discussion thread, where people who have concerns about voting abuses can post as well and we can discuss it from both sides. Please keep memes out of this thread and put them in the boards where we go to talk about the other side, lol.
     
    In Shasta county, a conservative stronghold of 180,000 in the far north of blue California, a new vision for elections is taking shape: paper ballots, no machines and results tallied entirely by hand.

    It’s a vision predicated on the false belief that voting machines helped to steal the presidency from Donald Trump, and that the systems by which millions of Americans vote are unsafe. But in Shasta, they just might make that vision reality

    Shasta became a hotbed for far-right politics in the pandemic years, and election deniers have found allies on the county’s governing body, the board of supervisors. In March the board’s hard-right majority cut ties with Dominion Voting Systems, the company at the center of baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud.

    Last week the supervisors took steps to replace it with a hand-count system. The county ended its contract with Dominion before establishing a replacement and now, with a potential special election months away and the presidential primary a year out, it has no voting system in place as it embarks on a plan to create an entirely new system from scratch.

    The registrar of voters, the elected official who oversees voting in the county, warned it would be a challenging and time-consuming effort – requiring more than 1,200 new workers at a cost of at least $1.6m – and still far less accurate than the machines the county has used for years. The deputy secretary of state has warned the county could violate multiple federal and state laws by not selecting a certified voting system. But the board of supervisors moved ahead.

    The county’s decision could have long-lasting consequences for the region and provide a framework for election deniers on how to advance their agenda across the US, all while giving oxygen to false claims that the nation’s voting technology is compromised……..

    This is an election that everyone who complained about how long it took to get the election results, and how they were incorrect.....should pay very close attention to. I suspect that it will take a significant amount of time to hand count 180,000 paper ballots by hand, and I would hope that they count them at least twice to ensure that the counts are identical before claiming the results are correct.
     
    I'm not sure if this is the right folder for this...but...oh...my...god....

    "A Republican in Florida's Legislature has filed a bill that, if enacted, would eliminate the Florida Democratic Party...."

     
    There is a saying by a very wise woman about believing people when they show you who they are. We’ve been shown.
     
    From the people’s republic of Texas:

     
    In 2018, Tomas Ramirez III, a lawyer in the small town of Devine, Texas, ran as a Republican for justice of the peace and was elected to serve Medina county.

    Two years later, the Texas attorney general’s office charged him with one count of engaging in organized election fraud, 17 counts of unlawful possession of a ballot, and 17 counts of unlawfully assisting voting by mail. The indictment accused 57-year-old Ramirez of illegally harvesting the ballots during the 2018 GOP primary.

    Ramirez, who said he never possessed anyone’s ballot, did not understand why the state would bring the charges against him. He suspected that the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, needed something to back up his public claims of widespread voter fraud, and was willing to file charges against Ramirez and three women despite incredibly weak evidence.

    The charges were ultimately dismissed – the state filed them again twice, but they were dismissed two more times – but Ramirez said the 19-month-long ordeal was hard on his family and jeopardized the future of his legal practice.

    “To have to go through that process was pretty rough,” he said. “All the while, all I can do is shake my head and say, what on earth is happening and why is this happening to me.”

    Texas’s legislature is currently considering several proposals to criminalize voters further, including a measure to enact election marshals who would enforce election law and respond to violations.

    Another proposal would further empower the attorney general to prosecute election crimes without support from local prosecutors.

    The proposals come in a state that’s one of more than a dozen to pass restrictive voting laws after the 2020 election, and where voting rights advocates say ballot access is already restricted in numerous, burdensome ways.

    “These bills seem to be wanting to prosecute widespread voter fraud, yet there’s no evidence for these being needed right now other than conjecture or partisan politics,” said Katya Ehresman, the voting rights program manager for Common Cause Texas.

    She said that often lawmakers like Paxton in Texas use the biannual legislative session to “create political theater” that will help them in their bids for re-election.

    Voter fraud in Texas, like elsewhere in the US, is extremely rare. According to ProPublica, Paxton’s unit dedicated to pursuing election crimes opened at least 390 cases between January 2020 and September 2022, but secured just five convictions.

    “They were spending millions of dollars to close like three or four cases a year,” said Daniel Griffith, senior policy director for non-partisan organization Secure Democracy USA.

    Paxton has continued to tout his office’s work anyway, claiming a large number of defendants facing even more counts of voter fraud…….

     
    NASHVILLE — A top Republican legal strategist told a roomful of GOP donors over the weekend that conservatives must band together to limit voting on college campuses, same-day voter registration and automatic mailing of ballots to registered voters, according to a copy of her presentation reviewed by The Washington Post.


    Cleta Mitchell, a longtime GOP lawyer and fundraiser who worked closely with former president Donald Trump to try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, gave the presentation at a Republican National Committee donor retreat in Nashville on Saturday.


    The presentation — which had more than 50 slides and was labeled “A Level Playing Field for 2024” — offered a window into a strategy that seems designed to reduce voter access and turnout among certain groups, including students and those who vote by mail, both of which tend to skew Democratic.

    Mitchell did not respond to a request for comment, and it is unclear whether she delivered the presentation exactly as it was prepared on her PowerPoint slides.

    But in addition to the presentation, The Post listened to audio of portions of the presentation obtained by liberal journalist Lauren Windsor in which Mitchell discussed limiting campus and early voting.


    “What are these college campus locations?” she asked, according to the audio. “What is this young people effort that they do? They basically put the polling place next to the student dorm so they just have to roll out of bed, vote, and go back to bed.”…………



     
    A proposed change to voting rules in Pennsylvania could have a profound impact on the course of the next presidential election and prevent much of the chaos that followed the 2020 vote.

    A committee in the state House voted to pass a bill that would allow election administrators to prepare mail-in ballots for counting ahead of election day, Vote Beat reported. The process, which is known as “pre-canvassing,” involves opening envelopes, flattening the ballots and readying them for counting.

    Although it may seem like a small change, it could significantly reduce the time it takes to tally votes and limit the spread of misinformation in the interim.

    The rules over mail-in ballots have been a point of contention between Democrats and Republicans for years, but the issue exploded during the 2020 election when the Covid-19 pandemic led to a surge in people voting by mail — the vast majority of them Democrats.


    Prior to the 2020 election, democracy advocacy groups warned that early counting would show Republicans with a false lead due to in-person votes being counted faster than mail-in ballots. Many feared the Trump campaign would use the so-called “red mirage” to block the remaining ballots from being counted, using a baseless accusation of fraud to justify it………

     
    On a typical day during the 2022 elections in Arizona, threatening emails and social media posts flowed into Maricopa county’s inboxes.

    Emailers, social media posters and callers were mad about everything from printer problems on election day to vote counting to court rulings, documents obtained by the Guardian show.

    “Election stealing piece of shirt – get cancer,” one person wrote to a county elections official.

    “You cheating sons of birches every last one of you should swing for treason,” a Twitter account wrote to the county.

    “You deserve to be executed in front of America by Firing Squad,” another wrote to the county supervisors.

    Nearly all of the perpetrators of these threats believe that the election was stolen from the candidate they wanted to win. In 2022, the threats regularly mentioned the election being stolen from Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who, despite her loss, has not conceded the race and is still fighting it in court.

    These kinds of harassing and threatening messages have become the new normal for elections officials, especially those in swing states such as Arizona. Since Maricopa county became a frequent target in 2020 after Trump lost both it and the state, the county has worked to catalogue and respond to threats to protect its employees and try to hold the people making these threats accountable, creating one of the most robust threat monitoring and response systems in the nation. County officials hope the system will help them in 2024, when they anticipate a rise in threats.

    After 2020, it seemed, more people felt empowered to threaten elections officials, egged on by politicians who continued to spread election lies, said Paul Penzone, the sheriff of Maricopa county.

    The number of threats against Maricopa county elections officials increased in 2022 compared with 2020, though the county improved and perfected the way it catalogued threats, making a direct comparison difficult. In 2022, the county processed 386 threats – more than one a day. Penzone said that 2024 could be even worse……

    The threatening messages fall along common themes: they mention treason, saying the penalty for it is death, sometimes adding in the word or imagery of hanging. They say that “we the people” are watching officials’ moves. They bring up jail or prison, bloodshed, violence, war or the second amendment. Some are blatantly homophobic, antisemitic, sexist.

    Some willingly sign their names to their screeds, sometimes leaving their phone number or address, a sign that they don’t believe there could be repercussions. Depending on the content of a message and directness of a threat, though, the county reaches out to law enforcement for further investigation and potential prosecution.

    Over the past few years, in response to rising threats, Maricopa county has beefed up the way it monitors and responds to these kinds of messages.

    When a direct or indirect threat comes in, anyone in the county can send an email to an internal email address to document the threat, which then creates a ticket that can be responded to, similar to how an employee would file a ticket if they needed computer help. From there, analysts look over the threat and decide whether it should be forwarded to law enforcement agencies in Arizona and at the federal level.

    Whether law enforcement decides to investigate or, eventually, prosecute is out of county election officials’ hands.

    Some threats come directly to the county, via social media messages, emails or phone calls. But the county also proactively monitors certain corners of the internet where people toss around threats and plan responses, funneling those into the monitoring system as well…….


    For people who answer the phones, the county trains them on how to handle difficult callers by attempting to defuse and deescalate the situation.

    The training follows a “Triple A” strategy of apologizing, acknowledging and assuring callers. If a caller continues to harass, the employee should provide a warning about their inappropriate behavior and let them know they will hang up if it continues.

    “You are not expected to be subjected to continued verbal abuse from callers,” says a training document obtained by the Guardian.

    If a person calls and makes threats, the county advises the employee to remain calm and try to gather as much information as possible, like the caller’s name and target of their threat.

    Immediately after the call, the employee is directed to report the incident to a supervisor so it can be documented and responded to…….



     
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    Florida Republicans are on the verge of passing new restrictions on groups that register voters, a move voting rights groups and experts say will make it harder for non-white Floridians to get on the rolls.

    The restrictions are part of a sweeping 96-page election bill the legislature is likely to send to Governor Ron DeSantis’s desk soon. The measure increases fines for third-party voter registration groups. It also shortens the amount of time the groups have to turn in any voter registration applications they collect from 14 days to 10.

    The bill makes it illegal for non-citizens and people convicted of certain felonies to “collect or handle” voter registration applications on behalf of third-party groups. Groups would also have to give each voter they register a receipt and be required to register themselves with the state ahead of each general election cycle.

    Under current law, they only have to register once and their registration remains effective indefinitely.

    Groups can now be fined $50,000 for each ineligible person they hire to do voter canvassing. They can also be fined $50 a day, up to $2,500, for each day late they turn in a voter registration form.

    Those restrictions are more likely to affect non-white Floridians. About one in 10 Black and Hispanic Floridians registered to vote using a third party group, according to Daniel Smith, a political science professor at the University of Florida who closely studies voting rights. Non-white voters are five times more likely to register with a third-party group in the state than their white counterparts, “a fact likely not lost on those pushing the legislation”, Smith said.

    “This will likely be the final nail in the coffin for third party groups to be able to register voters in Florida,” added Smith, who has served as an expert for groups challenging similar new restrictions.

    The bill passed the Florida senate on Wednesday and is expected to clear the Florida House later this week………

     
    ORLANDO — The fallout came fast when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s new election police unit charged Peter Washington with voter fraud last summer as part of a crackdown against felons who’d allegedly broken the law by casting a ballot.


    The Orlando resident lost his job supervising irrigation projects, and along with it, his family’s health insurance.

    His wife dropped her virtual classes at Florida International University to help pay their rent. Future plans went out the window.


    “It knocked me to my knees, if you want to know the truth,” he said.

    But not long after, the case against Washington began falling apart. A Ninth Judicial Circuit judge ruled the statewide prosecutor who filed the charges didn’t actually have jurisdiction to do so.

    Washington’s attorney noted that he had received an official voter identification card in the mail after registering. The case was dismissed in February.


    One by one, many of the initial 20 arrests announced by the Office of Election Crimes and Security have stumbled in court. Six cases have been dismissed. Five other defendants accepted plea deals that resulted in no jail time. Only one case has gone to trial, resulting in a split verdict.

    The others are pending.
In its first nine months, the new unit made just four other arrests, according to a report the agency released earlier this year. Critics say the low numbers point to the overall strength of Florida’s electoral system and a lack of sufficient evidence to pursue further charges.

    Nonetheless, as he gears up for a possible presidential run, DeSantis is moving to give the office more teeth, asking the legislature to nearly triple the division’s annual budget from $1.2 million to $3.1 million.

    The Republican governor also pushed through a bill ensuring the statewide prosecutor has jurisdiction over election crime cases — an attempt to resolve an issue several judges have raised in dismissing cases……..

     
    ORLANDO — The fallout came fast when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s new election police unit charged Peter Washington with voter fraud last summer as part of a crackdown against felons who’d allegedly broken the law by casting a ballot.


    The Orlando resident lost his job supervising irrigation projects, and along with it, his family’s health insurance.

    His wife dropped her virtual classes at Florida International University to help pay their rent. Future plans went out the window.


    “It knocked me to my knees, if you want to know the truth,” he said.

    But not long after, the case against Washington began falling apart. A Ninth Judicial Circuit judge ruled the statewide prosecutor who filed the charges didn’t actually have jurisdiction to do so.

    Washington’s attorney noted that he had received an official voter identification card in the mail after registering. The case was dismissed in February.


    One by one, many of the initial 20 arrests announced by the Office of Election Crimes and Security have stumbled in court. Six cases have been dismissed. Five other defendants accepted plea deals that resulted in no jail time. Only one case has gone to trial, resulting in a split verdict.

    The others are pending.
In its first nine months, the new unit made just four other arrests, according to a report the agency released earlier this year. Critics say the low numbers point to the overall strength of Florida’s electoral system and a lack of sufficient evidence to pursue further charges.

    Nonetheless, as he gears up for a possible presidential run, DeSantis is moving to give the office more teeth, asking the legislature to nearly triple the division’s annual budget from $1.2 million to $3.1 million.

    The Republican governor also pushed through a bill ensuring the statewide prosecutor has jurisdiction over election crime cases — an attempt to resolve an issue several judges have raised in dismissing cases……..

    That bill was a whole lot of political nonsense that did nothing but unjustifiably wreck the lives of the accused. Bastads responsible for writing this law deserve to rot.
     
    That bill was a whole lot of political nonsense that did nothing but unjustifiably wreck the lives of the accused. Bastads responsible for writing this law deserve to rot.
    It may have done more than that

    The article ends with this

    ====================================
    ………For Washington, the lesson of it all is clear: Voting is dangerous.


    He knows now he can’t vote — unless he applies for and receives clemency — but he’s telling others they should be wary of it, too, even if they don’t have a criminal record.

    One of his adult children has already decided he won’t be casting a ballot. A friend is doubting it, too.
“I told him I wouldn’t advise it,” he said.

    “Because it’s a trap.”……..
    =============================

    Making people scared to vote. They’re telling others not to vote.

    Like Trump and adding the citizenship question to the census. They knew it wouldn’t hold up, the goal was to get people scared to fill it out

    You can argue that this law is working as intended. The people who influenced/scared to vote may be much greater than the 20 people charged, even if all 20 are dismissed as BS if 200 people don’t vote in the next election that’s a win

    The damage is done and may never be undone
     
    It may have done more than that

    The article ends with this

    ====================================
    ………For Washington, the lesson of it all is clear: Voting is dangerous.


    He knows now he can’t vote — unless he applies for and receives clemency — but he’s telling others they should be wary of it, too, even if they don’t have a criminal record.

    One of his adult children has already decided he won’t be casting a ballot. A friend is doubting it, too.
“I told him I wouldn’t advise it,” he said.

    “Because it’s a trap.”……..
    =============================

    Making people scared to vote. They’re telling others not to vote.

    Like Trump and adding the citizenship question to the census. They knew it wouldn’t hold up, the goal was to get people scared to fill it out

    You can argue that this law is working as intended. The people who influenced/scared to vote may be much greater than the 20 people charged, even if all 20 are dismissed as BS if 200 people don’t vote in the next election that’s a win

    The damage is done and may never be undone
    Indeed. It's terrible. I don't get people sometimes.
     
    CNN) — Republican-controlled legislatures around the country have moved to erect new barriers to voting for high school and college students in what state lawmakers describe as an effort to clamp down on potential voter fraud. Critics call it a blatant attempt to suppress the youth vote as young people increasingly bolster Democratic candidates and liberal causes at the ballot box.

    As turnout among young voters grows, new proposals that change photo ID requirements or impose other limits have emerged.

    Laws enacted in Idaho this year, for instance, prohibit the use of student IDs to register to vote or cast ballots. A new law in Ohio, in effect for the first time in Tuesday’s primary elections, requires voters to present government-authorized photo ID at the polls, but student IDs are not included.

    Identification issued by universities has not traditionally been accepted to vote in the Buckeye State, but the new law eliminates the use of utility bills, bank statements and other documents that students have used before.

    A proposal in Texas would eliminate all campus polling places in the state. Meanwhile, officials in Montana – where Democrat Jon Tester is seeking a fourth term in one of 2024’s highest-profile Senate contests – have appealed a court decision striking down additional document requirements for those using student IDs to vote.

    And voting rights advocates say a longstanding statute in Georgia, which bars the use of student IDs from private universities, has made it more difficult for students at several schools – including Spelman and Morehouse, storied HBCUs in Atlanta – to participate in Georgia’s competitive US Senate and presidential elections……


     
    From the people’s republic of Texas:


    I just read up on this bill. For context, it only applies to counties with a population over 1 million. That is only 6 counties in Texas currently, 3 in Dallas/Fort Worth, 1 in Houston, 1 in Austin, and 1 in San Antonio. You know…strongholds of Republican voters.
     
    I just read up on this bill. For context, it only applies to counties with a population over 1 million. That is only 6 counties in Texas currently, 3 in Dallas/Fort Worth, 1 in Houston, 1 in Austin, and 1 in San Antonio. You know…strongholds of Republican voters.
    They’re not even trying to hide it.
     

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