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.
     
    ……..By Georgia standards, voting on 12 March was a snore. Only about one in eight registered voters turned out for the lightly contested presidential primary, and little else was on the ballot in most places.

    So far this year, Georgia has escaped all-encompassing mobilization and multimillion-dollar ad blitzes accompanying its fate as the center ring of America’s political circus.

    But the show is always on in Fulton county, because a small army of Republican lawmakers, political appointees and activists wait off stage for a pretext to attack even small mistakes.

    Despite the common refrain that there is no such thing as a perfect election, Fulton county’s registration and elections office is under immense pressure to perform perfectly.

    Christine Propst, a Fulton county resident who has been a Republican poll watcher and has challenged the voter registrations of at least 20 people over the last two years, reported her findings on Monday: from 30 polling locations, the party’s poll watchers noted problems with 15 poll pads, five voting machines, three printers for paper ballots and some power strips, she said.

    These incidents included a problem with a sign-in electronic pad in Roswell, which had been sent to one polling location while pre-programmed for another. The location had three other fully functional pads, and the malfunctioning one was fixed around noon.

    On a day when the location never had more than a dozen people in line to vote, the problem didn’t interfere with anything; election day was utterly devoid of real disruptions. “I can report that at no point did any voting stop” anywhere in the county, said Nadine Williams, who has been Fulton county’s director of registration and elections since January 2023. “There were no reports of any voting that was interrupted or any voters that couldn’t proceed.”

    Nonetheless, the two Republicans appointed to Fulton’s five-person elections board voted against certifying the primary election at a meeting on Monday. The board managed to approve certification on a 3-2 vote, but Republican dissent after an election without obvious irregularities bodes ill for how Republicans might approach results in November…….

    The 2021 law permitting a state takeover requires a panel to find that a county made three or more violations of state election law or rules in the previous two election cycles without fixing those violations, or that the county has shown “nonfeasance, malfeasance or gross negligence” in two elections over two years.


    The law doesn’t say how serious those violations need to be.

    Sheer scale means larger, urban counties like Fulton, which has about 750,000 active voters, are more likely to make a mistake and thus more vulnerable to a state takeover than a rural county like Bleckley, two hours south of Atlanta with 7,500 voters. One hundred times as many voters means one hundred times as many opportunities for a violation.…….

     
    Emily Cook remembers that she never ate her blueberry muffin.

    It was election day in November 2022, and Cook was the deputy director in the election office in Luzerne county, an industrial swath of north-east Pennsylvania.

    Soon after voting started, Cook started to hear piecemeal reports of a problem at the polls: some locations didn’t have enough paper. When she got to her office, multiple phones were thrust into her hands, each with a crisis. By the time election day was over, she had forgotten about the muffin.

    Then came the harassment. In the following weeks, people started showing up at meetings, furious about the incident, believing the mishap had been an intentional effort to suppress the vote (an investigation attributed the problem to human error). Cook and other people in the election office received vile threats.


    Cook, who is 26 and grew up in Luzerne county, recognized many of the people making them.

    “You get very numb,” she said. “It would be lying if I said I didn’t take it personally. I know exactly who made those comments and I will carry that with me for the rest of my life.”

    Walter Griffith, the county controller whose office is down the hall from Cook’s, was blunter. “She’s been through some shirt,” he said. “Some serious shirt.”

    The problems that plague Luzerne county are a crystallization of a significant problem in election offices across the country.

    Since 2020, when Donald Trump and his allies began to question and overturn the results of the election, a flood of election officials have left the profession, facing threats and harassment.

    In Pennsylvania, top officials in 40 of the state’s 67 counties had left between the 2020 election and late 2023, according to the state’s top election official.

    That means people like Cook are thrust into even higher-pressure roles during an even higher-stakes election year.

    About a month ago, the director of the election bureau abruptly resigned after roughly a year. Cook, who has also served as an administrative assistant and operations manager, took over the job and was named the acting election director with a little over two months before the state’s primary election.…..

     
    PHOENIX — Justice Department officials said reports of widespread threats against officials running the 2020 and 2022 elections have resulted in charges against roughly 20 people, with more than a half dozen receiving sentences between one and 3½ years.


    But the federal officials said at a news conference in Arizona on Monday that it remains to be seen if the stiff sentences will serve as an effective deterrent to would-be-criminals in future election cycles.


    “Let these cases be a lesson not to take or attempt to take the rule of law into one’s own hands,” said U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino, Arizona’s top federal prosecutor…..

     
    An Ohio man who threatened to kill Arizonagovernor Katie Hobbs in 2022 has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison.

    Joshua Russell, 44, was sentenced in federal court on Monday. He pleaded guilty to sending threatening messages to then-Arizona Secretary of State between 2 Aug 2022 and 15 November 2022.

    At the time, Ms Hobbs was the state’s top election official and running for governor against Donald Trump ally Kari Lake.

    Between August and the end of the 2022 midterm elections, Russell, of Bucyrus, Ohio, made several calls to the Arizona Secretary of State's office threatening to kill Ms Hobbs, say prosecutors.

    He called her a traitor, warned her that a "war" was coming, claimed she was a communist, and insisted that she was committing election fraud.

    “This message is for traitor [Ms Hobbs]. You’ve drug your feet, you’ve done nothing, to protect our election for 2020. You’re committing election fraud, you’re starting to do it again, from day one," Russell said in his first call, according to the Department of Justice.

    "You’re the enemy of the United States, you’re a traitor to this country, and you better put your sh[inaudible], your [expletive] affairs in order, ’cause your days [inaudible] are extremely numbered. America’s coming for you, and you will pay with your life, you communist [expletive] traitor [expletive].”…….

     
    In a significant win for voting rights, the Montanasupreme court on Wednesday struck down four voting restrictions passed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature in 2021.

    In a 125-page opinion, the state’s highest court affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the four laws, passed in the wake of Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, violate the state constitution. The laws had ended same-day voter registration, removed student ID cards as a permissible form of voter ID, prohibited third parties from returning ballots and barred the distribution of mail-in ballots to voters who would turn 18 by election day.

    After a nine-day trial, the lower court found that the laws would make it harder for some state residents to register to vote and cast a ballot.


    A spokesperson for the Republican secretary of state, Christi Jacobsen, who appealed the lower court decision in an attempt to get the laws reinstated, said that she was “devastated” by the supreme court decision.

    “Her commitment to election integrity will not waver by this narrow adoption of judicial activism that is certain to fall on the wrong side of history,” the spokesperson, Richie Melby, wrote in a statement. “State and county election officials have been punched in the gut.”

    The Montana Democratic party, one of the parties that sued over the restrictive voting laws along with Native American and youth voting rights groups, called the ruling a “tremendous victory for democracy, Native voters, and young people across the state of Montana”.……

     
    In a significant win for voting rights, the Montanasupreme court on Wednesday struck down four voting restrictions passed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature in 2021.

    In a 125-page opinion, the state’s highest court affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the four laws, passed in the wake of Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss, violate the state constitution. The laws had ended same-day voter registration, removed student ID cards as a permissible form of voter ID, prohibited third parties from returning ballots and barred the distribution of mail-in ballots to voters who would turn 18 by election day.

    After a nine-day trial, the lower court found that the laws would make it harder for some state residents to register to vote and cast a ballot.


    A spokesperson for the Republican secretary of state, Christi Jacobsen, who appealed the lower court decision in an attempt to get the laws reinstated, said that she was “devastated” by the supreme court decision.

    “Her commitment to election integrity will not waver by this narrow adoption of judicial activism that is certain to fall on the wrong side of history,” the spokesperson, Richie Melby, wrote in a statement. “State and county election officials have been punched in the gut.”

    The Montana Democratic party, one of the parties that sued over the restrictive voting laws along with Native American and youth voting rights groups, called the ruling a “tremendous victory for democracy, Native voters, and young people across the state of Montana”.……


    Good to see that there are still patriots committed to rooting out the nefarious election fraud methods of... let me check here... voting while of age and in college. Fricking aholes...
     
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    In December, a Texas man named Kevin Moncla emailed Georgia election board members in response to their decision not to investigate the secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, over bogus election fraud claims. Moncla made a vague threat that he was willing to take things outside the bounds of his increasingly frustrated emails.

    The communication alarmed members of the state election board (SEB) enough to contact federal law enforcement.

    Moncla’s email was one among hundreds of communications sent by a small but aggressive group of election deniers since former president Donald Trump’s loss in Georgia in 2020 as part of a relentless pressure campaign directed at Georgia officials to investigate unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud – and to implement policies based on those claims that will affect how elections are run in Georgia.


    “We can address these matters publicly or privately – but make no mistake, they will be addressed,” Moncla told members of the board in the email that prompted Georgia election officials to ask the FBI to investigate him.

    Moncla is among a small group of election deniers who have relentlessly hounded the Georgia SEB and other officials on a weekly and sometimes daily basis to investigate mostly unfounded allegations of widespread voter fraud. He has been joined in his pursuit of conspiratorial election fraud claims by Joe Rossi, a teacher at a technical college in Macon, and David Cross, a self-described financial adviser who is second vice-chair of the Georgia GOP. The trio have made a name for themselves in election denier circles, with their work being cited across a rightwing ecosystem of influential websites, social media accounts and even within prominent political circles.

    Since November 2020, Moncla and his fellow election deniers have emailed the SEB to file complaints based on technical glitches, human errors and in many cases outright false claims of widespread election fraud in Georgia. The complaints follow the playbook of rightwing activists and citizens across the state who have been inundating local election offices with public records requests in attempts to prove conspiracies about widespread voter fraud.

    The Guardian obtained hundreds of pages of their communications, which span from just after Trump’s 2020 loss through January. The emails show not only the length to which the trio of election deniers have gone in pressuring officials to investigate claims of voter fraud, but how those efforts have succeeded in lending those claims an air of credibility.

    In one case, Rossi found 36 “inconsistencies” on ballots processed by election workers in Fulton county, home of the state’s largest city, Atlanta. Those errors were substantiated by Governor Brian Kemp’s office and, eventually, the SEB, which found the erroneously counted ballots “were a fractional number of the votes counted and did not affect the outcome” of the 2020 election. The SEB found Fulton county in violation of state election law for the errors.…..

     
    Shortly before midnight on 14 February 2021, James Clark tapped out a message on his home computer in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, that would change his own life and shatter the peace of mind of several others.

    Clark, then 38, was surfing the internet having been drinking and taking drugs. Social media platforms were overflowing with heated debate around Donald Trump’s false claim that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from him.

    Five days earlier, Trump’s second impeachment trial had opened over his alleged incitement of the insurrection at the US Capitol. Over in the battleground state of Arizona the online debate was especially raucous, with conspiracy theories raging that the vote count had been rigged.

    Though Clark lived 2,700 miles away from Phoenix, the Arizona capital, he felt driven to intervene. He found the contact page of the state’s top election official and typed: “Your attorney general needs to resign by Tuesday February 16th by 9am or the explosive device impacted in her personal space will be detonated.”


    Then he signed the message “Donny Dee”, and hit send.

    Clark’s bomb threat was discovered two days later, with instant seismic effect. Terrified staff fled from the state executive office building, sniffer dogs scoured several floors, and top state officials had to shelter in place.

    Four months after the panic at the Arizona executive building, the US Department of Justice circulated a memo to all federal prosecutors and FBI agents. There had been a “significant increase in the threat of violence against Americans who administer free and fair elections”, the memo said.

    The increase in threats amounted to “a threat to democracy. We will promptly and vigorously prosecute offenders.”

    The memo announced the formation of a new unit within the justice department, the election threats taskforce. Its job was to respond to a phenomenon that had barely existed before Trump unleashed his 2020 stolen election lie – violent and abusive messages, including death threats, specifically targeting election officials and their families.

    The taskforce was devised as a crack multi-disciplinary team bringing together experts from across the justice department and linking them with local FBI and US attorney offices. Its mission: to protect election officials from the intimidation let loose by Trump, by coming down hard on perpetrators.


    As the November presidential election fast approaches, the taskforce faces its greatest challenge. With Trump back on the ballot, and with swing states such as Arizona continuing to be roiled by election denial, the federal unit is at the frontlines of what promises to be a combustible election year.

    Much is riding on it. The Brennan Center, a non-partisan law and policy institute, has estimated that since 2020, three election officials have quit their jobs on average every two days – that’s equivalent to about one in five of those who run US elections nationwide bowing out in the face of toxic hostility.…….

    One of the striking features of the taskforce is the relatively few cases it has prosecuted compared with the mountain of hostile communications that has been dumped on the election community in the Trump era. In its early stages, the unit invited election offices around the country to forward all the offensive material to its Washington headquarters and was inundated with thousands of obscene, abusive and hostile messages.

    But when it pored over the reports it found that up to 95% of them failed to meet the threshold for conducting even a criminal investigation, let alone prosecution. That standard was set by the US supreme court in the 2003 ruling Virginia v Black, which weighed the need to shield public servants from criminal threats of violence against the robust protections for political speech under the first amendment of the US constitution.

    The court’s conclusion was that for a communication to be a crime it has to be a “true threat”. The justices defined that as a “serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence”.

    Most of the messages reviewed by the taskforce were distressing and inappropriate, certainly, but in its analysis fell short of that criminal bar. They were indirect rather than direct, implicit rather than explicit, ambiguous and aspirational rather than an active statement of intent to carry out illegal violence.……

     
    It is wild to me how some twitter dude can get states to make such changes

    Donald Trump and Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen endorsed legislation that would take Omaha’s potentially decisive electoral vote out of play for Democrats, hours after conservative activist Charlie Kirk’s Tuesday X post suggesting it

    (5 hours after Charlie's post)
     
    I hope the serious people in NE can keep this from happening.

     
    There isn’t anything fake about the Russian collusion that has happened and is happening. I’m don’t with your lies.
     
    This is nothing but deflection and confession. Hilarious.
     

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