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(Salon)   Voting Rights Act: "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated"   (salon.com ) divider line
    More: Cool, Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican, Voting Rights Act, suffrages  
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3380 clicks; posted to Politics » on 27 Jun 2013 at 2:01 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-27 03:52:42 PM  

Serious Black: Any thoughts on what it should include?


My wishlist for a new Voting Rights Act?

First and foremost, nationalize federal elections. If a House, Senate, or Presidential candidate is on the ballot, it's subject to federal voting laws. That means standardized registration paperwork and deadlines, ballots, ballot machines, early and absentee voting, paper trails, counting methods, and recount triggers. If I move from my home of Indiana to, say, Iowa, I should be able to register with the same paperwork and deadlines, go to the polls to see the same ballot and machines, and have my vote counted in the same way. Institute a federal mandate for standardized voter ID's that come at  zero cost to citizens, and  zero undue burden -- no more of this "we're going to allow AARP membership cards and CCW permits, but not student ID's!" garbage.

Second, allow citizens to file suit, or better yet file a petition with a federally-standardized threshold, for FEC supervision of an election within a certain district. State and local governments have  zero say: if a certain percentage of a district or state feels an election may be suspect, FEC supervision automatically triggers. If there's so much as a  perception, based upon the reasonable judgment of those supervisors, of criminal activity, an injunction to block inauguration is filed pending FBI investigation and grand jury impaneling.

Third, strengthen enforcement of electoral law and increase penalties for infraction. No bail and mandatory minimums, with the establishment of an electoral law offender database, are a start. This extends to violations of conflict of interest: FEC personnel or law enforcement officers empowered to investigate allegations of voter or electoral fraud are strictly banned from engaging in lobbying or political activity, and cannot have previously been a lobbyist or a political activist; additionally, indictments for voter or electoral fraud automatically trigger a change of venue to out-of-district, and no judge which even has a perception of CoI can rule upon the case under penalty of criminal sanction. This extends to not only  de jure violations of electoral law, but  de facto violations such as engaging in erroneous communication (like circulating fliers or starting call banks that tell the wrong dates and places of elections). If you commit electoral fraud, you get the goddamn library thrown at you; end of story.

Fourth, standardize primaries and caucuses. Block out five groups of ten states each (equally representing region and population) to hold caucuses and primaries on the same day. One group votes the first Tuesday in March, the next the first Tuesday in April, then May, June, and July respectively. These groups rotate on a four-year basis, such that no single state enjoys preference in selecting candidates longer than one presidential term.
 
2013-06-27 03:55:01 PM  

DarnoKonrad: X-boxershorts: implement this ruling by discarding the data modelling based upon outdated methodology for application to selected states and counties and do as the SCOTUS requests and implement section 5 of the VRA equally to all 50 states. No act from congress is needed

this doesn't make any sense.  You can't implement section 5 without a formula to apply it to.


The formula is preclearance for EVERYONE!!!!
 
2013-06-27 04:05:50 PM  

MFAWG: I'm not SO sure that voter ID is anything more than a wash.


The idea in the abstract doesn't have much of a partisan lean (other than any reduction of turnout tends to help Republicans), but the way it's implemented usually does.

Like preventing college students from voting in their college town. (Here in NC we actually separated this from voter ID and made it explicit).

Like requiring your address on your ID to match your voting address (adds no extra security, but keeps people who move a lot from voting).

Then there are more-explicit partisan shenanigans (e.g. close down DMV offices in urban areas).

/Leaving aside that it's easily shown voter impersonation is practically nonexistent, making this an annoyance for voters and poll workers alike that doesn't solve any real problems
 
2013-06-27 04:07:16 PM  
Was that a Spec Ops: The Line reference, subby?
 
2013-06-27 04:16:17 PM  

novalord2: Was that a Spec Ops: The Line reference, subby?


Yeah, that farker Mark Twain stole it from 2K.
 
2013-06-27 04:23:38 PM  

that bosnian sniper: Serious Black: Any thoughts on what it should include?

My wishlist for a new Voting Rights Act?

First and foremost, nationalize federal elections. If a House, Senate, or Presidential candidate is on the ballot, it's subject to federal voting laws. That means standardized registration paperwork and deadlines, ballots, ballot machines, early and absentee voting, paper trails, counting methods, and recount triggers. If I move from my home of Indiana to, say, Iowa, I should be able to register with the same paperwork and deadlines, go to the polls to see the same ballot and machines, and have my vote counted in the same way. Institute a federal mandate for standardized voter ID's that come at  zero cost to citizens, and  zero undue burden -- no more of this "we're going to allow AARP membership cards and CCW permits, but not student ID's!" garbage.

Second, allow citizens to file suit, or better yet file a petition with a federally-standardized threshold, for FEC supervision of an election within a certain district. State and local governments have  zero say: if a certain percentage of a district or state feels an election may be suspect, FEC supervision automatically triggers. If there's so much as a  perception, based upon the reasonable judgment of those supervisors, of criminal activity, an injunction to block inauguration is filed pending FBI investigation and grand jury impaneling.

Third, strengthen enforcement of electoral law and increase penalties for infraction. No bail and mandatory minimums, with the establishment of an electoral law offender database, are a start. This extends to violations of conflict of interest: FEC personnel or law enforcement officers empowered to investigate allegations of voter or electoral fraud are strictly banned from engaging in lobbying or political activity, and cannot have previously been a lobbyist or a political activist; additionally, indictments for voter or electoral fraud automatically trigger a change of venue to out ...


A significant number of your ideas are unconstitutional and therefore will never happen.
 
2013-06-27 04:23:41 PM  

that bosnian sniper: Serious Black: Any thoughts on what it should include?

My wishlist for a new Voting Rights Act?

[snip]


I like much of what you would include, especially section 1. I don't really like section 4, but that's mainly because I think that the government shouldn't be intervening in what is otherwise a party issue.

What I dislike mostly about your proposals is that it's incomplete wrt issues outside of the actual process of voting. Suppose I live in a Congressional district where the winner does so by a slim margin (say, Michele Bachmann last year) and they proceed to cast votes that I disagree with and sponsor legislation that I disagree with. Am I really being represented? I would argue no, my interests are NOT being represented. A big reason why this happens is because of a federal law that requires Congressional district elections be run under single-member district plurality voting. I would change this law to create multi-member districts with a proportional voting system, probably Schulze STV. I would also let districts overlap from one state to the next, especially if we kept the number of Congressmen the same, since smaller states like Wyoming can't have a multi-member district with only one member of Congress. That would necessarily push Congressional redistricting up from the states to the federal government, so I would use either an independent board like California or a transparent computer algorithm to build the redistricting map.
 
2013-06-27 04:44:54 PM  
What's this going to look like? They can't just reinstate the system that got tossed. And if they start trying to establish hard criteria like disparity between White/minority turnout or registration rates, well Massachusetts has a worse score than Mississippi right now, so are they going to put MA on "no changes unless we say so" lockdown? That'd be fun to see.
 
2013-06-27 04:54:12 PM  

X-boxershorts: DarnoKonrad: X-boxershorts: implement this ruling by discarding the data modelling based upon outdated methodology for application to selected states and counties and do as the SCOTUS requests and implement section 5 of the VRA equally to all 50 states. No act from congress is needed

this doesn't make any sense.  You can't implement section 5 without a formula to apply it to.

The formula is preclearance for EVERYONE!!!!


Giving the feds veto power over everyone is a great idea. Now "rogue" FEC agents from Cincinnati can target any election body that has a red tinge and let the blue ones do what they please. Or vice versa when a Republican is pres.
 
2013-06-27 05:03:46 PM  

Serious Black: What I dislike mostly about your proposals is that it's incomplete wrt issues outside of the actual process of voting...


You asked for what I'd like to see in a voting rights act, not a constitutional convention or a election recall act (or campaign finance act, for that matter).

Ideally, I'd love to see the country transition into a proportionally-elected, parliamentary system with German-style federalism, but that's the purview of a constitutional convention.
 
2013-06-27 05:07:38 PM  

Gaseous Anomaly: close down DMV offices in urban areas


Texas is already doing this, and is unsurprisingly at the forefront of Voter ID legislation
 
2013-06-27 05:07:59 PM  

Geotpf: A significant number of your ideas are unconstitutional and therefore will never happen.


The federal government has reserved to it the power to preempt state election law (A1, S4, c1). It's under that clause we have a federally-mandated election day to begin with.

Neither citizen suits nor referenda are unconstitutional.

Mandatory minimums do  not run afoul of the Eighth Amendment, and neither does assigning high crimes (which electoral fraud ought to be) non-bailable status.
 
2013-06-27 05:18:58 PM  

that bosnian sniper: Serious Black: What I dislike mostly about your proposals is that it's incomplete wrt issues outside of the actual process of voting...

You asked for what I'd like to see in a voting rights act, not a constitutional convention or a election recall act (or campaign finance act, for that matter).

Ideally, I'd love to see the country transition into a proportionally-elected, parliamentary system with German-style federalism, but that's the purview of a constitutional convention.


The thing is that the single-member district plurality voting system is a regular public law just like the Voting Rights Act. It was enacted by Congress back in 1967; they banned states from using anything other than the SMDP system. Congress could just as easily reform that law to give states the option, or the requirement, to do multi-member districts. I suspect Congress could also easily dictate the manner in which states redistrict for Congressional purposes, i.e. tell them they have to use an independent board or a computer algorithm for these maps. Letting districts go across state lines could possibly break Article 1 Section 2 Clauses 1 and 3, but that's not as important as getting multi-member districts in bigger states and pulling the political process out of redistricting.
 
2013-06-27 05:36:21 PM  

Serious Black: The thing is that the single-member district plurality voting system is a regular public law just like the Voting Rights Act


Actually, multi-member districts could run afoul of apportionment. Namely, whether states are apportioned a  delegation of Representatives proportional to their population, or whether states are apportioned  individual Representatives proportional to their population. If it's the former, multi-member districts would be permissible; if it's the latter, single-member districts are necessary.

Also, let's be clear in delineating voting method from the type of representation. One doesn't imply or necessitate the other.
 
2013-06-27 06:01:36 PM  

A Dark Evil Omen: novalord2: Was that a Spec Ops: The Line reference, subby?

Yeah, that farker Mark Twain stole it from 2K.


Does 2K know?  Somebody should tell them.

I mean, it was bad enough when that one dude made millions of $$ from his Lord of the Rings movies, but didn't admit he'd ripped off World of Warcraft.  Blizzard should totally sue.
 
2013-06-27 06:05:28 PM  
The problem is that the SCOTUS didn't gut VRA, they just effectively gutted it. Basically, they required Congress to be more specific, which is akin to handing the ball to a parapelegic and expect him to run it into the end zone.
 
2013-06-27 06:19:45 PM  
Here's how it works:

1.  Republican's break the system.  
2.  Republican's announce they will fix the system.
3.  Republican's do not fix the system, instead making things worse, while claiming it's better.
4.  Republican's have now gotten their way, with a big middle finger to the rest of the nation.
5.  Everyone else biatches and moans, but doesn't do anything about it.
6.  Republican's now repeat with a different system targeted.
 
2013-06-27 06:25:09 PM  
Fine, apply it to all states when they try and restrict voting rights.

Problem solved.
 
2013-06-27 06:35:03 PM  

that bosnian sniper: no more of this "we're going to allow AARP membership cards and CCW permits, but not student ID's!" garbage.


How could a student ID prove residency?  hell, you dont even need to be a citizen to have a student ID.

But you know, a CCW permit, which costs around $100 to get and has a picture and address of the individual.  That would be no good.  Maybe if you loaded your meal plans onto it and it got you into the basketball game it would qualify?
 
2013-06-27 06:38:28 PM  

o5iiawah: that bosnian sniper: no more of this "we're going to allow AARP membership cards and CCW permits, but not student ID's!" garbage.

How could a student ID prove residency?  hell, you dont even need to be a citizen to have a student ID.

But you know, a CCW permit, which costs around $100 to get and has a picture and address of the individual.  That would be no good.  Maybe if you loaded your meal plans onto it and it got you into the basketball game it would qualify?


In places like Tennessee and Texas, a gun permit is considered sufficient ID for voting purposes, but a student ID from a state university is not.
 
2013-06-27 06:55:52 PM  
Given the GOP effort to disenfranchise minorities, college students, etc, from voting that we've seen in states that had a derp wave in 2010, any new formula for reinstituting the VRA should include a metric for oversight in any of these states where the GOP has power and pulled these shenanigans. It should be expanded far beyond the South.

Any reinstituting of the VRA will only happen with a Democratic congress, anyway. Might as well go for the gusto.
 
2013-06-27 07:18:51 PM  

jjorsett: X-boxershorts: DarnoKonrad: X-boxershorts: implement this ruling by discarding the data modelling based upon outdated methodology for application to selected states and counties and do as the SCOTUS requests and implement section 5 of the VRA equally to all 50 states. No act from congress is needed

this doesn't make any sense.  You can't implement section 5 without a formula to apply it to.

The formula is preclearance for EVERYONE!!!!

Giving the feds veto power over everyone is a great idea. Now "rogue" FEC agents from Cincinnati can target any election body that has a red tinge and let the blue ones do what they please. Or vice versa when a Republican is pres.


Dontcha just love politics?

Ain't it a shame how it poisons EVERYTHING...
 
2013-06-27 07:42:10 PM  
The pessimist in me suspects that people like Sensenbrenner would like to pass a toothless formula with plenty of loopholes in order to silence the Democrats.

The optimist in me wonders if Northern Republicans, the one group for whom the "southern strategy" has been an unmitigated disaster (just check the trends in congressional representation by region over the last 40 years), are finally tired of getting their asses kicked every two years. This could ultimately lead to a split in the Republican party similar to what happened to the Democrats in the Sixties when Southern conservatives mostly belonged to that party.

I'm afraid, however, that the pessimist in me is winning.
 
2013-06-27 10:37:08 PM  

factoryconnection: FTFA: "Sensenbrenner, a conservative Republican and a big proponent of the VRA, told Salon in March that if the Supreme Court strikes down the law, "I'm gonna make [Republicans] fix it." "

You can't even say that this is a "grab the spotlight" moment for him, but instead following through on a promise.

Lurking Fear: lip service is not a passed fix.

True but his consistent statements are a big surprise in and of themselves.  It is nice to know that the entire GOP hasn't adopted the Southern "discrimination never happened" attitude.  I'm very pleasantly surprised.


Here's the thing; the GOP's best chances in 2014 is if minorities stay home.

If Democrats can paint them as the sole reason that Voting Rights Act hasn't been passed, there's a chance that hordes and hordes of minorities will vote in 2014.  And the GOP does NOT want that.
 
2013-06-27 11:28:39 PM  
Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner called on Congress to c0unter the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key part of the Voting Rights Act, calling the VRA "vital" to preventing racial discrimination in voting.

"C0unter?

I bet 0bama is really behind all of this.
 
2013-06-27 11:32:17 PM  
""This is going to take time, and will require members from both sides of the aisle to put partisan politics aside "

So it isn't going to happen..
 
2013-06-27 11:34:21 PM  

that bosnian sniper: Serious Black: Any thoughts on what it should include?

My wishlist for a new Voting Rights Act?

First and foremost, nationalize federal elections. If a House, Senate, or Presidential candidate is on the ballot, it's subject to federal voting laws. That means standardized registration paperwork and deadlines, ballots, ballot machines, early and absentee voting, paper trails, counting methods, and recount triggers. If I move from my home of Indiana to, say, Iowa, I should be able to register with the same paperwork and deadlines, go to the polls to see the same ballot and machines, and have my vote counted in the same way. Institute a federal mandate for standardized voter ID's that come at  zero cost to citizens, and  zero undue burden -- no more of this "we're going to allow AARP membership cards and CCW permits, but not student ID's!" garbage.

Second, allow citizens to file suit, or better yet file a petition with a federally-standardized threshold, for FEC supervision of an election within a certain district. State and local governments have  zero say: if a certain percentage of a district or state feels an election may be suspect, FEC supervision automatically triggers. If there's so much as a  perception, based upon the reasonable judgment of those supervisors, of criminal activity, an injunction to block inauguration is filed pending FBI investigation and grand jury impaneling.

Third, strengthen enforcement of electoral law and increase penalties for infraction. No bail and mandatory minimums, with the establishment of an electoral law offender database, are a start. This extends to violations of conflict of interest: FEC personnel or law enforcement officers empowered to investigate allegations of voter or electoral fraud are strictly banned from engaging in lobbying or political activity, and cannot have previously been a lobbyist or a political activist; additionally, indictments for voter or electoral fraud automatically trigger a change of venue to out ...


More like a death wish list for the VRA.  You'd never get all of that through both houses.
 
2013-06-28 01:02:15 AM  

grumpfuff: Does anyone know anything about this guy besides this quote? Like is he one of those RINOs that would actually do something like this, or is he just pandering?


He was the chair of the Judiciary committee when they passed the re-authorization of the VRA a few years ago, and was a big force behind getting it passed without controversy. Sadly, the GOP has rules in appointing committee chairs where they can only stay chair for so many terms, and the current chair, Bob Goodlatte, is not nearly as outspoken a proponent of the VRA as Sensenbrenner has been.

It's not really a shock that Sensenbrenner is making a statement like this, but it will be interesting to see what influence an old establishment guy like him still carries on an issue like this.
 
2013-06-28 07:30:12 AM  

sdd2000: Only if you follow through


Baby steps. Baby Steps...
 
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