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Re: SB 8 Absentee voting; prescribed oath for absentee voters.
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Date: November 20, 2019 01:40PM

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Date: December 07, 2019 02:49PM

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Re: SB 8 Absentee voting; prescribed oath for absentee voters.
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Date: December 07, 2019 09:29PM

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Date: December 10, 2019 01:29AM

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Date: December 13, 2019 05:25PM

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Date: December 16, 2019 03:22PM

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Date: December 18, 2019 03:52PM

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Date: December 24, 2019 02:38PM

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Re: SB 8 Absentee voting; prescribed oath for absentee voters.
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Date: December 25, 2019 08:35AM

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Date: December 27, 2019 09:51PM

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Date: December 31, 2019 08:15PM

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Re: SB 8 Absentee voting; prescribed oath for absentee voters.
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Date: January 05, 2020 06:08PM

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Date: January 05, 2020 06:50PM

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Date: January 05, 2020 07:11PM

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Re: SB 8 Absentee voting; prescribed oath for absentee voters.
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Date: January 07, 2020 10:03PM

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Re: SB 8 Absentee voting; prescribed oath for absentee voters.
Posted by: Barrickman ()
Date: January 08, 2020 12:45AM

Within the last week two significant court rulings have authorized the purge over 500,000 registered voters in the states of Wisconsin and Georgia.

First, in Wisconsin a previous October ruling which purged over 234,000 voters was upheld by Ozaukee County Judge Paul Malloy, an appointee of former Republican Governor Scott Walker. This was followed in a Tuesday ruling by a federal judge which upheld the request of Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to remove over 300,000 voters from the rolls.

Of the over 300,000 registered voters excised from the rolls in Georgia, 120,651 individuals are to be removed for not having voted or made “contact” with election officials within the last seven years or for not having responded to mailers sent out by the state. The “use-it-or-lose-it” rule which first went into effect in Georgia in 2017, despite being blatantly undemocratic, was upheld by a 2018, 5-4 Supreme Court decision.

When a voter is purged from the rolls, a time-consuming and labyrinthine process is required to get re-registered, which is different depending on what state one lives in. Usually it involves submitting various IDs, paperwork or online forms in order to be properly registered. While Wisconsin does allow same-day voter registration, provided one has an up-to-date government-issued identification card and proof of residency on their person the day of the vote, Georgia and 28 other states do not allow same-day registration.

In Wisconsin over 234,000 mailers were sent out during October to voters who were “suspected” to have moved. Of these postcards, 60,000 were returned as undeliverable. However over 2,300 were returned by voters who confirmed that they still lived at the same residence, and an additional 16,500 were returned stating that they had moved but still lived in Wisconsin and were registered to vote.

The process by which the various election commissions decide if someone should be purged from the rolls is a mishmash of private interests using dubious “data” to reach their false conclusions in solving the “problem” of too much democracy in the United States. Current verification systems use various state agencies’ databases, including Department of Motor Vehicle records, tax records and school information to try to ascertain accurate voting records. Theoretically, if someone’s address appears differently in two databases, the system would flag that person as a “mover” and a mailer would be sent out. With the latest ruling by Judge Malloy, if the mailer is not returned after two attempts the person is automatically deregistered.

While many people do move and do not update their address with state election authorities beforehand, it is entirely possible that many of the mailers are not returned because they resemble so much of the junk mail, corporate advertising, penny flyers and political advertising that overflows from the average mailbox.

The frequency of voter purges has only increased since the 2013 Supreme Court decision Shelby v. Holder, which stripped federal oversight over many Southern states, allowing right-wing interests to begin culling the voter base to fit their agenda. While the Democrats controlled Congress throughout the first two years of Obama’s presidency, they did nothing to strengthen the Voting Rights Act or enact any enhanced voting protections.

Legal groups affiliated with and, in the case of 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, created by the Democrat Party, have filed lawsuits seeking an injunction against the rulings. These include the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and Abram’s outfit, Fair Fight Action Inc. This and a few perfunctory tweets from accounts associated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Bernie Sanders and former Attorney General Eric Holder were all the time and effort the Democratic Party could spare to defend the basic democratic rights of thousands of voters.

In-person voting fraud, or voter impersonation, is as rare as “getting struck by lightning,” according to the Brennan Center report titled “The Truth About Voter Fraud.” A 2014 Harvard University study also concluded that “the likely percent of non-citizen voters in recent US elections is 0.” Finally, an article in the Washington Post, which used the news-aggregation system Nexis to comb through every reported instance of voter fraud in the 2016 election, found four instances in which someone was actually charged with voter fraud. In one case an elderly woman was charged after she filled out her recently deceased husband’s absentee ballot.

There have never been any conclusive studies that have proven an election was swung in one direction due to voter fraud, but this hasn’t stopped bipartisan state election commissions from purging registered voters, under the guise of “performing maintenance,” for decades.

The latest impetus for the most recent Wisconsin purge was a lawsuit filed by the right-wing Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. A majority of its funding comes from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, worth an estimated $800 million. On its website the foundation boasts proudly of its support for “organizations that strengthen families; encourage self-reliance; promote civil discourse ... and rely on voluntary institutions outside of government to address community and individual needs.”

The foundation was not only a heavy backer of the Walker campaign but actually helped run it as well. A 2012 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article confirmed that Bradley Foundation CEO Michael Grebe was personally conducting interviews at the cabinet level of the Walker administration. Grebe also served as chair of Walker's reelection campaign, the “Friends of Scott Walker.”

In previous roles Grebe was also the chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin and the general counsel for the Republican National Committee. Former Republican Speaker Paul Ryan has credited Grebe as being his “political godfather.”

In addition to bankrolling and hiring Republican politicians, the Bradley Foundation proudly contributes to the Koch brother-affiliated Americans for Prosperity. This corporate front spearheaded the push in many states in the early part of this decade to enact “voter ID” laws which would require voters to have a valid government-issued photo identification card in order to vote. As with the purges of the electoral rolls, the real purpose of these laws is to disenfranchise poor, working-class and elderly voters who are unable to afford or access a new ID, as opposed to catching the mythical multiple voter.

The real threat to democracy is not multiple voters, Russian bots or Facebook ads, but the ruling class and the rotten social and economic system they represent. There is plenty of fraud in US elections, the most important being the canard that voters are presented with a real choice between the two parties of big business.
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Re: SB 8 Absentee voting; prescribed oath for absentee voters.
Posted by: k ()
Date: January 09, 2020 01:54PM

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Re: SB 8 Absentee voting; prescribed oath for absentee voters.
Posted by: A Gonzalez ()
Date: January 09, 2020 09:43PM

Amidst the swirling chaos of the Trump White House, with scandals and coverup and threats of firing the investigators, and Cruise missile launches to gratify the big twit’s ego, let’s not lose sight of the underlying fact that what’s called “American democracy” really is under attack — and not from the outside.

Even more important is how democracy is being defended, and hopefully extended — by teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky, by the magnificent youth upsurge in the wake of the Parkland massacre; by the resistance against Trump’s brutal immigration policies; by the new movement fighting back against sexual harassment and rape culture.

The victorious strike of the West Virginia teachers erupted in a state where they don’t have legal collective bargaining rights, where their union leadership was essentially swept up in the tide of militant action organized at the rank-and-file base, and where the teachers stayed out against the leadership’s wishes until their five percent pay raise (for all state employees) was delivered and signed into law.

It may be premature to proclaim the much-awaited dawn of a “new labor upsurge.” But we might be seeing the future of public sector worker activism in the face of an anticipated Supreme Court’s Janus decision to cripple their unions by outlawing the collection of non-member “agency fees” for services that unions are required to provide. West Virginia teachers, like many public sector workers across the country, are at the mercy of their state legislature — which is how they wound up close to the national bottom in wages and benefits.

Their statewide unauthorized (i.e. “wildcat”) strike instead put the legislature and the governor at the teachers’ mercy. Why did it happen? Skyrocketing health care costs, and the denial of the respect and dignity the teachers deserve, was the last straw. Importantly, they didn’t think only of themselves. Recognizing that many of their students in deeply distressed communities depend on free school lunch programs, teachers organized food deliveries on their own to bridge the gap while the schools were shut down.

Respect, dignity and solidarity — those values are essential to keep in mind, because they fuelled not only the West Virginia and other teachers’ actions, but other manifestations of labor unrest, notably the Fight for $15. And yes, they’re also driving forces for the youth movement that the Parkland, Florida high school students have spearheaded.

In the wake of yet another unspeakable school massacre, mourning their 17 classmates, teachers and coaches sacrificed on the altar of the unrestricted “right” to sell and buy semi-automatic assault rifles, the students were confronted by yet another wave of politicians’ boilerplate “thoughts and prayers” and the gun manufacturer lobby’s cynical proposal to turn schools across the country into locked-down armed fortresses.

The Parkland students’ response is remarkable, not only for its eloquence in the face of unimaginable pain. First, they spoke up for themselves, not letting politicians usurp the platform — and the students’ voices were what stood out, both at Parkland and at the huge March for Our Lives in Washington on March 24. (“I trained to be a teacher, not a sharpshooter” was one notable sign among many.)

Second, while the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students are relatively middle class and “privileged,” they recognized immediately that other young people, in communities of color particularly, face deadlier daily threats — not so much from mass school shootings as from risking violence and death on the way to and from school, or just walking on the street and playing basketball in the neighborhood. And placing armed police in every school automatically means disproportionally kids of color arrested, suspended and expelled for minor infractions or for nothing at all.

Because they understand what’s at stake not only for themselves but their entire generation, these students will not let the issue fade out as usual — per the gun manufacturer lobby’s strategy — until the next mass shooting. It’s not a question of fine-tuning one or another particular piece of gun control legislation. (Surely, people can responsibly own guns for protection and hunting without having millions of AR-15s all over the place?) It’s a matter of confronting the realities of this brutally violent, chaotic and unequal society and getting to the race, class and gendered roots of our condition.

Those values of respect, dignity and solidarity are also on the table when the DACA recipients — from teenagers to young adults, these are Americans who lack citizenship because their parents brought them as children without documents — are not only fighting for their own lives.

They’re refusing to sell their families and communities down the river by accepting relief for themselves in exchange for supporting Trump’s border wall and stepped-up immigration raids. Their courage is what’s impelled many cities to defy the immigration police’s “right” to grab and deport folks who are in local custody for traffic or minor misdemeanor violations.

Trump Going Down?
It’s naturally tempting to fantasize that Donald Trump will be removed by indictment, impeachment or implosion from the combined weight of scandals, investigations and revelations of the criminal conduct of his enterprise before and during his occupancy of the White House — as if the prospect of the creepy Christian-supremacist Mike Pence were an improvement. Unfortunately, it’s necessary to put some sobering realities on the table.

Reality: Donald Trump is not going to be brought down by sex scandals. His filthy contempt for women was no secret to anyone, including his voting base, before the November 2016 election. And while we fully believe the accounts by women who have come forward, and while America loves “celebrity sleaze” beyond all other forms of infotainment, those revelations with more to come aren’t going to turn the ruling corporate elites against “their President” and useful tool.

Reality: Trump isn’t going to be impeached by popular demand or through the initiative of Congressional Democrats. By its nature, impeachment is a long and grinding affair, which is instigated by elites when the president no longer meets their needs, or when his behavior actually threatens the institutions that guarantee the “stability” they crave. In Richard Nixon’s case, that was the 1973 “Saturday night massacre” firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox. For Trump, it would be firing Robert Mueller, which is why he hasn’t done it. (The impeachment of Bill Clinton was an opportunist Republican stunt, which fizzled in the Senate and backfired.)

Reality: If and when the big twit is brought down, it will be either because his antics are dragging the Republican Party into the electoral abyss, or because his incoherent economic nationalism and policy zigzags threaten to generate a recession or global slump.

It appears that ruling class intervention has pulled the Trump team back from its brinksmanship NAFTA demands that would cripple the North American auto industry. Fears of economic chaos also led to an exemption for the European Union from his much-touted steel and aluminum tariff scheme, and no one yet knows where the threats of anti-Chinese measures and China’s retaliation might lead.

Reality: Behind all the wild and weird doings in Washington, much business as usual continues. Donald Trump grumpily signed the $1.3 trillion “bipartisan” spending bill that didn’t fund his border wall or some of the savage budget cuts he’d trumpeted, but did allocate $700 billion to the military — while leaving in the lurch the DACA youth and “Dreamers” whom the Democrats had pledged to defend. Another day, another betrayal.

Hundreds of thousands of families — parents who risked everything to find a place where they hoped their children would be safe and secure, and the young people who have grown up as American as anyone else in this country — are left to be collateral damage of Trump’s blatant appeal to racism, along with Haitian and Salvadoran refugees losing Temporary Protected Status and facing deportation to countries that U.S. policies have shattered.

All this was punctuated by the April 14 bombing of the Syrian regime’s suspected chemical weapons facilities, which changes effectively nothing in that country’s catastrophe — but did give Trump the opportunity to tweet “Mission Accomplished.” That this strike was not only meaningless in substance, but illegal under both U.S. domestic and international law, hardly registers in the news cycle.

Rights Under Attack
So where are the threats to democracy coming from? Elsewhere in this issue of Against the Current, we’re publishing several pieces exploring the left’s response to the rise of open, sometimes violent racism and ominous far-right militancy that Trump’s presidency has enabled. We refer our readers to that important discussion of strategy and principle.

But what about Russian meddling with all the fake-news campaign ads targeted at gullible U.S. voters? In fact, if the Russians are guilty of everything they’re accused of, it barely rates in fourth place among the attacks on democratic rights in the United States.

First, there’s the electoral system rigged by racist voter suppression laws, extreme gerrymandering, and now a pending “citizenship” question on the 2020 census that’s specifically designed to depress participation and thereby reduce political representation and budgets for cities with communities of immigrants and people of color.

The disenfranchisement of prisoners and in many states, lifetime disqualification of convicted felons — in the context of mass incarceration in America — also reduces the voter base of working class and people of color. Of course, there’s the anachronism of the Electoral College that enabled the 2000 election to be stolen in Florida for George W. Bush and put Trump in the White House in the 2016 election.

Second, in a country that’s so grossly unequal to begin with, elections and legislatures can be bought with the dark money of the Koch Brothers, the likes of the Mercer and DeVos family fortunes, and the other operations detailed in Nancy McLean’s Democracy in Chains, reviewed by Dianne Feeley in this issue. It’s not so much a deep conspiracy as a heist in broad daylight, designed to make democracy itself meaningless.

Third, in a relatively short time the Trump swamp creatures and Republican Congress have done substantial damage, some of it difficult to reverse (with or without a 2018 midterm “blue wave,” given that the Democrats won’t fight for much of anything).

Climate change not only isn’t reversing, it‘s accelerating — and the administration is committed to extracting every bit of the fossil fuels that so desperately need to be left in the ground. Puerto Rico remains in a devastating crisis after Hurricane Maria, with the next hurricane season now months away. Arctic sea ice has reached all-time lows, with winter temperatures reaching up to 45 degrees Fahrenheit above normal — while the U.S east coast and northern Europe suffered a series of monstrous storms, and the west coast burns up and then floods.

Raids and deportations terrorize immigrant communities. The “tax reform” bill, Trump’s major legislative ”achievement,” stuffs hundreds of billions of dollars into corporate coffers and the fortunes of the super-rich, and puts the country firmly on the road to bankruptcy — deliberately, so that Paul Ryan can claim the “necessity” to privatize and gut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Those are the real live threats to what’s called “our democracy” — along with the reactionary Supreme Court majority that may be getting ready to strip away what remains of workers’ right to organize unions, women’s right to abortion, Muslims’ right to enter the country, and people’s right to elect their representatives without crippling voter suppression and other election-rigging techniques.

The Democrats’ feeble resistance will barely slow down these attacks, let alone stop them — no matter how long or short the big twit’s presidential tenure may be. It will be now, as it always has been, the power of mass movements that change the tide and the political equation.

Substantive democratic rights, more important than the purely formal ones, are always hard won and subject to being lost if not continually defended and renewed. That’s where the West Virginia teachers, the students of Parkland and the nation, and all the communities of resistance large and small, are showing the way.

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Re: SB 8 Absentee voting; prescribed oath for absentee voters.
Posted by: k ()
Date: January 18, 2020 01:47AM

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Date: January 24, 2020 06:30PM

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Date: February 10, 2020 12:49PM

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Date: February 22, 2020 03:47PM

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Date: February 28, 2020 01:47PM

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Re: SB 8 Absentee voting; prescribed oath for absentee voters.
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Date: March 02, 2020 11:45PM

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Date: March 07, 2020 03:48PM

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Date: March 15, 2020 05:14PM

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Date: March 18, 2020 06:21PM

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Date: March 21, 2020 04:24PM

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Date: March 25, 2020 05:09PM

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Date: March 29, 2020 06:48PM

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Date: March 30, 2020 05:58PM

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Date: April 05, 2020 03:53PM

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Date: April 07, 2020 11:36AM

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