SCOTUS just guaranteed that thousands of Native Americans can’t vote in November


Only the uniform has changed

The U.S. Supreme Court…rejected a Hail Mary appeal filed by a group of Native American voters in North Dakota late last month in the hopes of preserving their right to vote in the upcoming November elections.

Native American Rights Fund (NARF) originally filed Brakebill v. Jaeger in 2016 on behalf of a group of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa tribe, alleging that North Dakota’s voter identification law discriminates against Native voters in violation of the Equal Protection Clause and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. U.S. District Court Judge Daniel L. Hovland agreed—twice, once in 2016 and again in 2018—and both times issued injunctions blocking portions of the law.

Late last month, however, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with North Dakota and gave the state the green light to enforce the law in next month’s elections. This could potentially throw the elections into chaos since, according to NARF, early voting has already begun. And on Tuesday, the Supreme Court upheld the Eighth Circuit’s order—thus ensuring, according to court documents, that nearly 2,300 Native Americans won’t be able to cast their ballot in November.

Tidy little Anglo minds don’t comprehend that reservation life isn’t governed by lovely checkerboard street maps with proper names and numbers. It’s not a big deal to find your way around or find someone who needs finding. Legal stuff is usually handled via a Post Office rented mailbox. Also not acceptable to rectilinear minds.

Former DOJ officials file brief against Trump’s attempt to deny voting rights policy


You got what you thought you voted against — and worse!

❝ The Justice Department’s recent about-face on a voting rights case was such a betrayal of long-standing DOJ policy that a group of former political appointees and career lawyers filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on Friday, citing more than two decades of consistent enforcement of the rule in question – until Trump.

In a possibly unprecedented move, the former Justice lawyers essentially made an argument on behalf of the Department as an institution, representing itself in opposition to its current leadership…

❝ At issue is an Ohio law that calls for purging voters from the registration rolls if they fail to vote during three election cycles then don’t respond to a mailing. The American Civil Liberties Union sued in April 2016 to prevent the state from purging potentially hundreds of thousands of registrations before the presidential election…

Historically, the Justice Department has explained to states that the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) very clearly prohibits them from removing people from the rolls simply for not voting. (There are, after all, a lot of reasons someone may choose not to vote.)

Not like we never face the situation where the only choices are between two mediocrities or worse. The Trump Republican presumption is that we should lose our right to vote if we reject “too many” opportunities.

I think they just don’t want to have folks around who recognize crap choices for what they are.

Republican database on nearly 200 million US citizens exposed online

❝ Sensitive personal details relating to almost 200 million US citizens have been accidentally exposed by a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee.

❝ The 1.1 terabytes of data includes birthdates, home addresses, telephone numbers and political views of nearly 62% of the entire US population.

The data was available on a publicly accessible Amazon cloud server…Anyone could access the data as long as they had a link to it.

❝ The huge cache of data was discovered last week by Chris Vickery, a cyber-risk analyst with security firm UpGuard. The information seems to have been collected from a wide range of sources – from posts on controversial banned threads on the social network Reddit, to committees that raised funds for the Republican Party.

The information was stored in spreadsheets uploaded to a server owned by Deep Root Analytics. It had last been updated in January when President Donald Trump was inaugurated and had been online for an unknown period of time.

❝ Apart from personal details, the data also contained citizens’ suspected religious affiliations, ethnicities and political biases, such as where they stood on controversial topics like gun control, the right to abortion and stem cell research.

The file names and directories indicated that the data was meant to be used by influential Republican political organisations. The idea was to try to create a profile on as many voters as possible using all available data, so some of the fields in the spreadsheets were left left empty if an answer could not be found…

❝ There are fears that leaked data can easily be used for nefarious purposes, from identity fraud to harassment of people under protection orders, or to intimidate people who hold an opposing political view.


None of these fears are new. None were unknown. The political party which burned through acres of dollar$ advertising their hypocritical concern over one candidate’s use of email – set up a database including a range of personal information on virtually every registered voter in the United States.

TV Talking Heads will no doubt give us the whole schoolboy lecture on the dangers of them furriners accessing this database to some evil end. I’d like to hear from someone who stands up for Americans’ privacy in the face of the ruling political party buying up every scrap of information our corrupt informatics gurus, from Facebook to Google, already collect and sell for profit.

Republicans turn Sessions vote into a vote of approval for racism and bigotry


“Here comes another kissy-kiss from the Klan”

Sen. Mitch McConnell used a little known Senate bylaw to stop Sen. Elizabeth Warren from using the words of Dr. Martin Luther King’s widow to question Trump’s pick for U.S. Attorney General on Tuesday night.

The Democrat from Massachusetts was about to speak of Session’s voting record on domestic violence when McConnell said Warren was “impugning the motives and conduct” of Sen. Jeff Sessions with Coretta Scott King’s 1986 letter opposing his failed judicial appointment.

The March 19, 1986 letter Warren recited was addressed to former South Carolina Sen. James Thurmond and stated Sessions used his position of power “in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”

McDonnell accused Warren of violating Senate Rule 19, which prohibits lawmakers from impugning a colleague’s conduct on the floor.

“I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate,” Warren fired back…

The GOP majority Senate found Warren in violation of impugning Session’s conduct with a 49-43 vote, prohibiting Warren from speaking for the rest of the debate.

Yes, it comes to this. The words of Coretta Scott King aren’t white enough to please Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party. The party of racist innuendo has become an open voice for racism and bigotry. The party of racism now uses its majority position to silence critics even from the grave.

North Carolina Republicans wasted nearly 5 million taxpayer dollar$ trying to stop voting rights

NC racist laws
AP

North Carolina’s Republican governor and Republican-controlled legislature spent more taxpayer money defending their voter ID law — which was recently struck down as unconstitutional — than the state spent hiring outside lawyers over the previous decade.

New data reveals state leaders spent nearly 5 million dollars since 2011 defending a voting law that “bears the mark of intentional discrimination,” according to the federal court that ruled against the state in July…

Before passing the law, the court found, the legislature studied the voting habits of African Americans, and “with almost surgical precision” got rid of the voting accommodations they depended on the most. As the vast majority of black voters in the state — as well as the nation — lean Democrat, the civil rights groups that challenged the law characterized it as Republicans’ attempt to maintain political power.

“It shows the North Carolina Republicans are afraid of free and fair elections and being accountable to the voters for their actions.”…

I’m not certain who deserves the most contempt: Criminally bigoted politicians spending taxpayer dollar$ in an effort to return the South to racist voting laws, voters who return these scumbags to office – or the corrupt conservatives in our nation’s Supreme Court who opened the door to racist voter suppression through the sophistry of “post-racial” hypocrisy.

They all deserve to be forced out of positions of power. That will take a mighty movement. One that requires a broader, deeper political coalition than we have experienced in this land since the 20th Century Civil Rights movement, opposition to the VietNam war.

US electoral system ranks low among democracies


Click to enlarge

The latest report from the Electoral Integrity Project is as surprising as it is expected. The annual survey measuring the integrity of elections around the world (this year, surveying elections between 2012 and 2015, based on the opinions of 2,000 election experts worldwide across 49 categories) has found that western Europe scores high, Africa scores low, and that a host of other countries score very differently than you might think.

…If you’re familiar with some of the more absurd US election laws, it may not surprise you that this year’s report finds that the US electoral system ranks lower than any other long-established democracy on Earth – 47th out of 139 countries overall.

The whole report is over here [.pdf]. For the full score sheet, click here.