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Gothmog

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Member since: Mon Apr 5, 2004, 04:58 PM
Number of posts: 13,840

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Partisan versus non-partisan voter protection

I am running my county party's voter protection boiler room on Tuesday and will be meeting this morning with the Harris County Democratic Party team for their shakedown. I am biased toward to partisan voter protection versus non-partisan voter protection. Working with your party, one can do more to protect the vote than with a non-partisan group.

1. The single best way to protect the vote is to be an election worker inside the polls. As an election worker, you can make sure that the procedures and the law is followed. I serve as an election judge once or twice a cycle just to make sure that I know how the procedures work. My youngest child is the head election judge for our precinct and my future son in law is an alternative judge for another tough precinct. They can do more inside the polling location than you can as a poll monitor. The party gets to appoint or nominate election workers and non-partisan groups do not have this right.

2 The next best thing that you can do to protect the vote is to be a poll watcher. Only candidates and political parties get to appoint poll watchers in most states. As a poll watcher, you are inside the polling place and can report violations directly to the local or regional boiler rooms. My poll watchers will have access to an incident reporting system that will send reports to the central voter protection boiler room so that we can get actions taken in real time

3. Candidates and political parties have automatic standing to bring a lawsuit. Non-partisan groups have a harder time bringing a lawsuit because of the standing issues. The Texas Democratic Party will have lawyers standing by in Austin and other key areas with draft petitions ready and there will be no issue of having standing to sue.

4. Poll monitors have to stand outside the electioneering zone in most states and it is harder to monitor what is going on.

I have good friends at big firms who do the non-partisan voter protection. I simply do not think that these efforts are as effective as partisan voter protection.

Democrats see signs of change for Fort Bend

We are making progress in my county. http://tablet.olivesoftware.com/Olive/Tablet/HoustonChronicle/SharedArticle.aspx?href=HHC%2F2014%2F10%2F26&id=Ar03501

Political analysts still place Fort Bend solidly in the GOP column, but say the margin of victory in county elections could gauge the local GOP’s health and the odds of Democrats keeping their promise to turn Texas blue.

To Donald Bankston, the Fort Bend Democratic chairman, it’s inevitable that his party will regain dominance.

“There’s been a seismic shift in the demographics,” he said. “If this was a highly voting county, this county would be reliably Democratic.”

U.S. Census figures show the share of the population that is non-Hispanic white went from 54 percent in 1990 to 36 percent in 2013. As Latino, African-American and Asian voters tend to lean liberal, Bankston hopes they will turn out at the polls as reliably as whites do, giving his party a fighting chance.

BTW, Fort Bend County chair is known on this board by some as Bubba or Mr. Juanita Jean. The key thing is that the Fort Bend County Democrats are focusing on voters who voted in 2012 but who did not vote in 2010

Bankston said his team is targeting the estimated 40,000 voters who supported Obama in 2012, but who did not vote in the 2010 midterm elections.

“It’s not rocket science,” he said. “We are limited in time, people and money, so we have to effectively focus on who is most likely to be an effective voter.”

It is going to be an interesting election

Houston Area DUers-Congressman Al Green rally and march against Voter Suppression

Congressman Al Green is having a rally and march against voter suppression efforts and the rulings of the Roberts court tomorrow, October 25, 2014 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 8686 Kirby Drive, Houston, Tx 77054 (next to NRG Park). There will be a march at 12:30 to an early voting polling location.

My family and I plan to attend. Congressman Green spoke to the Fort Bend Democrats on Saturday and he is very passionate about this issue.

Please come out and we can have a mini-DU meet up.

Texas Democratic Party Voter Id Assistant Program-How to help voters without voter ids

I am volunteering with the Texas Democratic Party and the DNC Voter Expansion Project on a project called the voter id assistant program where the TDP is training people to help voters obtain the needed voter id to vote. You can volunteer for this project at this address http://act.txdemocrats.org/page/s/texas-voter-expansion-project

If you know anyone who needs help getting an id, call the Texas Democratic Party Hotline 1-844-TXVOTES (1-844-898-6837) or e-mail voterid@txdemocrats.org We are also coordinating with Battleground Texas on voter protection issues.

If you can get a voter to go to their local county clerk's office during business hours, any voter who was born in Texas can get a birth certificate from any county clerk's office for $2 or $3 and use that birth certificate to get an Election Identification Certificate with two other pieces of id such as a voter registration card.

We need to help as many people as possible vote. If you e-mail the above address or call the hot line you will find help. Again, I am working on this project and I plan to help as many people as possible to get ids.


At Last Gubernatorial Debate, Davis Outperforms Abbott

This is one of the better accounts of last night's debate between Abbott and Wendy Davis http://www.texasobserver.org/last-gubernatorial-debate-davis-outperforms-abbott/

If you only have time to watch one of the three major debates this election cycle, you should make it tonight’s debate in Dallas. If you’re pulling for Wendy Davis to do well, you’ll enjoy it. But it’s worth watching because something strange happened tonight: Like the sky opening up after a monsoon season of turgid talking points, Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott actually took each other on tonight, to a certain extent. And against all odds, something approximating a discussion about policy took place. Call it the Miracle at KERA....

But things got better. Davis and Abbott grappled with each other on two wide fronts—the first, over ethics issues. Davis was asked about her legal work, which she rebuffed and went through the list of accumulated attack lines about Abbott’s tenure as AG. (She gave a stronger refutation of the conflict-of-interest charge after she was pressed.)

But when Abbott was asked (at about 19:45 in the video) about accusations his office helped hide incompetence and mismanagement with Gov. Perry’s Texas Enterprise Fund, he didn’t handle it very well. He offered that the recently issued audit of the fund didn’t single him out for criticism. “From the beginning of my campaign I’ve been questioning this very fund,” he said. (Perhaps, one suspects, because he knew how badly it was being run.) He tried to turn the question back to Davis, but she beat it back forcefully. As to the question of why Abbott’s office helped hide non-existing TEF applications from reporters, he couldn’t really answer.

I was very pleased with Wendy Davis' performance last night. She held Abbott's accountable for a great deal. Her comeback on Abbott's attempt to turn the Texas Enterprise Fund attack around was perfect. Abbott did not handle being questioned by the moderators well.

I was pleased with the debate.

Judge rules school finance system unconstitutional

Greg Abbott is a bad attorney and losses yet another major case http://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas/article/Judge-rules-school-finance-system-5718242.php

AUSTIN -- A judge on Thursday again declared Texas' school finance system unconstitutional, reaffirming his 2013 ruling that struck down the current mode of funding public education as inefficient and inadequate.

The office of Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is representing the state, has said it would appeal if the judge ruled for the four plaintiff groups representing more than 600 school districts, including Houston ISD and Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in Harris County.

Abbott is expected to ask to bypass an intermediate appeals court in favor of kicking the case up to the Texas Supreme Court.

The 400-page ruling issued Thursday was the latest salvo in nearly two years of litigation, and marked another major victory for the plaintiffs representing nearly three in four Texas schoolchildren. They challenged the adequacy and equality of the Texas' public education funding, suing the state after lawmakers cut $5.4 billion from the budget in 2011.

Greg tried to get the judge removed because he knew that he was losing this case. This will be an issue in the governor's race

Judge rules school finance system unconstitutional

Source: Houston Chronicle

AUSTIN -- A judge on Thursday again declared Texas' school finance system unconstitutional, reaffirming his 2013 ruling that struck down the current mode of funding public education as inefficient and inadequate.

The office of Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is representing the state, has said it would appeal if the judge ruled for the four plaintiff groups representing more than 600 school districts, including Houston ISD and Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in Harris County.

Abbott is expected to ask to bypass an intermediate appeals court in favor of kicking the case up to the Texas Supreme Court.

The 400-page ruling issued Thursday was the latest salvo in nearly two years of litigation, and marked another major victory for the plaintiffs representing nearly three in four Texas schoolchildren. They challenged the adequacy and equality of the Texas' public education funding, suing the state after lawmakers cut $5.4 billion from the budget in 2011.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas/article/Judge-rules-school-finance-system-5718242.php

Goodhair is indicted

This is great news http://www.texastribune.org/2014/08/15/grand-jury-indicts-perry-abuse-authority/

A grand jury indicted Gov. Rick Perry on Friday on charges of abuse of power and coercion as part of an ethics inquiry into his veto of funding for the state’s public integrity unit.

The inquiry began last summer after a ethics complaint was filed, alleging that Perry had improperly used a veto to deny funding for the unit, which is housed in the Travis County district attorney’s office and focuses on government corruption and tax fraud.

Goodhair is at the Iowa state fair today. This will add to his enjoyment

Wisconsin State Supreme Court engage in some extreme Judicial Activism to save voter id law

The Wisconsin state supreme court upheld the Wisconsin voter id law but looked seriously at the poll tax issue and decided that fees paid to obtain the documents necessary to get a “free” id are not allowed and may be poll taxes. In order to find the Wisconsin law constitutional, the Wisconsin state supreme court engaged in some serious judicial activism and created a waiver where a voter who does not have a document necessary to get a free id can file for a waiver. http://wicourts.gov/sc/opinion/DisplayDocument.html?content=html&seqNo=118667

¶69 In order to harmonize the directive of Wis. Stat. § 343.50(5)(a)3., which says no fees; statutes such as Wis. Stat. § 69.22, which impose payment of fees; and Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15(3)(a), which requires certain documents for which electors may be required to pay fees to government agencies, we construe § Trans 102.15(3)(b). We do so to preserve the constitutionality of § 343.50(5), as follows: One who petitions an administrator pursuant to § Trans 102.15(3)(b) for an exception is constitutionally "unable" to provide those documents and they are constitutionally "unavailable" to the petitioner within our interpretation of § Trans 102.13(3)(b), so long as petitioner does not have the documents and would be required to pay a government agency to obtain them.

¶70 Stated otherwise, to invoke an administrator's discretion in the issuance of a DOT photo identification card to vote, an elector: (1) makes a written petition to a DMV administrator as directed by Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15(3)(b) set forth above; (2) asserts he or she is "unable" to provide documents required by § Trans 102.15(3)(a) without paying a fee to a government agency to obtain them; (3) asserts those documents are "unavailable" without the payment of such a fee; and (4) asks for an exception to the provision of § Trans 102.15(3)(a) documents whereby proof of name and date of birth that have been provided are accepted. § Trans 102.15(3)(b) and (c). Upon receipt of a petition for an exception, the administrator, or his or her designee, shall exercise his or her discretion in a constitutionally sufficient manner.

¶71 We further conclude that filing a Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15(3)(b) petition for an exception with a DMV administrator, as set forth above, is not a severe burden on the right to vote. Accordingly, because the burdens of time, inconvenience and costs upon electors' right to vote are not severe under our interpretation of § Trans 102.15, we apply a rational basis level of scrutiny in determining whether Act 23 is constitutional. Mary F.-R., 351 Wis. 2d 273, ¶35; Wagner, 263 Wis. 2d 709, ¶84. As the Supreme Court has explained, it is erroneous to assume that a law that regulates voting must be subject to strict scrutiny. Burdick, 504 U.S. at 432. Strict scrutiny applies only when a statute imposes a severe burden on the exercise of the franchise. Id. at 434.


I read this exception to include any and all documents including a birth certificate from a state other than Wisconsin. This is a major change to the law that makes it a great deal easier to live with and guts the voter suppression effects of the law. There is great language in the opinion on the poll tax issue that will be helpful for the Veasey plaintiffs in the Texas voter id case.

Wisconsin State Supreme Court engage in some extreme Judicial Activism to save voter id law

The Wisconsin state supreme court upheld the Wisconsin voter id law but looked seriously at the poll tax issue and decided that fees paid to obtain the documents necessary to get a “free” id are not allowed and may be poll taxes. In order to find the Wisconsin law constitutional, the Wisconsin state supreme court engaged in some serious judicial activism and created a waiver where a voter who does not have a document necessary to get a free id can file for a waiver. http://wicourts.gov/sc/opinion/DisplayDocument.html?content=html&seqNo=118667

¶69 In order to harmonize the directive of Wis. Stat. § 343.50(5)(a)3., which says no fees; statutes such as Wis. Stat. § 69.22, which impose payment of fees; and Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15(3)(a), which requires certain documents for which electors may be required to pay fees to government agencies, we construe § Trans 102.15(3)(b). We do so to preserve the constitutionality of § 343.50(5), as follows: One who petitions an administrator pursuant to § Trans 102.15(3)(b) for an exception is constitutionally "unable" to provide those documents and they are constitutionally "unavailable" to the petitioner within our interpretation of § Trans 102.13(3)(b), so long as petitioner does not have the documents and would be required to pay a government agency to obtain them.

¶70 Stated otherwise, to invoke an administrator's discretion in the issuance of a DOT photo identification card to vote, an elector: (1) makes a written petition to a DMV administrator as directed by Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15(3)(b) set forth above; (2) asserts he or she is "unable" to provide documents required by § Trans 102.15(3)(a) without paying a fee to a government agency to obtain them; (3) asserts those documents are "unavailable" without the payment of such a fee; and (4) asks for an exception to the provision of § Trans 102.15(3)(a) documents whereby proof of name and date of birth that have been provided are accepted. § Trans 102.15(3)(b) and (c). Upon receipt of a petition for an exception, the administrator, or his or her designee, shall exercise his or her discretion in a constitutionally sufficient manner.

¶71 We further conclude that filing a Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15(3)(b) petition for an exception with a DMV administrator, as set forth above, is not a severe burden on the right to vote. Accordingly, because the burdens of time, inconvenience and costs upon electors' right to vote are not severe under our interpretation of § Trans 102.15, we apply a rational basis level of scrutiny in determining whether Act 23 is constitutional. Mary F.-R., 351 Wis. 2d 273, ¶35; Wagner, 263 Wis. 2d 709, ¶84. As the Supreme Court has explained, it is erroneous to assume that a law that regulates voting must be subject to strict scrutiny. Burdick, 504 U.S. at 432. Strict scrutiny applies only when a statute imposes a severe burden on the exercise of the franchise. Id. at 434.


I read this exception to include any and all documents including a birth certificate from a state other than Wisconsin. This is a major change to the law that makes it a great deal easier to live with and guts the voter suppression effects of the law. There is great language in the opinion on the poll tax issue that will be helpful for the Veasey plaintiffs in the Texas voter id case.
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