The state of Ohio, a key battleground state in this year’s presidential election, told a Sixth Circuit panel on Wednesday that it believes it has the right to purge from voter registration rolls anyone who hasn’t voted in consecutive federal elections and did not respond to inquiries about a change in their address, regardless of the reason.
A “major victory” for Virginia’s constitution and the rule of law, and a “potentially fatal blow” to Governor and former Democratic National Committee Chair Terry McAuliffe’s hoped-for “legacy” of swinging the state to his friend and former boss Hillary Clinton:
In a 4-3 ruling, the court declared McAuliffe’s order unconstitutional, saying it amounts to a unilateral rewrite and suspension of the state’s policy of lifetime disenfranchisement for felons.
The court ordered the Virginia Department of Elections to “cancel the registration of all felons who have been invalidly registered” under McAuliffe’s April 22 executive order and subsequent orders.
Federal district court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos released a scheduling order providing guidelines for an “interim remedy” to Texas’ voter ID requirement that allows voters without an accepted form of identification to vote in the 2016 general election using a voter registration certificate.
Details are to be finalized by August 17.
Election officials across the nation are taking to the airwaves and interwebs to scream “HELP WANTED!” before the November 2016 election. Click on your state to find appropriate contact information for your local elections office. Then, tell them that you’re ready to volunteer!
So, what’s the status of voter ID in Texas and Wisconsin?
This week proves yet again that when it rains, it pours. We started with a recent court ruling in Wisconsin allowing affidavits to be signed in cases where individuals are not able to provide sufficient photo identification. There’s good and bad news here. The good – Badger State voters know exactly how their voter ID law is going to be applied this fall, and they have a few months left to get accustomed to the new reality. The bad – affidavits do not protect against abuse. As the federal races in the state heat up, (and trust us, they will), these accommodations will only invite more funny business.
Texas is a bit different -- with much more drama to come. On Wednesday, the full U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals handed Texas a decision that’s essentially a mixed bag. The Court found that: the law was not written with discriminatory intent, nor was it designed to be a poll tax. However, it also found that: the law may carry some discriminatory effects that must be mitigated BEFORE November 2016. What the temporary remedy will look like is still being left up to the same federal district court judge that just saw almost all of her original ruling overturned. We’ll keep you posted on what comes next.
Bottom line: Voter ID laws are still in place in both states, but some watering-down has occurred.
TTV Founder Catherine Engelbrecht stressed what we can do to help prevent fraud:
“Recent court actions to water down these laws will very likely invite more chicanery. Election integrity policies alone do not prevent or protect against voter fraud and irregularity. Our polling places must be operated and observed by Americans who understand the rules and are willing to enforce them. It’s time to step up … Whether voters have the benefit of a voter ID law enforced in their state or not, their help is needed in the polling place.”
Schedule a TTV speaker today!
Just in time for the height of the 2016 Election, True the Vote has fanned out staff and speakers around the southern and southeastern United States -- with more to come. Do you have a meeting or conference coming up and would like to book a speaker on the subject of election integrity? We’ve streamlined the request process with a form now available on the website, here. We can’t wait to attend your next event!
Where do the various legal attacks against election integrity stand around the country?
Having a hard time keeping track of all the lawsuits looking to dilute election integrity laws or incite whole new forms of chaos? TTV has the scoop. Here’s a summary of where things stand in the various states fighting it out in court.
Texas: The voter ID law has been remanded to the district court to finally determine a remedy for voters without ID to cast a ballot. The law was not struck down.
Wisconsin: A federal judge ruled that if you have an ID, you must show it. If you don’t, you must swear that you could not obtain one in time for the election.
North Carolina: The trial date for the voter ID lawsuit is set for September, which is VERY late. There’s a fair chance that, regardless of how that case goes, the voter ID law will still be in effect this November.
Ohio: Legal challenges to keep Golden Week and the early voting schedule as is were successful. Ohio voters wanting to know when early voting begins and ends can check here.
Kansas: The dual-registration system that separates those who’ve proven their U.S. citizenship when they registered to vote and those who have not was recently challenged. By all appearances, the case is on a fast-track, but it’s still early. We’ll keep you updated.
What can you do now?
Feeling a little overwhelmed or unsure of how to start fighting back? Again, TTV has important resources available to help you, and we know how to put you to work.
Online Training: If you haven’t signed up with the TTV Knowledge Network for poll watcher training, today is a good day to do it. It’s free, easy and available right now. What are you waiting for?
Tell your local election officials you want to help: Your local polling place is probably a man short and still needing help. Contact your local official now and tell them that you want to work in the polls!
Keep the online conversation going: The stretch between conventions and election gets pretty hot online in terms of misinformation. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and help us spread the TTV message. You can follow our election news blog here and share links within your network. Do you see someone trolling @TrueTheVote online? Push back!
We also hope you’ll throw several bucks our way! Every. Dollar. Helps. You can contribute online here or find our mailing address to give the good old-fashioned way.
July 19, 2016 TTV National Conference Call Replay
We understand -- summer scheduling gets tricky. So, if you couldn’t join us for the July 2016 National Call, we’ve got you covered. Check out the replay here!
Did you know? PEW Research highlighted a study that detailed the total amount it would cost to collect ALL voter files in the country. True the Vote’s national voter roll research databank costs $126,482 -- just for the raw data! If you haven’t yet, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help underwrite our research efforts.
No ID? No problem for Wisconsin voters, says Judge Adelman, who still doesn’t like voter ID and still denies voter-impersonation fraud exists:
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman issued a preliminary injunction order Tuesday in a case challenging the state’s law requiring voters to have photo identification, granting a request from the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU’s request called for an affidavit option for voters who face a “reasonable impediment” to obtain a valid photo ID. Adelman’s order will allow the affidavit option for voters in the general election on Nov. 8.
Adelman’s order calls for affidavit voters to receive regular ballots, rather than provisional ballots that could be verified before being counted.
In what six dissenting judges called an “ill-conceived, misguided, and unsupported majority opinion” based on a misconstruction of the law that amounts to “little more than a naked disparate impact test,” a divided 5th Circuit affirmed a district court’s finding that Texas’ photo voter ID law “violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act through its discriminatory effects” and instructed that court to fashion an “interim remedy” as soon as possible that “disrupts voter identification rules for the 2016 election season as little as possible.”
HOUSTON, TX. – July 20, 2016: True the Vote (TTV), the nation's leading voters’ rights and election integrity organization, today offered reaction to recent federal court decisions impacting photo voter ID laws in Wisconsin and Texas.
“Texans and Wisconsinites can now be assured that their voter ID laws will remain largely in place this November and beyond, but there is still much work to be done,” True the Vote Founder Catherine Engelbrecht said. “However, recent court actions to water down these laws will only invite more chicanery in the least. Election integrity policies alone do not prevent against voter fraud and irregularity. Our polling places must be operated and observed by Americans who understand the rules and are willing to enforce them. It’s time to step up.”
The True the Vote founder explained the growing need for new election volunteers across the nation:
“State and local election officials around the country are literally posting ‘Help Wanted’ signs to make the 2016 Election run smoothly. Whether voters have the benefit of a voter ID law enforced in their state or not, their help is needed in the polling place. True the Vote stands ready to train and facilitate the deployment of a new generation of volunteers – just as it has done in the past.”
TTV encourages concerned voters to enroll in online training today at network.truethevote.org.
True the Vote (TTV) is an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) voters’ rights organization, founded to inspire and equip voters for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.
More not-nonexistent voter fraud that changed the outcome of an election in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley:
A former Weslaco city commissioner has admitted to cheating to get re-elected in 2013. Lupe Rivera Monday pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawfully assisting a voter — one of 16 counts he was charged with in a mail-in ballot fraud scheme.
Rivera’s challenger contested the election, which was decided by just 16 votes, alleging voter fraud. The judge found that 30 ballots were illegally cast and ordered a new election (after a protracted appeal, the redo election was held in November 2015; Rivera lost), and Texas’ Attorney General filed 16 charges against Rivera – including the unlawful assistance charge for filling out a mail ballot “in a way other than the way the voter directed or without direction from the voter.”
As punishment for intentionally defrauding the voters of Weslaco, stealing enough votes to steal an election, and tying up the courts for over a year, Rivera’s plea deal sentences him to just a year of probation and a $500 fine.
A state court challenge to North Carolina’s voter ID requirement is set to go to trial starting September 26, just one month ahead of the state’s October 27 early voting start date.
The question before [Wake County Judge Mike] Morgan will be whether the 2013 election law overhaul is an extension of the voter registration process, as lawmakers have argued. The challengers argue that requiring N.C. voters to show one of six approved IDs or cast a provisional ballot is a “qualification” that goes beyond the bounds of the state Constitution.
An appeal of a separate, federal case in which the voter ID requirement was upheld is pending in the Fourth Circuit.
Voter turnout in the state’s March primaries, the first requiring photo voter ID, was similar to previous presidential primaries: 36% in 2016, compared to 37% in 2008 and 35% in 2012.
Last week, Missouri’s Democrat governor Jay Nixon vetoed a photo voter ID bill passed by the state’s legislature with a veto-proof majority. In his veto letter Governor Nixon twice stated, rightly, that “disenfranchising” eligible voters is “wrong” and “unacceptable.” But the compromise bill he vetoed does nothing to disenfranchise any eligible voters.
“Gov. Nixon has been pretty clear that having integrity in our elections is not a priority for him,” [House bill sponsor Rep. Justin] Alferman said. “He’s flat out lying when he’s saying it will disenfranchise voters. We’ve gone above and beyond any other voter ID bill in the entire country to make sure people can vote.”
Under HB 1631, any eligible voters without one of the accepted forms of photo identification can sign “a statement, under penalty of perjury, averring that the individual is the person listed in the precinct register,” show a non-photo ID such as is required under current law, and vote a regular ballot.
Eligible voters who choose not to sign the statement can vote a provisional ballot, which will be counted when an “election authority verifies the identity of the individual by comparing that individual’s signature to the signature on file with the election authority.”
Voters incapacitated due to illness or physical disability can vote an absentee ballot by mail, bypassing the photo ID requirement. And of course the state will provide photo identification acceptable for voting free of charge to any eligible voters without such ID.
Where is the eligible voter who is “disenfranchised”?
Nixon also trotted out the old canard that voter fraud is “a problem which does not exist” and claimed that “voter impersonation fraud is a very rare occurrence.” But as Senate sponsor Will Krause noted, “Currently there is no way to detect voter impersonation fraud when it happens. This common-sense requirement would have protected the integrity and fairness of our election process in Missouri while still making it easy for Missourians to cast their ballot.”
The legislature expects to override Nixon’s veto during its September 14 veto session, and the enabling constitutional amendment will be on the November ballot for voters to decide.
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