When I was 19 or so, I worked for a time in a completely disreputable health food store located in a dying strip mall in what is now probably suburban Atlanta but was then a small town in Georgia that had aspirations of becoming a suburb of Atlanta.
I know there are reputable health food stores, but this wasn’t one of those. The (mostly absent) proprietor wasn’t making enough money in our core business, which was selling over-priced vitamins and crack-pot cancer cures, so he branched out into survivalist gear and supplies. The store was too small to actually stock survivalist gear and supplies, so we were a distributor. That means we had samples of dehydrated food and water purification kits and such to show customers, who would then order from catalogue, and we got a cut of that sale.
Based on this experience, if some Right wing fringe group takes power and we all have to choose, Rapturist or End Times Survivalist, I’m in the Rapturist camp. Rapturists don’t have to buy or do anything. End Time Survivalism is expensive and a lot of work.
If we don’t want to be either of those things, we’re all going to have to vote, because we’re not lunatics, and we shouldn’t be governed by lunatics. Lunatics like noted conservative historian and media favorite Newt Gingrich, who recently floated his new and innovative idea: imposing a poll test on the voters who don’t vote for conservatives.
Which leads me to the point of this post. I am getting emails from people who live in states where conservatives are frantically passing voter suppression laws. I sympathize, completely. I too believe voting is a right not a privilege, the the US Constitution agrees with me, and I like reader emails. But, I’ve done three of four statute-based posts on these laws, and they’re all about the same. Perhaps they’re all the same because they were all drafted by the same national conservative group?
Anyway, looking at these laws all over the country it seems they are targeting not just minority voters, but students, specifically. There’s a reason for that.
Obviously, Democrats, liberals and other voting enthusiasts are going to need some strategy to counter the disenfranchising effects of these laws.
Here’s an excellent site for stats on youth voting which might be a good place to start.
You really think DC Democrats, or those in most state capitols, care? Of course they don’t. Just look at Michigan. It appears the Democratic Party there didn’t learn a damn thing from Wisconsin.
So the yutes went from ~50% turnout in 2008 to ~24% in 2010? Holy moly. I didn’t realize the drop was so big. That’s stunning.
Well, I don’t know about DC Democrats, because these are state laws, but I did watch the debate over Ohio’s voter ID law (first round) and it was brutal.
What I thought was interesting was youth turn-out was going up pre-Obama.
I thought Kerry campaign did a good job locally getting youth voters out, and they didn’t get credit for any cumulative effect of that, in 2008.
But we’re not big on looking at “cumulative” or “over time”, generally.
PeakVT: I think a lot of that drop is just the difference between presidential and midterm elections. Young people are much less likely to vote in the latter.
College students especially, and I can understand why. Even prior to the current disenfranchisement efforts, many college students are confused as to where they can register to vote; often college towns don’t want students to register locally and will not try to make it easy or make clear that it’s possible. I voted absentee in my home district all through college, and I found myself distant from local issues back there. So it became more difficult to figure out or care how to vote on everything.
I think there is clear evidence of a conspiracy to disenfranchise the youth vote.
Can the Democrats get some lawyers on this?
@Matt McIrvin: Ok, you’re right. There’s a spreadsheet at the bottom of one of the links, and the drop is typical of that from highwater presidential years (1972, 1992, 2004, 2008) to the next midterm. The typical drop for 30+ adults is ~15%.
The Indiana law on ID has been the wall on voter ID, but these laws are more restrictive that that.
There will be challenges, but I don’t have a lot of faith in courts, because the Indiana SCOTUS decision was just terrible.
Those justices need to get out more, or the (liberal) lawyers at the lower levels need to do better at presenting judges with facts to work with, because the whole decision is riddled with false factual conclusions.
Just because its not blasted all over the blogs and cable news doesn’t mean no one is doing something about it.
“In USA Today this week, Donna Brazile, DNC vice chair of Voter Registration & Participation, calls out Republican lawmakers for their efforts to push election laws that will cost taxpayers millions — and disenfranchise countless voters. She writes:”
“Across America, Republican lawmakers have talked a big game about cutting budgets, but they also are seeking reductions to something much more fundamental: Americans’ voting rights. From coast to coast, the GOP is engaged in what appears to be a coordinated, expensive effort to block voters from the polls… In more than 30 states, GOP legislators are on the move, from a sweeping rewrite of Florida’s election laws to new rules for photo identification in Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina and more than 20 other states.”
PLUS, I read that Florida Dems have already asked the DOJ to look into the voting rights bill recently signed by Rick Scott.
@kay: No, we aren’t good at “over time”, are we? Part of that is because so much of the turnout infrastructure is specific to presidential candidates, I think. Each aspirant builds an organization for the primaries, and whoever wins expands theirs for the general, and then… poof.
I think Ohio is a real “tell” because conservatives passed a voter ID law, people just got used to it, and they are now pushing a still-more restrictive voter-ID law.
This is godammned nuts, and they can’t cloak it under “voter fraud” anymore.
Each round is more restrictive than the last.
What the hell is up with the EDIT on this blog?
Kerry didn’t do that (good for him). He turned his voter file over to Obama, in Ohio, anyway.
You probably know the names on a “list” are a sort of currency, and he gave his away.
If we can’t beat them in the courts then we need to make sure that voters know exactly what they need to bring or do to be able to vote.
I’m with you. Courts are a last resort, and they move too slow, so both.
Seems to me that it would be useful for the dems to do a generic anti-GOP ad — or series of ads — educating the public on the nationwide gop efforts to limit voting. I think every gop politician should be subjected to questioning as to why his/her party believes fewer people should vote. They should have to answer why they favor universal democracy in Iraq but not in the US. I do not believe the average american is aware of the systematic efforts to disenfranchise their fellow tax paying americans.
@Kay: The Wisconsin voter ID “debate” was brutal as well.
@kay: Yes, but that was an exception, wasn’t it? Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that it would better for the party as a whole if more of the turnout effort was institutionalized. The drop-off in this cycle was particularly harmful because Republicans scored significant gains at the state level, which will allow them to control more redistricting. As to how to get there, I have no idea, as usual.
Well wasn’t the Kerry non election also a watershed in electoral politicking–previous to that I believe that the campaigns owned the voter information and generally held it pretty closely (this is from the bob shrum era) and when Obama came in there was an ongoing attempt thanks to dean in the DNC to have the DNC “own” that information?
I have really come around to thinking that the Democrats have simply lost on this topic, the optics of it anyway, and the only thing to do is have Obama and the Dems come out for free national voter IDs, with pix and etc… that will be issued to every high school student and old age pensioner. I know that they tried to do something like that but the republicans wouldn’t appropriate the money at the state level to make it happen.
Oops, Kay got there first.
Here in Wisconsin it was blatantly obvious that the Voter Suppression Bill was drafted by ALEC or some other national conservative group, because the Republicans pushing seemed to have no real idea what was in it. At the public hearings and in the Assembly and Senate sessions, people would question the Republicans about details of the bill, and they’d answer with conflicting information or misrepresent what the bill says (whether because they were lying or because they themselves hadn’t read what they’d proposed I can’t say). It was also obvious that the sample legislation wasn’t tailored to WI’s circumstances. It seems as though they all think that as long as it’s essentially like Indiana’s legislation, it’ll pass muster, even though every state has different access to facilities. For example, to get your free state ID, you have to go to the DMV and ask for one. Indiana has something like twice as many DMV outlets per capita as Wisconsin, and IN’s DMVs apparently have more extensive hours. Some counties in WI have no DMV, and the DMV the next county over might only be open for a few hours one day a month (seriously). Even where there are DMVs, I don’t think any of them are open before 10am or after 5pm. WI also currently has a higher percentage of residents without a qualifying ID than IN had. (Dems tried to add amendments to require longer DMV hours or mobile DMVs for some communities, and to make other kinds of ID allowable, among other attempts to make the bill more reasonable, but all of the amendments were denied.) I really hope that there are some serious court challenges in the works.
@I do not believe the average American is aware of the systematic efforts to disenfranchise their fellow tax paying americans.mb:
@boss bitch: I see this as the more realistic way to go. Our energies should be put into voter education. Locally, I always have people calling me up on election day, reminding me to vote, telling me where, offering me rides to the polling place. We need this kind of effort ahead of time, reminding people of what documentation they need, offering them help in obtaining it, etc.
Also I think education will make a bigger impact than just saying “The Rs want to suppress the vote!” People always bitch and moan about bureaucracy–now voting will involve a LOT more of that! And pushing the message that maybe it’s all well and good for you, but how about your elderly parent, your out-of-work sibling, that relative who doesn’t drive, your kid in college? More people will raise a stink about these laws if they are or think they will be affected by them. Sadly, most people don’t care whether strangers (especially “others”) can vote but they will care about their own votes and those of their families.
what kind of counter strategy can we implement this year ahead of 2012? I think this is the crucial battle to winning the election.
Alan in SF
Bend over and spread? Just a wild guess.
Kay, you’re just not getting this. Legislation protecting and promoting the right to vote doesn’t make legal sense. Hell, it doesn’t even make common sense. It’s just part of a devious liberal plan to get more people to vote, which in turn helps Dems make liberal fascism as the new normal. This crazy liebrul idea that everyone has the ‘right’ to vote (hah!) is radical activism! It comes right outa the communist playbook. How do you think Mao got into power?
Villago Delenda Est
“Political Power grows from an ACORN” – Chairman Mao
Off topic but hilarious. Fans of Sarah Walker?
Dem and progressive groups should make ads showing someone going to their polling place and put through an increasingly absurd series of hurdles as they attempt to vote, and also an ad featuring interviews with elderly African Americans talking about their struggle to vote in the bad old days, and an ad showing college students showing up to campus to find a “closed” sign because a referendum just passed shutting it down, etc., etc.
I’m in CA where these voter suppression efforts won’t find much purchase, but even here we’re stepping up voter registration efforts this year to get a head start on 2012. Everyone should be volunteering at their local level to register voters and educate them about their voting rights so they’re prepared to meet whatever bullshit requirements stand between them and their exercise of their right to vote.
Oddly enough, the long-running decline in the strength of permanent Democratic Party infrastructure correlates quite noticeably with the long-running decline in the size of industrial unions.
Republicans may be many things, bit stupid isn’t one of them. They figured this one out a long time ago, and have worked diligently and patiently.
AFL-CIO may reduce support to Democrats
“It doesn’t matter if candidates and parties are controlling the wrecking ball or simply standing aside to let it happen,” Trumka said. “The outcome is the same either way. If leaders aren’t blocking the wrecking ball and advancing working families’ interests, then working people will not support them.”
@kideni: I can’t understand why the Senate Dems didn’t flee to Illinois again and deny a quorum to pass this atrocity.
OTOH, I’m wondering if the Justice Department might have something to say about these laws, as they do appear to violate the Voting Rights Act.
@kay: I’m guessing Snellville?
WARNING: Big picture rambling follows.
I’m starting to believe that the future of the country will be decided in the next five years, and it will be over the Supreme Court. The GOP is going to continue gaming the system in a million ways, including restricting ballot access, as long as they have cover from the SCOTUS. We really don’t have an effective recourse against these measures except defeating Republicans in state houses whenever possible. GOP legislators don’t have an independent conscience or a fundamental belief in American democracy, I’m sad to conclude. And the Supreme Court is hopelessly partisan on voting rights, as Bush v. Gore so aptly demonstrated.
At some point in the next 5 years (I’m fairly convinced Obama will win reelection), a conservative jurist will retire or die. With today’s GOP, there is no way that they will allow anyone to the left of Kennedy to get a vote in the Senate. Without 60 votes to override a filibuster, there will be a grand impasse. We had better prepare for it now, because I truly believe the GOP is ready, willing and able to tie the country in knots rather than confirm a centrist or liberal justice to replace one of the five conservative justices.
Aside from ALEC, there is the State Policy Network (PFAW link) that organizes local organizations which push for hard-right causes. There is a whole network of these organizations, all apparently funded by the same few wealthy organizations and individuals.
I don’t understand why there isn’t just one giant radical-right organization, but I suppose the funders ideas about political organizing come from pre-internet days, when it was harder to find the connections between these organizations.
If there’s a national ID card (which we are very near anyway), I suppose that would be one good way to get some mileage out of that otherwise horrible system. Even the Roberts Court might think twice about allowing states to simply refuse the vote to citizens.
Villago Delenda Est
You’re probably right about that…the idea is to create the appearance of mass support, and having multiple astroturf outfits lends itself to that idea.
Also, as you point out, in pre-‘net times, it made connecting the dots more of an effort.
One of the most important values of the survivalist community movements throughout the country is to make sure they’re suckered by any huckster vending them bullshit in the name of Freedom and avoiding the tentacles of the One World Gubmit types.
@danimal: Yup. And the Dems will allow it. Nothing will stop, the Dems will just bend over.
That is why we need to primary Obama. We must establish an uncompromising left wing of the Dems.
@Emerald: I suspect that for this bill the Senate Democrats thought they could have more of an impact by staying to put forth amendments and make arguments on the floor. And now there’s lots more video of Republicans being assholes to pass around (seriously, could Mike Ellis have looked any more like a cartoon villain, chewing gum and wearing sunglasses inside, when he was yelling at my senator, Fred Risser, to shut up?). Also, while many of us fully supported what the Senate Dems did back in February, unfortunately there are a lot of people (including people who fully support the Democrats and think the Republicans are doing terrible things) who buy into the fiction that somehow the Dems would have been effective if they’d stayed in town (which would have meant the legislation would have passed in less than a week and few people would have had any idea what all was involved, of course, but apparently these people believe that somehow some Republicans can be reasoned with). And at least one Dem (Tim Cullen) has said he wouldn’t be on board with hitting the road again. It’s also possible that this bill wouldn’t have fallen under the same quorum rule, since it’s not specifically a fiscal bill (although it does have a fiscal impact, since money has to be appropriated for the IDs to get around the poll tax issue), but I’m not really up on how they determine what’s falls under that rule and what doesn’t.
Incidentally, there was recently a big dust-up in the New Hampshire House over a bill that would require college students to vote absentee.
Here’s an argument from a conservative UNH student insisting that it’s not an attempt to disenfranchise college students (just before describing the Democratic base as “uninformed college students who vote on a whim”), and here’s state House speaker Bill O’Brien arguing for it on the grounds that college students should be disenfranchised.
(I think it didn’t pass.)
Last night Rachel Maddow covered some of the new Voter ID Laws — and other additional information:
WISCONSIN: Cost approx: $7 million to implement
20% don’t have the type of new ID required:
* 175,000 SENIORS
* 180,000 STUDENTS
For most students: this would big hassle
For Senior citizens: handicapped, physically disabled
After reading how Difficult they Republicans have made it — Iam not sure I would even bother —
– Currently No Wisconsin University has new ID
– cannot vote unless a resident for 28 days (new resident for 27-days & cannot vote? sheesh! I would be pissed-off!)
NEW ID Laws require showing:
– proof of residency
– Soc Sec #
– proof of identity
(document w/ signature or photo)
– proof of name & date of birth
(birth cert, valid passport or cert of naturalization)
* DMV issued ID: [talk about difficult]
– 1) many counties do NOT have a DMV office.
– 2) or if they do … most offices are only open ONE DAY each MONTH
Iron River open from:
11 AM – 2 PM (2nd Wednesday of every month)
7:45 AM – 5:15 PM (2nd Wednesday of every month)
Did I mention most of these offices are understaffed!
Imagine traveling 60 – 80 miles ONE way to get a Voter ID…
if I re_member correctly there are no transit lines or buses
If you don’t drive or have a car:
finding a car and/or someone to drive
round trip 120 – 160 or more miles
what if the office is closed?
or waiting lines too long?
or forgot something turn around go back and wait until next month?
Making people: 20 – 40 – 60 – 90 year olds go through such difficult and unnecessary challenges. 100s of 1000s of voters will be disenfranchised
Tax payers are paying the state government to have their vote denied!
These draconian laws are have been or will be passed in states: Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania
By the time the 2012 rolls around — election day: Republicans win majority
Who will be the new president? ACK! what if it is, god forbid … Palin …. OMFG
– 890.000 ppl. do not have the kind of ID now required
etc. etc. etc.
I’m going to take you at your word that you think this is a good idea, but I want to understand it.
The upside of actually putting up a candidate to Obama is (your stated goal) to “establish a left wing of the Party”.
Okay. I see that. I don’t agree with it, because there’s a huge downside for a small return, ie: you are using a political/rhetorical tactic that will have real repercussions in the actual race.
What is the upside of threatening to put up a candidate, but not doing it?
That’s all bad, right? “You” (or those who agree with you) lose credibility, and you alienate a huge chunk of Obama-supporting Democrats. How does that help either liberals or Democrats?
Why say it if you’re not prepared to do it?
And, again, I don’t mean “you”, dollared, that person, but instead I mean some collection of people that advance what seems to be an attempt at a “tactic”.
I’m not disallowing it AS a tactic, I don’t have any problem with primaries, but I don’t understand threatening a primary without a candidate, and I don’t understand this approach. Are “you” moving the window left, just by announcing you favor a generic primary challenger?
Why would you pull out what is an extreme (actual, tangible) maneuver, just for a short-lived rhetorical bump?
It would seem to me you risk discrediting the power of what is an act, by threatening it.
Here’s what I could see doing. I wouldn’t do it, or support it, but I could see it. I think it’s a bad idea, but I can comprehend it.
You could put up an actual person who would get a lot of media attention, and would act as an advocate. A “fake” candidate, as it were. Republicans do this. They dupe a willing media into promoting people like Trump, or Palin, and that gets a far-Right message out, and serves to threaten more moderate Republican candidates into towing a far Right line. Mission accomplished. But it has to be an individual fake-candidate. It can’t be just the idea of a candidate.
Quote from post: “Obviously, Democrats, liberals and other voting enthusiasts are going to need some strategy to counter the disenfranchising effects of these laws.”
Remember, the Democrats have made essentially NO effort to deal with rigged corporate-controlled voting machines AND, while holding a majority of BOTH houses of Congress presided over the destruction of ACORN, their major recourse to the radical-reich “culture of election fraud.”