We were last in Maine on our tour of commenter eemom’s Map of Shame of voter suppression laws, but I think we have to go back to Tennessee for an update.
First, I got this from our email correspondent and Tennessee voting enthusiast Mary Mancini:
Hey Kay – Yay! A repeal bill was filed! Mary
Nashville, Tenn. (October 20, 2011) — The No Barriers to the Ballot Coalition of Tennessee, the coalition of organizations behind the state-wide petition drive to repeal the government-issued photo ID to vote mandate, will support the bill filed by Tennessee Senate and House Democrats yesterday that, if passed, will repeal the law that could disenfranchise thousands of Tennesseans.
I love emails that begin with “yay!”
Daily News Journal in Murfreesboro writes about another elderly victim of the government-issued photo ID to vote law.
Ninety-one-year-old Virginia Lasater has voted and worked in campaigns for some 70 years. But Wednesday she ran head-long into the barrier Tennessee’s new voter photo ID law is throwing up for some elderly people.
Recently moved to Murfreesboro from her farm in Lewisburg to live with son, Richard Lasater, she registered to vote Wednesday at the Rutherford County Election Commission office but that afternoon found herself facing long lines at the driver’s license testing center in Murfreesboro. She’s never had a photo ID on her license, even though she’s still capable of driving and goes to Sunday school.
Aided by a walking cane to get around, she quickly decided she couldn’t stand up long enough to wait and her son could find no chairs available for her to sit. Richard estimated at least 100 people were in the building, and workers were “way overworked and way understaffed.” He was told at the help desk there was nothing they could do but wait. They left, upset about the law and the long lines.
Wouldn’t it be so great if Fox News personality/reporter Greta Van Susteren and her fellow Murdoch mouthpiece, John Fund at the Wall Street Journal and Heritage Senior Legal Fellow Hans von Spakovsky were shunned and excluded from polite society for promoting and encouraging the absolute nonsense that is “voter impersonation fraud”, which is the one and only imaginary “problem” these laws were ostensibly written to address?
Wouldn’t it be great if major media stopped swallowing this claptrap whole, and actually did an independent, common sense, step-by-step walk through of voter registration and voting process, using the massive amounts of information on voting that is available in each and every state, and finally asked why we supposedly need these laws?
Don’t hold your breath. Instead, if you’re in Tennessee, help Mary and her fellow voting rights advocates repeal the voter suppression law.
It’s stuff like this that makes me want to punch people who say that it doesn’t matter which party controls government.
Here’s a scary stat to mull over while you’re waiting on line for your voter ID:
@kay: I can’t even blame the GOP anymore. They’re practically triple-dog-daring the American people to vote for Democrats (those that can still vote, anyways), and the response has been nothing but a lot of hand-wringing. Why shouldn’t they feel they can do whatever they want?
I think the headlong rush toward anti democratic behavior we are seeing from the wingers is going to backfire on them. They had been some successful pulling this kind of shit in the past, but did it in a measured strategic and tactical way.
Now they look like frantic autocrats trying to control/sabotage the vital processes for a democracy, like so many ex soviet bloc Appartchiks scrambling to hold back the tide of people power. And we live in a two hundred plus year democracy. The more they grasp for control, the more things like OWS and WI and OH recalls of wingnuts and their odious un American Laws – springs up. I see a light at the end of the tunnel tonight, though it could just be a bigger train.
I blame them. I blame a lot of people. Why is John Fund on the radio? Why is the US Supreme Court so entirely clueless and out of touch about what people have and how they live that they allowed this garbage, 6-3?
The 6 justices should all have to do a 12 hour shift as a pollworker in one of these states.
The Election Protection organization has assembled a toolkit for voter registration in the most restrictive states here: http://www.866ourvote.org/page?id=0106
I’m fortunate, I live in California. I’m fortunate, I’m well-paid. Will be supporting the work of voting rights advocates in problem states.
Thanks, Kay, for posting this.
I know this is serious stuff but I love that :)
Our Problem States.
I hate these laws. And I realize that publicizing this incident will probably do some good in getting the DMV to better follow their own procedures for expediting photo ID people. But this story still sort of bothered me because I don’t think her son fought hard enough to get her accommodated. Don’t stop your efforts at the Help Desk. Does anyone have a chair? Ask them to give it up for the 91 year old lady.
Personally, I would’ve addressed the line and asked them if anyone minded if my 91 year old mother moved to the front of the line. In my experience, no one is going to have the nerve to object because if they do everyone will think they are an asshole. Social conditioning matters. And getting the crowd involved in solving the problem matters too.
If cutting in line was not a possibility, I’d go home, grab a lawn chair, plant mom near the front of the line and then assume her place in line until it was her turn. These institutions are being designed to fail. We can’t just wait/argue for institutional reform. People need to be more assertive in their self help. Sorry if that seems grumpy, but in my experience it’s relatively easy to chain the power of human decency when you remember that you are not, actually, in this all alone. Most people want to do the right thing.
Look, I thought this was settled when Al Gore lost to Bush. Prior to that, we could pretend that GOP or Dem, the ship of state would pretty much keep sailing. Then Bush ran the country into the ground with torture, financial collapse, endless war.
Obama comes in and turns things around. We’re out of Iraq, not torturing, talking about jobs bills and health care bills, and financial regulations. And if there is anyone so stupid that they are back to the “no difference between the two parties” after the last ten years...
I’m just at a loss. If the Teabaggers in all of their racist, ugly displays are not enough to get a person “enthused”, then I for one welcome our new Chinese overlords.
Yeah, I’m just venting a bit. The GOP has a lot of enablers, and sometimes their (in)actions can be more frustrating than those of the GOP itself.
@Unabogie: Couldn’t agree more.
You know you’re bound to * * wind up dead….
Kudos for one of the more obscure lyrical references, Jed.
But I think you are wrong to characterise the Supreme’s as “clueless”. They know exactly WTF they are doing. I wonder if your all-wise founders foresaw that one gang of politicians would ever be shameless enough to appoint a majority of lying corrupt bagmen to the highest court, that the opposing gang would be so lacking in gumption as to support it, and that the electorate could not even be be buggered to look up from licking their balls long enough even to whine pathetically.
@General Stuck: Yeah, I have the same sneaking suspicion. The black community is on this. They are not going back to Jim Crow. The Latino community, I suspect, is getting angrier by the day.
It really could blow up in the R’s faces. Sure, they’ll probably succeed in suppressing some votes, but if anger at their despicable tactics boosts turnout, it could overwhelm all their efforts.
Someone who is smarter than I am told me it was a bad case to bring, and the resulting opinion was thus a mess.
It was the Indiana law, one of the first, and the voting rights side either didn’t collect or didn’t present enough facts.
Maybe too early to early to bring the case? Ended up with a crappy binding decision?
But, it’s easy to second-guess litigation strategy, after the fact. Who knows.
I had to get a raised stamp (or as I jokingly referred to it, a “long form”) copy of my birth certificate to renew my DL. Which was sort of offensive. I’m almost 40. I don’t have a passport. I felt like showing up at the DMV and demanding that they prove I’d ever left the country. It’s utterly bizarre having to prove you’re a native of a place you’ve never left. I can only imagine how much worse it is for people who’ve been fully functioning adults in this country for 70 years.
@kay: Rather like problem children, no? Unruly, undisciplined, willful – but treated with compassion and consistently firm direction even problem children grow to be fulfilled and productive adults.
In some ways, I pity the last gasps of the dying old guard that make up today’s GOP and teabaggers, but I won’t stand idly by and watch them take away the rights generations have fought and died to preserve.
One thing I don’t get: Older voters tend to vote Republican, IIRC, so why don’t these voter ID laws harm GOP turnout as well traditional Dem constituencies?
@Sophia: I had a rather similar experience when filling out paperwork for my new job in Arizona.
Since I had to fly out from NY to complete this paperwork in their presence, one of the admins (luckily) gave me the heads up that I would need my “real” birth certificate. Completely absurd. I thought she was joking at first.
I hope there are going to be real organized attempts to get people registered in these reactionary states.
Well, you can grapple with this part. I don’t have an answer. One of the things that makes the laws suspect is they don’t have the same restrictions on absentee balloting. If you read the whole article, the voter here is referred to an absentee ballot.
Older voters (read: GOP) rely on absentee ballots far more than younger voters do.
If they were really concerned with voter fraud, wouldn’t they tighten up absentee balloting, which is (actually) much less secure?
So there’s the big mystery of voter fraud prevention fraudsters. They were never able to answer that question in Ohio. What’s so safe about absentee ballots, and why go after in-person voters exclusively?
In other civil liberties news, a good article on the Guardian USA website on the growing number of police brutality incidents around the country.
This would be a good issue for OWS to take up, considering the high profile brutality incidents they have been subjected to. The Teatards sure as shit don’t care – I guess capricious, skull-cracking cops are still ‘small government’ when it is happening to people they don’t like.
thank you for keeping us up to date.
you’re one of the ones in the blogosphere with a laser on this issue.
@Unabogie: Unfortunately, I keep hearing that Obama is not much better than Romney anyway, etc. etc. yaddayadda. I gave up on arguing with them.
He was told at the help desk there was nothing they could do but wait.
Is the Tennessee DMV unaware of the Americans with Disabilities Act? They are obligated BY LAW to accommodate her.
FYI – my 85 year old mother recently moved from Texas to Illinois to an assisted living facility. I asked her if she had registered to vote, and she said that the staff of her facility had brought in people to register the residents. I’m not sure what she had to show – she still had a Texas DL, so maybe that was enough.
Uncle Clarence Thomas
Not to harsh your high, my dudeman, but things aren’t turned around, we’re not out of Iraq, and talking about jobs and health care is not the same as providing them. But I guess that’s why they call him “
No DramaNot Really That Much – And It Could Be A Lot Worse – Pulsating Sense of Moral Uplift, Power and Righteousness When Killing Bad Guys Obama.”
proper disclosure: the map is the fine work of Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law….I merely shared it with Kay to assist HER fine work here and in Ohio and beyond.
@Uncle Clarence Thomas:
What? That would mean taking responsibility and doing their ostensible job, and that could lead to also informing the public about the real potential for voter fraud — electronic voting machines. We can’t have that now!
@PIGL: I think they did but all they could do was hope for the best.
Uncle Clarence Thomas
suggested tag line for these efforts – Let Us Vote.
or Let the People Vote.
I am impressed and inspired by the people working to repeal this B.S., but I think we need simple, catchy branding to help galvanize people.
To my ear “No Barriers to the Ballot Coalition” is a few syllables too long, and a bit mental gymnastics-y.
LET US VOTE!
Let the People Vote, damnit!
Person of Choler
So how do these old dears manage to apply for and obtain social security and medicare? I’ll bet that goes off without a hitch.
The folks that are saying that he should have just tried to get her to the front of the line, or brought her back with a chair, are missing the point. Look at that line. Every single person in that line, including Lassiter’s son, had to take several hours to stand in that line to get their business taken care of. How many people, who maybe get 5 days of vacation a year, can afford to take a vacation day, hire a babysitter, and stand in line for hours to get a photo id to vote? That’s the point at which people say “forget it”. And folks like Scott Walker know this, and shorten the hours of the DMV in Democratic areas and extend them in Republican. That’s one of those government functions taxes pay for, and tax-cutters want to cut.
@Mike G: A lot of police are steroid abusers.
@Uncle Clarence Thomas: Tediuos.
But I am impressed with the way you managed to hone in on eemom’s reply without requiring the aid of any begging-for-attention arrangement of punctuation marks.
“Wouldn’t it be great if major media stopped swallowing this claptrap whole…”
The media is a big part of the claptrap. You see, they are corporate-owned. Corporations benefit from having mouthpieces in the media agitating on their endless behalf … so they bought it up, and deformed it to their purpose.
The amazing thing is that this process cannot be seen by human beings, mostly, and if seen, it cannot be remembered. So we keep having people say things like, the media is clueless, or swallows claptrap, etc, etc, etc as we swirl and sink into the drain.
It’s quite a problem, this strange invisibility of the media.
If you are in Tennessee, JOIN YOUR LOCAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY and get out at events and register voters. It is not too early to get people registered. We want the law overturned, but we cannot bank on that happening.
We set up a table at the local Harvest Days festival. Even if people are registered to vote, they may not know that Tennessee has just done a massive voter purge as a part of the GOP voter suppression strategy. Finding out your name has been purged when you go into vote is too late.
Older adults can vote absentee, but absentee ballots are too risky IMO.
Take action. Voting is our top defense against plutocracy.
Perhaps we should start drug-testing them, like most other public safety professionals.
(Or does cop-urine get special rights, too?)