More disgusting attempts to target groups of voters and deny them the right to vote:
Nearly a third of people whose citizenship and right to vote were questioned by Colorado’s secretary of state are actually U.S. citizens, election officials said Wednesday, prompting Democrats to question the motives behind the effort to clean up voting rolls as a tightly contested presidential election approaches.
Earlier this month, Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler sent letters to nearly 4,000 people questioning their citizenship as part of a plan to have them voluntarily withdraw or confirm their eligibility to vote.
State officials were able to run 1,400 of those names through a federal immigration database and found that more than 1,200 were U.S. citizens. Verification of the remaining names is still pending, but so far, the search hasn’t turned up any non-citizens registered to vote.
Martha Tierney, an attorney for the Colorado Democratic Party, told election officials during a meeting Wednesday that they were wasting their time on a small group of voters instead of focusing on ensuring a fair and accurate fall election.
“This is a witch hunt and you should be embarrassed that you’re going down this road,” she said.
Gessler’s office plans to release updated figures Thursday detailing how many of the 4,000 people responded directly to affirm their citizenship or withdraw their voter registration. He said no further action will be taken involving people who did not respond to the letters.
More than three-quarters of the letters went to Democrats and independent voters.
If you live in Ohio, in Pennsylvania, in Colorado, in Florida, you are going to have to protect your right to vote from state officials who are seeking to deny you the right. I don’t know how much plainer I can make it.
I really can’t stress enough that you are on your own in the listed states. The Obama Justice Department has been the most aggressive on voter protection issues in my memory, but most of election law is state law. I’m going to repeat that again, because it’s the key to the whole thing. Most election law is state law. I wish it were different, but it’s not. We don’t have a lot of tools available in federal law to combat these sorts of suppression efforts.
My advice is this: go local. Call your county Board of Elections (or the equivalent) and ask if you are still registered to vote, what you are required to bring to vote a regular ballot (NOT a provisional ballot) and how you may qualify under any of the new requirements for voting. Get a name and then write that name down. If there’s a dispute you’ll need to know the name of the person who gave you the information. Be polite and remember that local career employees of these state agencies had absolutely nothing to do with the ALEC-written voter suppression laws.
Don’t give up until someone gives you an answer. The one and only advantage you have over these GOP state leaders and election officials is time. It will be too late on election day and there are no do-overs. Remember what happens if Pennsylvania’s election system falls apart. A Supreme Court Justice with a lifetime appointment will petulantly demand that you “get over it.”
An example: Governor Corbett and his political appointees and the Romney bundler he hired to do voter education in Pennsylvania issued a press release with great fanfare on their thrown-together, half-ass attempt to create and issue voter ID’s.
They’ve had months to address this obvious, documented problem but did absolutely nothing until they were sued, but they claim they’re ready now. This morning I called the Pennsylvania voter hotline to see how well the education effort was going:
Voter ID Hotline at 1-877-VotesPA (868-3772)
I got through the recorded message and hit the button to speak to a person and see if I could ask a specific question or two about how one might get the newly announced voter ID in Pennsylvania. It rang and rang and rang. I let it ring so long the call was disconnected.
This is what you get when lobbyists and their bought and paid for elected representatives push through a complete revamp of an election process immediately prior to a national election and then do NOTHING to educate people until those same state officials are hauled in front of a judge. You get hotlines that no one answers. So go local.