Monthly Archives: August 2012

Talking Points Memo: Federal Judge Restores Early Voting In Ohio After Obama Suit

-By Ryan J. Reilly

August 31, 2012- A federal judge in Ohio on Friday restored early voting rights in the three days before the election, ruling in favor of the Obama campaign.

U.S. District judge Peter C. Economus ruled that "restoring in-person early voting to all Ohio voters through the Monday before Election Day does not deprive UOCAVA voters from early voting."

"Instead, and more importantly, it places all Ohio voters on equal standing," Economus ruled. He said the state "fails to articulate a precise, compelling interest in establishing the 6 p.m. Friday deadline as applied to non-UOCAVA voters and has failed to evidence any commitment to the 'exception' it rhetorically extended to UOCAVA voters."

Huffington Post: Michael Steele: Voter ID Rhetoric Is ‘Irresponsible,’ Party Needs New Approach To Black Voters

-By Gene Demby

August 31, 2012- As the Republican National Convention drew to a close, Michael Steele, the party's former chair, said that his party needed to do a better job of outreach to communities of color, and that the rhetoric around voter ID laws was a detriment to those efforts.

The party offered plum prime-time speaking spots to people of color, including two well-received speeches from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. But Steele said that he was disappointed at the contrast between the podium and the delegates in attendance.

"There were a lot of people of color on the stage, but my problem is that there weren't any on the floor," Steele told The Huffington Post on Thursday. "That's where the rubber hits the road."

Huffington Post: Ohio Early Voting Ruling: Court Orders State To Restore 3 Days Of Voting Before Election Day

-By Luke Johnson

August 31, 2012- A federal judge sided with the Obama campaign and ruled Friday to order Ohio to restore three days of early voting before Election Day, a decision that could affect the outcome of the 2012 election in a key battleground state.

Judge Peter C. Economus of the Southern District Court of Ohio granted an injunction in favor of Obama For America, the Democratic National Committee and the Ohio Democratic Party, which sued Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to restore in-person voting in the last weekend before the election.

CNN Opinion: Voter ID cases: Invisible voter v. imaginary fraud

-By Nathaniel Persily

August 31, 2012- In the space of two weeks, two different courts have come to two different results in evaluating the legality of two similar voter identification laws.

In Pennsylvania, a state trial judge upheld the newly enacted voter ID law under the state's constitution, while Thursday in Washington, a federal panel rejected Texas' similar ID law under the federal Voting Rights Act.

Despite their differences, both courts were quite right to agree on a central proposition: We really don't know how large an impact these voter ID laws will have on elections. In the end, the question, both legal and moral, often boils down to who should have the burden of proof: Should states be forced to show their laws are justified because they prevent demonstrable fraud or should opponents be forced to show that the law prevents large numbers of people from voting?

Huffington Post: RNC 2012: GOP Shadow Groups Eclipsing Party In Tampa

-By Peter H. Stone

August 28, 2012- TAMPA, Fla. — A shift of power from the official Republican party apparatus to an informal coalition of megadonors, super PACs and nonprofit advocacy groups is underway here, as a rising shadow party increasingly drives GOP politics.

Mel Sembler, a Florida shopping mall magnate and a key member of the Romney campaign's finance team, is planning to open his home Tuesday for a few hours to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future to let the group's leaders chat up potential donors on their plans, according to GOP fundraisers who requested anonymity to preserve their relationship with the groups.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon, top strategists for three powerhouse GOP allies — the Karl Rove-founded Crossroads groups; billionaires Charles and David Koch, who founded Americans for Prosperity; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — are planning to huddle at a local hotel to coordinate efforts to spend tens of millions more on television ads and voter turnout, according to sources close to the groups, who were not authorized to speak on their behalf.

Washington Post: Texas voter-ID law is blocked

-By Sari Horwitz

August 30, 2012- A federal court on Thursday blocked a Texas law that would have required voters to show photo identification, ruling that the legislation would impose “strict, unforgiving burdens” on poor minority voters.

Describing the law as the most stringent in the country, the unanimous decision by a three-judge panel marks the first time that a federal court has blocked a voter-ID law. It will reverberate politically through the November elections. Republicans and Democrats have been arguing over whether tough voter-ID laws in a number of states discriminate against African Americans and Hispanics.

The panel at the U.S. District Court in Washington ruled that Texas had failed to show that the statute would not harm the voting rights of minorities in the state. In addition, the judges found that evidence indicated that the cost of obtaining a photo ID to vote would fall most heavily on African American and Hispanic voters.

Washington Post: Federal judge says Ohio must count disputed votes

-By Robert Barnes

August 27, 2012- The decision could mean that thousands of votes that otherwise would have been rejected — most of them cast in urban areas where Democrats are concentrated — will have to be counted.

“Recent experience proves that our elections are decided, all too often, by improbably slim margins — not just in local races . . . but even for the highest national offices,” U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley wrote. “Any potential threat to the integrity of the franchise, no matter how small, must therefore be treated with the utmost seriousness.”

The legal fight is probably not over. “We respectfully disagree with the judge’s ruling and will likely appeal,” said Matt McClellan, a spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R).

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