Tag Archives: GOP voter suppression

Sec. of State Condos: good riddance to vote fraud commission

[Updated: Short version: “The White House intends to destroy voter data collected by the election fraud commission [Donald Trump] recently shut down, the Justice Department said in a court filing Tuesday night. White House Director of Information Technology Charles Herndon said in a declaration submitted to a federal court in Washington that officials plan to erase the information, rather than transfer it to the Department of Homeland Security or the National Archives and Records Administration.” Or so they say.]

Good riddance to the Advisory Commission on Election Fraud, but in the age of Trump and his GOP thugs, VT Sec. of State Condos says:We must be vigilant and focused on preserving our democracy.”

The presidential advisory group launched last May by the Trump administration to root out imaginary voter fraud has been disbanded. The White House announced a week ago that the Department of Homeland Security would take over commission’s unfinished “work.”voteno5

From day one the so-called “Advisory Commission on Election Integrity” chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and managed by vice chair Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was widely seen as a vehicle to purge voter rolls and suppress voters’ right to vote. In his position as Kansas Sec. of State Kobach advocated proof-of-citizenship requirements. He wholeheartedly endorsed Trump’s false assertion that if thousands had not voted illegally for president in New Hampshire he would have won the election’s popular vote. And let’s not forget to give proper credit to  New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) for animating that lie for the GOP early in the campaign, which, like a zombie, still shuffles around Trumpland.

So good riddance to the troubled commission! Commission member Maine Sec. of State Mike Matt Dunlap(D) had sued it to obtain documents which Kobach kept secret from its own members. Now predictions are that the shift to DHS will basically spell the end of the Trump’s effortsno sane official would take on the troubled commission’s job.  Or as one observer aptly put it: Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola University School of Law and a former Department of Justice civil rights official quoted by propubilca.org says “You don’t normally want to be the second person to jump on a live grenade.”

A tireless advocate for voting rights Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos, also the current president of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), has been out front opposing the commission. Early on Condos refused Kobach’s request to hand over Vermont voter data. Now he remains skeptical that democracy’s victory will mean no further assaults by the GOP and Trump administration’s organized meddling. Condos said about the move to DHS: “I believe this is an attempt to give the federal government even more freedom to meddle in our elections, a state-run function. I am concerned about gross federal overreach, and this move only fuels fears of a federal takeover of state elections, damaging the trust we’ve been trying to build with DHS in collaborating on election security.”

The ACLU has already taken legal action to block any transfer of data from the dissolved commission to the DHS. But if we have learned anything from the Trump (and the GOP) in the last year it is that this likely not the end of it. His GOP enablers have long history of voter suppression and Trump seems determined and has promised to find and root out the “fraud” that he imagines cost him the popular vote. In this case we should take him at his word; rule number one for surviving under an autocratic regime is: Believe the autocrat.

Expanding Medicaid equals more voter participation

A recent study of voter participation shows higher voter turnout in states that have expanded Medicaid under the American Affordable Care Act (ACA / Obamacare). For people with low income, Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services.Kaiser Health-14-2016

The study, Expanding Medicaid, expanding the electorate: the Affordable Care Act’s short-term impact on political participation, compared voter turnout data from 2014 and 2012 for 435 U.S. House races.  Controlling for local factors, its author found:  […] that increases in Medicaid enrollment as a result of Medicaid expansion were related to considerably higher voter turnout in 2014.

Past research has shown people that receive public assistance are less likely to vote, so these results are significant. According to study author Jake Haselswerdt, assistant professor of political science and public affairs at the University of Missouri: “Having access to health insurance could play a role in increasing voter participation as healthy people are much more likely to vote than unhealthy people, and insurance increases people’s financial stability, which also makes them more likely to vote.” Backlash to expanded enrollment, he notes, may also affect voter turnout.

[Updated Ed.]Although Donald Trump made campaign promises not to cut Medicaid benefits, [Trump has ] endorsed two changes to the bill affecting Medicaid, under the pending GOP plan. The actions taken by GOP legislators in Congress make plain how they feel about Medicaid. Republican-sponsored ACA repeal legislation (Trumpcare) now in Congressional committees would hand Medicaid back to the states, and cut program funds by $880 billion in the next 10 years —  effectively limiting expansion. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that under the GOP bill 14 million fewer people would have Medicaid coverage in 2026.

Whether by design or accident, the GOP’s efforts to slash Medicaid may not only hurt the health of lower income  U.S. citizens, but they also seem to fit in nicely with the Republicans’  long running campaigns to suppress voter participation — also known as “voter fraud prevention legislation.”

Well, that works: “American Health Care” that isn’t affordable, and laws to counteract non-existent “voter fraud.” Paging George Orwell …

Phil Scott’s “moderate” governors coalition partner wants voter restrictions

Aren’t New England GOP’ers supposed to be the good ones? That’s the theory at least. And based on that age-old theory, Phil Scott wants to form a coalition of these fabled (mythical?) moderate Northeastern Republican governors to protect states from policies of the Trump Administration. And Scott wants to include New Hampshire’s Governor-elect Chris Sununu in his new coalition of moderate northeastern Republican governors. Scott also name drops Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan as possible partners (since when was Maryland in the Northeast?).

nhvotersHowever, Sununu is right in lock-step with the not-so-moderate national GOP trend to limit voter registration. Shortly before this year’s election on Boston talk/news radio Sununu alleged Democrats practiced voter fraud and said: “[…] when Massachusetts elections are not very close, they’re [Democrats] busing them in [to New Hampshire] all over the place.” He got a pants on fire rating for that one from politifact.com

Now with the election over, Governor-elect Sununu has back-pedaled on his earlier fraud allegations but still wants restrictions: “It’s not about fraud and a rigged system, that nonsense. It’s really just about making sure that our rules are clear, that they’re unambiguous, and that people can believe that as a full-time resident of the state of New Hampshire, your vote isn’t being watered down by someone who’s ‘drive-thru voting,’ ‘drive-by voting.’ We just need to modernize the system.”

Specifically he wants to end or restrict his state’s same-day voter registration law – enacted by a majority of Republican legislators and signed into law by the Republican Governor in 1994. Sununu echoes the language used nationally by GOP’ers and Koch Brother’s ALEC funded efforts to squeeze voter registration rolls. Same-day registration, Sununu says, can have “problems.” He told NH Pubic Radio: “We just need our laws tighter.”

Same-day voter registration can have problems? Well, Ay-yup, and perhaps Sununu and New Hampshire Republicans have a “problem” with this: Same-day registration is a major issue in several college towns in New Hampshire, which this year voted heavily for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Democratic Senate candidate Maggie Hassan.

Oh, I see it now: by “problem” Sununu means figuring out how to limit Democratic voters. I suppose the NHGOP could, like in the old days, allow only property owners to vote – or better yet on the revenue side, impose a hefty poll tax to keep those others from voting – that used to work like a charm.

And that brings it back to Phil Scott’s imagined coalition of moderate’  Northeastern Republican governors. Don’t know much about Governors Baker or Hogan but I wonder how moderate this coalition can be if Sununu is one of Phil’s “good guys.”