The Joplin Globe Gets Early Voting Kudos

Because I have sometimes been highly critical of the Joplin Globe’s editorial positions, I feel I have to offer up some praise when the local paper gets it right.

Perhaps coming out of its Romney-endorsing funk, the Joplin Globe has embraced an idea that every American should, but doesn’t, support: early voting.

Missouri doesn’t really have early voting, except for those willing to swear they can’t cast a ballot on election day. Those folks can vote absentee. But Secretary of State Jason Kander is trying to find ways to expand early voting, and to that end he put together a commission—which includes the mayor of Joplin—that will study the issue and hopefully come up with a plan.

Kander said:

We have to preserve security in our elections while increasing efficient access for eligible voters. An affordable plan for early voting could help alleviate long lines at the polls on Election Day by adding a much-needed convenience for Missourians across the state.

Who, besides scared Republicans, could oppose that? Thankfully, the Joplin Globe is on board:

Early voting speaks to the disenfranchised voter and sends the message that the system does not have to be so inflexible.

Speaking to disenfranchised voters is not exactly in the Republican playbook, but Voter ID is. And on that controversial issue, the Globe gets it right again:

Voter ID, on the other hand, is a solution looking for a problem. We don’t see that it is necessary.

The House will be taking up the issue of voter ID this week. We would challenge legislators to focus on laws that make voting easier and more efficient.

Way to go, Joplin Globe. Here’s hoping that this is a sign the paper, after forsaking its 2008 Obama endorsement, has come back to its senses.

Afraid: The GOP War On Voting

I heard a conservative say on Sunday how “admirable” it was for folks to be willing to stand in line for six or seven hours to vote in Florida.

This morning I heard someone on the IQ-crippling morning show on Fox say essentially the same thing. How “dedicated” must those voters be.

All of us with a brain not poisoned by Fox “News” understand that what is going on in Florida and Ohio and elsewhere, in terms of how Republicans have intentionally made it more difficult for people, mostly Democratic people, to vote, would be a famous Fox-fueled scandal if it were reversed.

If Democrats were deliberately limiting or suppressing the voting opportunities of, say, white evangelicals, Fox hosts and guests—including Mitt Romney—would not be disingenuously fawning over those “dedicated” conservative Christians and their willingness to commit half a day—or night—to exercising their right to vote.

No, every minute of Fox broadcast time would be spent on how unpatriotic Democrats are to treat the voting process so shabbily, so self-servingly. “Our brave troops fought and died for that right!” they would sanctimoniously shout. They would demand the Justice Department put a stop to it. Hell, they would beseech GOP Jesus to send down a holy bolt of lightning to fry the oppressors.

The Joplin Globe, on Sunday, editorialized about voting, and offered quotes from famous Americans, including this one from John Kennedy:

A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.

In an editorial about the importance of voting, the Joplin Globe had nothing to say about how “afraid” Republicans are of letting “people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market.” Nothing to say.

♦ Nothing to say about Republicans in Ohio, particularly the secretary of state, who has done everything he can to make it more difficult to vote than it was four years ago, including his latest move, which may even be illegal, to give local election officials the power to invalidate ballots. (There will be a court fight on Monday, if nothing is resolved.)

♦ Nothing to say about onerous voter ID laws, which, as a Pennsylvania Republican stupidly but fortunately admitted, were designed to deliver the election to the Republican presidential candidate.

♦ Nothing to say about right-wing groups like True the Vote—founded just after Mr. Obama took office—whose real goal is to intimidate or delegitimize minority and young voters. Read this article by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer and cringe at the inquisition-like tactics being used by Republicans—lily white Republicans—against people of color who have voted all their adult lives. (Local inquisitors like Republican honcho John Putnam are using True the Vote tactics here in Southwest Missouri, for God’s sake, a place where Democrats usually poll about 35%.)

♦ Nothing to say about what has been happening in Florida, the lines, the chaos and confusion, the suppression. Republicans there deliberately cut back early voting days, including the Sunday before election day, typically a strong day of voting by African-American voters. And the former Republican governor of that state, Charlie Christ, criticized the current Republican governor for refusing to extend early voting hours, as folks waited a ridiculously long time to vote:

The only thing that makes any sense as to why this is happening and being done is voter suppression. That’s unconscionable. I think it’s just the wrong thing to do. And the right thing to do would be to sign an executive order to make sure this doesn’t happen and you expand the hours.

As one voter there, who waited in line for almost two hours, said:

This is America, not a third-world country.

She forgot, I guess, that since 2010, Florida has been living under Tea Party governance, third-world or otherwise.

All of the disgusting Republican tactics are ostensibly designed to address voter fraud, a problem that doesn’t exist in the form that things like voter ID laws and registration inquisitions would help fix. The New Yorker article quoted a public-policy professor at Rutgers, who said,

It makes no sense for individual voters to impersonate someone. It’s like committing a felony at the police station, with virtually no chance of affecting the election outcome.

Thus, it makes no legal sense that Republicans would spend so much time and effort to attack a problem that is not a problem, but it does make political sense. Again, as John Kennedy would certainly say today, if he were around to witness what Fox “News” and the Joplin Globe and even much of the national press refuse to witness, is that Republicans, who have embraced extremism wholesale, truly are “afraid” to allow people to “judge the truth and falsehood in an open market.

Because when it comes down to it, the conservative spirit, which animates Republican politics today, is and always has been afraid of We the People.

 

Pennsylvania Judge Refuses To Stop His Party’s Malfeasance

This is unconscionable:

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A tough new voter identification law championed by Republicans can take effect in Pennsylvania for November’s presidential election, a judge ruled Wednesday, despite a torrent of criticism that it will suppress votes among President Barack Obama’s supporters and make it harder for the elderly, disabled, poor and young adults to vote.

Besides the large number of likely Democratic voters who will be disenfranchised by this voter ID law, the judge who let this travesty proceed knew to be true the following two facts:

1. Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai—the freakin’ majority leader!—said the following in a June speech in which he was bragging about his party’s legislative accomplishments before a gathering of Republican State Committee members:

Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done.

First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done.

Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.

That should have been enough for the judge to at least block the law’s implementation until he can write an opinion shaming the GOP legislators. But there’s more:

2. Lawyers defending the law in court for the state of Pennsylvania , stipulated to the following:

There have been no investigations and prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania …

The parties are not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania …

(The state) will not offer any evidence in this action that in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania …

(The state) will not offer any evidence or argument that in-person voter fraud is likely to occur in November in the absence of the Photo ID law.

Get that? They admit there is no bleeping evidence of past voter fraud nor is any “likely to occur in November.” None.

What more would a judge need to stop this dirty and dishonest scheme? Ah, there’s the rub. He would need not to be a Republican.

The hope now is that the evenly split state supreme court (it is evenly split because one of the Republican judges is under indictment and therefore suspended!) will stop this travesty. If the court splits along party lines, the law remains in effect. The good news, if there is any, is that one of the three Republican judges has been known to occasionally buck his party. We shall see.

Meanwhile, most of the media is worried that Joe Biden is being a big meanie.

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