Meanwhile, Under Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law, Veterans Cards are Not Okay

With the Justice Ginsburg correction in the Texas voter id case today, a number of readers have pointed me to Wisconsin’s voter id law, which apparently rejects a veterans card as proof of valid identification. (The Supreme Court has put the Wisconsin voter id law on hold for this election, though it could well be back.)

Under Wis. Stat. 5.02(6m)(a)3, “An identification card issued by a U.S. uniformed service” is valid for voting. But this does not include an ID card issued by the Veterans Administration, which is not a uniform service.  I understand that at the trial in Frank v. Walker, some witnesses who had VA cards testified that they could not use that card and could not easily get another form of acceptable identification.

The language of the Texas statute is not much different from Wisconsin’a. It allows a “a United States military identification card that contains the person’s photograph that has not expired or that expired no earlier than 60 days before the date of presentation.”

Texas has said it accepts the VA card, which perhaps is a “military identification card” but not one “issued by a U.S. uniform service.”

So in that sense, Wisconsin’s law is stricter than Texas’s.  At least in Texas, I think people who lack the VA card should follow Sarah Silverman’s advice to Get Nana a Gun. Concealed weapons permits are A-OK in Texas (though apparently not in Wisconsin).

Got that?



“N.C. Supreme Court OKs App State voting site”


The North Carolina Supreme Court said Wednesday afternoon the courts should take up the issue of early voting on the campus of Appalachian State, literally moments after the State Board of Elections had voted to restore the on-campus early voting site.

However, the early voting site will remain open as the state elections board voted, unless the board meets again to cancel the site.

I posted a link to an earlier version of this story, which had the headling “N.C. Supreme Court blocks App. State Voting Site.”  That earlier version was apparently incorrect.



Credit Where Credit is Due: @VoteRiders

I appreciate Ron Collins’ post noting that Justice Ginsburg corrected her dissent in the Texas voter ID case after I flagged a possible error.

I should note that the discrepancy was first called to my attention by the good folks at VoteRiders. See this twitter conversation. 

As I’ve noted, VoteRiders undertakes the important work of trying to get the right kind of IDs into the hands of those who need them, a very important complement to a litigation strategy.

UPDATE: Brad Blog recounts his role in bringing the question forward.


Breaking: Justice Ginsburg Fixes Her Texas Voter ID Dissent After ELB Notes Error

Yesterday I had a post noting an apparent small error in Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in the Texas voter id case. The Justice said a Veterans ID card was not acceptable for voting, but it appears that it is acceptable.

Today the Justice issued a revised dissent. SCOTUSBlog reports:

In ticking off her objections, Ginsburg wrote that Texas would not even accept “photo ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs.”  On Wednesday, the Justice conceded that that comment was incorrect.  That kind of ID card, she said through the Court’s public information office, is “an acceptable form of photo identification for voting in Texas.”  So she simply deleted the sentence, and reissued the opinion.  The Court also said that she had made “small stylistic changes” on two pages of her opinion, and that the corrected version could be read on the Court’s website.



“The Money Midterms”

New Yorker:

And yet Wertheimer told me this fall that he smells a storm coming. He said, “The world changes on this issue when you get scandals”—the political pratfalls that leave lawmakers no choice but to enact new protections. “What is going on now is a national scandal, but it doesn’t have the concrete examples that have occurred in the past. It doesn’t have Jack Abramoff”—the disgraced lobbyist who hastened a round of ethics reforms. “We have three elements today: unlimited contributions, corporate money, and secret money. Those were the three elements of the Watergate campaign-finance scandal,” Wertheimer said. “They’re back.”


“Christie says GOP gubernatorial candidates need to win so they control ‘voting mechanisms’”


Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?” he asked.

There is another way: nonpartisan election administration, where the people counting the votes have their primary allegiance to the integrity of the electoral process and not to one political party or another. (I make my pitch for that in The Voting Wars, among other places.)


“Big spending by parties, independent groups drowns airwaves in negative attacks”


The record amount of independent spending swamping this year’s congressional races is fueling a deeply negative political atmosphere, as attack ads from independent groups overwhelm the messages of candidates in many competitive races.

More than 80 percent of the money spent by big-money independent groups and parties in the general election has gone to oppose a candidate, according to a Washington Post analysis of campaign finance data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research organization.



We Get Letters, Cont’d

Angry Texans in my mailbox this morning as the Dallas Morning News picks up my Slate piece on Justice Ginsburg and Texas voter id.  Here’s a sample letter:


We here in Texas are quite capable of deciding what's good for Texas- without any help from the land of fruits and nuts.

We don't need your kind of liberalism- I call it being a "California Liberal"- telling us what is best for us.

I have a few friends here in Texas that grew up in Cali.  We even go to Starbucks here in Texas, and we discuss football, the weather, and like we do every morning- politics.  I live in a smaller suburb of Dallas, one that has the highest income, per capita, of any town in the US with a population of less than 30,000.  We have a tendency to believe that people who work for their money are the same people who should be able to decide how their money should be dispersed.  Yes- I'm one of those "right wing conservatives" that Hillary is so worried about.  Most of you Cali Libs LOVE to give away other people's money.  There are many things that my other conservative friends and I can discuss with our Cali friends, but politics isn't one of them.

You guys must put something in the water out there that tends to make people see "real world" events, such as a woman's right to kill an unborn baby, and some imaginary "right" to do so, along with so many other stupid ideas that I won't even attempt to go into here.  Suffice it to say that we don't think like you Cali Libs do here in Texas.  Oh, there's a few who have moved here from "up North" and from places like Cali- fools who want to try and tell us "how they do it" up North, or out in Cali.

It's the same ones doing that who lost their jobs in Cali, or got tired of the unemployment, or the higher taxes, or whatever else you libs have ruined in that place they couldn't wait to get out of, only to come here and try to tell us just how "wrong" we are.


Tell you what- you guys can have your Gwyneth Paltrows, your Alec Baldwins, your Sean Penns, Harvey Weinsteins, etc- you know, the "limousine liberals" that tell me not to drive my SUV, but ride in their limos and in their private jets- yet fail to see the hypocrisy in their duplicitous ways- and  we'll keep our George W Bushes, our Ross Perots, etc.

We're not trying to tell you what's best for you nutjobs- so, why don't you keep your liberal nose out of Texas' bidness, ay?

Stay the hell out of Texans' affairs.  You have no clue what you are talking about.

“Judge Rejects Challenge to FEC Limits On Campaign Contributions Per Election”

Bloomberg BNA:

A federal judge in Washington has rejected a challenge to federal campaign finance laws that limit an individual’s campaign contributions to candidates to $2,600 for the primary election and $2,600 for the general election (Holmes v. FEC, D. D.C., Civil No. 14-1243,preliminary injunction denied, 10/20/14).
A lawsuit filed by attorneys at the nonprofit Center for Competitive Politics on behalf of contributors Laura Holmes and her husband Paul Jost said the couple wanted to donate to challengers who prevailed in primaries. The couple did not donate to those challengers before the primaries, and Holmes and Jost each wanted to give more than $2,600 per candidate for the general election.