Monthly Archives: July 2014

“GOP chairman: Party competing for black votes”


Priebus, in an interview with CNN’s Michaela Pereira and Fox News’ Kelly Wright following his prepared remarks, defended his party’s push for state laws requiring voters produce identification before casting a ballot.

Opponents charge the laws, which have been enacted in more than 30 states, are aimed at discouraging minority and elderly voters.

He pointed to Georgia, where he said turnout increased in 2012, even after the state imposed its voter ID law.

Priebus added that voter fraud was “very real” in his home state of Wisconsin, where he served as state Republican Party chairman before becoming national party chairman.

That comment drew immediate criticism from the Democratic National Committee, which said in a statement that Priebus was repeating an “old and offensive” claim that was recently dismissed by a federal judge.

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Molly Moran to Be Acting Head of DOJ Civil Rights Division


The staff of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division gathered this morning in their fifth floor conference room — J. Edgar Hoover’s former office — for an “all hands” meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced that his current deputy chief of staff Molly Moran would be taking over as acting head of the Civil Rights Division. The Division has been without a permanent leader since Tom Perez became Labor Secretary last July. The Senate — including seven Democrats — blocked the nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the office due to his representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of murdering a Philadelphia police officer. Moran, an Indiana native who has been at DOJ since 2009, is “uniquely well positioned to advance the Civil Rights Division’s agenda, from voting rights enforcement to reforming school discipline policies and beyond,” Holder said Thursday. Adegbile’s nomination is technically still pending.

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Irony Dept: Only Evidence of Voter Fraud Cited by WI Supreme Court Involves Scott Walker Supporter Committing Fraud ID Law Would Not Prevent

In both of today’s Wisconsin Supreme Court voter id cases (the NAACP case and the LWV case), the court majority includes an identical footnote to rebut the argument that there’s no good evidence of in person, impersonation voter fraud to support the state’s voter id requirement. (Justice Crooks’ dissent in the NAACP case describes the lack of good evidence of impersonation voter fraud, and the testimony of Professor Kenneth Mayer in some detail).  Here is the footnote, in full:

A recent filing in Milwaukee County demonstrates that voter fraud is a concern. See State v. Monroe, 2014CF2625 (June 20, 2014), wherein the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office filed a criminal complaint against Robert Monroe that alleged 13 counts of voter fraud, including multiple voting in elections and providing false information to election officials in order to vote.

My irony meter started blinking uncontrollably when I read this.  The Monroe allegations were recently described by TPM in Scott Walker Supporter Charged With Major Voter Fraud Claims Amnesia:

A supporter of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has been charged with over a dozen counts of election fraud — though he reportedly claims a form of temporary amnesia has left him unable to recall his actions.

In an indictment filed in Milwaukee County court on Friday, Robert Monroe, 50, of Shorewood, Wis., was charged with 13 felony counts of election fraud, each of which could carry up to three and a half years in prison, or a $10,000 fine, upon conviction. Monroe is accused of registering to vote in more than one place, voting where he didn’t live, voting more than once in the same election, and providing false information to election officials.

The indictment said that Monroe, a health insurance executive, “became especially focused upon political issues and causes” in 2011 and 2012, and was particularly invested in the recall elections that followed the state’s fight over public employees’ collective bargaining rights. Monroe allegedly cast at least two ballots in three elections (an April 2011 Supreme Court election, an August 2011 state Senate recall election, and the 2012 presidential election) and cast five ballots in the state’s June 2012 gubernatorial recall.

From TPM’s description of the indictment, it does not appear that ANY of the alleged 13 counts of voter fraud that Mr. Monroe was charged with would have been stopped by a voter id requirement. And note that all of them were caught without a voter id requirement. And note that despite the fact that the most rabid conservatives calling for voter id claim (as Roger Clegg did at a recent event I did with him at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics) that when voter fraud occurs it is usually done to help Democrats, this only case cited by the Wisconsin Supreme Court majority involves a rabid conservative supporter of Scott Walker.

UPDATE: A reader points out “The only possible prevention would — maybe — have been the absentee voting in his son’s name.  Under Act 23, you do have to enclose a photocopy of an ID with a mailed absentee ballot  in most cases  (either when you request it or return it).  But he could have easily gotten around it by just making such a copy when it was convenient for him.  If you ask for regular absentee ballots, you need to include a copy of the ID when you first apply, but do not have to do so after that initial application (unless you reregister). Registering in multiple locations — not prevented, since any photo ID you present  when registering doesn’t have to have an address on it; you can satisfy that requirement with other documents.  Voting [in Wisconsin] and in Indiana — not prevented, since he apparently had an Indiana drivers license.”

Another reader pointed out that the Monroe prosecution is happening after the lower court ruling, and was not in evidence before the lower court. I believe it has become increasingly common for appellate courts to cite matters not in the record which the judges or their clerks find from a little googling.

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WI Supreme Court Rewrites State Voter ID Law to Prevent It from Being an Unconstitutional Poll Tax

In today’s 4-3 Wisconsin Supreme Court voter id case (the NAACP case, not the LWV case), the Wisconsin Supreme Court splits along party lines in upholding the voter id law against a challenge that it violates the state constitution. Nonetheless the Court rewrites the law to avoid a constitutional problem it identifies. Roughly speaking, although WI law lets you get a free state id if you don’t have one for voting, the costs of obtaining the birth certificate or other proof needed to get the id is not free.  The majority then imposes a requirement that the DMV consider giving the birth certificate for free for this purpose using its discretion. From paragraph 70:

Stated otherwise, to invoke an administrator’s discretion in the issuance of a DOT photo identification card to vote, an elector:  (1) makes a written petition to a DMV administrator as directed by Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15(3)(b) set forth above; (2) asserts he or she is “unable” to provide documents required by § Trans 102.15(3)(a) without paying a fee to a government agency to obtain them; (3) asserts those documents are “unavailable” without the payment of such a fee; and (4) asks for an exception to the provision of § Trans 102.15(3)(a) documents whereby proof of name and date of birth that have been provided are accepted.  § Trans 102.15(3)(b) and (c).  Upon receipt of a petition for an exception, the administrator, or his or her designee, shall exercise his or her discretion in a constitutionally sufficient manner.

Dissenting Justice Crooks remarks on this procedure:

If the majority opinion leaves in place the discretion of DMV administrators to issue exceptions to those burdened by the cost of obtaining underlying documentation, it fails to guarantee constitutional protections against poll taxes. On the other hand, if the majority opinion requires DMV administrators to issue photo identification cards to individuals who are burdened by the cost of obtaining required underlying documentation, then it is directing a nonparty to take specific action, which it has no authority to do. In sum, the remedy imposed by the majority, under either
approach, is flawed.

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