Voting

Republicans seem to be having fun with the voting system. In Texas, their response to Attorney General Holder’s suit against their redistricting plan includes bits like this:

The 2011 plans do not qualify because they are repealed. Moreover, even if some violations existed in those repealed plans, they cannot qualify as violations “justifying equitable relief” because the plans never will be implemented, and therefore equitable relief is unjustifiable under Supreme Court precedent.

What they’re saying here is that plans that were found to be discriminatory should not be counted against Texas now because they were blocked by the US and so now they should be able to pass such laws. Only after the laws have been passed can anything be done about them.

DOJ’s accusations of racial discrimination are baseless. In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats.6 It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.

It may indeed be true that most redistricting is done to maximize the votes of the party in power, but it’s a little unusual to trumpet that fact. They certainly wouldn’t be more direct than that would they?

The district of Congressman Lloyd Doggett—the only white Democrat in the Texas congressional delegation elected in a majority-white district—was completely dismantled in an attempt to drive him from office.

Yow, that’s pretty undemocratic isn’t it? Ah who cares, he was a Democrat.

If DOJ is trying to assert that Hispanic voters’ “preferred candidates of choice” means “Democrats,” when more than 25% of Hispanic voters in Texas support Republicans, then DOJ has converted the Voting Rights Act into a Democratic candidate protection program.

Maybe it’s just me, but if 75% of a group votes one way, then I would certainly believe that that is the group’s preference.

I came to this indirectly from here, here, here, and in a few posts by Rick Hasen.

In a similar vein, we have the governor of Florida again trying a voter purge. Now how did that go last year?

Last year’s review, which began with about 180,000 names of suspected noncitizens who were registered to vote, was quickly reduced because of errors, first to 2,600 and then to about 200. In the end, just one person, a Canadian, was prosecuted for fraud as a result of the drive, said Gretl Plessinger, a state Law Enforcement Department spokeswoman.

Brian Corley, the Republican election supervisor for Pasco County, said he will only participate in this year’s review if it’s free of political influence and errors.

“There were 198 people who were found to be ineligible out of a list of 2,700,” he said. That’s about 7 percent. “If the supervisors had not said, ‘Mr. Secretary, we’re standing down until we get reliable data,’ there would’ve been 2,500 eligible voters who were kicked off the rolls before Election Day.”

Hey, that went well, they should try again.

In North Carolina, they are trying to make it easier to challenge a person’s eligibility to vote. The history of such groups is noted here:

Such poll monitoring and challenging doesn’t happen free of a racial context — especially in North Carolina. NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice points out that the state’s history of racist voter challenges dates back to the late 19th century. As Nicolas Riley of the Brennan Center writes:

In the summer of 1872, a group of white citizens in Wake County, North Carolina, challenged 150 recently freed African-American voters, alleging they were improperly registered and should be removed from the voter rolls. It was one of the first organized attempts by private citizens to use the state’s “voter challenge” law to systematically undermine black political participation in North Carolina — a practice that would continue throughout the Jim Crow era.

But that’s not true now, because now it’s never about race.

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