4/23/2021   Michigan GOP bills aren't reform. They're voter disenfranchisement: Opinion by Barb Byrum and Erika Geiss, Detroit Free Press

Senate GOP Leader Mike Shirkey is on record saying that "a big turnout in Michigan does not necessarily accrue to my interests." Let that sink in.

 

The Michigan GOP is scared that increased turnout and an expansion of voting rights will show, at the ballot box, that it is actually the Senate Republicans who do not “accrue to the interests” of Michigan voters.

4/22/2021   New Oklahoma law protects drivers 'fleeing from a riot' who hit protesters, by Carmen Forman, The Oklahoman

4/21/2021   Benson analysis blasts GOP elections bills, secretary says lawmakers 'embarrass all of us', by Clara Hendrickson and Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press

4/19/2021   Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs anti-riot bill into law as US awaits verdict in case of Derek Chauvin, charged in George Floyd's death, by Kimberly C. Moore and John Kennedy, The Ledger

4/17/2021   Republicans say ignorant people shouldn't vote. I say go for it, starting with your own, by Steven Strauss, Free Press Opinion

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has also articulated the view that Americans don’t have a universal personal right to vote.  As an appeals court judge (in a dissenting opinion), she claimed that voting is a civic right belonging not to all citizens but only to “virtuous citizens” who exercise it for the benefit of the community.

4/16/2021   Benson: Michigan voting bills more restrictive than Georgia, by David Eggert, Associated Press

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said Georgia voters can get an absentee ballot if they include a driver's license number on the mailed-in application. One of the Michigan measures would require voters to attach a copy of their driver's license to the application.

 

It “serves no other purpose than to make it harder for them to vote absentee,” she said during a virtual news conference with Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey and a Democratic legislator. “There's no evidence or data or even precedent to suggest that that somehow would prevent voter fraud.”

4/9/2021   Michigan's clerks have a lot to say about the GOP's 39 election reform bills, by Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press

Senate Republicans didn’t consult either the Michigan Association of County Clerks or the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks in crafting the legislation.

 

The clerks’ biggest concerns with the GOP package are with bills that would create new hurdles for voters, particularly for absentee voters who constituted a majority in the November 2020 election.

 

"When we start to inconvenience or hurt a voter, then the standard really has to be, 'well, what problem are we solving?' " 

 

Clerks criticized measures they said would prove costly to implement, such as requiring video surveillance of drop boxes for absentee ballots and printing the full text of ballot proposals. Some took issue with a proposal to let only political parties designate election challengers. Still others said they were confused about the point of legislation that would require absentee voters to mail in a paper copy of their ID with their ballot application, shorten the deadline for returning absentee ballots, bar clerks from purchasing prepaid postage for absentee ballot return envelopes and limit the secretary of state’s ability to help voters request an absentee ballot.

 

One big change clerks have asked for repeatedy is noticeably absent from the package: more time to process absentee ballots than they were given in the November 2020 election.

 

Lansing City Clerk and MAMC President Chris Swope questioned proposals such as one that would prohibit nonpartisan election challengers. Swope said that there are a lot of groups other than political parties that play "a valid role" in elections. "I don’t see why the NAACP or other not necessarily directly partisan groups shouldn’t be able to be a part of this process."

4/9/2021   Opinion: The right’s judicial movement perfected dark money. It takes chutzpah for them to decry it now., by Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post

But back to dark money. As The Post reported in 2019, Leo is a wizard at “raising money for nonprofits that under IRS rules do not have to disclose their donors. Between 2014 and 2017 alone, [Leo and his allies] collected more than $250 million in such donations, sometimes known as ‘dark money,’ according to a Post analysis of the most recent tax filings available.” Tens of millions of dollars of this was spent in the service of confirming Republican judicial nominees, including Justices Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.  For the Judicial Crisis Network to inveigh against “secret donors” on judicial nominees is mighty rich. Perhaps they could tell us who wrote the $17 million check that came from a single mystery donor in 2017-2018.

 

“This Court’s continued, wrongheaded deference to campaign finance disclosure requirements simply has no application here,” advises the brief, written by Donald McGahn, White House counsel for Trump who, in his role as chief judge-picker, worked closely with the Judicial Crisis Network. In the McConnell-McGahn view, transparency when it comes to campaign contributions is not an important element of effective democracy; it is a “misguided” exception.

4/8/2021   Opinion: A GOP governor’s frantic appeal to Trump voters reveals a terrible GOP truth, by Greg Sargent, The Washington Post

The “confidence” canard solves this problem. It supplies justification for new targeted voting restrictions — while only partly validating Trump’s lie rather than fully validating it, an option not open to Kemp and other “responsible” Republicans. After all, the new law Kemp signed based on this justification does limit voting in numerous ways likely to have greater impact on African Americans.

 

Kemp can thus appeal to discontented GOP and Trump voters by seeking to limit voting while claiming that anyone who points this out is just victimizing Republicans as part of a broader liberal and/or leftist plot to oppress them.

 

The ultimate perversity is that Kemp is being forced to atone for initially telling the truth about the 2020 election. That being the case, the way back into the good graces of GOP voters is to escalate the GOP voter-suppression project while citing corporate defenses of voting rights to create the absurdly exaggerated impression that those GOP voters are the real victims of disempowerment and subjugation.

4/7/2021   No, Georgia’s voting laws are not like Colorado’s, by Maggie Astor, The New York Times

  • In Colorado, every registered voter receives a mail ballot by default.
  • In Georgia, people who want to vote by mail must apply, and the new law more than halves the time they have to do that: Previously, they could apply as much as 180 days before an election, but now no more than 78 days before. Georgia also forbids officials to send voters an absentee ballot application unless they request it.
  • In Colorado, eligible voters can register anytime, including on Election Day.
  • In Georgia, the deadline to register to vote is a month before Election Day, and under the new law, the same deadline applies to any runoff — meaning if a Georgian is not registered by the deadline for the first election, they cannot subsequently register to vote in the runoff.
  • In Colorado, only newly registered voters have to provide identification with their mail-in ballot; for subsequent elections, all that’s required is their signature. And contrary to Mr. Kemp’s statement, there is no photo requirement: Voters can use a birth certificate, a naturalization document, a Medicare or Medicaid card, a utility bill, a bank statement, a paycheck or another government document that shows their name and address.
  • In Georgia, only photo identification is acceptable for regular mail-in ballots, and it has to be one of six specific types. The requirement will apply to everyone who votes by mail, not just to newly registered voters as in Colorado.
  • In Colorado, there were 368 ballot drop boxes last year across the state’s 64 counties, not just in government buildings but also at schools, parks, libraries, businesses and more. Boxes were open 24 hours a day.
  • In Georgia, the new law requires at least one drop box in each of the 159 counties. (Mr. Kemp and other officials note that before the pandemic, Georgia didn’t have drop boxes at all.) The boxes will be only at registrars’ and absentee ballot clerks’ offices or inside early-voting sites, and open during limited hours.
  • In Colorado, every registered voter receives a mail ballot by default.
  • In Georgia, people who want to vote by mail must apply, and the new law more than halves the time they have to do that: Previously, they could apply as much as 180 days before an election, but now no more than 78 days before. Georgia also forbids officials to send voters an absentee ballot application unless they request it.
  • In Colorado, eligible voters can register anytime, including on Election Day.
  • In Georgia, the deadline to register to vote is a month before Election Day, and under the new law, the same deadline applies to any runoff — meaning if a Georgian is not registered by the deadline for the first election, they cannot subsequently register to vote in the runoff.
  • In Colorado, only newly registered voters have to provide identification with their mail-in ballot; for subsequent elections, all that’s required is their signature. And contrary to Mr. Kemp’s statement, there is no photo requirement: Voters can use a birth certificate, a naturalization document, a Medicare or Medicaid card, a utility bill, a bank statement, a paycheck or another government document that shows their name and address.
  • In Georgia, only photo identification is acceptable for regular mail-in ballots, and it has to be one of six specific types. The requirement will apply to everyone who votes by mail, not just to newly registered voters as in Colorado.
  • In Colorado, there were 368 ballot drop boxes last year across the state’s 64 counties, not just in government buildings but also at schools, parks, libraries, businesses and more. Boxes were open 24 hours a day.
  • In Georgia, the new law requires at least one drop box in each of the 159 counties. (Mr. Kemp and other officials note that before the pandemic, Georgia didn’t have drop boxes at all.) The boxes will be only at registrars’ and absentee ballot clerks’ offices or inside early-voting sites, and open during limited hours.

4/7/2021   Opinion: The GOP can’t be saved. Center-right voters need to become Biden Republicans, by Max Boot, The Washington Post

Most Republicans don’t care that Trump locked up children, cozied up to white supremacists, tear-gassed peaceful protesters, benefited from Russian help in both of his campaigns, egregiously mishandled the pandemic, incited a violent attack on the Capitol and even faced fraud complaints from his own donors. A new Reuters-Ipsos poll finds that 81 percent of Republicans have a favorable impression of Trump. Wait. It gets worse: 60 percent say the 2020 election was stolen from him, only 28 percent say he is even partly to blame for the Capitol insurrection, and 55 percent say that the Capitol attack “was led by violent left-wing protestors trying to make Trump look bad.”

 

This is a portrait of a party that can’t be saved — at least in the foreseeable future. The GOP remains a cult of personality for the worst president in U.S. history. It has become a bastion of irrationality, conspiracy mongering, racism, nativism and anti-scientific prejudices.

4/6/2021   American Oversight Launches Investigation of Arizona Senate's Partisan Election Audit

On Tuesday, American Oversight launched an investigation into the Arizona Senate’s partisan audit of the 2020 presidential election ballots cast in Maricopa County, filing 19 public records requests for key documents related to the audit, including contracts and communications with the cybersecurity company Cyber Ninjas.

 

The investigation follows Arizona Senate President Karen Fann’s announcement last week that the audit team would be led by Cyber Ninjas, whose founder, Doug Logan, has repeatedly circulated lies that the 2020 election was rigged and vocally supported the “Stop the Steal” movement. Moreover, Fann announced the audit would be conducted with no oversight by members of the Senate, and the statement of work signed by Cyber Ninjas indicates the companies plans to engage in direct contact with Arizona voters, the subject of a legal challenge from the group Protect Democracy. Correspondence between the State Senate and Maricopa County suggest that the firm has little background in Arizona law or Arizona election administration.

4/5/2021   Expand access? A historic restriction? What the Georgia voting law really does, by Peter W. Stevenson, The Washington Post

The context is important of course: This is playing out in the wake of Georgia’s swing to Democrats in the 2020 presidential election and the ensuing baseless charges of fraud from the Trump campaign and its allies. Republican lawmakers in the state — as many of their counterparts across the country have — quickly began drafting a bill critics say is a political reaction from a party beholden to Trump.

 

The other important context: The long history of suppressing Black votes.

4/5/2021   Republicans ramp up attacks on corporations over Georgia voting law, threaten ‘consequences’, by Marianna Sotomayor and Todd C. Frankel, The Washington Post

The acrimony between Republicans and large companies over Georgia underscores the party’s increasingly fraying relationship with corporate America over social and cultural issues as GOP leaders grapple with the direction of the party after the 2020 election. The future of that relationship is complicated by the fact that Republicans continue to support economic policies advocated by the private sector on taxes and regulations, making it unclear what form of retribution leaders could pursue.

4/5/2021   Benson declines invitation to testify at Senate Oversight hearing, citing election lies, by Clara Hendrickson and Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press

"I am declining to participate at this time because I have concerns that the hearing could further the lies about the election that continue to undermine Michigan voters’ faith in the outcome and are now the rationale to legislatively restrict their voting rights," Benson wrote in a letter to state Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, who serves as chair of the Senate Oversight Committee.

 

On March 24, Senate Republicans unveiled a package of 39 election bills they say will improve election security and boost voters' confidence in the process. But their package would also introduce new hurdles for voters, who would be subject to stricter ID requirements — including a new one for absentee voters — and a shortened deadline for returning absentee ballots via drop boxes.

4/2/2021   GOP lawmakers say their election bills will make it easier to vote. A fact check, by Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press

Voting rights advocates and election officials from both parties disagree. They point to bills that would impose stricter voter ID requirements — including a new one for absentee voters, shorten the deadline for returning absentee ballots via drop boxes, prohibit clerks from paying for postage on absentee ballot return envelopes, and restrict the secretary of state’s ability to make absentee ballot applications available to voters.

 3/26/2021   Wyoming Tells Donald Trump Jr to Sit Down and STFU, by Bess Levin, Vanity Fair

 3/26/2021   Michigan Republicans are not listening to what voting officials need | Opinion by Nancy Kaffer, Detroit Free Press

Michigan's election  clerks have told the state Legislature what they need, over and over: More time to process and count absentee ballots, after an election year that saw an unprecedented surge in absentee votes. More money and resources to train poll workers. Investment in technology that could streamline the process of vote verification and counting.

 

More than 250 election audits conducted in Michigan have proved that this election was safe and secure. No Michigan election clerk in either party is sounding an alarm on fraud. But none of these inconvenient facts have dissuaded Republicans from pressing their disinformation campaign that the presidential election was not legitimate.

 

The conservative Heritage Foundation, through its political arm, plans to spend $24 million  to change voting laws in eight states, including Michigan. They're working with conservative groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council and the libertarian State Policy Exchange to produce model legislation and hire lobbyists.

 

Some provisions — like the ones barring the Secretary of State from mailing absentee ballot applications or offering pre-paid postage for their return, requiring voters to submit a physical copy of state-issued identification with an absentee ballot application, or demoting voters who sign an affidavit of identity to provisional status — are nakedly designed to suppress the vote. (The number of voters who arrive at the polls sans ID in any election is extremely small, and signing a false affidavit is a already a felony.)

 

Another initiative seems to require clerks to complete the vote count by noon the day after an election, effectively disenfranchising any voter whose ballot hasn't been counted by that deadline.  "I find it doubly interesting that they’re now trying to put a deadline on when we have the results when they aren’t giving us the time we need to process the absentee ballots," Swope said.

3/24/2021   Michigan GOP senators file 39 election reform bills Democrats call racist, based on lies, by Dave Boucher and Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press

State Sen. Erika Geiss, D-Taylor, said the bills "put lipstick on Jim Crow" and were racist.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, notorious for counseling Michigan Fascists to work on their image and proudly sharing the stage with one of the incel creeps later arrested for conspiring to kidnap Governor Whitmer, claimed the bills were intended to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat

1/10/2021   People of the lie: The Michigan Republicans who tried to overturn the election, by the Detroit Free Press Editorial Board

Each bears responsibility for perpetuating the lies and fueling the outrage that led inexorably to the Capitol rampage. Had they prevailed in their efforts to overturn the election results, those who attempted to derail certification would have effectively disenfranchised more than 81 million Americans, including the 2.8 million Michiganders who cast their ballots for Biden. 

12/14/2021   The Daily 202: Michigan Capitol lockdown for electoral college gathering follows a weekend of chilling violence, by James Hohmann, The Washington Post

Michigan’s 16 electors will convene at 2 p.m. Eastern inside a heavily guarded state capitol in Lansing to cast their ballots for Joe Biden to become president and Kamala Harris to become vice president.

 

A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) said in a statement overnight that the entire capitol complex will be closed to the public based on “recommendations from law enforcement” amid “credible threats of violence.” Police will escort each of the electors from their cars amid what’s expected to be a large “Stop the Steal” protest outside.