[A] majority of the Court seems committed to invalidating Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and requiring Congress to revisit the formula for requiring preclearance of voting changes…It is unlikely that the Court will write an opinion forbidding a preclearance regime. But it may be difficult politically for Congress to enact a new measure.SCOTUSblog’s Tom Goldstein earlier this morning. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments today on Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires certain states with a history of voter disenfranchisement to obtain approval from the federal government before making any changes to their voting laws. One possible outcome: The court strikes down the criteria used in Section 5, but doesn’t strike down the requirement for preclearance itself. If that happens, a new criteria for preclearance would have to be constructed and enacted. And who would be responsible for that? John Boehner and Harry Reid, of course. Sigh. More on today’s arguments here. source
When any American, no matter where they live or what their party, are denied [the right to vote] because they can’t afford to wait for five, or six, or seven hours to cast a ballot, we are betraying our ideals. So tonight I’m announcing a non-partisan commission to improve the voting experience in America, and it definitely needs improvement. …we can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it, and so does our democracy.President Obama, calling for reforms to the voting process.This was foreshadowed in a single line during his victory speech on election night 2012 (“we have to fix that”), and as Obama explained, attorneys from both his campaign and that of his opponent, Mitt Romney, will participate in the effort.
We must compete in every state and every region, building relationships with communities we haven’t before…Simple ‘outreach’ a few months before an election will not suffice. In fact, let’s stop talking about ‘reaching out’—and start working on welcoming in.Planned remarks by Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus for the group’s upcoming winter meeting. Since November, we’ve heard a lot from the GOP about “re-calibrating” its message to appeal to demographics it lost in 2012 (Hispanics, women, young people, African-Americans, LGBT folk, and others). What we haven’t yet heard is how, if at all, those recalibrations will manifest themselves policy-wise. Will Priebus, or anyone else at this RNC meeting, be able to articulate what policies the GOP has to offer the people who voted to reelect President Obama last year and expand the Democratic majority the the Senate? Or will they insist that it’s just a matter of messaging? Speaking of messaging, Priebus probably isn’t too happy about Republican darling Allen West’s latest. source
It was not my bill…The Legislature passed it. I didn’t have anything to do with passing it.Florida Governor Rick Scott, insisting to his state’s Legislative Black Caucus that he isn’t responsible for the voter ID laws the state passed in 2011. Of course, Scott signed the bill into law, and his administration spent more than $500,000 defending it in court once it became law, so this is a spurious claim, to put it nicely. In other news, a new poll suggests trouble for Scott when he runs for reelection next year. source
He was dead. He had no heartbeat and he wasn’t breathing. I started CPR, and after a few minutes, he revived and started breathing again. He knew his name and his wife’s name. The first question he asked was ‘Did I vote?’Ty Houston • Recounting a particularly shocking series of events that took place while he filling out his absentee ballot at a township office in Oakland County. The 48-year-old home care nurse is responsible for saving the life of an elderly voter who collapsed while filling out his own ballot at a nearby table. After recovering, and once his wife took a moment to remind him that personal health is important too, the unidentified man responded that only two things were important to him. “That I love you and that I finished what I came here to do … vote.” source
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Romney did something last night that I didn’t expect him to do, and obviously Obama didn’t expect him to do. He suddenly became the moderate Massachusetts governor again.Michael Tomasky, chalking Romney’s success last night up to the adoption (or re-adoption) of a moderate political ideology. In returning to his circa-2002 policy positions, Romney “disavowed or contradicted virtually everything he’s been saying for the past 18 months,” Tomasky says, citing Romney’s stated positions on preexisting conditions, taxes, Medicaid and school funding. source
This is a big win in that no one will be turned away on Election Day because they don’t have the new strict voter ID. The state has a large budget to spend on advertising this fact, and we want to make sure it does it.Benjamin D. Geffen, lawyer with the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia • Speaking on the decision by a Pennsylvania judge today to delay implementation of the state’s new voter I.D. law until after the election. Judge Robert Simpson ruled that identification will be requested at Pennsylvania ballots, but will not be required — it was he who’d upheld the law back in August, but the state Supreme Court ordered further hearings, narrowing the examination to whether easy access to forms of I.D. had been provided. source