History and art: Lyndon Johnson, Civil Rights, Vietnam, Stephen Stucky, the Dallas Symphony, and “August 4, 1964”

August 4, 2017

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Jaap van Zweden, presents the premiere of Steven Stucky's oratorio

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Jaap van Zweden, presents the premiere of Steven Stucky’s oratorio “August 4, 1964,” with soloists, from left, mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, soprano Laquita Mitchell, tenor Vale Rideout, and baritone Robert Orth. Photo from the National Endowment for the Arts, Jason Kindig

In an era when our president and Congress appear unable to deal with one issue on a good day, it may be instructive to look back to a day upon which one U.S. President handled a lot, all at once.

On August 4, 1964, President Johnson awoke to the news that two U.S. Navy ships cruising in the Tonkin Gulf had been fired upon by North Vietnamese Navy gunboats; then the FBI called and announced that the bodies of three civil rights workers had been found, young men registering African Americans to vote in Mississippi.  Both of these events rumble through history like a Rocky Mountain avalanche to today; either was a make-or-break event for any presidency.  

Lyndon Johnson dealt with them both, the same day. And though Vietnam did not turn out for the best, it’s useful to note that Johnson’s call for Congress to grant authority to act on the Tonkin incident got results just three days later.

Sadly we note that Stephen Stucky, the composer of this great piece, died of brain cancer on February 14, 2016.

“August 4, 1964,” is an oratorio covering a remarkable and fantastic coincidence in the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson.  On that day, the bodies of three civil rights workers who had been missing for nearly seven weeks, were found in shallow graves near Philadelphia, Mississippi — they were the victims of violence aimed at stopping blacks from voting.  The incident was a chief spur to the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

And also on that day, the U.S.S. Maddox reported it had been attacked by gunboats of the North Vietnamese Navy, in the Gulf of Tonkin.  The Gulf of Tonkin incident led to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave Johnson the authority to expand and escalate the war in Vietnam, which he did.

Cover for the CD of the Dallas Symphony's performance of Steven Stucky's

Cover for the CD of the Dallas Symphony’s Grammy-nominated performance of Steven Stucky’s “August 4, 1964,” Jaap van Zweden conducting.

The Dallas Symphony commissioned the work, from composer Steven Stucky and librettist Gene Scheer, in commemoration of President Johnson’s 100th birth anniversary — he would have been 100 on August 27, 2008.  The works were premiered in Dallas in 2008.

The music is outstanding, especially for a modern piece.  The Dallas Symphony played at its flashiest and most sober best, under the baton of new conductor Jaap van Zweden.  It was a spectacular performance.  According to the New York Times:

Mr. van Zweden, hailed in his debut as music director a week before, scored another triumph here. And the orchestra’s assured and gritty performance was rivaled by that of the large Dallas Symphony Chorus, both corporately and individually, in shifting solo snippets charting the course of the fateful day.

The strong cast, mildly amplified, was robustly led by the Johnson of Robert Orth, last heard as another president in John Adams’s “Nixon in China” in Denver in June. Laquita Mitchell and Kelley O’Conner, wearing period hats, were touching as Mrs. Chaney and Mrs. Goodman. Understandably, the taxing role of a high-strung McNamara took a small toll on the tenor of Vale Rideout in his late aria.

The entire thing deserves more commentary, perhaps soon.  There is stellar history in the choral piece.  And there is this:  Consider that Lyndon Johnson, the best legislator and second most-effective executive we ever had as president, got hit with these two crises the same day.  On the one hand the nation got the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, executive orders and government support to end segregation and the evils it created.  On the other hand, we got stuck with the disaster of the Vietnam War.

How would the nation fared had a lesser person been in the White House on that day?

(August 4 is a busy, busy day in history; much to think about.)

More: 

This is an encore post.

Much of this is an encore post.

Save

Save

Save


Election Day 2016: Fly your flag, and VOTE!

November 8, 2016

Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri George Caleb Bingham (American, 1811–1879). The County Election, 1852. Oil on canvas. 38 x 52 in. (96.5 x 132.1 cm). Gift of Bank of America.

The County Election, 1852. Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri George Caleb Bingham (American, 1811–1879).  Oil on canvas. 38 x 52 in. (96.5 x 132.1 cm). Gift of Bank of America.

Every polling place should be flying the U.S. flag today.  You may fly yours, too.  In any case, if you have not voted already, go vote today as if our future depends upon it, as if our nation expects every voter to do her or his duty.

Today the nation and world listen to the most humble of citizens.  Speak up, at the ballot box.

Did you notice?  In George Caleb Bingham’s picture, there are no U.S. flags.  You should fly yours anyway.

The whole world is watching.

More:

Yes, this is an encore post.

Yes, this is an encore post. I really like Bingham’s painting.


Voter Lookup (yes, even this late)

November 4, 2014

You suddenly got the urge to vote, you know you’re registered . . . but you don’t know where to vote?

Here to help; put in your address below, you can find your polling place.

Two things:  First, I don’t see your information, and no one in WordPress keeps it.  So your address is safe with you.

Second, holler if it doesn’t work, or you find any other problems!

Thank you for voting!

Ben Sargent cartoon from the Austin, Texas American-Statesman.

Ben Sargent cartoon from the Austin, Texas American-Statesman. “Your vote is your voice.”


Election Day 2014: Fly your flag, and VOTE!

November 4, 2014

Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri George Caleb Bingham (American, 1811–1879). The County Election, 1852. Oil on canvas. 38 x 52 in. (96.5 x 132.1 cm). Gift of Bank of America.

The County Election, 1852. Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri George Caleb Bingham (American, 1811–1879).  Oil on canvas. 38 x 52 in. (96.5 x 132.1 cm). Gift of Bank of America.

Every polling place should be flying the U.S. flag today.  You may fly yours, too.  In any case, if you have not voted already, go vote today as if our future depends upon it, as if our nation expects every voter to do her or his duty.

Today the nation and world listen to the most humble of citizens.  Speak up, at the ballot box.

Did you notice?  In George Caleb Bingham’s picture, there are no U.S. flags.  You may fly yours anyway.

The whole world is watching.

More:

Yes, this is an encore post.

Yes, this is an encore post. I really like Bingham’s painting.


Early voting opens in Texas: Polling place shenanigans?

October 20, 2014

If you are confronted with voting irregularities at your polling station in Texas, call 1-844-TXVOTES (1-844-898-6837)

If you are confronted with voting irregularities at your polling station in Texas, call 1-844-TXVOTES (1-844-898-6837)

A friendly reminder from BattleGround Texas:  If you experience voting irregularities at your polling station in Texas, call 1-844-TXVOTES (1-844-898-6837).

Vote early!


History in art: August 4, 1964, and the Dallas Symphony

August 4, 2014

On August 4, 1964, President Johnson awoke to the news that two U.S. Navy ships cruising in the Tonkin Gulf had been fired upon by North Vietnamese Navy gunboats; then the FBI called and announced that the bodies of three civil rights workers had been found, young men registering African Americans to vote in Mississippi.  Both of these events rumble through history like a Rocky Mountain avalanche to today; either was a make-or-break event for any presidency.  

Lyndon Johnson dealt with them both, the same day

“August 4, 1964,” is an oratorio covering a remarkable and fantastic coincidence in the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson.  On that day, the bodies of three civil rights workers who had been missing for nearly seven weeks, were found in shallow graves near Philadelphia, Mississippi — they were the victims of violence aimed at stopping blacks from voting.  The incident was a chief spur to the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

And also on that day, the U.S.S. Maddox reported it had been attacked by gunboats of the North Vietnamese Navy, in the Gulf of Tonkin.  The Gulf of Tonkin incident led to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave Johnson the authority to expand and escalate the war in Vietnam, which he did.

Cover for the CD of the Dallas Symphony's performance of Steven Stucky's

Cover for the CD of the Dallas Symphony’s Grammy-nominated performance of Steven Stucky’s “August 4, 1964,” Jaap van Zweden conducting.

The Dallas Symphony commissioned the work, from composer Steven Stucky and librettist Gene Scheer, in commemoration of President Johnson’s 100th birth anniversary — he would have been 100 on August 27, 2008.  The works were premiered in Dallas in 2008.

The music is outstanding, especially for a modern piece.  The Dallas Symphony was at its flashiest and most sober best, under the baton of new conductor Jaap van Zweden.  It was a spectacular performance.  According to the New York Times:

Mr. van Zweden, hailed in his debut as music director a week before, scored another triumph here. And the orchestra’s assured and gritty performance was rivaled by that of the large Dallas Symphony Chorus, both corporately and individually, in shifting solo snippets charting the course of the fateful day.

The strong cast, mildly amplified, was robustly led by the Johnson of Robert Orth, last heard as another president in John Adams’s “Nixon in China” in Denver in June. Laquita Mitchell and Kelley O’Conner, wearing period hats, were touching as Mrs. Chaney and Mrs. Goodman. Understandably, the taxing role of a high-strung McNamara took a small toll on the tenor of Vale Rideout in his late aria.

The entire thing deserves more commentary, perhaps soon.  There is stellar history in the choral piece.  And there is this:  Consider that Lyndon Johnson, the best legislator and second most-effective executive we ever had as president, got hit with these two crises the same day.  On the one hand the nation got the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, executive orders and government support to end segregation and the evils it created.  On the other hand, we got stuck with the disaster of the Vietnam War.

How would the nation fared had a lesser person been in the White House on that day?

(August 4 is a busy, busy day in history; much to think about.)

More: 

This is an encore post.

Much of this is an encore post.


GOP debacle swells: Texas voter ID law blocks aged, World War II veterans from voting

November 3, 2013

It’s difficult to figure out a headline for this story, one that accurately describes just how bolloxed the Republicans have made voting in Texas.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Friday was the last day of early voting for Tuesday’s elections in Texas.  Some local offices, and about 2,000 amendments to the Texas Constitution.  Okay, a half-dozen amendments to the Constitution.  Texas’s Constitution is the greatest patch-work legal document on Earth, perhaps in our galaxy, and we’ve got a bunch of amendments this time, too.

Texas’s Kommissar of State Prosecutions, Greg Abbott, took advantage of federal court decisions and imposed the clumsy Texas Jim Crow/Diego Cuervo voting laws for this election.  Although eligibility for voting, including citizenship, is checked when voters register, the new law requires that every voter present a state-issued voter identification card with a photo, again at the polls.

The law was originally targeted by Republican legislators to stop African Americans and Hispanics from voting, with a bonus that it stops senior citizens who may not have valid drivers licenses.

A lot of other people are getting snagged, too.  A state judge was required to vote provisionallyState Sen. Wendy Davis, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for next year’s gubernatorial race, had to file a conditional ballot — she is within striking distance of Kommissar Abbott in current polls (he’s running for the Republican nomination).  About a third of white women in Texas don’t have photo identification that matches their voting registration, due to moving, marriage, divorce, etc.

And Friday, in Fort Worth . . .  well, you can’t make this stuff up.

You cannot make this stuff up.

No one questioned who he was.  He just can’t vote with the ID he has.

If Jim Wright can’t easily get an ID to vote, who can?

If any other veterans of World War II don’t have personal assistants from their Congressional retirement benefits, who will help them vote?

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

By Terry Evans and Anna M. Tinsley

tevans@star-telegram.com atinsley @star-telegram.com

FORT WORTH — Former House Speaker Jim Wright was denied a voter ID card Saturday at a Texas Department of Public Safety office.

“Nobody was ugly to us, but they insisted that they wouldn’t give me an ID,” Wright said.

The legendary Texas political figure says that he has worked things out with DPS and that he will get a state-issued personal identification card in time for him to vote Tuesday in the state and local elections.

But after the difficulty he had this weekend getting a proper ID card, Wright, 90, expressed concern that such problems could deter others from voting and stifle turnout. After spending much of his life fighting to make it easier to vote, the Democratic Party icon said he is troubled by what he’s seeing happen under the state’s new voter ID law.

“I earnestly hope these unduly stringent requirements on voters won’t dramatically reduce the number of people who vote,” Wright told the Star-Telegram. “I think they will reduce the number to some extent.”

Wright and his assistant, Norma Ritchson, went to the DPS office on Woodway Drive to get a State of Texas Election Identification Certificate. Wright said he realized earlier in the week that the photo identifications he had — a Texas driver’s license that expired in 2010 and a TCU faculty ID — do not satisfy requirements of the voter ID law, enacted in 2011 by the Legislature. DPS officials concurred.

But Wright and Ritchson will return to the office Monday with a certified copy of Wright’s birth certificate, which the DPS employees assured them would be good enough for the Texas personal identification card, designed specifically for people who do not drive.

“It can be used for anything, not just voting,” Ritchson said.

Photo ID alone doesn’t work.  Legal identification cards don’t work.  It has to be the magic, let’s hope you ain’t got one, kind of ID.

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Jim Wright shows the voter identification card issued to him by his home county — not enough to allow him to vote under new Texas voter ID laws. The World War II veteran was denied a photo identification card on Friday. Fort Worth Star-Telegram photo by Terry Evans

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Jim Wright shows the voter identification card issued to him by his home county — not enough to allow him to vote under new Texas voter ID laws. The World War II veteran was denied a photo identification card on Friday. Fort Worth Star-Telegram photo by Terry Evans

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Jim Wright shows the voter identification card issued to him by his home county -- not enough to allow him to vote under new Texas voter ID laws.  The World War II veteran was denied an identification card on Friday.  Fort Worth Star-Telegram photo by Terry Evans

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Jim Wright shows the voter identification card issued to him by his home county — not enough to allow him to vote under new Texas voter ID laws. The World War II veteran was denied a photo identification card on Friday. Fort Worth Star-Telegram photo by Terry Evans

More:


Dallas hearing on Texas redistricting tomorrow, June 6, 2013

June 5, 2013

I get e-mail from Sen. Wendy Davis:

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth. Dallas Observer image

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth. Dallas Observer image

I wrote to you last week about the Special Session that Governor Perry has called to address redistricting. As you know, state leaders have dropped their challenges to the Senate district map, meaning that the current makeup of Senate District 10 should remain unchanged for the remainder of the decade. This is wonderful news for our community. We’ve faced this redistricting battle for the past two years and have finally earned an important victory that continues to hold us together.

Unfortunately, Governor Perry is also insisting that the Legislature adopt the interim congressional and State House maps, which include features that a federal court ruled are in violation of the U.S. Voting Rights Act. The people of our district certainly know how important it is to have fairly drawn maps that allow voters to elect the leaders of their choice. All Texans deserve that.

You have a chance to speak out against the unfair congressional and State House maps.

I hope you will join us tomorrow for a public hearing with the House Select Committee on Redistricting. It’s vital that we make our voices heard. Let’s tell our state leaders to keep Senate District 10 intact and then to draw fair congressional and State House districts.

PUBLIC HEARING – House Select Committee on Redistricting
Thursday, June 6 – 2:00 PM – 1401 Pacific Avenue, Dallas
 

The Committee will hear testimony from any member of the public until 7:00 PM.
Once again, I understand that this is extremely short notice. I wish that there were more opportunities for the people of North Texas to have their say on this critical issue, but this may be the only chance that we get. If you are able, please come stand with us in the fight for fair maps.

Your friend, and proudly, your state senator,

Wendy
Wendy Davis

Will you be there?

English: Seal of State Senate of Texas. Españo...

Seal of State Senate of Texas. Wikipedia image. (Are those dots the Illuminati dots Gov. Perry insisted on?)

It’s a lousy place for inexpensive parking, so you may want to take the train — it runs within a couple of blocks of the hearing site.  But it’s a vital topic.

One wearies of the Texas GOP ramming their views down the gullet of citizens as if voters were just geese to be fattened for foie gras.

More:


Election Day 2012: Fly the flag, vote

November 6, 2012

Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri George Caleb Bingham (American, 1811–1879). The County Election, 1852. Oil on canvas. 38 x 52 in. (96.5 x 132.1 cm). Gift of Bank of America.

The County Election, 1852. Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri George Caleb Bingham (American, 1811–1879).  Oil on canvas. 38 x 52 in. (96.5 x 132.1 cm). Gift of Bank of America.

Every polling place should be flying the U.S. flag today.  You may fly yours, too.  In any case, if you have not voted already, go vote today as if our future depends upon it, as if our nation expects every voter to do her or his duty.

Today the nation and world listen to the most humble of citizens.  Speak up, at the ballot box.

Did you notice?  In Bingham’s picture, there are no U.S. flags.  You may fly yours anyway.

The whole world is watching.

More:


Sarah Silverman on vote suppression

September 22, 2012

Absolutely, completely and totally Not Safe For Work.

But spot on.  Sarah Silverman, with humor, eviscerates the GOP’s vote suppression campaign.

Also, take a look at that handsome young man in the mortar board at about 2:06 in the video. You might recognize him as one of our nation’s better young men.

Gee.  I wonder what this will do to the blog’s G rating.

More:


GOP trying to shutdown votes of military, veterans, senior citizens in Ohio?

September 17, 2012

I thought the thing in Ohio was settled.

I get e-mail from the Credo Action Network:

Don’t let Republicans steal the election for Mitt Romney

Ohio has emerged as the latest front in the Republican scheme to derail democracy by disenfranchising millions of voters. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, in a blatant partisan move to steal the election for Mitt Romney, is trying to put an end to early weekend voting before Election Day. This change in Ohio election practices specifically impacts minority and low income voters.1

It’s not just Ohio. It’s also Florida and Pennsylvania. Earlier this summer, CREDO Action members signed over 87,000 petitions and made over 1,600 phone calls urging Senator Patrick Leahy, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to hold Congressional hearings on brazen Republican efforts to steal the 2012 presidential election in other key battle ground states like Florida and Pennsylvania. With Republicans showing no sign of slowing down their tenacious efforts to steal the election, we’re escalating our call for Senator Leahy to hold hearings to investigate the GOP effort to suppress the votes of millions of voters in key battleground states across the country.

Tell the Senate Judiciary Committee: Hold emergency hearings on Republicans’ schemes to steal the presidential election in key battleground states.

A prominent Ohio Republican state official has already openly admitted that Husted’s efforts to shut down weekend voting would result in African Americans voters having a more difficult time voting.2 A federal district judge struck down Husted’s effort to restrict early voting during the three days before the election, and after initially resisting that court order Husted backed down for the time being, pending appeal in higher court.3

But the crisis is not over. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that will be reviewing the district court decision to strike down Husted’s efforts to restrict early voting is “a Republican-leaning court with a history of partisan decisions benefiting the Republican Party.”4

The situation in Ohio is crucial given its recent history in Presidential elections. In 2004 hundreds of thousands of predominantly minority and Democratic voters were disenfranchised on Election Day due to massive lines and “widespread electoral dysfunction.”5 As Ari Berman reported in the Nation:

According to one survey, 174,000 Ohioans, 3 percent of the electorate, left their polling place without voting because of the interminable wait. (Bush won the state by only 118,000 votes).6

In response to the mess on Election Day in 2004, Ohio reformed its electoral process by adding early voting before Election Day, leading to a “much smoother experience” in 2008.7 The opportunity to vote early led to record turnout for African American and low income voters.

Now the Republicans in Ohio are working to disenfranchise thousands of those voters in racially diverse urban centers such as Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland. The restriction on weekend voting is specifically aimed at disrupting minority voters – for example, African-American churches historically rally their congregants to the voting booth on the Sunday before the election.8

Tell the Senate Judiciary Committee: Hold emergency hearings on Republicans’ schemes to steal the presidential election in key battleground states.

The Republican elections officials in Ohio, along with their counterparts in Florida and Pennsylvania, should be trying to help more eligible voters participate in the democratic process, not disenfranchise minorities and the poor.

With Congress returning from summer recess this week, Senator Leahy needs to get the message from as many Americans as possible that it’s not okay for Republican elections officials in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio – or any other state — to engage in systematic effort to disenfranchise U.S. citizens for the explicit purpose of swinging the election to Republican Mitt Romney in November.

Let’s keep the pressure on Senator Leahy to hold a public hearing on the GOP war on voting today.

Thank you for standing up for the right to vote.

1. Aviva Shen and Adam Peck, “Ohio Limits Early Voting Hours In Democratic Counties, Expands In Republican Counties,” ThinkProgess.com, August 10, 2012.
2. Aviva Shen, “Ohio GOP Election Board Member: Our Voting Process Shouldn’t Accommodate Black Voters,” ThinkProgress.com, August 19, 2012.
3. Ryan J. Reilly, “Ohio Secretary Of State Backs Down On Early Voting,”TalkingPointsMemo.com, September 7, 2012.
4. Ian Millhiser, “BREAKING: Federal Court Strikes Down Ohio Law Restricting Early Voting,” ThinkProgress.com, August 31, 2012.
5. Ari Berman, Ohio Early Voting Cutbacks Disenfranchise Minority Voters,” The Nation, August 8, 2012.
6. Ibid.
7. Ibid.
8. Gene Demby, “Black Pastors Group Criticizes Ohio For New Rules That Limit Early Voting,” HuffingtonPost.com, August 14, 2012.

What’s your view?

More:


GOP fraud on voter ID

August 16, 2012

Maverick philosopher, who probably wisely does not entertain comments at his blog, posted this today:

If the Dead and the Undocumented Voted Conservative . . .

. . . liberals would be screaming for voter ID.

Implication — is the guy chicken to support the charge directly? — is that dead people and undocumented non-citizens vote for liberals in elections, and, therefore, liberals are complicit in voter fraud.  It’s a crude smear.

Seriously?  If the dead and undocumented voted much at all I’d be screaming for better procedures at the polls, and so would most liberals.  It was liberals, including “Republican” Martin Luther King, Jr., and Medgar Evers, and John Lewis and others who fought to eradicate practices that unfairly skewed voting in the southern U.S.  It was liberals who fought for the Voting Rights Act, which makes shenanigans like voter fraud federal crimes.

Voter ID laws do not attempt to mend any great unfairness in voting.   Voter ID laws have been litigated in Indiana, Wisconsin, Texas and Pennsylvania that I know.  In no case in any of those states has anyone presented any evidence that there is any serious problem with votes from the dead, nor any serious problem from undocumented people voting, if any problem at all.

The dead and the undocumented rarely, if ever, vote, anywhere in America.  They don’t vote liberal, they don’t vote conservative, they don’t vote in significant numbers — rarely do they vote at all.

So why are the conservatives screaming for voter ID, since neither the dead nor undocumented vote liberal? 

What could cause such hallucinations?  Bigotry?  Racism?  Who knows?  We can be certain, however, that conservative love of voter ID laws is not driven by voting by dead people, or undocumented aliens, and the conservative desire to make things fair.

A very wet tip of the old scrub brush to Pseudo Polymath, for pointing out this lunatic post.

Much more information:


UFOs? GOP says ‘you gotta believe’ – Primer on Voter ID laws and their gross injustice

August 3, 2012

Quoted completely from Bill Moyers’ site; he makes the case clearly:

Moyers & Company | The Hollow Defense of Voter ID Laws

UFO Sightings Are More Common Than Voter Fraud

August 2, 2012

by Hamed Aleaziz, Dave Gilson and Jaeah Lee, Mother Jones

We’re proud to collaborate with Mother Jones in sharing graphs and charts that reveal truth about voting obstacles. Scroll down for stats and facts related to efforts to restrict voting, the prevalence of voter ID laws, what discourages new voters and the the pervasive fiction of voter fraud.


BLOCK THE VOTE

Since 2001, nearly 1,000 bills that would tighten voting laws have been introduced in 46 states.

24 voting restrictions have passed in 17 states since 2011. This fall, new laws could affect more than 5 million voters in states representing 179 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

In the past two years, 5 battleground states (Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) have tightened their voting laws.

As of April, 74 restrictive voting laws were on the table in 24 states.

Sources: Brennan Center for Justice, NAACP


CARD-CARRYING AMERICANS ONLY

Since 2011, 34 states have introduced laws requiring voters to show photo ID, and 9 states have passed photo ID laws, affecting 3.8 million voters.

2.2 million registered voters did not vote in 2008 because they didn’t have proper ID.

*Does not include laws awaiting DOJ clearance, blocked by courts, or not in effect until after 2012. Source: National Conference of State Legislatures

Last year, 12 states introduced laws requiring birth certificates or other proof of citizenship to vote; 3 passed.

Only 48 percent of women have a birth certificate with their current legal name on it.

Texas’ new ID law permits voters to use concealed-handgun licenses as proof of identity, but not state university IDs.

Sources: Brennan Center for JusticeGabriel R. Sanchez, Stephen A. Nuño, and Matt A. Barreto


DISCOURAGING NEW VOTERS

80 percent of the 75 million eligible voters who did not take part in the 2008 election were not registered to vote.

In 2008, more than 1/3 of voters cast ballots before Election Day. In 2011, 5 states passed bills to restrict early voting.

States with Election Day registration have 7 to 12 percent greater turnout than states without. Last year, 5 states introduced bills that eliminate Election Day registration.

12 percent of minority voters report registering through voter drives, twice the rate of white voters. In 2011, Florida and Texas passed laws making registration drives much harder to organize.

Florida state Sen. Mike Bennett, a supporter of the tougher voter registration law, said, “I don’t have a problem making it harder. I want people in Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who walks 200 miles across the desert. This should not be easy.”

Source: Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project


LOCKING OUT EX-CONS

4 million Americans who have completed prison sentences are ineligible to vote. 38 percent of disenfranchised voters are African American.

13 percent of African-American men cannot vote due to criminal records, a rate 7 times the national average.

The United States and Belgium are the only democracies that disenfranchise citizens for lengthy or indefinite periods after completing prison sentences.

To regain their voting rights, released felons in Iowa must provide the address of the judge who convicted them and a credit report showing they have paid off their court costs. “They make the process just about impossible,” said a 40-year-old ex-con who’d stolen a soda machine as a teen.


IN SEARCH OF STOLEN VOTES

dog voting

While defending its precedent-setting photo ID law before the Supreme Court, Indiana was unable to cite a single instance of voter impersonation in its entire history.

A 2005 report by the American Center for Voting Rights claimed there were more than 100 cases of voter fraud involving 300,000 votes in 2004. A review of the charges turned up only 185 votes that were even potentially fraudulent.

In support of a voter ID law, Kansas Secretary of State (and the legal brains behind a slew of anti-immigration laws) Kris Kobach cited 221 incidents of voter fraud in the state between 1997 and 2010. Yet those cases produced just 7 convictions — none related to impersonating other voters.

Last December, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus declared that Wisconsin is “absolutely riddled with voter fraud.” In fact, the state’s voter fraud rate in 2004 was 0.0002 percent — just 7 votes.

In 2008, John McCain said fraudulent registrations collected by ACORN were “one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” The Congressional Research Service found no proof that anyone improperly registered by ACORN tried to vote.

Federal convictions for election fraud, 2002-05

  • Voting while ineligible: 18
  • Voting multiple times: 5
  • Registration fraud: 3

UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS

Dog and UFO

Between 2000 and 2010, there were:

649 million votes cast in general elections

47,000 UFO sightings

441 Americans killed by lightning

13 credible cases of in-person voter impersonation

Special hat tip to craigconnects.org

Additional sources:

  • A 2005 report by the American Center for Voting Rights…: The Myth of Voter Fraud by Lorraine C. Minnite
  • 13 credible cases…: Justin Levitt, Loyola Law School

From the show

Related Features:

So there’s the case in a nutshell — a large, meaty nut’s shell.

More: 


Ben Sargent gets to the truth on voter identification litigation . . .

July 29, 2012

 

As usual, Ben Sargent can help but blab the truth on voter identification and voter fraud.  From one of America’s great newspapers, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman:

Ben Sargent on voter identification law litigation, July 16, 2012, Austin American-Statesman (Also Go Comics)

Ben Sargent in the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman, July 16, 2012 (Go Comics syndication)

More, earlier at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

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Voter ID follies in Pennsylvania

July 6, 2012

Quick tally is done; the voter fraud count shows Republicans would steal 750,000 votes from citizens in Pennsylvania with their voter ID scheme.

ThinkProgress has the story.

Reread our earlier story about the woman who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., 51 years ago to secure the right to vote for all Americans — but would be deprived of that right under the current law.

Sacrificing 750,000 Americans to stop a dozen cases of ID fraud.  Voter ID laws don’t even touch 90% of voter fraud, ID can’t prevent it.  This is lunacy.

Worse than lunacy:  Pennsylvania’s voter ID law is evil.

Pray for success of the ACLU challenge to this miscarriage of justice.


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