Fear Not, America! Karl Rove, Bill Barr Here To 'Protect' Your Voting Rights!
Karl Rove (LBJ Library, Public Domain) and William Barr (Fox News screenshot)

This little NewsTweet McNugget from Washington Post political reporter Josh Dawsey set off our The fuck is THAT about? radar in the Wonkette Sekrit Chatcave yesterday:

Hotelier Steve Wynn, strategist Karl Rove, Former AG Bill Barr & others are launching a "Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections" group, per press release. Republican group will engage in litigation about voting laws & "election administration" across country, release says.

Dawsey didn't follow that up with any details, but we can think of few things that would restore our trust in elections more than knowing they'll be kept safe and secure by the likes of George W. Bush's chief ratfucker strategist Rove and former Trump Attorney General Barr, who lied shamelessly and repeatedly about voting by mail being inherently fraudy, when it's actually very secure.

Oh yes, and Wynn, the sweat-soaked bag of hair who was #MeToo'd to death in 2018 amid allegations of really gross sexual misconduct against women working for his hotels and casinos. Wynn denied the allegations, but they led to his ouster as RNC finance chair and as CEO of Wynn resorts. It appears that he and his money survived being cancel cultured, somehow.


So anyway, this election law nonprofit thing, which is called "Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections" (RITE), explains on its homepage that it will "Fight To Protect The Sanctity Of Our Elections" through the time honored practice of throwing a lot of impressive euphemisms at upholding state voter suppression laws, not that the righties at RITE would ever put it that way.

But that's pretty clearly the goal, even if the bafflegab takes a little decoding. The group announces it'll be "fighting for" these very noble things:

• Defending duly-enacted state laws that protect and promote the integrity of our elections

• Ensuring equal protection under the law for all voters

• Promoting intrastate uniformity in the elections process

• Opposing laws that threaten or dilute the right of qualified citizens to vote

• Opposing unlawful executive and administrative actions related to voting

• Advocating for the right of states to set their own election procedures

Sounds really Lawful Good, at least as long as you don't know much about what kinds of crazy election laws red states have been passing to promote "election integrity" — largely by imposing restrictions on voting by mail, requiring forms of voter ID that may not be available to all voters, banning or limiting drop boxes for absentee ballots, and the odd attempt to allow GOP-led state legislatures to replace local elections boards — for starters.

We suppose it might have been a bit too transparent if the group had called itself the Stop Marc Elias League.

The RITE-wingers explain in their mission statement that all they want is for the Constitution to be obeyed, as long as they don't have to quote all of Article 1, section 4, Clause 1. Voting is "a cherished right and a sacred responsibility," and the Constitution

vests primary responsibility for establishing “the times, places, and manner” of holding elections with the Legislatures of the respective States, many of which have State constitutional provisions that also govern voting procedures.

Mind you, the Constitution also says that Congress "may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators," which is the rationale for the federal voting reforms Republicans keep blocking.

That doesn't appear to be RITE's focus, however; instead, the group wants to uphold states' RITEs to make their own voting laws without interference from troublemakers who think the federal courts have any power to keep states from gerrymandering and restricting voting however they want. The doublespeak is actually fairly impressive here:

Nevertheless, certain groups have undertaken to rewrite state election laws in the courts to achieve partisan advantage. RITE will provide resources to oppose those efforts when they seek to undermine legitimate provisions, and when appropriate to enforce constitutional standards against voting laws and procedures that threaten or dilute the right of qualified citizens to vote.

That bit about "diluting" votes appears to be a gripe about lawsuits against gerrymandering. If you prevent the Wisconsin legislature from locking in GOP advantages in electoral maps, so that the GOP can no longer super-dominate a state with roughly equal numbers of Republican and Democratic voters, then obviously you're diluting Republican voters' excessive power, you monster. ("Diluting votes" is also a rightwing "the immigrants are illegally voting" canard, by which we mean it is a lie, because it is a thing that regularly comes out of Ted Cruz's mouth.)

RITE chair Bobby Burchfield told Reuters that the group is not affiliated with Donald Trump, and that its members reject Trump's Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen. They just want to defend all the terrible election laws predicated on the Big Lie, is all.

In a hilarious résumé note, Reuters points out that Burchfield "was previously an outside ethics adviser to the Trump Organization," which seems apt, since few organizations are farther outside ethics. Burchfield said he's no longer working in that role. He also represented the RNC and the Trump campaign in an unsuccessful pre-election lawsuit aimed at keeping North Carolina from extending its deadline for receiving mail-in ballots.

So far, the group has filed an amicus brief in support of four Montana laws that eliminated same-day voter registration, imposed extra documentation requirements on voters using student IDs to vote, restricted collection of absentee ballots (part of an ongoing war against Native American voting), and prohibited sending absentee ballots to voters who weren't yet 18 but would turn 18 by Election Day.

Reuters also reports RITE filed a brief supporting a Florida law restricting ballot drop boxes and the collection of voter registration forms by third-party groups. A federal appeals court OK'd those laws temporarily in May, after a lower court found they discriminated on the basis of race.

So gosh, looks like some of the very best ideas out there will be getting some RITE aid.

Burchfield also insisted the group wasn't formed in reaction to Marc Elias, whose own election-law nonprofit has won lawsuits that have limited some of the damage done to democracy by Republicans in state legislatures. Heavens no. Oddly, Elias is skeptical of that, telling Reuters yesterday that

he believes the new organization is "fundamentally about making voting harder and opposing voting rights." He said that the state laws the group defends are falsely premised on the idea that fraud is rampant in U.S. elections.

Gosh, where would he get that idea, apart from it being true?

[Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections / Reuters]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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