Nice Time Election News: Federal Judges Quite Insistent On Letting People Vote!

Show everyone you voted

After a whole bunch of stories about the revolting steps any number of states have taken to restrict voting this year, we're happy to say the federal judiciary is coming to the rescue at the last minute, as reliably as the last ten minutes of any given episode of Lassie. Let's take a quick look at how courts have thwarted Republican efforts to throw democracy down a well:

In Ohio, a federal judge has issued an order blocking the Trump campaign and a sleazy group led by sleazy Trump operative Roger Stone from intimidating voters at polling places. That means no hindering voters, no questioning them, no taking photos, videos, or recordings of voters in or around polling places. Just for balance, U.S. District Judge James Gwin applied the same restrictions to the Hillary Clinton campaign, even though she hasn't been yelling at campaign rallies to go keep an eye on certain people as they vote. Not surprisingly, the Trump campaign has already appealed the ruling. You know, Lassie never whined like that.

In Arizona, a federal appeals court threw out that state's idiotic ban on volunteers collecting absentee ballots and delivering them to polling places, which was passed after several rightwing media sites just plain lied that a 2014 video of a Hispanic man delivering ballots was evidence of "ballot box stuffing." This time, the state and the Arizona GOP have filed an appeal together. It's unclear how much impact the ruling will have this close to the election, but if the injunction is upheld, it could mean quite a few absentee ballots that hadn't been mailed can be collected by volunteers and delivered to election sites.

UPDATE: Well, poop. The Supreme Court blocked the federal appeals court ruling this morning, putting the restrictions on ballot collection back in place, at least until the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit considers the lawsuit in January. Full explainer at SCOTUSblog. Since there were no formal dissents from the ruling, there's no telling who voted how. SCOTUSblog notes that 26 other states have similar laws; the challengers to the law noted that even its supporters had not identified a single case of voter fraud associated with the practice of absentee ballot collection, and that it has been "one of the most popular and effective methods of minority voting in Arizona." So it goes.

And in North Carolina, federal Judge C. Loretta Biggs ordered three counties to immediately restore the registration of thousands of voters who had been taken off voting rolls after a coordinated Republican effort to purge black voters. Judge Biggs found the mass purges of voters violated the federal "Motor Voter law," which prohibits systemic removal of voters close to election day. The registrations had been purged after Republican activists sent letters to tens of thousands of registered voters, then petitioned county elections boards to purge anyone whose letter was returned as undeliverable, a process the judge said appeared antiquated and "insane" in an emergency hearing held Wednesday. The counties have said they will comply and let people vote, but the state is considering a challenge of the ruling after the election.

Here's Rachel Maddow from Friday with more on the rulings; note that at the time of the broadcast, the Ohio ruling had not yet been handed down.

Also, while this was a state, not a federal ruling, a Kansas judge has permanently prohibited the state from enforcing its insane "two tier" voting law, which required voters to provide a birth certificate in order to vote in both federal and state elections. The federal "Motor Voter" law prohibited the state from requiring anything for registration more than a statement affirming they are citizens, as well as some proof of residency. Secretary of State Kris Kobach ingeniously tried to subvert that by allowing those who'd registered under the federal law to vote only in federal elections, while demanding proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport, to be able to vote in state and local races. The new ruling will let all registered voters vote on all parts of the ballot, like in sane places. Kobach, of course, plans to appeal, both to prevent nonexistent voter fraud, and also because he's an insufferable prick.

Now, with voting restrictions falling all over the place, people simply need to get their asses to the polls. And, of course, prepare for the inevitable Civil War that's coming when Hillary Clinton tries to take all the guns away.

Note: if you're paywalled out of the WSJ story, just google the title, "Federal Courts in Ohio, Arizona and N.C. Issue Voting Rulings Favoring Democrats" and you should be able to read it.

[WSJ / Arizona Republic / Chicago Tribune / MSNBC / Kansas City Star / NYT Update: SCOTUSblog]

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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