Thursday, April 19, 2007

White House working to limit voter turnout.

The Purge of the U.S. attorneys is closely related to efforts by the White House to reduce the number of lower income and minority people on the voters rolls. The effort to keep likely Democratic voters from being successfully registered or from voting is also the reason for the Republican complaints about organized voting fraud after each of the elections since 2000. Now we have another report on this effort to prevent voters from opposing Republicans by using the Justice Department. The report comes from McClatchy Newspapers:
By GREG GORDON of McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON For six years, the Bush administration, aided by Justice Department political appointees, has pursued an aggressive legal effort to restrict voter turnout in key battleground states in ways that favor Republican political candidates, according to civil rights advocates and a former administration official.

The administration intensified its efforts last year as President Bush's popularity and Republican support eroded heading into a midterm battle for control of Congress, which the Democrats won.

Facing nationwide voter registration drives by Democratic-leaning groups, the administration alleged widespread election fraud and endorsed proposals for tougher state and federal voter identification laws. Presidential political adviser Karl Rove alluded to the strategy in April 2006 when he railed about voter fraud in a speech to the Republican National Lawyers Association.

Questions about the administration's campaign against alleged voter fraud have helped fuel the political tempest over the firings last year of eight U.S. attorneys, several of whom were ousted in part because they did not bring voter fraud cases important to Republican politicians.

Civil rights advocates contend that the administration's policies were intended to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of poor and minority voters, who tend to support Democrats. By filing state and federal lawsuits, civil rights groups have won court rulings blocking some of its actions. [Snip]

Voting laws

Former Justice Department lawyers, public records and other documents show that since President Bush took office, political appointees in the Civil Rights Division have:

Approved Georgia and Arizona laws that tightened voter ID requirements. A federal judge tossed out the Georgia law as an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of poor voters, and a federal appeals court signaled its objections to the Arizona law on similar grounds last fall.

Issued advisory opinions that overstated a 2002 federal election law by asserting that it required states to disqualify new voting registrants if their identification didn't match that in computer databases, prompting at least three states to reject tens of thousands of applicants mistakenly.

Done little to enforce a provision of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act that requires state public assistance agencies to register voters. The inaction has contributed to a 50 percent decline in annual registrations at those agencies, to 1 million from 2 million.

Sued at least six states on grounds that they had too many people on their voter rolls. Some eligible voters were removed in the resulting purges.
Carol Lam, US attorney of San Diego was apparently asked to resign because she was too active in pursuing criminal cases against crooked Republican politicians like Duke Cunningham and John Doolittle. The US attorney of Arkansas was asked to resign so that a political operative who was an aide to Karl Rove could take the job and get some experience as a real attorney to put on his resume. The others were asked to resign because of complaints that they had not brought cases against Democrats just before the election or were not bringing voter fraud cases that Republican politicians thought that they should be able to take to court.

Then there is US attorney Biskupic of Milwaukee, WI who was removed from the list after (because?) he brought a high profile case against a Wisconsin civil servant for steering a state contract for travel services to a travel firm owned by a family which apparently donated political money mostly to Democrats. This case became the only real issue the Republican candidate to defeat the existing Democratic Governor from being reelected, but when the case reached the Appeals Court the Appeal Justices literally threw it out of court, saying that it was not based on any evidence and that the Prosecutor provided no credible evidence that any crime had been committed. Not only was she not shown to get any personal benefit from giving the contract to the travel agency (a requirement to prove fraud) and no evidence that she knew that the family that owned the travel agency were supporters of the Democratic Party, the agencies' bid was the low bid submitted.

The Executive Department generally and the Department of Justice have been so politicized by the Bush administration, including Alberto Gonzales, that it may take years to rebuild the government after Bush leaves office. This report is just one more of the many, many ways the Republicans have worked to destroy America.

Addendum 8:11 PM CDT.
Digby has a great deal more about the Republican effort to use false accusations about voter fraud to reduce Democratic voter turnout. As usual his reporting is thorough, well-sourced, and well-written. Go enjoy it.

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