I’ll take ‘Rigging Elections’ for a few million, ALEC

From Sandra Khalifa at CAMPUS PROGRESS:

If there has been any doubt regarding the intent behind this year’s upsurge in voter ID legislation, Governor Scott Walker’s latest move leaves little room to question the conservative disenfranchisement agenda, at least in the state of Wisconsin. In what seems like a blatant attempt to lessen the accessibility of photo identification, Governor Walker’s administration has announced the closure of sixteen DMV centers throughout the state – for “economic” purposes.

Original DVD cover

“What the heck is going on here? Is politics at play here?” asked Rep. Andy Jorgenson (D-Fort Atkinson). The Department of Transportation plans to close the DMV center in Jorgenson’s county of Fort Atkinson, with the next nearest station more than thirty minutes away by car.

An official from the Department of Transportation, however, insists that there is no correlation between the state’s recent passage of legislation requiring photo ID to vote and the planned closing of sixteen centers that provide the required identification.

Randy Newson, the executive assistant at the Department of Transportation, said the closings were part of a plan to provide service in every county efficiently. While sixteen centers will be closing, nine centers will start extending hours.


The Wisconsin State Journal reports that one lawmaker observed the majority of the sixteen centers to be in Democratic areas, while the centers that would have extended hours lie heavily in Republican areas.  It’s no coincidence that those without photo IDs – students, low-income communities, and people of color – are more likely to vote for Democrats. Over 500,000 eligible voters in Wisconsin lack the proper form of identification mandated by the state’s new photo ID requirements, including close to 200,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 24.

Governor Walker has said that he believes the new law will survive any legal challenge. But as Campus Progress previously reported, sixteen U.S. senators, including Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, have asked the Department of Justice to investigate the constitutionality of voter ID laws. Walker’s decision to close sixteen DMVs represents a concerted effort to make it harder to comply with the law, and ultimately a brazen attack on the constitutional right to vote.

From Katrina vanden Heuvel at POSTOPINIONS at The Washington Post (Opinion):

With only a week left before the United States of America could default on its debt, it’s easy to look at the federal government and wonder how we ever made it this far. Who would have guessed that a committed gang of extremists could bring down the economy? And yet, that’s where we find ourselves today, cornered by a manufactured crisis and running out of time.


Unfortunately, the assault on our democracy is not confined to Congress or the standoff over the debt ceiling. It is also seeping into the states, where voting rights — the fundamental underpinning of any democracy — are being curbed and crippled.

In states across the country, Republican legislatures are pushing through laws that make it more difficult for Americans to vote. The most popular include new laws requiring voters to bring official identification to the polls.


There are only two explanations for such action: Either Republican governors and state legislators are genuinely trying to protect the public from rampant voter fraud, or they are trying to disenfranchise the Americans most likely to vote against them. The latter would run so egregiously counter to democratic values — to American values — that one hopes the former was the motivation.

And yet, a close examination finds that voter fraud, in truth, is essentially nonexistent. A report from the Brennan Center for Justice found the incidence of voter fraud at rates such as 0.0003 percent in Missouri and 0.000009 percent in New York. “Voter impersonation is an illusion,” said Michael Waldman, executive director of the Brennan Center.ka


Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) disagrees. He argues that voter fraud is a serious problem that requires serious action. But as proof, Kobach cites just “221 incidents of voter fraud” in Kansas since 1997, for an average of just 17 a year.


The facts, however clear, did not deter the Kansas legislature from passing one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country. Neither have they deterred other states that have passed such laws this year, or dozens of others considering similar action.

That’s because the facts of voter fraud are, in reality, wholly irrelevant to the Republican push for stricter laws. Republicans aren’t concerned with preventing a problem that isn’t occurring. They are concerned with preserving their party’s position in power, and they are willing to disenfranchise millions of people to do so. No other explanation could possibly pass the smell test.

This is seen, as well, in the fact that a number of new restrictive voting policies wouldn’t prevent voter fraud, even if it were occurring. In Ohio, for example, a recently signed law to curb early voting won’t prevent voter impersonation; it will only make it more difficult for citizens to cast their ballot. Or take Florida’s new voter registration law, which is so burdensome that the non-partisan League of Women Voters is pulling out of Florida entirely, convinced that it cannot possibly register voters without facing legal liability.


What’s worse is that these aren’t a series of independent actions being coincidentally taken throughout the country. This is very much a coordinated effort. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a corporate-funded organization that works with state legislators to draft model legislation.


I asked Alexander Keyssar, one of the country’s premier voting rights scholars, for some historical context. When was the last time an effort of this nature was so central to the agenda of an American political party? […] Keyssar, author of “The Right to Vote,” noted that “it is very reminiscent of what occurred in the North between 1875 and 1910 — the era of Jim Crow in the South — when a host of procedural obstacles were put in the way of immigrants trying to vote.”


Defenders point to the fact that, in addition to young people and minorities, the elderly, who tend to vote for Republicans, are among the groups likely to lack an ID. True. But rather than exonerate Republicans, this information is even more damning. Take Texas for example: This year Texas passed a voter ID law, but wrote in a provision that explicitly exempts the elderly from complying with the law. The law also considers a concealed handgun license as an acceptable form of ID, but a university ID as insufficient. That there is still a party in American politics willing to use disenfranchisement as a political tactic is gut-wrenching. Today, 46 years after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, it must be the job of the American people to fight back against the forces that are disfiguring their nation on behalf of their party.

From John Nichols at  THE Nation:

In the heat of Wisconsin’s brutal battle over Governor Scott Walker’s assaults on unions, local democracy, public education and social services, one of his closest allies suddenly shifted direction. State Representative Robin Vos, Republican co-chair of the powerful Legislative Joint Finance Committee, determined that making it harder for college students, seniors and low-income citizens to vote was an immediate legislative priority, and pressed lawmakers to focus on enacting one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation.

As ALEC’s chair for Wisconsin, Vos was doing what was expected of him. Enacting burdensome photo ID or proof of citizenship requirements has long been an ALEC priority. ALEC and its sponsors have an enduring mission to pass laws that would make it harder for millions of Americans to vote, impose barriers to direct democracy and let big money flow more freely into campaigns.

Republicans have argued for years that “voter fraud” (rather than unpopular policies) costs the party election victories. A key member of the Corporate Executive Committee for ALEC’s Public Safety and Elections Task Force is Sean Parnell, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, which began highlighting voter ID efforts in 2006, shortly after Karl Rove encouraged conservatives to take up voter fraud as an issue. Kansas Republican Kris Kobach, who along with ALEC itself helped draft Arizona’s anti-immigration law, has warned of “illegally registered aliens.”


At least thirty-three states have introduced voter ID laws this year. In addition to Wisconsin, Alabama, Kansas, South Carolina and Tennessee have passed similar bills. Only a veto by Democratic Governor John Lynch prevented New Hampshire from enacting a law the Republican House speaker admitted was advanced to make it harder for “liberal” students to cast ballots, and that one state representative described as “directly attributable to ALEC.”

ALEC’s goal is to influence not just state politics but also the 2012 presidential race, to “give the electoral edge to their preferred candidates,” as Cristina Francisco McGuire of the Progressive States Network pointed out in March. “It’s no coincidence that they are waging the fiercest of these battles in states that are also the likeliest battleground states in 2012, where suppressing the youth vote could have a dramatic impact,” she wrote. The one class of voters that ALEC seeks to protect with resolutions and model legislation—overseas military voters—happens to be likely to vote Republican.


While ALEC worries about the candidate with the most votes winning, it has no problem with policies that increase the likelihood that the candidate with the most money and corporate support will prevail. Its 2009 Resolution Supporting Citizen Involvement in Elections bluntly “opposes all efforts to limit [citizen] involvement by limiting campaign contributions.” A resolution approved last year expresses support for the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. ALEC even opposes moves to give shareholders a say in the expenditure of corporate funds on campaigning.


Of course, ALEC is not opposed to uniformity in election procedures as such. It just wants the rules to be set by CEOs, campaign donors and conservative legislators. Restricting voting and direct democracy while ensuring that corporations can spend freely on campaigning makes advancing the conservative agenda a whole lot easier. “Once they set the rules for elections and campaigns,” says Wisconsin State Representative Mark Pocan, a longtime ALEC critic, “ALEC will pretty much call the shots.”


Filed under Constitution, Democrats, Florida, humor, Immigration, Justice Department, Karl Rove, movies, New Hampshire, parody, politics, Republicans, Senate, snark, South Carolina, Supreme Court, Wordpress Political Blogs

35 responses to “I’ll take ‘Rigging Elections’ for a few million, ALEC

  1. You’ve really got this down, nonnie. These guys are scary. How did politics get so diabolic?

    • fran had a good post about ALEC the other day.

      politics has been this diabolic many times before, and it’s always been when the rich get greedy and when hatred is used as a weapon. you’d think we would have learned our lesson by now, but as long as the rich have power, there will be enough of the unwashed masses to let them get away with just about anything.

  2. jean-philippe

    Will anyone still vote Republican in Wisconsin? (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maine…)

    • unfortunately, yes. 😦 there will always be stupid people who will vote against their own interests, because they’re deluded enough to think that they’ll be rich one day.

  3. Walker and my governor (Kasich) continue to be good campaigners for Democrats.

    • they aren’t smart enough to be a little more subtle. they get in everyone’s face with their extremism, and there’s bound to be pushback.

  4. Because he can.

    This is a very bad man.

    • he really is. i honestly don’t understand how anyone would have voted for him. on a scale of 1 to 10 on the charisma scale, he rates a dried cow pie with dead flies embedded in it.

  5. Great job, nonnie. Where do you find the original albums?

  6. jeb

    Voter fraud is very real. The main culprits are Karl Rove and the Rethug corporate machine from Florida in 2000 to Ohio in 2004 and the ongoing effort to crush true democracy, these people and their type of fraud is what I worry about.

  7. I was a Republican for 22 years, so I hung out with a bunch of conservative folks back then. One of their favorite memes was “the United States is a republic, not a democracy.” I thought they were splitting hairs about our laws being made by our representatives, not an assembly of the citizens themselves. I was wrong. They really mean it.

  8. It shouldn’t be a big deal. In Texas you go to your local polling place, present your voter registration card for the precinct with D/L, they find your name and you sign the line by it. Its always been that way. Now if someone lacks a state issued ID this would be an excellent chance for activist types to take a van load at a time down to DPS and get one, they are good forever, unless you move. And in Texas, if you are detained by the cops with no valid ID, it means a trip down to the jailhouse until they find out who you are. Maybe all this hub-bub will get the slackers to take a little more godamn interest in turning out on election day…..Now my California registration was sooo easy. Filled in form with last four s/s numbers, marked “mail in ballot” and two weeks before voting my card came. The state also prints up this really swell voter guide (one per household) that list all the candidates, gives their stated positions, has contact info for their campaigns, etc. and it list all the ballot propositions with stated legal changes, pro and cons, who curculated petition, contact info, etc. It’s a reay good system of voter info. By the way, Prop 19 is going to be on the ballot llagain next year and it will pass this time!

    • it shouldn’t be a big deal, but the rethugs will make it one. let me tell you a story that is still ongoing. my mom needed to renew her driver’s license. when she went the first time, she didn’t know that you had to bring all kinds of id, so she had to go back a second time. that time, she brought her old license, a copy of her birth certificate, and bills in her name with her address on it. they told her they couldn’t renew her license, because the birth certificate was a copy. she was all freaked out, and she came over to my house. i asked her if she still had a passport, because a passport is the other acceptable form of id, and she said she had one somewhere, but it was expired. i looked online, and finally found a number to call. no answer. tried another number, and finally someone answered. if your passport expired more than 15 years ago, you have to renew in person, and the only id you need is a….drumroll…driver’s license. it would cost $110, and she would have to drive down to miami. back to google, and i finally found where you could order a new york birth certificate online. all you need is a debit or credit card and your driver’s license number. problem. my mom has neither. i would have paid with mine, but it had to be paid with something in her name. after scouring this stupid site for a half hour, i finally found where you could use a checking account. this was a bargain at a mere $23. that was on july 6th. my mom called me today to tell me that she still hasn’t gotten the certificate. i looked online, and all they tell you is that they submitted the info to the city (and took your money, of course), but if you want to know what’s taking so long, you have to call the city long distance. no toll-free number.

      for someone on a fixed income, even the 23 bucks is a lot of money, especially on top of the renewal fees for the license itself. the entire thing is ridiculous, because all you need for the id required to renew your driver’s license is your driver’s license! the city of new york doesn’t even require a copy of your license. anyone at the driver’s license office can look at your old license and see a picture of you. isn’t that a more reliable form of id than something you can mail away for with just a driver’s license number?

      my mom doesn’t have a computer, so if she didn’t have any kids, what would she have done? it would have cost her a fortune in long-distance calls to find out how to get her birth certificate, and i have no idea what hoops she would have had to jump through in order to order one without a computer.

      now picture someone who has to work all day. would she have time to go to the dmv 3 times? how about all that time on the phone or the computer? what about someone who is poor? she’d have to find some way of getting to the dmv and then scrape together enough money for a passport or a birth certificate plus what it costs for a picture id. the whole things is totally unnecessary and unfair.

      • Thanks for sharing the details of the hellish loop of the ID game.
        It would be a huge deal for an elder to have to take a bus to the DMV, hang out for hours, and then have to jump through the fiery hoops they have set up.
        Worse, is now as a “security measure”, they no longer hand you the license when you go to get it, they send it in the mail a few weeks later.
        How that makes it more secure, I have no clue… but there is a waiting period & a chance for it to get lost or stolen in the mail.

        • down here, they give you your license right away, but it’s still ridiculous the amount of proof that you need when you already have a picture id, namely your old license.

  9. I can spell REALLY but when I put the corrector on it jumps back to the top of page. Comments are stuck in the box every other time also after posting.

    • the comments getting stuck is really annoying. it still happens to me, too. no worries if something posts twice by mistake. i can delete one of them if need be.

  10. As I read this, I thought, right, I bet they are closing DMV’s in the “Blue/Dem areas” & sure enough.

    This kind of “logic”–
    the closings were part of a plan to provide service in every county efficiently. While sixteen centers will be closing, nine centers will start extending hours.

    7 less DMV’s & 9 opened longer…. those extra hours will just be people waiting for hours in long lines- if they can even get there. Many areas don’t have public transportation.

    I live in a Vote by Mail state only. We no longer even have physical polling places.
    I love that we can vote a few weeks before the election.
    It means early results are bigger & the counts happen quicker.
    Our only decision is if we choose to put a stamp on it in the regular snail mail, or if we choose to take it to a designated drop box so you don’t have to use a stamp.

    I have to wonder if the next ALEC push will be to have uniform voting methods & get those Diebold electronic voting machines nationwide, so that they can be rigged & tampered with.

    ALEC is insidious, and as a “super lobby” has a real stranglehold in imposing their agenda. No doubt they hold the puppetstrings to government on both State & Federal levels.

    Walker in particular is brazen in his tactics…. not even remotely subtle.
    The only real question is…..
    How soon can Wisconsin voters get him recalled & thrown out of office?

    • even if people manage to recall all these rogue governors, the damage they leave behind may be permanent. the most stunning thing about this is that shadow governments (which is what groups like ALEC are) can operate without the media shining glaring spotlights on them.

      • NPR did an hour long story on ALEC last week…. so there is some shining glare coming to light.

        Also ALEC’s 38 annual meeting is coming up Aug. 3-6, 2011
        in New Orleans, Louisiana.

        Check out their web site:

        There you can read about “EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck”
        “Restoring the Balance”

        And other BS. All slathered in stars & stripes.

        • i got woken up today when the phone rang. i answered it to hear the voice of judson phillips, the teabagging asswipe. there were questions about whether i wanted obamacare repealed and if i supported raising the debt limit. of course, they didn’t get the answers they wanted, so the recording thanked me for the answers and hung up. i’m sure if i had answered the opposite way, they would have hit me up for money. the other day, it was a recording of chuckleberry, but then a real person got on the phone asking me to add my name to a petition against gay marriage. i told her to never call me again, as i’m on the no-call list. then i added that mike huckabee could kiss my ass with his fat bigoted mouth when he’s not busy kissing uncle rupie’s phonehacking ass. needless to say, she wasn’t very happy with me.

          by the way, what the hell good is the no-call list when there’s nowhere to report these asswipes? if the government needs money, have a hot-line where you can report the phone numbers of those ignoring the no-call list, and fine them for each call.

  11. Sneaky way to keep people from voting. One Tea Partier wanted to make it so that only home owners would be able to vote!! 😯

  12. They assert that alleged voter fraud in the state can only be cured by photo IDs. There is no evidence that voter fraud is a problem that has affected any recent elections including in Minnesota. Funds Stealing Elections How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy alleges that the Florida 2000 presidential election demonstrated sloppiness that makes fraud and foul-ups in election counts possible. ……

    • hello hemp,

      welcome to the raisin! 😀

      voter fraud is just another outrage manufactured by the right so they can manipulate elections to their advantage as well as to draw attention away from the real problems they are unwilling and/or ill-equipped to fix.

  13. You know, I keep finding posts that make me homesick for Chicago. What true klutzes, when you can just dump the votes you don’t want into Lake Michigan. What do you think Navy Pier’s foundation is set on? 😀

    • how are the computer woes going, john?

      • MY computer is just fine. It’s the guys who provide our wireless Internet – somebody managed to crash into the main provider tower out here. They just got it going earlier this morning. So now I’ve got another 250+ new Emails to sort through. Add to that, our main A/C unit decided to croak. (No central air – window units.) With a VERY small number of windows that can take an A/C, I have a newer, smaller one ON TOP OF the dead unit.
        Well, they do say things die in threes. Let’s just hope they didn’t THREES of threes!