Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Last Call For Not (Voting) In Kansas Anymore, Toto

Kansas's new Voter ID law is making things very difficult for thousands of Kansans trying to register to vote.  As part of the new law, anyone registering to vote after Jan 1 of this year must show proof of citizenship, either a passport of birth certificate.  If that sounds familiar, it's the same unconstitutional provision that was struck down by a federal court in Arizona's Voter ID law.

Lee Albee never thought signing up to vote would be so cumbersome.

Earlier this year, the Overland Park man registered to vote when he renewed his license at the motor vehicle office. It was supposed to be easy. It wasn’t.

Weeks later, the Johnson County election office notified Albee he needed to prove citizenship — with a birth certificate or a passport — if he wanted to register.

As it turned out, no one had asked him for those documents at the DMV office. Now he doesn’t have the time to follow up.

“They’re making it incredibly difficult,” Albee said. “It’s a pain in the tush.”

Albee is among 15,622 Kansans who had their voter registrations set aside until they can prove their citizenship under a new Kansas law that started this year. About 30 percent of those suspended registrations were in Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties.

Most of the hiccups occur at the state’s motor vehicle offices, where drivers complain they aren’t being asked for citizenship documents when they register to vote. Almost nine in 10 of the voters who had their registrations suspended signed up to vote at the DMV.

If Kansas Republicans are trying to make things as difficult a possible for new voters to register, well, that's the entire point.  New voters -- young Americans just turning 18, new legal immigrants, people moving into the suburbs of Kansas City (like say, relatively blue Johnson, Wyandotte, and Leavenworth counties) -- tend to vote for Democrats.

As with Arizona, the ACLU is going right after the law.

The American Civil Liberties Union is threatening to challenge the law, saying it’s essentially identical to an Arizona law that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled was unconstitutional.

“What this law has done has made it very difficult for ordinary citizens to get registered to vote even though they’re citizens,” said Doug Bonney, chief legal counsel for the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri.

Meanwhile, Kobach is fighting back, filing his own lawsuit aimed at bringing the Kansas law into compliance with the Supreme Court’s decision.

Kobach said the law was written to ensure that it wouldn’t hinder people from registering to vote.

There’s nothing difficult at all,” he said, “about proving your citizenship if you are a U.S. citizen.”

Except you know the cost for documents and the time to get them.   The hope is that new voters will give up, and grandfathered in Kansas Republicans will continue to vote Republican.  Can't have the state turning blue, you know.

Once again, Republicans seem to think the fewer people who vote, the better.  As long as the people voting are, of course, Republican voters.

United By Hatred

This Jonathan Martin NY Times article is a waste of page space, frankly:

The Congressional vote on whether to strike Syria will offer the best insight yet on which wing of the Republican Party — the traditional hawks, or a growing bloc of noninterventionists — has the advantage in the fierce internal debates over foreign policy that have been taking place all year.

Republican divisions on national security have flared over the use of drones, aid to Egypt and the surveillance practices of the National Security Agency, and the tensions have played out publicly in battles between Senator John McCain of Arizona, a former Navy pilot and Vietnam prisoner of war, and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a libertarian-leaning freshman. Mr. McCain memorably called Mr. Paul and his compatriots “wacko birds,” and Mr. Paul suggested that hawks like Mr. McCain were “moss covered.”
But those intermittent spats could pale in comparison with the fight over whether to attack Syria, an issue on which Mr. McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate, and Mr. Paul, a possible contender in 2016, will almost certainly be the leading spokesmen for their party’s two wings. 

No, Jon, just like every other time there's a "division" in the GOP, the question is always settled over question: "Which position hurts President Obama the most?"  That's all that matters to today's GOP.  There will be a very large effort to work with anti-war Democrats (some of which don't have much of a problem with the whole "hurt President Obama" thing either) to get a majority to kill this in the House.

Unless you somehow think Orange Julius is up to the task of putting together enough Republican votes for an Obama win, in which case you really, really haven't been paying attention.

It may pass the Senate.  It will go down in flames in the House.

Count on it.

Meanwhile In Egypt...

The whole Syria thing doesn't mean that Egypt's problems are on hiatus or anything, folks.  The military is still happily cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood with ruthless efficiency on military and political fronts too.

A judicial panel set up by Egypt's military-backed government supported a legal challenge to the status of the Muslim Brotherhood on Monday, compounding a drive to crush the movement behind the elected president deposed by the army in July.

While short of a formal ban on the Brotherhood, which worked underground for decades under Egypt's previous military-backed rulers, the panel's advice to a court to remove its non-governmental organization status threatens the million-member movement's future in politics.

What better way to eliminate the MB as a political force then to revoke their status as a political party, especially when everyone's concentrating on Syria?  It's a rapid return to the bad old days in Egypt and it's looking like they'll get away with it, too.

I mean, what's the US going to do at this point?  Anything?  Should they?

We've got bigger problems now.


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