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It's all fun and games until someone loses a Constitutional right

There's a wonderful term in psychology called "projection." As I understand it, it's the tendency of certain people with specific weaknesses or conditions to see that problem with others, and not themselves. Alcoholics think everyone else has a problem drinking. Pedophiles (or almost and wannabes, like Mark Foley) take strong stances against it and work to expose others. And so on, and so on.

I'm seeing a bit of that on the national political level, and it ain't pretty.

For every election since 2000 (and probably earlier), the Democrats have raised the issue of election fraud and accused the Republicans (through one of their favorite bugbears, Diebold) of "rigging" and "stealing" the election. And since 2000, there have been more than a few instances of serious political games regarding elections -- and the ones that stick out most firmly in my mind were pulled by Democrats.

In 2000, when it became clear that the fight for the Florida votes (and, consequently, the election) was going to be fierce, the Gore campaign sent battalions of lawyers to the Sunshine State. They were well-armed with legal arguments and tools, and chief among them was a plan to disqualify absentee ballots cast by active service members.

(A brief explanation: there was a conflict between Florida law and actual military capability regarding postmarks on absentee ballots -- the law required the ballots to carry postmarks that the military simply could not provide. The Gore campaign argued that since they did not carry the appropriate marks, all the absentee ballots cast by voters currently on active military service (who tend to vote more Republican than Democrat) should be disqualified -- in effect, depriving our troops of the very rights they were risking their lives to defend. Of all the Florida shenanigans, that one is the one that struck me as the most craven and rank, and the one that seems to get the least amount of attention.)

In 2002, Senator Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) was in a nasty fight for re-election. He was embroiled in a corruption scandal that just would not go away. He finally accepted that he could not win re-election, so he sought to withdraw from the race.

The problem was that the deadline for withdrawing had long passed. It would take extraordinary circumstances to allow his name to be taken off the ballot, and the substitution of a replacement candidate.

Such extraordinary circumstances have arisen before. Candidates have died, have been indicted or convicted of crimes, and other such major events have been adjusted before.

But that wasn't the case here. The "extraordinary circumstance" here was that the incumbent was polling so badly, that his defeat was pretty much a given.

The Republicans howled in protest. They fought the case in court, saying that Torricelli could have withdrawn earlier, in accordance with the law, and now simply saying "I don't want to run any more because I'm most likely going to lose" was nowhere near the magnitude of death or conviction.

That didn't matter. The Democrats found a friendly judge who bought their argument and swapped Torricelli for former senator Frank Lautenberg, who handily defeated the Republican challenger, Doug Forrester -- who found himself having spent a TON of money on anti-Torricelli ads and research that was suddenly rendered utterly worthless.

In Texas, Tom DeLay found himself the target of a very zealous prosecutor. Ronnie Earle was convinced that DeLay was corrupt and had to go, and did everything he could to get DeLay. He took the case to a grand jury -- which refused to indict him. So he took it to a second grand jury, which did indict DeLay -- but had to violate the United States Constitution to do so. Finally, Earle got a third grand jury to indict DeLay.

So DeLay finally bowed to the inevitable and resigned as House Majority Leader, as well as resigning his seat and withdrawing from re-election.

But that wasn't good enough for the Democrats. They sued to keep DeLay's name ON the ballot, even though he had withdrawn from the race and even declared his legal residency as outside the district. After several rounds of court fights, DeLay was allowed to get off the ballot, but the Democrats (in stark contrast with the Torricelli precedent) managed to keep the Republicans from naming a new candidate. So next month, the election to choose DeLay's successor will feature only a Democrat and a Libertarian, with the Republicans forced to mount a write-in campaign.

And now in Florida, we have the case of Mark Foley. The Republicans have been allowed to substitute a replacement candidate for him, but it's too late to change the ballots. In prior cases, the parties have been allowed to put a sign in the polls stating that "a vote for candidate X will be counted as a vote for their replacement, Y," but in this case the Democrats have gone to court -- and won -- to prevent that. Apparently telling voters that "a vote cast for Mark Foley will not be counted as a vote for Mark Foley, but Joe Negron" is comparable with a sign saying "vote for Mark Foley" inside the polling places.

The cynic in me kind of hopes that the Democrats are right, and that the Republicans do have Diebold helping them in elections. They say it takes two thieves to make an honest deal, and vote-rigging just might help balance out the games the Democrats seem to play as a matter of course.

Ideally, though, I'd like to see both parties stop this bullshit and just play it fair.


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Comments (49)

And in 2004, democratic ope... (Below threshold)

And in 2004, democratic operatives in Wisconsin(one was a son of a congresswoman no less) tried to supress the vote by slashing tires of vehicles the local GOP was going to use to drive people to actually vote.

True enough, Steve, and in ... (Below threshold)

True enough, Steve, and in 2002 Republican officials arranged for the jamming of the Democratic phone banks in the US Senate election here in New Hampshire. I was trying to focus on legal shenanigans, using the legal system to gain advantage, not outright criminal acts.

J.

Excellent post, Jay. ... (Below threshold)
Diane:

Excellent post, Jay.

As a voter, it just seems incorrect to not have proper names or issues listed on the ballot correctly--for either side. If time is an issue, any changes to a ballot should be visibly noted in at least one place at the polling sites (where one signs in, maybe).

Glad our pharmacies don't have the rule that once a label has been placed on a medicine bottle, it can't be changed!

"The cynic in me kind of... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"The cynic in me kind of hopes that the Democrats are right, and that the Republicans do have Diebold helping them in elections. They say it takes two thieves to make an honest deal, and vote-rigging just might help balance out the games the Democrats seem to play as a matter of course."

So political manuevering on the part of Democrats --something the Republicans do as well -- warrants vote-rigging?

"but in this case the Democrats have gone to court -- and won

The Republican answer is that stealing an election by rigging election machines to steal votes in return is a good response to the use of the courts to gain a political advantage?

Jay, next time just post that you're in favor of Republican voter fraud in Florida, and save all of the "justification" crap. The Dems going to court and winning is no justification for stealing an election.

"The cynic in me kind of... (Below threshold)

"The cynic in me kind of hopes..."

Yeah, that's a real ringing endorsement, Lee.

Lee, when you can 1) come up with a name to put on your accusation of sock-puppetry six months ago and 2) explain how Torricelli was allowed to have a sub, but DeLay and Foley were not, then you can speak with authority. Until then, kindly shut the fuck up.

J.

So the Democratic party is ... (Below threshold)
muirgeo:

So the Democratic party is taking the issues through the court system and winning their cases legally but to make things even for the Republicans you want rigged electronic machines made by companies that have heavily supported the Republican party to "even things out".......mmmmm Jay......I think you are projecting.

muirgeo, when did a court d... (Below threshold)

muirgeo, when did a court decision become the Gold Standard? It sure as hell didn't after the courts ruled in favor of Bush in Florida back in 2000...

Nor, for that matter, in the Dred Scott decision.

"A lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns." The Godfather wasn't just talking about money...

J.

"Lee, when you can 1) co... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Lee, when you can 1) come up with a name to put on your accusation of sock-puppetry six months ago and 2) explain how Torricelli was allowed to have a sub, but DeLay and Foley were not, then you can speak with authority. Until then, kindly shut the fuck up."

1) Six months is a long time. I don't have any current sockpuppet suspects, but I'll let you know when I do.

2) One possible difference is that Toricelli was in New Jersey and Foley is in Florida. The election laws are determined on a state-by-state basis, not a national basis, Jay.

Like I said, you seem to take a really long road to get to a really short-minded conclusion - that cheating and vote-rigging is ok because the Democrats won in court - won fair and square and legally.

This isn't one of your better pieces of work, Jay.

If Jay had only one good pi... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

If Jay had only one good piece, Lee, it still would one more than you have had.

Oh, come now, Lee... if thi... (Below threshold)
Garion:

Oh, come now, Lee... if this situation were reversed... if it was a Democratic candidate who was out of the race, and the Republicans went to court and barred the new Dem candidate's name from being on the ballot, or posted anywhere so people would know what was happening... you'd be screaming your fool head off about hypocracy, unjust practices, etc.

Fair is fair. I don't care what side of the political fence you're on. If the new name isn't able to be put on the ballot, then signs, or a notation SOMEWHERE should be allowed stating what is going on. I'm disgusted that a judge would do this.

Garion -- See <a href="http... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Garion -- See Lorie's post on this for a more reasoned stance from the right -- note the update (emphasis added):

Update: My comment above that the ruling is absurd is not accurate. I should have said the law is absurd, as it appears the judge probably ruled within the law on this one. There should be some provision to see that voters are adequately informed in the case of a Foley-Negron situation. In other cases, such as when Democrats in New Jersey pulled their Torricelli switcheroo, Democrats have found a way around the law. Then they point at Republicans for supposedly "stealing" elections.

As a Democrat my view is that you work to change the laws you don't agree with. That's the way our system used to work anyway. Vote-rigging isn't the answer.

Voter fraud in Florida?... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

Voter fraud in Florida?

Presumably Lee is referring to the illegal exclusion of military absentee votes by Democrat lawyers, who argued that state law requiring postmarks on absentee ballots superceded Federal Law that absentee ballots from APO and FPO do not require postmarks.

That was definitely both fraud (state law DOES NOT supercede federal law in a national election) and disenfranchising a disfavored minority (military voters).

That is the ONLY voter fraud documented to take place in Florida in 2000. The rest is urban legend that has about as much basis as claims that the federal government, not al Qaeda terrorists, knocked down the Workd Trade Center on 9/11.

Lee, I'm guessing Jay was b... (Below threshold)
Garion:

Lee, I'm guessing Jay was being sarcastic when he mentioned rigging votes-- I took it as a disgruntled comment due to frustration of the Democratic ploy of going to court to try to sabotage the election. Yes, they legally succeeded. It does not make it right, however- which was the point I was trying to make to you. You can't tell me honestly that you wouldn't be totally pissed off if the shoe were on the other foot. BTW, I did read Lorie's article before I read Jay's- maybe that's why I took Jay's with a grain of salt. Rigging elections is wrong, but so is legally preventing voters from knowing for sure where their vote is going. I'd feel this case was an injustice no matter which side it was on.

Mark, The facts are that th... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Mark, The facts are that the exclusion of military absentee votes was a legal challenge put forth by the Gore campaign, and the courts ruled against them.

That's the way it works. Through the courts. It was not "fraud" - it was a legal challenge to the law, done legally. There is a good synopsis of this fight on the St. Petersburgh Times. Get informed, Mark, it's election time.

THIS -- IS FRAUD

AG: Voter warning linked to GOP campaign

SANTA ANA, Calif. - State investigators have linked a Republican campaign to letters sent to thousands of Southern California Hispanics warning them they could go to jail or be deported if they vote next month, a spokesman for the attorney general said.

"We have identified where we believe the mailing list was obtained," said Nathan Barankin, spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer.

He declined to identify the specific Republican campaign Wednesday, citing the ongoing investigation. The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register both reported Thursday that the investigation appeared to be focused on the campaign of Tan D. Nguyen, a Republican challenger to Democratic U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (news, bio, voting record).

Lying to legally entitled voters, telling them the law says they cannot vote and could be jailed if they do, is fraud -- and now the California Attorney General's office says it has been linked to the Republicans.

"Yes, they legally succe... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Yes, they legally succeeded. It does not make it right, however- which was the point I was trying to make to you."

Oh, then you and I will have to disagree, Garion. I believe the fact that it was done legally -- through the courts -- does make it right. Most definitely. If the judge followed the law, and Lorie's update suggests that they did in this case, then it is "right", not "fraud".

"You can't tell me honestly that you wouldn't be totally pissed off if the shoe were on the other foot."

Disappointed? Yes. Would I go so far as to suggest that vote-rigging is a suitable response? No.

"BTW, I did read Lorie's article before I read Jay's- maybe that's why I took Jay's with a grain of salt. Rigging elections is wrong, but so is legally preventing voters from knowing for sure where their vote is going. I'd feel this case was an injustice no matter which side it was on."

Well then you must be outraged at what the California Attorney General is saying about the Republicans lying to legally naturalized US Hispanic citizens in California - see above.

Yes, he Republicans are bey... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Yes, he Republicans are beyond reproach when it comes to politicking.

I live in Florida, we have ... (Below threshold)
bill:

I live in Florida, we have one of the fairest electoral system there is, despite the BS thrown at us by al Gore and the rest of the Democrat party. Not allowing a sign to tell voters there has been a change in the ballot that is not noted on the ballot is not exactly what I would call fair. Nor is rigging the election through the courts seem fair -- Hopefully a higher court will quickly overrule this travesty of justice.

Florida also has voter photo ID requirements.

If you want to know how a liberal feels about rights, ask them about the second amendment -- get the real truth.

Closer to home, here, I rem... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

Closer to home, here, I remember the incident where Democrat capaign workers were given access to prison populations near Philly, where they worked to get absentee votes from incarcerated felons.

Rendell also tried the military absentee ballot crap, reversed course when he took flak for it.

The thing that stands out most to my mind, though, is the rash of violence associated with the 04 election -- if I recall correctly, I counted 14 incidents where GOP election offices were shot at, vandalized, set on fire, or stormed by angry mobs (some of you may recall a staffer had a wrist/arm broken).

But, of course, "the GOP is the party of facist brownshirts". Right.

Seems someone can always fi... (Below threshold)
VagaBond:

Seems someone can always find a sleazy judge to "interpet" the law in their favor.

There needs to be more accountablity in the judicial branch of the government and I would love to see some checks and balances put forth by the other two branches of the government.

This also points to the importance of winning elections. Not all judges are partisan in the way they rule, but you only need one bad apple.

Great post Jay; fighting to... (Below threshold)
robert:

Great post Jay; fighting to eliminate military votes was a certainly a low point in US election history.

Some years ago, here in Michigan, the Democratic primary featured a union candidate and another guy.

I voted, as I sometimes do, in the Democratic primary though I more often go Republican. The voting place was a UAW local and the procedure was absurd. They had union thugs as "guards" all over the place, and to vote for the non-union guy you had to return the ballot to a separate box, in a separate line, passing a gauntlet of union guys in muscle shirts wearing UAW hats.

Only the Democrats would even think of this and only a Democrat judge would bless both results and procedure.

You are right also to point out that injustice is a daily occurance in our courts and I would add that the judge who rules against his party is probably the exception not the norm.

And it is perhaps not a bad time to recall, in the insanity of that Florida election, the judges who bucked their party to rule in favor of fairness.

Democratic Judges Sanders Sauls and Charles Burton, as an election official, ruled against Gore and in favor of what they determined to be fair, in spite of extreme political pressure.

Heros they, but all too rare.

Would that the Supreme Court judges in Florida and the US have acted, and thought, with such honor.

Yes, Lee, as a matter of fa... (Below threshold)
Garion:

Yes, Lee, as a matter of fact I am outraged about those letters sent to immigrants in CA. I'm absolutely disgusted.

Again, vote-rigging is not acceptable.

We will definitely agree to disagree on this. I think the Dems managed to legally rig the election. I think it's extremely unethical and unfair to the voters. I don't know you, so I obviously can't say for sure what your reaction would be. You seem to be very outspoken and stubborn here, to the point of automatically embracing all things liberal and dismissing all things conservative, no matter what the topic is. Based upon those reactions I've seen here, I figured you would have spoken out angrily had the court case been brought forth by Republicans. If I was wrong, I apologize.

Can't you just see the post... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Can't you just see the posts from "pucker", "mun-go-nadless" and "b'google" when a Rep. wins next month ---DIEBOLD

"I figured you would hav... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"I figured you would have spoken out angrily had the court case been brought forth by Republicans. If I was wrong, I apologize."

You're probably right, I'll admit it. I can be stubborn.

Lee-If you had eve... (Below threshold)
Brian the Adequate:

Lee-

If you had even an ounce of integrity, you would note that 1) Jay Tea was making a sarcastic rhetorical point with the vote rigging point and 2) That Jay has a track record of non-partisan disgust at voter fraud that you completely lack (see his timely and continued coverage of the Republican phone bank jamming.

I do not understand why you seem to take such an interest in trying to hijack threads here. I mean please elaborate on your obsession with posting when you either lack 1) the reading comprehension to understand WITW the author of the post is saying or 2) the ability to comment meaningfully on the topic at hand that you must take the thread off on a tangent.

Until you develop some reading comprehension and rudimentary manners, go back to the kiddie table and stop bugging the grownups.

A few questions here...... (Below threshold)
Laney:

A few questions here...

Why did the Democrats bring this to court in the first place? Was it just to ensure confusion and thus a better chance to win Foley's seat?

Can Foley's replacement start a campaign outside, before the election, to make people know what is going on? (Newspaper ads explaining that because the Democrats went to court, Foley's name will still be on the ballot, but a vote for Foley really is a vote for his replacement candidate, etc.?)

I obviously don't understand why the Democrats took this to court in the first place. From the outside, it looks like they're just trying to muddy the water... it gives me a bad impression of them.

Laney: "Why did the Demo... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Laney: "Why did the Democrats bring this to court in the first place? Was it just to ensure confusion and thus a better chance to win Foley's seat?"

My belief is that the Democrats brought the suit in response to a decision by a Florida official that posting the signs was permitted. Democrats then took the matter to court.

Brian: "I do not understand why you seem to take such an interest in trying to hijack threads here."

Each of my comments was, I believe, on topic (unlike the troll'ish commenters that follow me around each thread)-- so I'm confused by your suggestion that I "hijacked" this thread. Are you suggesting that because I took issue with what Jay wrote that I'm not entitled to state my opinion?

THat sounds rather un-American, and I'm sure that wasn't your intent.

Thanks Lee- can you or some... (Below threshold)
Laney:

Thanks Lee- can you or someone explain further on WHY they didn't want the signs posted? Is that what was against the law?

Laney, I don't know the FLo... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Laney, I don't know the FLorida Dems officially-stated reason, but I suspect

1) It's against the law, and 2) it would hurt the Democratic candidates chances in the election.

Not necessarily in that order.

This is why I'm libertarian... (Below threshold)

This is why I'm libertarian.

The idea that the law has anything whatsoever to do with right and wrong is a childish, idiotic, belief.

Legalism is something to be *ashamed* of, Lee. It identifies you as someone who would steal from children if given a legal loop-hole to do it.

And the fact is, that the Democrats only believe in legal rulings when they favor Democrats. If they don't favor Democrats then they whine and cry for *years* and *years* about how unfair it all is and how Republicans are evil. It's a double standard and pathetic. It's all someone elses fault. Always.

And Jay Tea is right on about projection. Whine, whine, whine about how Republicans steal elections. But when blatant electoral fraud is brought to light... fall back to legalism. Justify disenfranchising SOLDIERS. But the *letter* of the law was followed! WE follow the law! But when we recount yet again we have to determine, not what vote was made but what vote the person *intended* to make, or it's not fair! Don't you *dare* disqualify anyone because you might accidentally disqualify someone with the same name, but *we* can accept all the felon votes we can get! More votes than voters in the county? Hey, the Democrat won so shut your vote stealing mouths you dasterdly Republican vote stealing, dibold rigging scum buckets. No you can NOT recount and validate the county to find out where hundreds of extra votes came from because the DEMOCRAT won. YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!!

Freaking projection is right.

Synova:Wow. You "p... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Synova:

Wow. You "projected" yourself right out of libertarian" and right into "right wing republican."

Is it funny that the democr... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Is it funny that the democrats fight the one thing that would take 99% of the voter fraud out of every election. A strickly controlled 'photo' voter ID. Mine isn't a photo ID but a Card issued when you register, no card, Name automatically checked against voter registration rolls by poll watchers from both parties. Very little if any voter fraud takes place when this procedure is used.
Why don't the democ'rat party want this procedure. 175 year old Civil war veterans and criminal aliens wouldn't be able to vote several times.

What? Because I don't thin... (Below threshold)

What? Because I don't think the Republicans are guilty and the Democrats innocent?

In 2000 I had no favorite. I liked Gore for president every bit as much as Bush who I wasn't even slightly impressed with. I don't know if you could have found anyone more neutral than I was about who won that race.

The charges of vote fraud in Florida were insane. People like me were sitting back watching it all, utterly dumbfounded at the Democratic insistance to recount until they came out on top, no matter what. And the charges that Republicans had "disenfranchised" voters by doing things like using paper ballots that little old ladies couldn't pop the chads out of, or the layout of the ballot was confusing, as though the Republicans were singularly responsible for designing ballots. No one said, "If the voter screws up we have to count the vote they actually made." Nope. Disenfranchisment was anything that confused shut-ins and senior citizens. Yet the *intentions* of soldiers, then fairness goes out the window and who cares if our soldiers overseas are disenfranchised, it's just following the rules and so someone screwed up, we can't count those ballots.

And it was disgusting. It was disgusting how the Democrats tore away trust in the process without a single care about it. And then when it finally didn't go their way they cried about how mean the Republicans were when anyone with even a smidgen of objectivity could see that the Democrats had tried every possible thing they could to force the results to be what they wanted. It wasn't that Bush "stole" the election, it's that Gore failed to steal the election. There was no high ground on the Democratic side.

Here's a moderate, uninteresting, Republican candidate and nothing much to worry about in the world, and he won and the news starts reporting people who have become so despondant that there is a surge in psychological treatment.

I liked Gore. I thought it was just fine if the Democrats won. Clinton wasn't great but we got through it and would get through it again. Certainly there was *nothing* to prefer in Bush. I liked every one of the Republican candidates better than I liked him. And then Florida happened, and the psychological breakdown of despondant Gore supporters and all of this in the pre-9/11 political climate.

Obviously we all wanted to avoid the Florida problems. Solving those problems should have been bi-partisan, a common cause for fair and accurate reporting of votes, making sure to count all of them. So suggestions were made. Mostly by Republicans as far as I could tell. And the predictable response was "you're trying to disenfranchise voters! How dare you suggest voters have an ID!" Paper ballots and chad pregnancies were an issue but try to solve that and "you're trying to disenfranchise voters!"

Anything done to try to get an accurate count of legal voters would disqualify some people. Asking for accuracy was bad bad bad, but what solutions were Democrats pushing? Somehow I missed them doing anything at all.

Then 2004 came. Somehow, no progress or improvements were made in 4 years. The biggest scandals, such as in Ohio where the "disenfranchisment" was the horror of election observers wearing suits (cuz Black people just get all jiggly and scared inside when they see a person in a business suit) and a severe lack of voting machines in a district with a Democrat leading the election board and in charge of things like voting machines... and somehow the Republicans stole the election *again*.

The other "big event" in 2004 was in Washington... Kings county, I believe, where the incompetencies were beyond blatant and clearly favored the Democrat who "won"... and hey, that's okay.

Show me where the Democrats have done anything to reform the voting process that was about fairness and accuracy rather than their own advantage. Maybe it just never made the news.

Scrappy said: "Is it fun... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Scrappy said: "Is it funny that the democrats fight the one thing that would take 99% of the voter fraud out of every election."
{snip}
"Why don't the democ'rat party want this procedure."

because it's unconstitutional. Democrats believe the Constitution should be upheld. Why don't the Republicans?

Mo. Supreme Court: Voter ID law is unconstitutional

In a 6-1 decision, the Supreme Court of Missouri struck down the state's voter identification law Monday. Supreme Court Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. cast the dissenting vote.

Senate Bill 1014, signed into law June 14 by Gov. Matt Blunt, required Missourians to show a valid federal or state-issued photo ID to vote this November.

Monday's decision upholds a September ruling by Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan that the ID requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on the right to vote.

The court's majority opinion summary said that the trial court properly held that SB 1014's photo ID requirement violates the equal protection clause of the state constitution and violates the right to vote guaranteed by the state constitution.

"SB 1014's photo ID requirement fails to pass constitutional scrutiny because it creates a heavy burden on the fundamental right to vote and is not narrowly tailored to meet a compelling state interest," the majority opinion said.

It was a 6-1 decision - seems pretty straightforward.

Since, you know, there's no... (Below threshold)

Since, you know, there's no *compelling* state interest in preventing voter fraud.

What alternatives have been... (Below threshold)

What alternatives have been put forward by Democrats?

Frankly, if they want a chaotic mess every election they shouldn't complain about it afterward.

The republicans in Foleys d... (Below threshold)
914:

The republicans in Foleys district should all wear flame orange t-shirts that have Joe Negrons name EMBOSSED IN BLACK on it and just hang around the voting stations all day long. But schedule it for that morning to avoid a lawsuit. If I were in Florida I would be up to it, but Minnesota is a far cry away..

Well if posters were agains... (Below threshold)
Laney:

Well if posters were against the law, I can see the Democrats taking it to the courts. If it was just to make it harder for there to be a fair election, then I think the Democrats are pretty slimy. Why not just let the voter know who the candidates really are?

Posters are against the law... (Below threshold)

Posters are against the law for good reason, but it's the REASON and not the law that is important. A reasonable demand that people going to vote have done with campaign posters in the place itself is, by all appearances, being used to deliberately try to keep voters who would like to vote for a Republican from having a clear understanding of how the voting works.

But maybe I'm all wrong and they've suggested an alternative to the posters that will ensure that every last person is made aware that although the ballot says "Foley" that the vote cast will be for the other guy?

Yeah, didn't think so. Where's calls of "disenfranchisment!" now?

Posters are against the ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Posters are against the law for good reason, but it's the REASON and not the law that is important.

I agree with your sentiment, but disagree with the conclusion. A judge can sympathize with the reason someone stole food (and can be lenient in sentencing), but they cannot in good faith dismiss the charges. The law is the law, and the legislators could have included an "except to identify a change in the ballot" provision in the law. But they didn't.

The saying goes, "any publicity is good publicity". So it's certainly reasonable for one candidate to object to his opponent's name being plastered all over the walls of the voting place.

Notice. I have come to bel... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Notice. I have come to believe if we all ignore the abject stupidty of certain posters here, that go by the names of Lee, Muirego, Mantis, Barney, Brian and anyother Koskid lost in the mall. They may get discouraged and go away. I do not believe that will dampen the discourse here, but will enhance it. Just a thought, but why would anyone converse with a rock (head)?

I'm talking about the motiv... (Below threshold)

I'm talking about the motivation for the law itself, Brian, not the motivation for breaking it. The motivation for breaking it is actually more in line with the motivation for the law itself... to keep the election fair.

The sudden moral superiority that demands strict adherence to the law is blatantly opportunistic. Since when have Democrats been sticklers for demanding the strict adherence to laws they don't care for? They are absolutely accustomed to deciding that some laws aren't worth enforcing. Republicans are too, actually, as is our whole culture. There are innumerable laws on the books today that no one bothers with any more because they are bad laws or outdated.

Claims to worship the letter of the law are fooling no one at all. The goal is to disadvantage Republican voters by taking a law intended to keep campaigning out of the polling place and using it for political advantage, a purpose opposite what it was written for.

A "stealing food" analogy would be a judge ruling against someone who had taken back what was stolen from them in the first place because the original theif had found a loop hole in the law. The purpose of the law, to protect property, is subverted.

This is why so many people despise lawyers.

The Republican candidate fo... (Below threshold)
Brian:

The Republican candidate for governor in Ohio is pushing a claim that his opposing Democrat should not be allowed to vote at all because he is registered in the county where he rents an apartment, rather than where he owns a condo.

On this, I could make the same statement that you do:

Claims to worship the letter of the law are fooling no one at all. The goal is to disadvantage Democrat candidates by taking a law intended to increase voting integrity and using it for political advantage, a purpose opposite what it was written for.

But regardless, what I said was that a judge has to follow the law that the legislators implement, not that advocates of various stripes won't yell about it either way.

Did someone hear Zelda, sin... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Did someone hear Zelda, singing in the ditance...?

(crickets chirping)

Guess not.

A judge can sympathize with... (Below threshold)
robert:

A judge can sympathize with the reason someone stole food (and can be lenient in sentencing), but they cannot in good faith dismiss the charges.

Brian,

Here you have hit upon a point addressed directly by Victor Hugo in his classic Les Miserables. The book is many things but one of them can be said to be a study of good, the Law, and excessive legalism.

In the end, one will remember, Inspector Javert is confronted with the essential good of Jean Valjean, is unable to reconcile this with his, by now, obsession with excessive legalism, and commits suicide. You probably know that the novel was inspired (and Valjean and Javert) by a real person, indeed the same person.

All laws are written for a purpose and hope to cover all situations. This is a utopian goal that has never, yet, been reached. There are always exceptions and unintended consequences and that is one of the main reasons we have judges and juries (rather than police decisions).

We rely, therefore, on jury nullification and to some extent police, DA, and judge nullification as well, when circumstances require it. It is a far better thing to do this than, for example, prosecute our most famous Presidents: Washington, Lincoln and FDR, who broke more laws than space permits me to relate here.

Sometimes a law, say, to restrict partisan advertising toward the goal of a better election and to prevent false information, becomes twisted on itself such that the opposite becomes the reality, due to extreme legalism.

Those that recognize these legal contradictions can be said to be thinking, rational and healthy folks. The others then become disciples of Inspector Javert, a twisted, small, compulsive little man.

Gee, I should have bet on L... (Below threshold)

Gee, I should have bet on Lee's response:

1) "I'm gonna focus on one tiny little element of Jay's posting and blow it all out of proportion, letting me avoid the real issues;"

2) "The Democrats' misdeeds are not really that bad;"

3) "Hey, look, here's a Republican scandal! Everyone look over there!"

Actually, Lee did bring up a semi-valid point or two. Rather remarkable, really.

J.

Here you have hit upon a... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Here you have hit upon a point addressed directly by Victor Hugo in his classic Les Miserables.

It's a valid analysis, but involves different players. The judge found Valjean guilty. On that he had no choice. But the extended prison sentence, and Javert's relentless pursuit, those were choices with options other than excessive legalism.

Lying to legally entitle... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Lying to legally entitled voters, telling them the law says they cannot vote and could be jailed if they do, is fraud -- and now the California Attorney General's office says it has been linked to the Republicans.

Do you really want to get into how Sanchez got into office in the first place?

As for legal corruption --- nothing will touch the WA gubernatorial race. The Dems openly stole that one.

And Lee, read the decision again. Insuring a fair election, according to the court, is not a "compelling state interest". How is protecting minors from buying video games or watching a scary movie a "compelling state interest", but fair elections are NOT?

Funny, I have to show my ID to get into movies still and to buy beer. But to vote? Not so much.
-=Mike

Brian,I am pleased... (Below threshold)
robert:

Brian,

I am pleased you have agreed with the concept of excessive legalism, we are making progress.

It would be hard to argue that purpose of this law has not been twisted, and you don't. Instead you argue the inevitability of it all, the forced hand. Justice subverted once again, who could do anything?

And it is perhaps necessary to point out that under 3-strikes, a person could receive a mandatory Valjean sentence for stealing a loaf of bread, today.

What credit then, would you give to a judge who foresees the injustice of this and opts to throw out the case under some pretext? It happens all the time.

Would you have advocated for dozens of prosecutions of FDR and hoped for light sentences? I thought not, nor would anyone.

For the lawyers, police and judges can easily descend into the minutia of clauses and commas and forget the reason they are there in the first place. There is a little Javert in all of them, when for example: jailhouse snitches are brought forth to dispense false testimony in exchange for a deal.

Once the partisanship and advocacy starts it is possible, even likely, for the participants to do anything to win. Anything. And bravo to the judges who find the character and balls to do something about it, or justice will remain a foreign concept and the Javerts will win.

I should add judge Lewis to the honor roll I cited earlier.

Hmmmm. Do I detect a note o... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Hmmmm. Do I detect a note of "under the skin" from someone that sounds like "p---- p---" ( pee pee)? Just 'rolling along.




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