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Gothmog

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Member since: Mon Apr 5, 2004, 04:58 PM
Number of posts: 88,391

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Alabama Town ordered Bailed in under Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act

This is really major news because there have been few cases involving Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act. Section 3 allows the DOJ to have pre-clearance rights over a political jurisdiction if that jurisdiction violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act or other laws. http://www.ballot-access.org/2014/01/u-s-district-court-in-alabama-makes-rare-use-of-section-3-of-the-voting-rights-act/

The most obscure part of the federal Voting Rights Act is Section 3, which says that if a jurisdiction persistently demonstrates a disregard of voting rights for ethnic and racial minorities, it is subject to pre-clearance from the U.S. Justice Department. This section applies to the entire nation, but has almost never been used, because between 1965 and 2013, such jurisdictions were virtually always also required to obtain pre-clearance under Section 5.

On January 13, 2014, a U.S. District Court in Alabama used Section 3 to require the city of Evergreen to obtain approval from the Justice Department, if it makes changes to the voting rolls and also if it makes redistricting changes in its city council elections. The city had been placed under Section 5 in 2012. But in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court made enforcement of Section 5 impossible, because the Court invalidated Section 4, which is linked to Section 5 and contains the formula to determine which parts of the nation are under Section 5.

The decision is Allen v City of Evergreen, southern district, 13-0107.


The DOJ and the private plaintiffs are suing in both the redistricting case and the voter id case to cause Texas to be subject to Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act. The fact that the DOJ forced a city to agree to be subject to pre-clearance is a big deal and my indicate that the courts are reacting to the SCOTUS' ruling as to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

U.S. District Court in Alabama Makes Rare Use of Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act

Source: Ballot Access News

The most obscure part of the federal Voting Rights Act is Section 3, which says that if a jurisdiction persistently demonstrates a disregard of voting rights for ethnic and racial minorities, it is subject to pre-clearance from the U.S. Justice Department. This section applies to the entire nation, but has almost never been used, because between 1965 and 2013, such jurisdictions were virtually always also required to obtain pre-clearance under Section 5.

On January 13, 2014, a U.S. District Court in Alabama used Section 3 to require the city of Evergreen to obtain approval from the Justice Department, if it makes changes to the voting rolls and also if it makes redistricting changes in its city council elections. The city had been placed under Section 5 in 2012. But in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court made enforcement of Section 5 impossible, because the Court invalidated Section 4, which is linked to Section 5 and contains the formula to determine which parts of the nation are under Section 5.

The decision is Allen v City of Evergreen, southern district, 13-0107.

Read more: http://www.ballot-access.org/2014/01/u-s-district-court-in-alabama-makes-rare-use-of-section-3-of-the-voting-rights-act/

Texas Democratic Party Vote by Mail program

I just attended a training session held by the Fort Bend and Galveston county Democratic parties that included training on the new Texas Democratic Party vote by mail program. The GOP has been doing a vote by mail program for years and this program is designed to even the playing field and to help older voters with voter id issues.

You can check the program out here http://vbm.txdemocrats.org/

If you are a first time voter who did not provide either drivers license or social security number on your voter registration application, then you still need to vote in person or provide the id required to vote in person before you can vote by mail. http://www.longdistancevoter.org/texas#.UtHBeWeA0Y0 This is one reason why it is critical that voter registrars make sure that they have the last four digits of each voter's social security on the voter registration application.

If you are not a first time voter or if you provided your social security number on your voter registration application, then you can vote by mail without a voter id if you are: (i) over 65, (ii) disabled, (iii) out of the county or (iv) in jail. If the voter is over 65 or disabled then the voter can request vote by mail ballots only once for the primary, the primary runoff and all general elections during that year.

The disability criterion is subjective to the voter and is not subject to second guessing. At the training, it was stated that the Travis County Election Office stated that if one does not have an id and it would be a "pain in the ass" to get an id, then that voter could consider this "pain in the ass" as a sufficient disability to vote by mail. Under the law, no one is suppose to be able to challenge a voter's determination as to that voter's disability.

If you apply for an application yourself, the party will be able to track to make sure that the ballot was issued and check to see you have received the ballot.

You can generate an application to vote by mail for for other people once you are signed off on by the party (any precinct chair will eventually have this authority). The concept is that party leaders can go door to door for all voters in that precinct who are over 65 with copies of pre-printed applications that can be signed and sent to the applicable election office.

This system is going live next week.

Should Christie's aides be granted immunity?

The first Christie aide has invoked and is invoking the 5th amendment. The only way around this right is to grant immunity to the witness so that they have to testify. A witness can not normally be forced to testify if they are not subject to criminal proceedings due to such testimony. There are two types of immunity grants: (i) transactional immunity and (ii) use immunity. A grant of transactional immunity means that the witness could not be prosecuted for the crime or conduct in question. A grant of use immunity means that the testimony and any facts discovered due to the testimony can not be used. Oliver North was granted use immunity but later got off due to the fact that it was impossible to prove that the evidence used against him was not based on his testimony.

If use immunity is used, it can be in effect transactional immunity unless the prosecutor has built a strong case that he can prove is based on facts not derived from the testimony. This is what happen to Oliver North in that he was able to convince the judges that the testimony he have under oath was the basis for some of the evidence used against him.

I expect that the US Attorney and other law enforcement groups investigating this event will have to do their own investigation without the help of these witnesses and then decide if they want to grant use immunity. I personally have no trouble with the grant of use immunity at the right time. It appears from the court records that Congress gave Oliver North use immunity to early and that enabled North to reverse the convictions and to escape prosecution.

This process will take time and the threat of these actions will hang over Christie during any campaign. Why would anyone want to give him the type of money to run a national campaign with this issue remaining open. The New Jersey Democrats can always decide to force testimony at any time if they are willing to let the witness have a get out of jail card due to such testimony. If you were a big donor, would you want to risk your investment based on something that is in the control of the Democrats?

Was Christie asked about cutting the funding of the Rutgers professor due to redistricting

A Rutgers professor was the deciding vote on the New Jersey redistricting issue and voted against Christie and the GOP plan. Shortly thereafter, Christie line item vetoed the fund for this professor. I have listened to some of the press conference and I did not hear this mentioned.

David Dewhurst (Tx Lt. Gov.) still owes campaign creditors from 2012 race

I personally think that David Dewhurst will lose the GOP primary for Lt. Governor to an idiot named Dan Patrick. Dewhurst has some baggage including the fact that conservatives think he was too easy on Wendy Davis in the filibuster. In addition, Dewhurst still owes over $1 million to campaign creditors from his 2012 race of US Senate against Ted Cruz http://blog.chron.com/texaspolitics/2014/01/dewhurst-gets-home-of-consultant-accused-of-theft/?cmpid=hpts

Meanwhile, the Dewhurst campaign committees apparently still owes approximately $1 million to various consultants and vendors who worked on his 2012 campaign. According to an August story in the Texas Tribune, Dewhurst owed well-known political consultant Dave Carney $36,388, pollster Mike Baselice $50,452 and Jim Bognet $112,885.


Dan Patrick is a tea party idiot but he may well beat Dewhurst in the GOP primary in March. I think that Sen. Leticia Van de Putte can beat Dan Patrick in a general election. Lt. Governor in Texas is actually more powerful than Governor. Wendy Davis can beat Greg Abbott but Leticia Van de Putte will have an easier time defeating Dan Patrick.

Judge blocks right wing jerk who pretended to be African American from taking office

Dave Wilson is a right wing nut case who won a seat on the Harris County Community College board by pretending to be an African American. The Harris County Attorney sued Wilson on the grounds that he did not live in the district. Wilson used a commercial warehouse as his home address for this race. Wilson's wife is registered to vote at their home which is outside the district. A judge blocked Wilson from being sworn in today. http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Judge-stops-college-trustee-from-taking-office-in-5105569.php?t=2fb9672f7d. The fact that Wilson is a true jerk may play a role in this litigation.
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