A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge may be on the verge of "splitting the baby" in his latest ruling on the challenge to the state Republicans' polling place Photo ID law, despite a clear mandate from the state Supreme Court ordering him to either find the new law will not disenfranchise any voters this year, or block it entirely with an injunction.
Last Friday, attorneys representing the petitioners in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the state GOP's draconian polling place Photo ID law, filed a 26-page Post Hearing Brief [PDF] in which they counseled Commonwealth Judge Robert E. Simpson not to defy the state Supreme Court by issuing only a "limited injunction" in the case.
Such a ruling, they argue, could force a minimum of 90,000, but perhaps as many as 1.6 million voters who lack the requisite Photo IDs, to cast provisional ballots --- which are sometimes counted, sometimes not --- during the Nov. 6, 2012 election.
The brief was filed one day after Judge Simpson informed the parties to the case that, despite evidence that there was no conceivable means by which the Commonwealth could supply all of the otherwise eligible voters with the requisite Photo IDs now needed to vote under the new law before the Nov. 6 election, he was inclined to enjoin only that portion of the Photo ID law's provisional ballot section that contains disenfranchising language.
Petitioners contend not only that such an injunction would defy the mandate laid down by the Supreme Court when it vacated Judge Simpson's previous order earlier this month, denying their request for a preliminary injunction, but that it would amount to an "inadequate remedy" that would create "a bifurcated system" that would entail a "naked disenfranchisement" of untold numbers of previously-eligible voters.
From the content of the brief, it is clear that unless Judge Simpson issues a full preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the Photo ID law with respect to the Nov. 6 election, this case will be headed back to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court once again, just over 30 days before the Presidential Election...
A major element of the Republican National Committee's overall attempt to game the 2012 elections by trying to affect who gets to vote and who does not, has just been stopped dead in its tracks.
Along with it, a criminal election fraud complaint has now reportedly been filed with law enforcement in the state of Florida against a Republican firm, owned by a paid Mitt Romney consultant, which was hired by the GOP to carry out partisan voter registration operations in at least five battleground states.
Millions of dollars were spent on the aborted effort by the GOP over the last two months --- their largest single expenditure in several of the states where the scheme was in full tilt --- to seek out Romney supporters only, and sign them up to vote.
The strategy resulted in (or included) fraudulent registration forms collected by the firm and then submitted in Florida by the state GOP with voter addresses, signatures and party affiliations changed. Election officials in the state have told The BRAD BLOG that they fear the scheme could result in the disenfranchisement of a still-unknown number of otherwise legal voters, and they are taking extraordinary measures to try and contain the potential damage as they attempt to work through more than 45,000 new and updated registrations submitted by the GOP and verify their legitimacy.
The fraudulent voter registration forms have so far been discovered in "at least 11" FL counties at this hour, all submitted by the state Republican Party and collected by the RNC's top voter registration firm, a shell company formed in June called Strategic Allied Consulting, as owned by a notorious GOP operative named Nathan Sproul.
On Thursday night, the RNC finally fired the firm which they'd paid more than $3 million dollars over the past two months alone, for voter registration work in at least five key battleground states, and "Get Out the Vote" efforts in at least two more.
But, despite the efforts by the RNC and Strategic Allied Consulting, run secretly by Romney's paid political consultant, the 2012 GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, which The BRAD BLOG initially reported late last Tuesday night as it began to break, is not over yet. Not by a long shot...
The original appearance was set to discuss the FL GOP firing the firm on Tuesday after more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration applications --- with addresses and party affiliations changed, as well as other defects --- were discovered in Palm Beach County, FL. But by air time, the NC GOP had also fired the group, and then the RNC jumped in to do same late yesterday after their firm was reportedly discovered to have been registering dead people as new voters in another FL county.
If you've had trouble keeping up with this fast moving story, this 5-minute clip of my appearance on Hartmann's TV show last night should bring you generally up to speed with what's going on...
Since that appearance, FL officials are now confirming "suspicious and possibly fraudulent voter registration forms" in "at least ten counties" in the state, which shatters the "one bad apple", "just one individual in Palm Beach" talking point which the AP had been helping both the RNC and Sproul's shell company, Strategic Allied Consulting, pass on to the public late last night.
There will be more on this, as the story continues to be both developing and fast moving. I'm working on pulling together several threads all at once over here, as there is evidence that this scandal is larger than just the five key battleground states (FL, NC, VA, NV, CO) acknowledged by the RNC, so far, where Sproul's firm was working. So your patience is appreciated as I work to make sense of what's really going on here.
One last note for now: Please notice that neither Brietbart's website, nor Fox "News", both of whom had pretended to be so concerned about "voter fraud" by ACORN in previous years (when they committed no such thing), has yet to say word one about any of this, as Eric Boehlert notes at Media Matters. And at Salon, Alex Seitz-Wald reports that "a search on Strategic Allied Consulting or Nathan Sproul turns up zero results on the Weekly Standard, the National Review, RedState, the Breitbart sites, Michelle Malkin, Hot Air and other" Rightwing sites that went wall-to-wall about ACORN in the past. That, even though, in this case, unlike with the ACORN nonsense, there is actual evidence of real voter registration fraud by the RNC (ACORN was never backed by the DNC) which could, as the Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher pointed out to me during my Wednesday interview with her on this, end up disenfranchising an unknown number of otherwise legal voters in Florida, as well as other states where this crew has been at work.
[See BREAKING UPDATE at bottom of story. NBC News now reports the RNC has also cut ties with Strategic Allied Consulting.]
The North Carolina Republican Party has fired the shady voter registration firm owned by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant and longtime GOP operative, Nathan Sproul. The firing came as Democrats in the state were on the brink of denouncing the Republicans' tie to the operative's firm.
The state GOP joins the Republican Party of Florida, which also fired Sproul's company (who accounted for the party's largest 2012 expenditure, some $1.3 million over the last two months) after more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration forms were turned over to the FL State Attorney in Palm Beach County on Monday for investigation. The BRAD BLOG first reported the emerging story in detail on Tuesday.
The firm, Strategic Allied Consulting, is the latest creation of Sproul, a longtime, high-level GOP operative whose companies --- including Sproul & Associates and Lincoln Strategy Group --- have been accused of destroying Democratic voter registration forms and changing information on them in election after election, in state after state, year after year. He was hired for similar operations by Bush/Cheney in '04, by McCain/Palin in '08 and by Mitt Romney's campaign late last year.
When the FL GOP fired Strategic Allied on Tuesday night, they noted that the firm had been hired "at the request of" the Republican National Committee. On Wednesday, during our exclusive interview with the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election Susan Bucher, she described some of the "similarities in the signatures and certain characteristics in the applications that were very disturbing" on registration applications collected by Sproul's firm and turned in to her office. Among the "disturbing" defects on the forms, addresses of existing registered voters changed "to commercial buildings or addresses" and, "in some places, they were changing political parties."
Bucher stressed her concern that voters were likely to be disenfranchised by the effort when showing up at the polls on Election Day, only to find their address has been changed, removed or moved to another precinct entirely.
The firm is still said to be operating in key battleground states like Virginia, Nevada and Colorado, where a young lady who may have been working for the contractor was caught on a disturbing viral video tape published over the weekend. The young lady, who was hired by "a third-party contractor" retained by the Colorado State Republican Party, as their Communications Director confirmed to The BRAD BLOG on Wednesday, is seen on the tape asking a potential registrant whether she would vote for Obama or Romney before she would allow her to fill out a voter registration form.
When Gregg Flynn of BlueNC reported on Sproul's Strategic Allied Consulting in his state late last month, he reported the NC GOP had paid some $333,000 to the firm in July alone. He also discovered the company had taken steps to hide its ownership by Sproul's firm, Sproul & Associates, shortly after first publication of his initial exposé...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Hey, fracking industry: you didn't build that, either!; Chevron caught cheating in SF refinery fire; Texas police Taser pipeline protesters; PLUS: BACONPOCALYPSE --- this time, global warming has gone too far! ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Why is solar cheaper in Germany than the US?; Carbon tax could half deficit in 10 years; Obama must break 'climate silence'; EPA regs create $5 in benefits for every $1 in costs; Gov. Brown signs 'human right to water' bill; '100m to die' from global warming?; If US oil production is at all-time high, yet so are gas prices; Total Oil chief warns against drilling in Arctic ... PLUS: Obama vs. Romney: Stark contrast on the environment ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Given the rampage that state officials in Florida have been on over the past year to purge voter rolls of illegal, supposedly "non-citizen" voter registrations in the state, and the draconian restrictions they've attempted to place on third-party voter registration workers and organizations, in a supposed attempt to curb voter registration fraud, you'd think they'd be all over this week's revelations of at least 100 apparently fraudulent registration forms turned in by a third-party voter registration organization in Palm Beach County.
If you think that, however, you'd be wrong. At least that's the indication that Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election Susan Bucher gave me on Wednesday when I interviewed her on KPFK/Pacifica Radio's BradCast concerning the fraudulent registration applications turned in to her office by a firm hired by the Florida state GOP at the request of the Republican National Committee. [My full interview is posted at the end of this article.]
"I haven't heard from anybody --- the Assistant Secretary [of State] or the Secretary [of State] --- and, ya know, we've had a couple of days and I know they have other things on their plate, but I would think this would be a front-burner issue as well," she told me.
Bucher had informed the office of Ken Detzner, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's hand-picked Secretary of State, about the fraudulent registration forms --- featuring "similarities in the signatures and certain characteristics in the applications that were very disturbing," as she described them to me --- on Monday morning "in an effort to inform them prior to my meeting with the State Attorney."
"I called on Monday morning and left both my office and my cell phone and I've yet to hear from that office," she said during our Wednesday, 6pm ET interview a full three days later.
She explained that there is no longer anyone heading up the State Division of Elections. "We're not real clear [why], but they're not there anymore," she said. "They left right before the Primary election and that position has remained open. But the contact person that we were supposed to have is the Assistant Secretary [of State]. I left him a message on Monday morning and the phone call was never returned. I haven't heard from them yet."
Bucher noted, however, that the state has just given her office 14 more names of "suspected non-citizen" voters that she is supposed to contact with a letter telling them that they must prove their citizenship within 30 days or be removed from the rolls 30 days later.
"It does not appear that we're going to be able to get to this [new] list and do anything with these voters until after the November 6th election based on the days that we have left," she explained. And yet, the state Republican officials seemed to show little concern about more than 100 cases of demonstrably fraudulent registration forms turned into her office.
Perhaps that's because they were turned in by Strategic Allied Consulting, the shady firm hired by the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), operating in a number of key battleground states, and owned by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant Nathan Sproul, a man with a long history of allegedly destroying and defrauding Democratic registration forms in election after election, in state after state, year after year, as we explained in our detailed Tuesday morning report describing the latest FL GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal as it first broke...
The Republican Party of Florida's top recipient of 2012 expenditures, a firm by the name of Strategic Allied Consulting, was just fired on Tuesday night, after more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration forms were discovered to have been turned in by the group to the Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections.
The firm appears to be another shell company of Nathan Sproul, a longtime, notorious Republican operative, hired year after year by GOP Presidential campaigns, despite being accused of shredding Democratic voter registration forms in a number of states over several past elections.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Strategic Allied Consulting has been paid some $667,000 this year by the FL GOP, presumably to run its voter registration campaigns in the state. That number, however, does not account for another identical payment made in August. The Palm Beach Post is reporting tonight that the firm received "more than $1.3 million" from the Republican Party of Florida "to register new voters."
The firm is not only tied to the FL GOP, but also to the Mitt Romney Campaign, which hired Sproul as a political consultant late last year, despite years of fraud allegations against his organizations in multiple states.
Moreover, the firm is also reportedly operating similar voter registration operations on behalf of the Republican Party, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, in a number of key battleground states this year, including North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado. Strategic Allied has recently taken steps to hide their ownership by Sproul's notorious firm, Sproul & Associates.
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election Susan Bucher confirmed to The BRAD BLOG late this evening that she turned over 106 suspicious voter registration applications to the Florida State Attorney during a meeting yesterday afternoon in Palm Beach, after the "questionable" applications were submitted to her office by a worker for Strategic Allied.
The forms were said to all have similar signatures, changed addresses and party affiliations, and other defects which appear to have all been done by the same hand.
The case emerging in Florida tonight mirrors a similar incident reported earlier this year when more than a thousand fraudulent voter registration forms were discovered to have been turned in to the Sacramento County, CA Registrar of Voters by a group hired by that state's Republican Party.
But that's not the only similar case, as a massive GOP voter registration scheme, which appears to involve the upper-echelons of the national party, begins to emerge...
In a debate, it is not always enough for one candidate to accuse the other of making up numbers from whole cloth --- especially when the opposing candidate presents analysis from highly partisan lobbying groups as "independent" sources on par with the Congressional Budget Office or Office of Management and Budget.
Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (D) missed the opportunity to highlight the non-independence of the "independent" sources Sen. Scott Brown (R) cited during their first televised debate last week (see video below). He claimed that her policies would raise $3.4 trillion in taxes "on the backs of citizens" and "cut 700,000 jobs nationwide". The numbers were proffered by Brown in response to Warren's criticism of the Republican Senator's votes against three critical jobs bills that she asserted would have been paid for by "a fractional tax on people making more than one million dollars a year."
Warren accused Brown of making up his numbers from whole cloth and drove home her central point --- that Brown is willing to hold middle class taxpayers hostage in order to prevent a restoration of the Clinton level of taxes on the top two percent of Americans.
But she missed the opportunity to call out Brown for his laughably misleading use of statistics from highly partisan lobbying organizations --- specifically the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce --- as coming from "independent groups"...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Elizabeth Warren's U.S. Senate race could decide the environmental future; Fox 'News' Alert!!!: Fox misleads on climate! - Also: Sun rises in East!; Polls show voters vote on climate; PLUS: Marking major milestones: Silent Spring and saving the planet by saving the ozone layer ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Chevy Volt outsells half of US cars; West should expect bigger wildfires, more often; Coal fight looms over Pacific NW; Study ignites furor over GMO corn; MI chemical plant still poisoning town; Tree sitters stop Keystone XL; Romney's energy advisor will profit more from Romney energy policies; Oil poisoning Africa; Nate Silver missteps on climate ... PLUS: What Will Ice-Free Arctic Summers Bring? ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Over the weekend, this disturbing video of a voter registration worker at a Safeway grocery story in El Paso County, Colorado went somewhat viral...
The short video shows a young woman attempting to register voters outside the grocery store, but asking first: "I'm polling people. Would you vote for Romney or Obama?"
When the unidentified woman shooting the video tells the young lady she thought she was registering people to vote, the registration worker admits she is. The woman asks who she works for, and the young lady admits, "I'm actually trying to register voters for a particular party, because...we're out here in support of Romney, actually."
Then the woman asks her who is paying her for this work and the young lady, after a moment's pause, says, "We're working for the county clerk's office."
The woman is, understandably, aghast at the registration worker's response and asks again incredulously, "You're working for the county clerk's office?!"
"I believe so. Yes," replies the worker, shortly before the video ends.
As it turns out, the registration worker was not working for the El Paso County Clerk's office, according to responses sent to The BRAD BLOG by the CO Secretary of State's office as well as the El Paso County Clerk. Instead, she was a paid employee of the state Republican Committee, as confirmed by the local GOP Chairman. And, incredibly enough, both the Sec. of State and County Clerk, both Republicans, assert that what the registration worker is seen doing in the video, screening out potential voters based on who they might vote for, is absolutely legal in the state of Colorado...
According to a new poll out today, voters in Minnesota may be getting wise to the state Republicans' scheme to suppress the votes of minorities, the elderly, students and the poor, all of whom have the annoying habit of voting in favor of Democrats.
After MN's Democratic Governor Mark Dayton vetoed a law passed by Republicans in the legislature last year that would have required state-issued Photo ID for voters at the polling place before they were allowed to cast their vote, the Republicans decided to bypass the Governor and take the issue straight to the voters.
Without a single Democratic vote, and opposed by the state's chief election official, Sec. of State Mark Ritchie (D), GOP members of the legislature voted to put the issue up for a Constitutional Amendment referendum on the ballot this November.
While the wording of the ballot question itself was challenged by the League of Women Voters and other voting rights groups who charged that the language chosen for the ballot was purposely deceptive and failed to detail the real effects of the Amendment, at the time we first wrote about the matter in July, our legal analyst Ernie Canning noted that, if the referendum was allowed on the ballot, there was a very real chance that it might be supported by voters who, he said, have been "utterly deceived [in the] court of public opinion" about the need for such a restriction.
Citing a May 2011 poll of Minnesotans by the Star Tribune, Canning noted that a whopping 80%, at the time, supported the adoption of photo ID restrictions in the state.
The good news, on the other hand, is that, following an uptick in mainstream media coverage of the issue over the past several months, while a slim majority in the state still favor the amendment, support appears to be nose-diving, at least among Democrats and independents, according to a new survey by the Star Tribune...
The veteran's advocacy group, VoteVets.org filed an amicus curiae brief [PDF] last Wednesday in support of U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus' recent order compelling Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) to restore Early Voting for all registered Ohio voters during the three days immediately preceding the Nov. 6, 2012 election.
The order came in response to a lawsuit filed by the Obama Campaign challenging the Buckeye State Republicans attempt to restrict voting in that period to all but active duty military. The Romney Campaign supported the Republican attempt to restrict the voting rights that had previously been shared by all state residents.
In their brief, VoteVets argues that Husted's directive adversely affects the voting rights of Ohio's more than 900,000 veterans, including more than 90,000 disabled veterans, many of whom are incapable of standing in long lines on Election Day.
The brief also alleges that the Republicans' new restrictions on Early Voting, for all but active duty military in the Buckeye State during those three days, could also arbitrarily deprive many active members of the armed forces of their right to cast an early in-person absentee ballot as well. This can occur, says the group, because Husted left the decision whether "to open those three days for in-person voting by [active military] voters...[to] the discretion of the individual county boards of elections."
The point also raises another salient legal issue, not fully considered by many of the Election Law experts who have weighed in on both the specific and broader implications of the Secretary of State's pending, expedited appeal of Judge Economus' recent decision to restore those three days of Early Voting for all...
The final flight, ever, for a Space Shuttle --- at least until it's taken out of mothballs to stop the asteroid --- just happened over BRAD BLOG World News Headquarters here in Hollywood! Thanks, guys! USA! USA! USA!
Endeavour actually took two passes over us, piggy-backed on its NASA 747 with a two plane escort, as it took the Shuttle program's final victory lap in the air over Los Angeles before touching down for the last time ever at LAX.
It will soon take its final road trip to its new and final home (until the asteroid) at the California Science Center. That last trip will take place across 12 miles of surface streets here in Los Angeles, where some 400 trees must be taken out to make room for the trip. The Science Center "promises to plant 1,000 new trees in place of those taken down," according to Reuters.
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UPDATE: Naturally, you get full BRAD BLOG team coverage today, as our own Desi Doyen, of the Green News Report, from a different vantage point, gets a great still shot of Endeavour flying between Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign...