On today's BradCast, more surprisingly good news from the U.S. Supreme Court for voters, and more concerns for the ability of those voters to cast a vote at all in the state of Wisconsin in tomorrow's crucial Primary Election in the Badger State. [Audio link to complete show follows below.]
First today, two encouraging breaking stories as we go to air: California Governor Jerry Brown signs a new law, just hashed out last week, raising the state's minimum wage from $10 to $15 by 2022, and SCOTUS unanimously(!) affirms the long-held principle of 'One Person, One Vote' that had been challenged by Rightwingers in the Evenwell v. Abbott case which we covered in detail last December following oral arguments.
The Court's 8 to 0 opinion on Monday finds that Congressional districts may be drawn, as they are currently, with (roughly) the same population in each, rather than, as petitioners had sought, the same number of eligible voters in each. Had that argument been successful, not only would every district in the country need to be redrawn, but, more problematically (and, of course, the reason the challenge was brought in the first place), in such a way that a lot of voting power would have shifted from urban centers, which tend to vote Democratic, to rural districts, which tend to vote more Republican. We explain what that all means and how a ruling in favor of petitioners would have left non-voters, such as children, immigrants and felons, among others, with even less legislative power than they have now.
Also today, we review the messy small "d" democracy at work over the weekend, as Ted Cruz seems to have outsmarted Donald Trump at the GOP's North Dakota state delegate convention, and as Bernie Sanders picked up two delegates previously won by Hillary Clinton at the Nevada Caucuses on February 20th. (Her total now there, for those keeping score at home, goes from a 20 to 15 delegate victory, to a virtual tie at 18 to 17 over Sanders --- at least if the latest totals from the state's Democratic Party County delegate conventions hold.)
Then, the much less good news, as we speak to Emily Lonergan, with the Legal Coordinating Committee of Wisconsin Election Protection about the concerns that some 300,000 already lawfully registered voters --- much less those that are eligible to vote and may still register on Election Day --- will be blocked from casting a vote at all with the implementation of state Republicans' draconian, unnecessary and wildly (purposefully?) confusing Photo ID voting restrictions during tomorrow's primary
Lonergan, who clearly shares my very serious concerns about this issue, and the problems it may cause for all voters on Tuesday, explains the GOP's absurdly confusing new restrictions on voting in WI, noting in no uncertain terms that (as found during the trial which struck down this law as illegal and unconstitutional, only to be overturned by a flawed ruling by a federal appellate court) there is no known problems with "voter fraud" that this new voting restriction could have possibly deterred.
"The majority of voter fraud cases in Wisconsin relate to individuals who are...disqualified due to felony status," she tells me. "Frankly, I don't believe there has been one case --- and I certainly haven't heard anybody pointing out a single case to me --- of voter fraud that could have been avoided with [the state's new Photo ID voting restriction] in place."
So buckle up for what could be a very bumpy primary day in Wisconsin --- for both Democrats, in particular, but also for many Republicans! You may also want to keep the number 866-OUR-VOTE handy to pass on when you encounter or hear about trouble at the polls on Tuesday! Please report it there! (And to county and state officials, as well as media, etc.)
Finally today, back to the encouraging (if too little, too late) news: It is confirmed that the U.S. Dept. of Justice will be launching a civil rights investigation of the disastrous March 22nd primary in Maricopa County (Phoenix), AZ, after thousands were turned away without being able to cast their vote due to closed polling places and mysteriously changed voter registrations...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)