Guest: ACLU Voting Rights Project attorney Julie Ebenstein
Plus: Hillary's DNC bounce, Trump 'unfit', and very bad monkeys...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2016, 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast I'm joined by litigator Julie Ebenstein, staff attorney with the ACLU Voting Rights Project, to discuss the remarkable string of encouraging voting rights victories in courts in some six different states over just the past few days.

The long-fought and long-sought wins in both federal and state courtrooms in North Carolina and Wisconsin (as Ernie Canning reported earlier today), as well as in Texas, Kansas, Michigan and North Dakota (as summarized by The Nation's Ari Berman) in the past two weeks, have severely undercut Republican voter suppression laws imposing Photo ID voting restrictions, cuts to early voting, restrictions on voter registration and much more. As Berman writes: "The Republican war on voting rights is backfiring."

Ebenstein, who has helped lead the legal battle against these discriminatory laws for years, shares my delight over the recent rulings, but is surprised only that they have come so quickly in succession of late. "Given how extreme and egregious some of the laws are," she tells me, "I'm not surprised the courts have found they violate the Constitution. I think a lot of these laws really have gone very far to put barriers in the way of voters and, in many instances, particularly in the way of black voters."

On the courts finally striking down or weakening GOP Photo ID voting restrictions in NC, TX, WI and ND under the Voting Rights Act and/or the Constitution, she explains: "There's a broader recognition that this is really disenfranchising people in a very practical, day-to-day sense. I think the other thing the laws have highlighted, is that they're just not justified. As the North Carolina [ruling] put it, the laws constitute a solution in search of a problem. There's no evidence of any sort of voter impersonation, which is what these laws purport to protect against. So you have laws that will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of potential voters. It's just shocking when you look at the harm these laws cause and the lack of justification that they were passed [with] in the first place."

But, she stresses, there remain a number of barriers and concerns about the November election and the various primaries leading up to it. "Even though we have a good decision, there's still going to be ongoing challenges. Things do stay in flux for quite some time," Ebenstein tells me, citing ongoing suppression tactics in a number of states, and adding, "I would encourage everybody to check right now whether you're registered, whether your registration is up to date, whether it has the accurate address on file, and [to] know what the rules are."

There's much more important information in our conversation that I can adequately even summarize here, so please give it a listen!

Also today: Hillary Clinton receives a bounce in both national and state polling (including in a number of very "red" states) following last week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and Donald Trump's subsequent attacks on the parents of a Muslim-American U.S. Army Captain who is said to have given his life protecting fellow troops in Iraq in 2004. President Obama has declared Trump "unfit" for office in the bargain, and a number of high-ranking, elected GOPers have denounced Trump for it in recent days, but almost none have unendorsed the Republican nominee, much less announced an intention to keep him out of office by voting for Clinton. All of that and election-hating monkeys gone wild on today's BradCast!


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