Friday, June 12, 2015

True the Vote this week


Three Angles, One Story: The 2016 Voting War

Last week, Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made
international headlines by calling for new federal mandates in voting with respect to early access and registration. But while her speech in Houston may have created the illusion that the fight had only begun, political operatives -- both directly aligned with the Clinton camp and those ideologically supporting her -- have been at work for some time in the fight to fundamentally transform (or at least politicize) elections. This week, TTV presents three perspectives in this national story.
Follow the money, honey

With the White House on the line and practically no chance to change enough election laws in a manner that would support your campaign strategy, the only real option left is the federal court system. But litigation is expensive, particularly when defendants are states and legal fees can total six to seven figures per suit. Benefactors of voting rights lawsuits are not a breed as plentiful as those attracted to super PACs, however. Progressive activists and politicians are not sweating this fact though, as notorious philanthropist George Soros has yet again stepped into the breach.
The New York Times reported that the Hungarian-born billionaire has pledged at least $5 million dollars toward the 2016 election cycle strictly for lawsuits. According to the article, Clinton camp attorney Marc Elias began coordinating with Soros as early as January 2014. Five million dollars can generously support a number of federal lawsuits (assuming defendants don’t immediately seek a settlement). So where do we stand?
Threats and complaints: who’s in court?

The Soros-bankrolled and Hillary-blessed legal offensive has been swift so far this year. As of now, between North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, six lawsuits have either been promised or filed – all attacking election integrity and other common-sense laws. On May 8, the State of Ohio was
sued primarily for reducing its early voting period from 35 days down to 28 days. Also on May 8, the State of North Carolina was threatened with a lawsuit on the basis that public services agencies were reportedly demonstrating 50% drops in voter registrations generated. On May 27, Battleground Texas threatened the State of Texas with a lawsuit claiming that the driver license agency was having data-sharing breakdowns with the Secretary of State with respect to voter registration. Potential Texas plaintiffs also took issue with the fact that individuals are not automatically registered to vote when applying for a license. On May 29, the Hillary camp elected to re-litigate Wisconsin’s voter ID law and other reforms with a fresh lawsuit. On June 1, the State of North Carolina was again threatened with a different lawsuit due to complaints similarly lodged against Texas. Finally on June 11, the Commonwealth of Virginia was sued for its voter ID law – a policy already approved by the then-Holder Justice Department.

One fact is clear: every Soros dime pledged for lawsuits looks as though it will be spent before November 2016.
What’s it all for?

Washington Post headline from this week says it all: “Disillusioned black voters ask: Is voting even worth it?” If you did not think voting issues were politicized already, you should consider the transformation complete. Mrs. Clinton’s decision to shuffle voting reforms to the top of her policy platform has now been viewed as a purely political move to rally the potentially apathetic Obama coalition prior to 2016. The political calculus is simple: the potential benefits of victory outweigh the lasting efficacy of debates over real election reform. It is a very rare thing to see election experts on both the left and right agree that Clinton-sanctioned demagoguery and litigation are not 1) based in objective facts and 2) promising any success in the courts. Perhaps the Columbus Dispatch’s editorial board put it best in response to the Ohio bashing: “It is not hard to vote in Ohio. It is especially easy ... claiming otherwise is worse than politics as usual; it feeds cynicism and undermines confidence in elections among the very groups Clinton claims to represent.” As usual, “the issue is never the issue; the issue is always the revolution.”

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