Friday, October 31, 2014

It's coming.

Later today.  Just want to factor in any late-breaking developments, like this one in Louisiana or this one -- and this underlying factor -- in Georgia.  Meanwhile....

-- The Notorious RBG was correct.

A Texas voter ID law considered to be one of the most restrictive in the country is doing exactly what Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned it would do: stopping Americans from voting.

A disabled woman in Travis County was turned away from voting because she couldn’t afford to pay her parking tickets. An IHOP dishwasher from Mercedes can’t afford the cost of getting a new birth certificate, which he would need to obtain the special photo ID card required for voting. A student at a historically black college in Marshall, who registered some of her fellow students to vote, won't be able to cast a ballot herself because her driver's license isn't from Texas and the state wouldn't accept her student identification card.
There are plenty of stories like this coming out of Texas in the early voting period leading up to Election Day. Texas' tough voter ID law, signed by Gov. Rick Perry in 2011, requires voters to show one of seven types of photo identification. Concealed handgun licenses are allowed, but college student IDs are not, nor are driver’s licenses that have been expired for more than sixty days.

The law has been the subject of an extensive legal battle, with a federal court finding it unconstitutional earlier this month. But the Supreme Court then rejected an emergency request to put the law on hold for the upcoming election. Ginsburg authored a blistering dissent to that decision, calling the law an "unconstitutional poll tax.” The ruling marked the first time in 32 years that the Supreme Court allowed a law restricting voting rights to be implemented after a federal court ruled it unconstitutional for targeting minorities, according to SCOTUSblog.

The early voting period is still going on in Texas, but voters and election officials told The Huffington Post there have already been problems casting ballots due to the new restrictive measure. Under the law, Texans without acceptable forms of identification must go to a driver’s license office to get a voting card. In Austin, 45-year-old Eric Kennie, who hasn't set foot outside the state his whole life, couldn't get his card because the birth certificate he struggled to afford lists his mother's maiden name. In Houston, an election judge claims that a 93-year-old veteran was turned away from the polls because his driver's license had been expired for too long. Another 62-year-old woman told MSNBC that she was threatened with jail time when she went to obtain her voter ID because she was driving with a California license.

Dana DeBeauvoir, the clerk responsible for overseeing election conduct in Travis County, which has over one million people and includes the city of Austin, said she spoke this week to a 61-year-old disabled woman, Madeleine, who was “in tears” because she was turned away when she went to vote at a grocery store.

The low-income woman is on a payment plan with a court to pay off her parking tickets, DeBeauvoir said, and while she’s on the plan, her license is suspended. Now, Madeleine has to quickly get to a driver’s license office to get a voting card. Her disability qualifies her to vote by mail, but she missed that deadline because she didn’t know her license would be denied.

”She’s been voting every year since the day 18-year-olds got the right to vote, and now suddenly she finds out she’s lost her right to vote because of money,” DeBeauvoir said. “If she had money, she could just pay off the tickets [and] vote.” 

Poll tax, anyone? Greg Bueller?

-- I love it when Jon Stewart nails Democrats almost as much as when he skewers Republicans.

Jon Stewart kicked off The Daily Show‘s last night in Texas by addressing Democratic hopes that the red state is turning blue, which, well not to give anything away, but that’s probably not gonna happen. As Stewart put it, “Texas has been a conservative state since dinosaurs roamed it 6000 years ago.”

Stewart examined all the Republican candidates running for office who have proven to be solidly conservative, even gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott, who wants both Bibles and guns taught in schools. Stewart proposed the Greg Abbott “Howdy Jesus Bang Bang Bible Academy” if he’s really serious about that.

Stewart had to conclude that Democrats trying to flip Texas over to their column are like straight dudes who convince themselves they can successfully hit on lesbian women and flip them.

Video.  No grill in Texas got hotter than the one in the Zach Theatre in Austin this past week.

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