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Poor People Lose Right to Vote in Indiana

April 28, 2008
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Today the United States Supreme Court threw at least 43,000 and as many as half a million of Indiana’s poorest citizens off the voting rolls. Their crime? Being too poor to afford a photo ID and not having a car or need for a driver’s license.

Poll taxes are expressly forbidden by the Constitution. But today’s Supreme Court — including self-proclaimed originalist Justice Antonin Scalia — does not care much for the text of the Constitution or the intent of the drafters of the Twenty-Fourth Amendment banning the poll tax in 1964.

They upheld Indiana’s imposition of a poll tax — $12 to buy a birth certificate in some counties as a necessary prerequisite to getting the photo ID — even though that amount was higher (even inflation-adjusted) than the famous 1966 case striking down Virginia’s $1.50 poll tax.

Indiana did not offer to take the pictures of these photo-ID-less citizens nor give them a ride to the DMV. They just said, “Tough luck. Guess you’re too poor to vote.” I guess the Republican governor and legislature of Indiana were angry at poor people who voted out three Republican Indiana Congressmen in 2006 (tied for the largest Republican loss of any state). So they took it out on the poor people by throwing 40,000 to 500,000 of them off the voting rolls. If they won’t vote for us, Republicans reasoned, we’ll take away their right to vote!

Although the real purpose of the legislation wasa to prevent poor people from voting Democratic, the stated purpose of the law was to protect against “in-person voting fraud.” And how many cases of in person voting fraud occur in Indiana each year that justify throwing away 40,000 to more than 400,000 legitimate voters (1 to 12% of its voting rolls)?

40,000 a year? 4000 a year? 400 a year?

no, no, no

40 a year, 4 a year, 4 in all of Indiana history?

no, no, no

1 case in Indiana history?

You’re getting closer, but no.

There has never been a recorded or even suspected case of in-person voting fraud in the 192 years Indiana has been a state.

There have been recorded cases of absentee voting fraud, but the Indiana statute upheld by the right-wing Supreme Court that installed Bush as President (two of whom, Roberts and Alito, owe their jobs to the Supreme Court’s 2000 illegal coup d’etat) does nothing about absentee voting.

Indiana does not want to stop absentee voting fraud. Rich people vote absentee, as do military people who are presumed to support Republicans. So that fraud will be allowed to continue.

But in order to fight a hypothetical fraud that has never occurred in Indiana history — and one that incidentally carries a penalty of five years in prison — Indiana will throw away from 1% to 10% of its citizens votes. This even though there has never been an Indianan stupid enough to risk five years in jail to increase his or her candidate’s vote total by 1.

And people think Jim Crow is dead…..
Or that poor Americans have all the same rights as other American citizens….

Ever wonder why this decision got such little press?

I give a full explanation of all of the details on today’s show. And tomorrow, I debate the Supreme Court decision with Republican strategist Mike Lane.

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The Pennsylvania Primary

April 24, 2008
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And other news of the week

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Cindy Sheehan: More Harm than Good?

April 23, 2008
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Guest: Cindy Sheehan

I in no way doubt Cindy Sheehan’s profound grief at the loss of her son Casey serving in Iraq nor her powerful desire to end the Iraq War as soon as possible. But I do wonder whether others — with additional and darker agenda — are not using the notorious “Peace Mom” to achieve their aims, not hers. By co-opting Sheehan, I worry that these allies — including known terrorist organizations — are not harming Sheehan and the entire movement to end the United States’ occupation in Iraq.

At a recent rally in Washington to end the War — a goal supported by more than 60% of the American Public — less than 0.0001% (a ten-thousandth of one percent) of those opposed to the war showed up. If 1 in 100 Americans who opposed the war had showed up, the march would have had 1.8 million people. Instead the 23 groups organizing the rally (including Code Pink) had less than 180 show up.

It is my view that Cindy Sheehan and others like her harm the anti-war movement by linking it to other, more nefarious objectives that neither I nor the vast majority of Americans support. After all, I didn’t show up at the rally either, even though I fervently want this war to end.

Today, I will challenge Sheehan on the hijacking and harming of her peace movement and encourage her to focus on the uniting principle of getting America out of Iraq rather than the agenda of her unsavory allies.

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Mark Grills Democratic Congressman on Iraq and Contempt

April 22, 2008
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Guest: Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania

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Happy Passover

April 19, 2008
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