Florida so-called non-political redistricting lawsuits had partisan Democrats plotting behind the scenes

Tampa Tribune Online (TBO) reports on how partisan Democrats were behind a lawsuit and so-called non-political redistricting maps submitted to the Court:
Court documents and emails that are part of the redistricting lawsuit show that the map was drawn and paid for by Democratic consultants in consultation with the Florida Democratic Party, which is no longer involved in the lawsuit.

…Days after the meeting, that map was submitted into evidence as an alternative plan as part of the lawsuit. The suit was officially filed by groups including the League of Women Voters of Florida and the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic civil rights group.

Plaintiffs in the case argue that congressional maps passed by lawmakers in 2012 are political documents that violate Amendment 6, one of the so-called “Fair District” amendments passed by voters in 2010. The amendments were an attempt to remove politics from the redistricting process by no longer allowing new maps to explicitly “favor or disfavor a political party.”

..The lawsuit is being bankrolled by the National Democratic Redistricting Trust, which was created in 2009 to “provide legal support for Democratic redistricting programs,” according to its website. It’s the group leading the lawsuit.  “Final say would … come from recommendations from the attorneys, and it would go through the Trust,” said Brian Smoot, the trust’s director, during a 2013 deposition taken as part of the case.

“Much Ado About Voting”

Josiah Neeley at the American Spectator.

Ultimately, then, Voter ID is less about consequences (good or bad), and more about symbolism. It’s neither the end of democracy nor necessary to preserve it. Instead, the laws help a few disadvantaged folks get identification, and give the rest of us a bit more peace of mind about the integrity of the electoral system. And it gives partisans on both sides an opportunity to accuse each other of perfidy. Which is not such a bad deal, really.

New allegation of Florida voter suppression: “No potty breaks in polling places”

The problem might arise when precincts are located in private buildings, which don’t have to allow public bathroom access, or in churches and other religious facilities, which are exempt from federal law requiring accessible restrooms for people with disabilities. Elections administrators have long relied on those locations to set up Miami-Dade’s more than 500 polling places.

Two years ago, the nonprofit Center for Independent Living of South Florida asked the department run by Elections Supervisor Penelope Townsley, who is appointed by Mayor Carlos Gimenez, about its plans for giving the disabled access to the polls.  Marc Dubin, the center’s director, said he hoped the county would try to find new voting sites to replace polling places without accessible restrooms, or that it would pay for portable toilets outside those locations.

Instead, the elections department told him that it would prohibit all voters from using restrooms. If no voters could go to the bathroom, the county argued, then it could not be accused of discriminating against only the disabled ones.  “This is the most bizarre response I’ve ever gotten, that we’re going to shut down access for everyone so as not to discriminate,” Dubin said.

Not only does Dubin counter that the county’s contention is incorrect — even if no voters are allowed to use the restroom, federal law requires modifications to be made for the disabled, he said — but he also accuses Miami-Dade of trying to keep voters from the polls.  

“This is a very clear way to suppress the vote,” he said. “Telling people, ‘We have 12-hour lines but you can’t go to the bathroom?’ You can be guaranteed that people won’t come out to vote.”    More at the Miami Herald.

FEC Republicans chide reckless allegations of Commissioner Ravel

The New York Times publishes the letter response of the three Republican Commissioners to the allegations of Commissioner Ravel that they are not enforcing the campaign finance laws.

To the Editor:

Our Federal Election Commission colleague Ann M. Ravel would rather grandstand than follow the law and judicial precedent. We enforce the law as written by Congress and construed by the courts, not as our colleague and her “reformer” allies wish it were.

She disparages the federal courts as “a rubber-stamp approval of inaction” and essentially encourages them to disregard our governing statute and decades-old legal precedent. By recklessly accusing the courts and us of “betraying the public” and “putting our democracy in jeopardy,” our colleague is actually the one encouraging the commissioners “not to cooperate with one another” and paralyzing the F.E.C.

As for us, we will continue to follow the Supreme Court’s guidance: “Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor.”

Washington, April 7, 2014

Bad Day for Speech Regulators

My short take at PJ Media.

“One of the most interesting aspects of the case is the role of lawyer Dan Backer.  Backer is the driving force behind the decision.  He went out and sought plaintiffs who could help strike down this law.  Backer represents an activist breed of conservative lawyer who borrows the tactics of offense from the left and seeks to alter the legal landscape and the future of the nation.”

Pittsburgh Tribune Review: “Voter fraud: Multiple-voting Melowese Richardson gets a federal pass”

More on DOJ’s failure to prosecute confessed voter fraud on Ohio.

“Eric Holder’s Justice Department wastes no time suing states over their voter ID laws — to protect the franchise, he says. But a fraudster who repeatedly voted for President Obama? Why, she gets a pass.

Consider the celebrity status bestowed upon Melowese Richardson, the Ohio poll worker who admitted she voted six times for President Obama in 2012. Typically, voting just twice for president is enough to draw a federal felony charge.”