Wednesday, January 17, 2018
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If You’d Believe That….! (A message to conservatives about...

This piece has recently appeared in newspapers in my very red congressional district (VA-06). ********************* Two things preoccupy me these days: 1) the need for the...

Isn’t It “Conservative” to Care About American Norms?

Before getting to the present piece, a word about a previous posting, i.e. the latest entry in my series, "A Better Human Story," which...

Friday News: “Donald Trump is not well”; “Understanding Republican Cruelty”; TMac...

by Lowell Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Friday, June 30. A new report raises some big questions...

Rep. Donald McEachin on Executive Order on Election Integrity

From Rep. Donald McEachin: RICHMOND – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) issued this statement in response to the creation of the Presidential Commission on Election...

Do Anti-Obamacare Ads Increase Enrollment?

Anti-ACA Ad Spending photo 140712anti-ACAadspending_zps2ac991b7.pngThough intended to serve at least two purposes, the $450 million spent on anti-Affordable Care Act (ACA) ads have failed their purpose(s) and may have unintentionally informed the uninsured that they have a path to healthcare coverage. The other intent, to support Republican candidates by inference, may also backfire.

The correlation of negative ad spending to enrollment is not direct and is affected by demographics, but research prepared by Brookings Institution fellow Niam Yaraghi provides some very interesting data. The chart for the television markets that encompass Virginia shows raw spending data from 2013 (national TV market map and data). This is not per capita data, so cannot be used for an accurate correlation, but it is informative. And Yaraghi does point out that the market where the highest per capita spending occurred, Washington, D.C., had the highest Obamacare enrollment rate, 11%.

In the states where more anti-ACA ads are aired, residents were on average more likely to believe that Congress will repeal the ACA in the near future. People who believe that subsidized health insurance may soon disappear could have a greater willingness to take advantage of this one time opportunity.

What is also clear from the spending data is that this advertising is aimed at assisting Republicans in states with the most competitive mid-term Senate races: Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. The aim is probably as much voter suppression as it is support for the Republican candidates. In Virginia, these ads may influence the outcome of two Congressional races (7th and 10th) more than the U.S. Senate race not only because Senator Warner has a nuanced position on the ACA but also because his opponent is a cold fish.  

Voter ID Requirements Do Differ

Someone pulled aside or asked for something you don't have? If you are at your normal polling place and have one of the forms of identification listed here, not to worry. But first time voters require a different standard. Know what you need so you don't have to vote provisionally.

Don't go righteous if you hear a photo ID being suggested as a form of ID. Understand that each voter is an individual case and a photo ID satisfies a special situation. There is no evidence the people working inside the polls, the election officials, are a source of voter suppression.

Remember that the voter registration card is everything you need. Don't cast a provisional ballot. (But if you must, make certain you validate your vote by this Friday.) Some odd situations: If you requested an absentee ballot and didn't vote absentee, you'll have to go through a drill. But you can vote. If you didn't change your registration after a move, you can still vote in your old precinct if you voted there last general election. In either case, vote.

Innovative Voter Suppression: 3PVRO

In Florida, you must register to register persons to vote unless they are immediate family or you work for the state. It is more difficult to register voters there than it is to get a concealed carry permit in Virginia. McDonnell is missing the boat on the voter ID veto.

As indicated last week, the voter ID bill that the Governor seems intent to allow to go into law without his signature is unimaginative child's play on the part of Virginia Republicans. In Florida, other than the two exceptions, anyone who solicits or collects any voter registration application is or is an agent of a Third-Party Voter Registration Organization (3PVRO). Some specific responsibilities of 3PVROs:

  • Timely submit all voter registration applications collected, including incomplete applications
  • Serve as a fiduciary for the applicants from which it collects voter registration applications
  • Ensure its assigned ID # is on any voter registration application
  • Keep its registration and registration agents' information updated within 10 days of any change
  • File monthly reports on Form DS-DE 123 no later than the 10th of each month reflecting an accounting of all registration forms it provided to and received from its registration agents during the preceding month
So why, in a year that he could be on the Republican national ticket, McDonnell even hesitates is the bigger question. And the biggest question of all is why, if he is the leader of the state party, he cannot manage to influence his own party members in the legislature to let go of this voter ID nonsense. Next year, he and his could ramp up suppression so much more effectively following Florida's (and ALEC's?) lead.  

It’s Win/Win For McDonnell In Voter ID Veto

The Kaplan Post says it's: a test of principle versus partisanship. It's really: choosing between riding with Romney or getting kicked to the curb. Virginia Republican legislators didn't give suppression enough thought. They could have suppressed the vote and still allowed McDonnell the veep seat.

These new restrictions fall most heavily on young, minority, elderly, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities. This wave of changes may sharply tilt the political terrain for the 2012 election and beyond. - Brennan Center for Justice

Requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification is a hardship on as many as 10% of the electorate. But that may not be as effective as more surreptitious methods. Limiting early voting is one. Another is making registration much more difficult. But Virginia Republicans chose the lightning rod.

Illegal, Voter Suppression Robocall by Conservative Supporters of Braddock Supervisor John...

Check out this robocall by the American Future Fund, a "a multi- state issues advocacy group designed to effectively communicate conservative and free market ideals." According to FactCheck.org, American Future Fund was "founded in 2007 by Nick Ryan, a longtime political adviser to former Iowa congressman Jim Nussle, a Republican." It "is registered as a 501(c)(4), which means it can receive unlimited donations and does not have to disclose its donors." For whatever reason, this group has decided to place a voter suppression robocall into Fairfax County (Braddock District), on behalf of Tea Party/Ken Cuccinelli-supported Republican John Cook, encouraging Democrats receiving the call to vote TODAY (11/7) not TOMORROW (Election Day). Last I heard, that's illegal. Sadly, though, we see this sort of thing quite frequently by Republicans. What part of "illegal" don't Republicans understand?!?

P.S. In response to this call, I urge everyone in Braddock District to make DOUBLE sure you vote TOMORROW, ELECTION DAY, for Janet Oleszek!.

A Republican Virginia Senate and Voter Suppression

While State Senate Democrats smugly accepted the outcome of Virginia redistricting as victory, they may have set the stage for Obama's defeat by leaving defense of their majority to Dick Saslaw and the DPVA. Republicans are focused on this vulnerability. Two seats and the door to voter suppression opens wide.
The new Texas law, advanced and signed by Gov. Rick Perry, provides a clear giveaway on intent. A voter doesn't even have to show his driver's license or passport -- he can qualify just by producing his license to carry a concealed handgun. Yet note what's not eligible now in Texas: any form of student identification (heaven forbid ballot-casting by young people with all their inexperience!).  - Neal Peirce
In a piece published yesterday in the Richmond Times Dispatch but in reality a product of the Washington Post Writers Group, Neal Peirce discusses what is the clear implication of a Republican majority in the coming Virginia Senate. You see, those of us raised in the old South recognize the tricks. A fresh coat of paint doesn't fool us (not even the one on the rock at that Texas hunting club).  However, voter suppression is a newly honed craft.