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Last week, Missouri’s House of Representatives attempted to resuscitate a failed voter ID law, approving two bills that would require voters to present valid, government-issued photo identification in order to vote. One of the bills would call for a November 2014 ballot measure to amend the state constitution to permit a voter ID requirement, and the other would implement the requirement if the measure were to pass.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota along with the League of Women Voters Minnesota, Common Cause Minnesota, Jewish Community Action, and five Minnesota voters have challenged an amendment to the Minnesota constitution (HF 2738, sponsored by ALEC State Chairwoman Mary Kiffmeyer) because it would confuse some voters into believing that prohibited forms of identification, such as student or company ID, would be accepted. The plaintiffs argue that the amendment is “misleading and false” because the ballot language references “valid photo identification” while the amendment uses the phrase “government-issued.”
Last month, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Arizona v. United States, a case that will examine key provisions of Arizona’s infamous and draconian immigration law, SB 1070. Sponsored by ALEC member and former Senate President Russell Pearce, and several others with ALEC ties, SB 1070 was developed in close consultation with ALEC and now stands as one of its model bills.
The Department of Justice argues that Arizona unconstitutionally usurped the federal government’s role in enforcing immigration law. PFAW and other opponents cite evidence of wrongful arrests, racial profiling, and discrimination, especially against Latinos and other minorities.
At the end of March, Cole County Circuit Court Judge Pat Joyce struck down Missouri’s proposed voter ID constitutional amendment (SJR 2) on the grounds that the ballot summary is “insufficient and unfair.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorialized, “In a perverted, poetic justice kind of way, it's pitch perfect that in their alleged attempt to stop voter fraud, Missouri Republicans committed, well, fraud.”
Prospects for an appeal are unclear, but the legislature immediately began working on contingency plans.
Voting rights and voter suppression, especially voter ID, continue to make headlines in many states. Below is a sample of the latest. For more information, click here and also check out The Right to Vote under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box, a Right Wing Watch: In Focus report by PFAW Foundation.
Continuing on the theme of discriminating against loving couples:
The town of Black Jack (whose sole claim to fame until now has been it's award winning public access channel) has denied a living permit to a family of five because the parents are not married. According the Black Jack law, cohabitants have to be related by blood, marriage, or adoption.
I wouldn't be so contemptuous of Black Jack's city leaders if they were enforcing laws they didn't agree with. But apparently the city council recently reaffirmed their support for the law. I guess the Black Jack city council believes it can enforce its morality through zoning restrictions.
I don't like to make idle speculations, but I do want to ask this: would this couple's housing permit have been denied if they were white?