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Support for Minnesota’s Photo ID Amendment Dropping Dramatically

6:19 pm in 2012 election, Republican Party, Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

I’m sure you’ve all seen polls showing that the general public strongly supports the various ALEC-inspired “voter ID” bills and constitutional amendments being pushed by Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country. That was definitely the case in Minnesota: As recently as May of this year, a Minnesota Poll conducted by the StarTribune showed 80% support for the GOP’s proposed Photo ID ballot amendment to the state constitution.

That was then, this is now:

Slightly more than half of likely voters polled — 52 percent — want the changes built around a photo ID requirement, while 44 percent oppose them and 4 percent are undecided.

That is a far cry from the 80 percent support for photo ID in a May 2011 Minnesota Poll, when the issue was debated as a change in state law. Support among Democrats has cratered during a year marked by court battles, all-night legislative debates and charges that the GOP is attempting to suppress Democratic votes.

Since this is a referendum on changing the constitution, a mere plurality won’t suffice. It must have at least 50% “yes” votes to pass. It had 80% back in May, and it’s dropped to 52% now — and that’s without much in the way of a general campaign on the “vote no” side’s part.

What I find particularly interesting is the indie vote. Independents generally side with the Republicans in favoring this ballot amendment, according to this poll — but I wonder if that will continue to be the case once the word gets out statewide on how much it will cost state and especially local governments, the latter of which are already having a much harder time meeting their budget goals since the state Republicans voted for more austerity.

As I mentioned last week
, I suspect that the cost argument is what, if explained and disseminated widely, will most strongly resonate with many voters. It certainly is the one the state Republicans seem to fear the most.

Prominent Florida Republicans: Yes, GOP Trying to Suppress Black Vote

1:07 pm in Elections, Politics, Republican Party by Phoenix Woman

Mugshot of former Chair of the Republican Party of Florida Jim Greer

Most Republicans will deny fiercely that their ALEC-fueled efforts to ram through voter ID and other voter-suppression laws aren’t about suppressing the votes of black Americans. But recently (h/t Meteor Blades), two prominent Florida Republicans have come forward to state, on the record, that this is exactly what the GOP is trying to do.

First off, here’s former Florida Republican Party chair Jim Greer:

In a 630-page deposition recorded over two days in late May, Greer, who is on trial for corruption charges, unloaded a litany of charges against the “whack-a-do, right-wing crazies” in his party, including the effort to suppress the black vote.

In the deposition, released to the press yesterday, Greer mentioned a December 2009 meeting with party officials. “I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting,” he said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He also said party officials discussed how “minority outreach programs were not fit for the Republican Party,” according to the AP.

Greer’s charges are being pooh-poohed by Republicans quick to point out that he is in deep legal trouble, as if that by itself somehow totally disproved what he said. But they can’t use that gambit against former Florida governor Charlie Crist who went on MSNBC recently and blasted Rick Scott, his fellow Florida Republican and his successor as Florida governor, for pushing “shameless” voter-suppression tactics such as photo ID laws, preventing former felons from voting, and heavy-handed purging of voter rolls — and agrees with US Attorney General Eric Holder that the intent of these tactics is to suppress the black vote, Jim-Crow-fashion:

Mitchell noted that Attorney General Eric Holder had recently compared voter photo ID requirements to Jim Crow laws, telling the NAACP that they were the equivalent of “poll taxes.”

“He’s on the right track,” the former governor agreed. “Anytime that you put more impediments into a citizen’s right — a legal citizen’s right to vote and make that more difficult, you impede the natural right of democracy and a citizen’s right to have their voice heard in important elections.”

By the way: Aren’t you wondering why, instead of seeing this news in your local paper or on your evening broadcast TV news, or hearing about it on drive-time radio news programs, you’re probably hearing it first from me? Yeah, me too.

ALEC Ally “Minnesota Majority” Uses Racist Imagery to Sell Voter ID

8:42 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Earlier this month, I noted that CPAC, the premier political event for America’s conservatives, had not one but two white-supremacist dipwads as honored guests and speakers. Today, I’m continuing a Minnesota-focused discussion of political bigotry in action, as practiced by ALEC’s Mary Kiffmeyer, her fellow Republicans and her conservative allies at Minnesota Majority.

Yup, it’s another Minnesota item for the ever-growing “They Say They’re Not Bigots, But” file I keep for Republicans and their conservative allies, and it goes like this:

On Monday morning, TakeAction Minnesota, along with State Representative Rena Moran (65A) held a press conference condemning racially-derogatory imagery being promoted on a pro-photo ID website run by Minnesota Majority. Organizers of the press conference say the online images on WeWantVoterID.com imply that African-Americans and Latinos are looking to cheat Minnesota’s elections system.

Dan McGrath, Executive Director of TakeAction Minnesota, one of the organizations leading the campaign against a photo ID amendment, took aim at the online message. “These images are racial-profiling of voters at its ugliest, designed to drive fear and racial division throughout Minnesota in order to help pass a photo ID amendment at the legislature and on the fall ballot. They’re wrong and they should be removed from public view immediately.”

The online banner depicts images of an African-American male dressed in a black-and-white-striped prison suit, and a person dressed in a blue mariachi costume, alongside other outlandish Halloween characters including a white-sheeted ghost, a ghoulish skeleton and a cartoon superhero. The online banner’s message reads “Voter Fraud: Watch How Easy It Is To Cheat In Minnesota’s Elections.”

State Representative Rena Moran, whose represents a racially-diverse district in St. Paul’s Frogtown, Near North End neighborhoods said she was “sickened” at the images and called the photo ID amendment they are attached to nothing less than a “21st century Jim Crow law.” Moran said she believes “those that seek to fan the flames of racial division and fear hurt Minnesotans who are already hurting too much. These images are nothing more than scare tactics used to make sure people of color are further marginalized from public life.”

A portion of the banner graphic appears at the top of this post. The person wearing the ghostly bedsheet is of course Minnesota Majority visual code for “spook”, meaning “Negro”. Taken with the black dude in prison stripes and the mariachi guy, that makes three racist references of varying subtlety. One could be written off as chance, two could be coincidence, but three? Three?! Hell, ESPN just fired a fellow for making one racist reference — and here we’ve got three crammed into one ad by a group that keeps insisting their motivations aren’t racist.

Somehow, I don’t think a professional ad or website design agency is responsible for this thing. A professional ad agency would have, unless ordered otherwise by their client, made sure to avoid any type of ethnic/racial references — instead of a white-sheeted “spook”, a mariachi guy, and a black guy in prison costume (and the wildcard zombie and the superhero-costumed entity thrown in for giggles), they’d all be trenchcoat-wearing spies along the lines of Mad magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy” cartoons.

But no. This is what MM wanted, this is what they got, and it’s racist dogwhistling to their base.

UPDATE: Bear in mind that the Voter ID proponents have a long history of bigotry and racism. Mary Kiffmeyer, ALEC’s point woman in Minnesota and who is in tight with her political allies at Minnesota Majority, once defended Minnesota Majority’s writings on “racial purity” thus: Read the rest of this entry →