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RNC Firm Cheating on Voter Registration

Friday, September 28th, 2012

PA lawmaker Mike Turzai

Republicans since 2008 have been on a quest looking for voter fraud. That has been their focus in enacting Republican inspired voter ID laws. And they’ve finally found voter fraud in registration. And a firm hired by the RNC is the culprit.

In an ironic twist, the Republican National Committee (“RNC”), the advocate against voter fraud, has paid a firm millions of dollars that is under investigation for voter fraud in registration. The RNC paid millions of dollars to a firm to conduct voter registration in five battleground states- Nevada, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Colorado. The RNC admits to hiring Strategic Allied Consulting firm but denies knowing of the alleged fraudulent voter registrations. After learning of the accusations, the RNC terminated its agreement with the firm and denies any connection.

The Palm Beach State’s Attorney’s Office in Florida has begun an investigation after discovering similar looking signatures on forms and false home addresses such as a Land Rover dealership and a gas station. Out of 304 forms reviewed, 106 appear questionable to the State’s Attorney’s Office in Palm Beach. Another unidentified county has experienced similar issues with Republican voter registration.

The RNC paid the firm $2.9 million for its work. It looks like the RNC got what they’ve been looking for—voter fraud. It’s a two for the price of one—GOP registration of voters and discovery of voter fraud. Of course, the RNC didn’t expect the election officials to discover their own hired private firm could be the culprit in voter fraud.

The firm in question, Strategic Allied Consulting is run by Nathan Sproul who has
conducted registration during the campaigns and for George W. Bush and John McCain. According to NBC News, “Nathan Sproul has been previously accused of suppressing Democratic voter turnout, throwing away registration forms and manipulating ballot initiatives.” He was never charged.

I’ve always said life is sometimes stranger than fiction. The same Republican Party who attacked Acorn for alleged false voter registration has a dirty little voter fraud registration secret of their own. And it’s not likely that this is an aberration since it’s appearing in multiple Florida counties. And we have 40 days to go until November 6 to discover more ways the RNC and GOP will cheat in this election. LegalSpeaks will bring you updates as they occur.

Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a former prosecutor and founder of LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. As a legal and political commentator she has appeared in national, international and local media including the Michael Eric Dyson Show, local NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates, RT TV, CBC- Canadian TV, NPR, XM Sirius radio, Washington Post, Washington Times and Black Enterprise among others. She also contributes articles to the Huffington Post and the Women’s Media Center.

Republicans Refuse to Play by the Rules

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Growing up in Baltimore, my family played a lot of games. We didn’t have a lot of money but we had a lot of games. You name a game and I’ve probably played it—from board games like Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Scrapple to card games to physical outdoor games. And I learned that there are three rules to games. You don’t lie, cheat or steal to win. You could outsmart your opponent but never by breaking the rules of the game.

In reality, that’s the opposite of the Republican lawmakers game plan to win the 2012 election. They’ve done everything possible to win by lying, cheating and hoping to steal the election. In 2000, it was the hanging chad and rescue of the Supreme Court that resulted in the questionable win for George W. Bush. In 2012, the Republicans are betting the farm on the voter ID laws and the ongoing litigation and confusion surrounding the laws to make the difference for them.

First, the GOP concocted the lie that Voter ID laws were needed to combat the rampant voter fraud. After study after study proved there was no in person voter fraud or dead people voting, Republicans admitted that there was no real proof of voter fraud necessitating voter ID laws. Pennsylvania lawmaker Mike Turzai boldy announced this summer that the purpose of the voter ID laws is to get the win for Mitt Romney. By then, over 34 states had enacted some form of voter ID laws—most since 2008, which are in effect disenfranchising many minorities, students and the elderly.

In playing games, the rules are set at the beginning of the game. And the rules don’t change midway through the game or near the end of the game when you are losing. That would be cheating. And that’s exactly what the Republicans are doing.

In states where there has been litigation, the GOP lawmakers supporting these voter ID laws keep coming up with late breaking game changing rules. In Pennsylvania, they insisted ID different from the required ID could be provided to voters. And in South Carolina, where a court decision is pending with almost 40 days to the election, South Carolina officials refuse to back down from changing the law. Federal judges asked South Carolina officials if they would consider having any voter ID law go in effect in 2014, if upheld. They declined as that did not serve their purpose.

Even if the court sides with South Carolina, it will be so confusing to voters and election officials as to what documentation is needed to vote. And that’s exactly how the Republicans want to play this game. But the same court hearing South Carolina’s case ruled against Texas on a similar voter ID law.

Republicans are literally making up the rules to the game as they go along. Unfortunately, this is not a game. This is the future of our country—where everything is at stake in this election.

In 2000, the Florida vote was won by 537 votes—at least those that were counted. And in 2008, both Florida and North Carolina were narrowly won by President Obama, with the difference of about 35 votes per precinct in Florida and 5 votes per precinct in North Carolina.

As for stealing the election, that’s what the Republicans are hoping to have happen in 2012. They know that with an out of touch candidate like Mitt Romney who dislikes and will ignore almost half –47% of the country, chances are unlikely they can win fair and square. So they resort to voter ID laws and intimidation practices.

Intimidation and bullying voters is plan B in conjunction with voter ID laws. If you do show up to the polls in certain and mostly minority areas, Republican Tea Party groups intend to blast voters with false and misleading robo calls on where, when and how to vote. These right Wing conservative groups like True the Vote, are the ones who tell voters that police will be waiting to arrest voters who have warrants or outstanding traffic tickets and challenge legitimate voters in person at the polls.

Any suspicious activity, questionable rants or intimidation of voters must be reported immediately to the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights at 866-687-8683. They are the nation’s largest non-partisan voter protection coalition. They have workers in all 50 states to protect the integrity of the vote with English and Spanish speaking workers.

All the while, Republicans have been busy with their unscrupulous scheme to lie, cheat and steal their way to the White House, Democrats and President Obama have been busy moving forward in the polls, making their pitch to the American people—all 100% of them. The hard work has started to pay off. Most polls, including those by Republicans show President Obama is leading by a slim lead.

But when you are dealing with cheaters, that’s not enough to win. The polls term what are “likely voters”. And those likely voters need to vote early and encourage their friends, family and co-workers to do the same. This is not 2008 and Democrats do not have euphoria going into the election. But at least for now, Democrats, in this marathon political race, have the wind at their back—heading into the home stretch.

Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a former prosecutor and founder of LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. As a legal and political commentator she has appeared in national and local media including the Michael Eric Dyson Show, NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates, RT TV, CBC- Canadian TV, NPR, XM Sirius radio, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others. She also writes for the Huffington Post and the Women’s Media Center.

National Voter Registration Day is September 25

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Today is National Voter Registration day where thousands of volunteers from non-profits and other organizations will amplify voter registration drives on the ground and online to register citizens to vote. In 2008, six million Americans of voting age did not vote because they missed the deadline. The National Voter Registration day web site states: “ volunteers, celebrities, and organizations from all over the country will “hit the streets” for National Voter Registration Day. This single day of coordinated field, technology and media efforts will create pervasive awareness of voter registration opportunities–allowing us to reach tens of thousands of voters or more who we could not reach otherwise.”

Voter Registration day has been made possible by thousands of organizations including the League of Women Voters, Voto Latino, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance Education Fund, among many others.

With all the efforts of the Republicans directed at reducing the amount of voters who may vote, it is more important now more than ever that every Americans who want to vote will be able to vote. Estimates predict that tens of millions of Americans may not be able to vote due to the voter suppression by the voter ID laws enacted by Republican law makers. In Pennsylvania, over 700,000 may not be able to vote due to changes in the law.

The efforts of National Voter Registration Day will help to balance out the GOP fueled suppression effort. Here’s how the web site works. Go to the web site to find an event. Input your zip code and hit submit. A list of available places and organizations will appear and where to go to register. It’s that simple. Partner organizations are located on colleges, health centers, county libraries, social service organizations, neighborhood services organizations, community bankers, renter organizations, planned parenthood centers and a host of others. And the good part is anyone can help.

You do not need to be a part of an organization. Go to the web site to see how you can fit in.

Celebrities are getting involved like Usher who is appealing to the youth vote. 51 million young adults could swing the vote. But they must be registered.

Here what Usher says on voter Registration Day and how to register:

Voting is for every American citizen over the age of 18. This election is about the future we want to have for ourselves and our children. It will affect everything from if you can afford to attend college with Pell grants to whether you will be able to retire and receive Medicare and everything in between. It will affect your right to receive birth control if you are a woman of child bearing years to whether you receive quality health care if you become ill. Mitt Romney said on Sixty Minutes that he wants health care to be at an emergency room for the uninsured if they get cancer or a heart attack. President Obama wants everyone to have the same type of quality health care that Mitt Romney has. The choice is clear. But you must first register to vote and then vote on November 6.

After November 6, it will be too late to cast a vote. And very shortly, it will be too late to register to vote in many states. Ask everyone on your job, in your home and on the street, if they are registered to vote. And then do everything humanly possible to get any unregistered voters –registered to vote.

Washington, DC based Debbie Hines, an advocate of voter rights, is the founder of LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. As a legal and political commentator she has appeared in national and local media on voter rights, women’s rights and civil rights including the Michael Eric Dyson Show, NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates, RT TV, CBC- Canadian TV, NPR, XM Sirius radio, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others. She also writes for the Huffington Post and the Women’s Media Center.

Pres. Obama Honors U.S. History Moments

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Photo by Samantha Appleton

White House Photo by Samantha Appleton

Last week, President Obama acknowledged and honored several notable moments reflecting on U.S. history, and particularly those honoring African Americans. These White House press releases highlighted below came during the week that the Congressional Black Caucus held its 42nd Annual Legislative Sessions.

In today’s cycle of 24 hour news, we often miss out and rarely reflect on moments to discuss and honor our past history. Many Americans want to forget our past and sometimes painful history. We should never forget our past.

We are who we are as a country as a result of our past history. Many of the racist and racial attacks in our society today stem from our past history of slavery. Although slavery ended almost 150 years ago, we are still living in its aftermath. Some persons believe we should dismiss and get over our past history and move forward. We will not eradicate and end racism by forgetting or failing to mention our past. Our history is not a dark secret that needs to stay in the closet.

We need to learn and continue to grow from our past history. President Obama took the time last week to honor the past and memorialize our past for future generations to see and learn.

White House Statement

“On September 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, boldly declaring that on New Year’s Day, 1863, all people held as slaves in areas “in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” One hundred and fifty years after that historic event, we recognize an important milestone in the American story and reflect on the progress we have made toward realizing our Nation’s founding promise of liberty and justice for all.

Though it would take decades of struggle before African Americans were granted equal treatment and protection under the law, the Emancipation Proclamation marked a courageous step forward in fulfilling that essential task. It affirmed that the Civil War was a war fought not only for the preservation of our union, but for freedom itself. And by opening the Union Army and Navy to African American men, the Proclamation gave new strength to liberty’s cause.

The Emancipation Proclamation stands among the documents of human freedom. As we commemorate this 150th anniversary, let us rededicate ourselves to the timeless principles it championed and celebrate the millions of Americans who have fought for liberty and equality in the generations since. ”

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Barack Obama

On Thursday, September 20, 2012, the President signed into law:
H.R. 6336, which directs the congressional Joint Committee on the Library to accept a statue of Frederick Douglass from the District of Columbia for placement in Emancipation Hall in the United States Capitol Visitor Center.

Statement from White House Spokesman Kevin Lewis

“On Thursday, President Obama signed a bill, which directs Congress to accept a statue of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass that will be placed in Emancipation Hall at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center. Frederick Douglass, once a slave, rose up to become one of our nation’s great reformers in his fight for equality and an advisor to President Lincoln. His life is a testament to the American spirit and an inspiration to so many. His statue at the Capitol, representing the District of Columbia, will add to the long legacy of dynamic African Americans who have displayed extraordinary leadership throughout history.”

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Conference

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Dr. Elsie Scott, Pres. and CEO- CBCF, Inc.

For the past 42 years, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) has convened their legislative conference in Washington, DC during September. There are currently 42 members of the congressional black Caucus. Of that number 15 are women out of 500 congressional leaders. This year’s annual conference is being held from September 19-22 at the Washington convention center.

This year’s CBCF’s theme is Inspiring Leadership/Building Generations. Although the focus on the legislative conference is on the African American community, the issues addressed are ones that face all Americans- to build a better America. This year the conference focuses on doing that by inspiring a future generation of leaders to take the helm and become politically involved and engaged.

If you are in Washington, DC during these dates, I encourage you to attend some of the sessions offered. The sessions are listed by tracks which includes: Business and Economic Development; Civil Rights/Judiciary History; community Engagement; Education and Labor; Emerging Leaders; Energy and the Environment; Foreign Affairs; Health Wellness and various special events.

As this year is an election year, many of the sessions focus on tools to combat voter suppression, address disenfranchisement and encourage strong voter turnout and civic participation in 2012. The sessions on Friday and Saturday also cover such additional topics as breaking the cyclke of poverty and incarceration; the black church and same sex marriage ( a hot button topic in the black community), emerging leaders and black women’s civic engagement. There is even an author’s pavilion where authors share their books.

Throughout the years, I have often attended the CBCF. It has never failed to enlighten and engage me. Most important, it refreshes me for the challenges we face and to continue to fight those challenges. If you have never attended a CBCF Legislative conference, I invite you to attend this one==this year.

I look forward to seeing you there . You may go online to get a full description of all sessions @cbcfinc.org. You will not be disappointed at the diversity of the programs offered.

Mitt Romney’s Latest Debacle

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee is presumably running for president of the U.S. By his recent comments, one has to wonder why he’s running. Governor Romney, by his own comments, does not appear to like most Americans, thinks 47% of Americans are free loaders, wistfully wishes he were part Mexican and will not fight for international peace involving the Palestinians and Israel. He’s certainly giving President Obama a lot to discuss during their upcoming October 3 debate.

On wistfully wishing he were part Mexican, Romney said that if he was born part Mexican, he’d have a better chance of winning the presidential race. He jokingly said that:

“My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico… and had he been born of, uh, Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.”

Romney seems to joke that being part of a minority group would help him. Of course, he did not repeat his joke while speaking before the Hispanic Chamber of Congress. And it’s not his race that is inhibiting him in the presidential race, it’s his complete lack of any substance and details about what a Romney presidency would look like –to date.

Romney’s recent debacle recorded at a May, 2012 private fundraiser and given to Mother Jones publication by an undisclosed source, shows he believed that 47% of Americans receive a hand out from the government.

Romney is heard saying:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”

In listening to his comments, it appears as if he’s giving a flawed concession speech on why he can’t win. It also expresses his disdain for almost half Americans for what he wrongfully believes. And I hardly think that seniors who are on Medicare believe they are free loaders. And families on Medicaid with special needs children such as those with Down’s syndrome and autism, do not consider themselves to free loading victims.

And Romney approaches the international subject of peace in the Middle East which he believes is an impossibility due to the Palestinians. He won’t even bother trying to obtain international peace in the Middle East as he thinks it is “almost unthinkable”.
There’s no wonder that his campaign advisors and other GOP strategists are pointing their fingers playing the blame game. Their fingers should be pointed at Romney.

With all the Mitt Romney debacle going on, I can’t wait to see the debate on October 3. He’s certainly giving President Obama a lot of material to work with.

Four years ago, I didn’t think the GOP comments could get any worse than some made by Sarah Palin in 2008. I was wrong. I mean Saturday Night Live could not have scripted his comments any better. Romney has managed to tie with Palin for the most absurd comments. And we still have 50 days left for a tie breaker.

Washington, DC based Debbie Hines is a former prosecutor and founder of LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. As a legal and political commentator she has appeared in national and local media including the Michael Eric Dyson Show, NBC, ABC and CBS affiliates, RT TV, CBC- Canadian TV, NPR, XM Sirius radio, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others. She also writes for the Huffington Post and the Women’s Media Center.