模倣子 Voting Rights and Wrongs

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Most cool that you wrote to Senator Risch as well!

I think it was the 1964 Voting Rights Act, which was either amended on that year or subsequently. The SCOTUS struct down a provision of the Voting Rights Act that provided for "naughty States" to be overseen by the Feds anytime they wanted to change their voting laws. When SCOTUS did this, the "naughty States" (Texas, Georgia, et al) immediately enacted things like ID laws, tacit poll taxes, and all that other shit, and that's been the status quo ever since. That's my understanding at any rate.

I can't remember what SCOTUS' rationale behind their overturning the sections of the Voting Rights Act which Sen. Risch mentions. It might have been more subtle than just "Tenth Amendment, tenth amendment, nya, nya,nya!!" but I forget.

That seems to be what Sen. Risch is referring to, i.e., that States have absolute control over how they conduct voting.

I would counter that the US Census, a Federal purview, dictates absolutely how many representatives each State may send. In a similar vein, Congress as a body can decide whether to seat the representatives of a given State. There is little evidence, I think, of this in history. Elizabeth Warren was chastised, "and yet she persisted," for opening criticizing a fellow member, Jeff Beauregard Sessions III, during advise and consent debates over his confirmation for Attorney General, going into personal criticism (deserved, perhaps), but personally attacking a fellow member of the Senate is against senate rules, deserved or no. Feminists apparently had a field day, claiming that Warren was being unfairly targetted by the Old Boys Club.

Anyway, saying that the several States should have absolute control over everything votey rings hollow with me.

Another thing is that all States (as far as I know) vote on the 2nd Tuesday in November, which is stipulated in the Constitution of 1789. Of course, the Civil War was fought to tell half the States that owning human beings was no good. People don't keep bringing that one up. I guess the "three-fifths compromise" (ooh, the Constitution again telling the States what do! What a pesky piece of paper that is!) went away automatically since I think it referred to "persons under a state of servitude" but the 14th Amendment got rid of it.

Oh, and the thing that the Trump folks tried to do on January 6, which was to reject the electoral votes of a number of States was absolutely a case of the Feds telling the States how to vote or not vote. This is all based on legislation passed just after the Civil War, not the original text of the Constitution of 1789. Since most States are winner-take-all, it's the parties that lay out their slate of electors, who then vote as the party tells them. One thing the Trump camp was trying to do, which as I said earlier, was the SECOND most scary thing in the works for "stealing the election" (1), to wit, the preparation of "alternate electors" in the "contested States." In principle, if there's enough party control in the right places, like the State archives, the archives of the State assembly, stuff to do with the Governor (he/she may also get a copy of the results), the secretary of the State supreme court, then it might be possible to certify a slate of electors which didn't actually win the election. I know what it looks like when it works RIGHT, but I'm not sure quite how it can work WRONG, but I have some idea, and it may vary somewhat from state to state. Anyway, this is where things get dark and mysterious, and may have bearing on the legislation I hope to get rolling (and about which I've done nothing so far, sad to say).

On Sen Risch's comment on the several States being "laboratories for democracy," I couldn't agree more, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a stronger supporter of States' rights than yours truly. That's why voting rights abuses are such a bugaboo for me. States can require that one be white, own property, and bring an oxen and seven virgins as tribute when coming to vote...for State elections, but that doesn't mean that States can do that for Federal elections. I'm made to think of Switzerland. Women got the vote in 1971, which when I lived there was not only in living memory, but "when I was in Junior High School memory." However, even in 1987, women still didn't have the vote in local elections in Appenzell canton (the east, near LIchtenstein and Austria, in the mountains, of course). The joke was that they voted in the big barns, and voted by show of hands, and there wasn't enough room for double the number of people, and it was bad to have women visibly voting against their husbands (or with them!).

I can help feeling more than a little patronized when there are obvious egregiances in the States that would be overseen by the 1964 Voting Rights Act (struck down by SCOTUS) and one is served a thin gruel of the tenth amendment and quotes from former SCOTUS Justices about "laboratories" being axiomatic and that people who've been "senators and governors" are authoritative. Yikes!!

Thanks for sharing!

PS: Feel free to let me know wherever I may have erred in facts or logic in the foregoing.

(1) The first was of course what they tried to do with the electoral votes certification, in the joint session of January 6. The riot was off the à la carte menu, or course, and ended up being the worst thing. Ironically, if Trump hadn't incited a riot, the conspiracy organized by Ted Cruz to get some Senators (2) together to co-sponsor motions to reject the electors from States like Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona and others might have succeeded, and "alternate electors" from the Republican party in those States might've been brought in somehow (which is apparently legal), or, as I believe the Constitution of 1789 provides, the decision of the election would go to the House of Representatives (or perhaps the joint session--I forget), which might have also led to a Republican victory.

(2) There were no Senators to co-sign written objections to the Republican "victories" in 2000 and 2016, otherwise those might have been thrown out as well.


Dear Mr. R:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding House of Representatives Bill 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and Senate Bill 2747, the Freedom to Vote Act.  I appreciate hearing from you.

H.R. 4 was introduced by Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., and subsequently passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 219-212.  It now awaits action in the Senate.  This legislation would create a new formula for portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Shelby County (Ala.) v. Holder in 2013.  Specifically, in Shelby County (Ala.) v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the formula used in Section 4(b), a formula used to determine which states were required to obtain preclearance from the U.S. Department of Justice prior to changing their voting laws.

In regards to S. 2747, it was introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.  I voted against a procedural motion to advance this legislation, which ultimately failed by a vote of 49-51.  This bill would make sweeping changes to voting access, campaign finance, and government ethics.

I do not support either bill in their current form, as they strip away states' rights to conduct elections as they see fit.  Provisions in this legislation make changes to state voter ID laws, require states to restore the ability of felons to vote, and transfer the right to draw congressional districts from state legislatures to independent commissions.  

Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once described individual states as "laboratories of democracy."  He got it right.  As a former state legislator and governor, I have learned the most truly innovative solutions to problems are proposed by the states.

While I serve in the United States Senate, I will vote in such a way to put certain issues back in the hands of state legislatures.  In addition, I will always work to maintain and defend the rights of the states as guaranteed by our Constitution.

Again, I value your effort to get in touch with me to share your thoughts, as many Idahoans do.  Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future on this or other issues.

Very Truly Yours,

James E. Risch
United State Senator

Website: Risch.senate.gov

My offices:

Boise - 208.342.7985
Coeur d'Alene - 208.667.6130
Idaho Falls - 208.523.5541
Lewiston - 208.743.0792
Pocatello - 208.236.6817
Twin Falls - 208.734.6780
Washington, D.C. - 202.224.2752


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