Monday, June 01, 2009

“What is mandatory on the front end is directory on the back end”

Don’t even go there, Spot.

All right.

Those were words spoken today in the Supreme Court by Joe Friedberg, a mouthpiece for Republican Norm Coleman, the contestant, supplicant, and all around sore loser in the continuing l’affaire Minnesota senate seat. Noah Kunin of the Uptake posted a nice clip of the lawyers discussing the issue of enforcement of the rules for absentee voters:

Friedberg is saying, “Aw, c’mon, cut ‘em some slack. We don’t want to disenfranchise people.”

Compare and contrast, boys and girls, with TPaw’s veto of an election reform bill because it didn’t include a requirement for a picture ID for voters:

Several county elections officials on the receiving end of those questions [at a Humphrey Institute program about problems with absentee voters]answered them at a Humphrey Institute conference last week, with abundant frustration of their own. Yes, they said, we know how to improve absentee balloting to minimize this problem in the future. We worked persistently with both parties in the Legislature this year to get a reasonable remedy through the House and Senate. We want to move the processing of absentee ballots out of precincts and into county offices, to improve uniformity and relieve pressure on already busy election judges.

That change would be law now, were it not for Gov. Tim Pawlenty's May 22 veto, they said. It was one of three bills containing election-law changes sought by local elections administrators and approved by the Legislature. All three were stopped at the governor's desk.

The Strib editorial linked above continues:

Still [in spite of being backed by county election officials], the bill failed to win GOP votes. The debate in the House made clear why: Republican legislators were holding out for the insertion of a new voting requirement much favored by their national party, and much opposed by Democrats and Libertarians. They want citizens to carry and show a government-issued photo ID card before being allowed to vote.

Pawlenty did not cite the photo ID issue in his veto message. But while he professed a desire for bipartisanship, his fellow Republicans held locally devised absentee ballot reforms hostage to a highly partisan proposal to add a new hurdle to voting.

If you’re paying attention at all, it will be obvious to you that the issue isn’t enfranchisement or disenfranchisement for the Republicans: it is about gaming the system or the election to win.

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