Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Does Voting Belong To Ceasar? UpDate

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This is an update to an older post originally done in 2013.[1]

New York Times, 

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.
The court divided along ideological lines, and the two sides drew sharply different lessons from the history of the civil rights movement and the nation’s progress in rooting out racial discrimination in voting. At the core of the disagreement was whether racial minorities continued to face barriers to voting in states with a history of discrimination.
“Our country has changed,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”
The decision will have immediate practical consequences. Texas announced shortly after the decision that a voter identification law that had been blocked would go into effect immediately, and that redistricting maps there would no longer need federal approval. Changes in voting procedures in the places that had been covered by the law, including ones concerning restrictions on early voting, will now be subject only to after-the-fact litigation. 

 So the question is, is this just more political hot air, or is this a time to take a stand? To answer that question I ask "what is the relationship between this questoin and the Gospel?" Is doing away with the voting rights act a matter of not living up to the truth of the Gospel? What Jesus say about politics? His statement "render unto Cesar the things that are Cesar's, and unto God that which is God's" (Mark 12:17, Mat 22:15-22) should be a clue. Funny thing about that, he didn't seem to be ready to start a tax revolt. He seemed to think they the Romans do some stuff for us, (ever see the Life of Brion?) so springing for some Taxes to pay for it shouldn't be that big a deal. Yet, what belongs to God? Human life belongs to God, so things that destroy life, or that make it impossible to preach the Gospel or keep it from being heard, one would think do not belong to Cesar. But surely the voting rights act has nothing to do with that stuff, it's just a little voting. We might think voting belongs to Caesar because it's politics, and Cesar is king of politics, politics is of the world. Is that the answer right wing fundamentalists use when they field armies for the Republicans? Caesar is not a democratic figure. He's a symbol of power, becuase the real Cesar was a dictator. Cesar is a symbol of the power elite, the temporal realm. We have to decide weather or not democracy is more than just a silly little game of politically minded pundits, or is it a sacred right and duty to allow people the dignity that goes with being made in God's image?

Paul tells us there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female in Christ Jesus." (Gal 3:28). We might infer from this that class divisions and race divisions are wrong. Discrimination is wrong. We might infer that "love your neighbor as yourself" means don't take away her civil rights? We have forgotten the horrible price that was paid, the struggle, how long it took, it bitter and divisive it was for whites who watched it on tv, and for blacks and the few whites who dared who lived it and died for it in real life. The dogs the fire hoses all things of the past no one thinks about that the young of tv of today never new. I actually watched live as cops in Alabama sicked dogs on defenseless women and sprayed them with fire hoses to keep them from sharing the same rights that white men enjoy.

Of course the court denies that we will have to do this again. The court's logic is based upon a sham argument about how we have changed:

 “Our country has changed,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “While any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”(see NYT Link above)
 The redistricting plan that Texas is putting into effect means that the Replicans will never be out of office in Texas. It will change the balance of power in congress. Texas is notorious for Gerrymandering (we call it "Perrymandering."--that's really how Rick Perry got in office). They re-draw the distinctions every time the Democrats do better in an election.

As for the argument that the country has changed, I have a black friend who was denied a hair cut in barbershop in Farmer's Branch Texas in 1992. That is the same community that tried to start it's own immigration service to kick out Spanish speakers and tried to make English the official language. How long before decisions regarding those things get reversed? This is a right wing coup d'etat. The same kind of mentality I talked about before, perhaps a bit more rational. But the same refusal to admit the people want the other guys. We don't care what the people, we are the country not the people. We the rulers, the elite, "the good Chrsitains," the right wing, we are the real people, the poor don't count.

It's going to take a long time to build up to the point where we can have another civil rights movement. We had a election stolen from us in 2000. They did everything they could to stop blacks form voting in Floria so they could steal the election and put Bush in. 

Independent investigations in that state revealed serious irregularities directed mostly against ethnic minorities and low-income residents who usually voted heavily Democratic. Some 36,000 newly registered voters were turned away because their names had never been added to the voter rolls by Florida’s secretary of state Kathleen Harris. By virtue of the office she held, Harris presided over the state’s election process while herself being an active member of the Bush Jr. state-wide campaign committee. Other voters were turned away because they were declared--almost always incorrectly--“convicted felons.” In several Democratic precincts, state officials closed the polls early, leaving lines of would-be voters stranded.
Under orders from Governor Jeb Bush (Bush Jr.’s brother), state troopers near polling sites delayed people for hours while searching their cars. Some precincts required two photo IDs which many citizens do not have. The requirement under Florida law was only one photo ID. Passed just before the election, this law itself posed a special difficulty for low-income or elderly voters who did not have drivers licenses or other photo IDs. Uncounted ballot boxes went missing or were found in unexplained places or were never collected from certain African-American precincts. During the recount, GOP agitators shipped in from Washington D.C. by the Republican national leadership stormed the Dale County Canvassing Board, punched and kicked one of the officials, shouted and banged on their office doors, and generally created a climate of intimidation that caused the board to abandon its recount and accept the dubious pro-Bush tally.[2]

In the next election, 2004, there were irregularities that help up blacks form voting in states like Ohio and  Missouri. But as injustice mounts it will take time to prove it, time to prove the extent of it, time for the next court to conclude "ma bye things aren't that different after all." In the mean time a lot of "eschatology" is going hit the fan.


Notice Michigan was one of the title 5 states ,meaning it needed special monitoring for exclusionary practitioners, That was a key State imn Trump's victory. Another major development since the original was published: It was argued that welfare recipients have to carry phono ideas iwth then to get welfare so they should all have them, of course  they are all on welfare. There's been a new study which shows that this supreme court decision and the laws upheld were a major impediment to voting,. Here's a study done before the court direction in 2013 (in 2012) but dealing with the same cases, This is material I did not have before.

New York university School of Law:

Ten states now have unprecedented restrictive voter ID laws. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin all require citizens to produce specific types of government-issued photo identification before they can cast a vote that will count. Legal precedent requires these states to provide free photo ID to eligible voters who do not have one.
Unfortunately, these free IDs are not equally accessible to all voters. This report is the first comprehensive assessment of the difficulties that eligible voters face in obtaining free photo ID.
The 11 percent of eligible voters who lack the required photo ID must travel to a designated government office to obtain one. Yet many citizens will have trouble making this trip. In the 10 states with restrictive voter ID laws:

  • Nearly 500,000 eligible voters do not have access to a vehicle and live more than 10 miles from the nearest state ID-issuing office open more than two days a week. Many of them live in rural areas with dwindling public transportation options.
  • More than 10 million eligible voters live more than 10 miles from their nearest state ID-issuing office open more than two days a week.
  • 1.2 million eligible black voters and 500,000 eligible Hispanic voters live more than 10 miles from their nearest ID-issuing office open more than two days a week. People of color are more likely to be disenfranchised by these laws since they are less likely to have photo ID than the general population.
  • Many ID-issuing offices maintain limited business hours. For example, the office in Sauk City, Wisconsin is open only on the fifth Wednesday of any month. But only four months in 2012 — February, May, August, and October — have five Wednesdays. In other states — Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas — many part-time ID-issuing offices are in the rural regions with the highest concentrations of people of color and people in poverty.
More than 1 million eligible voters in these states fall below the federal poverty line and live more than 10 miles from their nearest ID-issuing office open more than two days a week. These voters may be particularly affected by the significant costs of the documentation required to obtain a photo ID. Birth certificates can cost between $8 and $25. Marriage licenses, required for married women whose birth certificates include a maiden name, can cost between $8 and $20. By comparison, the notorious poll tax — outlawed during the civil rights era — cost $10.64 in current dollars.
The result is plain: Voter ID laws will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of poor Americans to vote. They place a serious burden on a core constitutional right that should be universally available to every American citizen.
This November, restrictive voter ID states will provide 127 electoral votes — nearly half of the 270 needed to win the presidency. Therefore, the ability of eligible citizens without photo ID to obtain one could have a major influence on the outcome of the 2012 electio

In answer to the welfare argument Justice department found Texas is an  example where the id is a significant limitation to poor peopke voting:

We conclude that the total number of registered voters who lack a driver's license or personal identification card issued by DPS could range from 603,892 to 795,955. The disparity between the percentages of Hispanics and non-Hispanics who lack these forms of identification ranges from 46.5 to 120.0 percent. That is, according to the state's own data, a Hispanic registered voter is at least 46.5 percent, and potentially 120.0 percent, more likely than a non-Hispanic registered voter to lack this identification. Even using the data most favorable to the state, Hispanics disproportionately lack either a driver's license or a personal identification card issued by DPS, and that disparity is statistically significant.
Texas has no driver's license offices in almost a third of the state's counties. Meanwhile, close to 15 percent of Hispanic Texans living in counties without driver's license offices don't have ID. A little less than a quarter of driver's license offices have extended hours, which would make it tough for many working voters to find a place and time to acquire the IDs. Despite this, the Texas legislature struck an amendment that would have reimbursed low-income voters for travel expenses when going to apply for a voter ID, and killed another that would have required offices to remain open until 7:00 p.m. or later on just one weekday, and four or more hours at least two weekends. [4]
Did these laws cost Hillary the White house?

Over the past few days, Hillary Clinton supporters have begun to develop theories for why their candidate lost the election against Donald Trump. One of the theories that’s increasingly popped up on social media is that Clinton lost due to voter suppression.
According to this view, Republicans passed a slew of new voting restrictions in several key swing states: North Carolina, Wisconsin, and so on. Along the way, courts and studiesfound — and some Republicans even admitted — that these restrictions would have a disproportionate impact on minority Americans who tend to vote Democrat. So isn’t that exactly what happened — minority voters weren’t able to get to the ballot box, costing Clinton just enough votes that she lost?
When you look at the actual election results, however, the answer is almost certainly no. For one, Clinton lost in must-win states that had no new voting restrictions. And she lost by such big margins in a few states with new voting restrictions that it’s unlikely that voter suppression alone can explain the results.[5]

Courts are finally starting to deal with the problem but the basic issues are still there even today,[5]
Voting does not belong to Caesar because it is a matter of social justice which belongs to God. I showed last time that social justice is a logical implication of the solidarity we have with God in the new conventional and it is the social dimension of the Gospel.


all material accessed march 8., 2017

[1] Joseph Hinman, "Does Voting Belong To Cesar?" Metacrock's blog (June 26, 3013)

There are some really racist bigoted statements on the comment section.

 [2] For these various irregularities, see New York Times, 30 November 2000 and 15 July 2001; Boston Globe, 30 November 2000 and 10 March 2001. A relevant documentary is Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election, L.A. Independent Media Center Film, 2004. (the author's fn form his site).

[3] Keeshaa Gaskimns and Sundeep Iyer "The Challenge of Obtaimimg Voter IOdenitification."  Bennen Center for Jutice, New York university School of law:(July 18, 2012) on lime resource:

[4] Andrew Choen, "How Voter Id Laws are Being Used to Disenfranchise Minorities." The Atlantic (March 6,2012)


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