Now Wisconsin voter restrictions overturned

Updated: Federal judge overturns restrictions on early, weekend voting in Wisconsin

Restrictions on early and weekend voting implemented by Wisconsin Republicans over the last five years are unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Friday.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson found a series of other voting changes signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker to be unconstitutional, but did not overturn the state’s photo identification requirement.

“Wisconsin’s strict version of voter ID law is a cure worse than the disease,” Peterson wrote, before noting he is bound by earlier cases in Wisconsin and Indiana to reject the challenge to the law in its entirety.

The decision will not affect the Aug. 9 primary election.

Peterson issued a series of changes to the laws that will be undertaken as the state transitions from having its elections overseen by the now-defunct Government Accountability Board to a new elections commission.

Laws that limited in-person absentee voting to one location, limited early voting hours and eliminated weekend voting are unconstitutional, Peterson ruled.

The 2013 law limiting hours for in-person absentee voting “intentionally discriminates on the basis of race,” Peterson wrote in a 119-page decision.

“I reach this conclusion because I am persuaded that this law was specifically targeted to curtail voting in Milwaukee without any other legitimate purpose. The legislature’s immediate goal was to achieve a partisan objective, but the means of achieving that objective was to suppress the reliably Democratic vote of Milwaukee’s African Americans,” Peterson wrote.

Peterson — who was appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama in 2014 — also overturned laws that increased the residency requirement for voters from 10 days to 28 days, prohibited distributing absentee ballots by fax or email and required “dorm lists” used as proof of residence to include citizenship information.

The judge also overturned a provision of the voter ID law banning the use of expired but otherwise qualifying student IDs at the polls.

Also addressed in Peterson’s ruling was the state’s ID petition process, or IDPP — the system qualified voters use to obtain a free ID from the state. The lawsuit argued the IDPP is ineffective and has failed minority groups in particular.

Peterson found the system does not require “wholesale invalidation,” but that it does not act as an effective safety net for qualified electors who struggle to obtain proper IDs.

“The IDPP is pretty much a disaster,” Peterson wrote, later referring to it as a “wretched failure.”

Under Peterson’s ruling, once a petitioner submits sufficient materials, the state Division of Motor Vehicles must “promptly issue a credential valid for voting, unless readily available information shows that the petitioner is not a qualified elector entitled to such a credential.” The state must also “inform the general public” of that process.

“Petitioners and the public must be informed that these credentials have a term equivalent to that of a driver license or Wisconsin ID, and that they will be valid for voting until they expire or are revoked for good cause,” Peterson wrote.

According to the state, 420,000 free state ID cards have been issued since July 2011, 127,000 of which were new IDs, while 1,389 IDPP petitions were filed.

But 70 percent of the would-be voters who have gone through the IDPP process are non-white, plaintiffs’ attorney Josh Kaul argued in court. And of 61 denials issued, he said, 81 percent of those who were denied were non-white.

Plaintiffs in the case sought to overturn voting policies signed into law by Walker between 2011 and 2015, including restrictions on early voting hours and locations, the elimination of straight-ticket voting and a photo identification requirement.

Laws left untouched by Peterson’s ruling include provisions eliminating straight-ticket voting, statewide special registration deputies and the use of corroboration for registration.

“We argued Gov. Walker made it harder for Democrats to vote and easier for Republicans to cheat, and the judge agreed,” said One Wisconsin Institute executive director Scot Ross.

Department of Justice spokesman Johnny Koremenos said the agency is reviewing and analyzing the court’s “lengthy order,” but based on an initial reading, plans to appeal it to the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

A spokesman for the governor’s office said they are still reviewing the order.

“This is a liberal judge’s attempt to undermine our elections less than four months out,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester. “It’s also an obvious attempt to usurp the power of the legislature. I’m confident that the laws will be reinstated upon appeal. The measures did not disenfranchise voters; they protected the integrity of our elections and people’s right to vote.”

Michael Haas, interim administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said the decision is being reviewed in consultation with DOJ attorneys.

“If upheld, this decision would make significant changes to election laws affecting voters, which will require the Elections Commission to work very closely with local election officials to implement the changes and to educate voters. We will be providing further guidance to clerks and the public early next week,” Haas said.

Attorneys challenging the laws said the state engaged in “targeted, purposeful racial discrimination” by implementing them.

“The suite of changes only makes sense if explained by an intent to gain political advantage by disadvantaging racial minorities, disadvantaging young people,” argued plaintiffs’ attorney Bruce Spiva in his closing arguments last month.

Spiva argued Republicans had “motivation and opportunity” to discriminate against likely Democratic voters, that there was no need for “sweeping changes” to the state’s elections laws and that the state’s articulated interests in implementing the changes were “paper thin.”

Attorneys for the state argued plaintiffs failed to establish standing for the case.

Then-assistant attorney general Clay Kawski — who has since beenappointed by Walker as a Dane County Circuit Court judge — accused plaintiffs’ counsel of “cherry-picking” examples of problems with the laws.

Kawski said plaintiffs sought the “home run” solution in asking for the laws to be overturned, but said they hadn’t made an effective case for it.

“Wisconsin has an exemplary elections system,” Kawski said. “Wisconsin elections are fair, easy to navigate and open to all.”

Plaintiffs included One Wisconsin Institute, Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund and individual voters.

Also on Friday, a federal appeals court struck down North Carolina’s photo ID law and reinstated an additional week of early voting. The court ruled that the laws were enacted with discriminatory intent. Earlier this month, a federal court found Texas’ voter ID law to be discriminatory.

And earlier this week, a federal judge ruled that Wisconsin voters without proper ID can vote using an affidavit to swear to their identity.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor to tctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

Dear Trump, Exactly When Are You Talking About? “Make America Great Again”

leave-it-to-beaver-family

 

When questioning a “Tea Party” leader during the 2012 Presidential election, what year she would pick as ideal to  their slogan, “Taking America Back”, her answer was 1957.

It’s no surprise that Tim Wise was the person who posed that question.  In this CNN interview, Wise breaks down racial nostalgia and racial anxiety represented in the Trump campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again”.

What would America be like if Tim Wise became President one day?    Perhaps his slogan would be, “Love Thy Neighbor:  Make America Better For Everyone”.

M. Kita Williams

Authority on Kingian Nonviolence Offers Training/Certification July 12-16, 2016

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Dr. Bernard Lafayette has long been known as a global authority on Kingian Nonviolence. Lafayette,  SNCC Co-Founder and original Freedom Rider in the Civil Rights Movement, astounded the international community after successfully cross training police forces and former gang members in South Central Los Angeles the principles of Kingian Nonviolence. The results of the training in the South Central LA region were seen almost immediately in a sharp decline in police and gang violence.

Since, Dr. Lafayette has not only taught Kingian Nonviolence in the United States, but also across the world with incredible results.

More information about Dr. Bernard Lafayette can be found below and anywhere you may search for him on the web.

M. Kita Williams, civilrightsagenda.com

Rev. Dr. Bernard LaFayette

  WHYY

 Biography

Bernard Lafayette Jr.
Credit: WGBH

Bernard Lafayette Jr.

Freedom RiderTampa, FL

Twenty-year-old Bernard Lafayette hailed from Tampa, FL and was enrolled as an undergraduate at Nashville’s American Baptist Theological Seminary. A veteran of the Nashville sit-ins, Lafayette had already staged a successful impromptu Freedom Ride with his close friend and fellow student activistJohn Lewis in 1959, while traveling home for Christmas break, when they decided to exercise their rights as interstate passengers by sitting in the front of a bus from Nashville, TN to Birmingham, AL.

As part of the May 17 Nashville Student Movement Ride, Lafayette endured jail time in Birmingham, riots and firebombings in Montgomery, AL, an arrest in Jackson, MSand jail time at Parchman State Prison Farm during June 1961.

After the end of the Freedom Riders campaign, he worked on voting rights and helped to coordinate the 1968 Poor Peoples Campaign. He completed a doctorate in Education at Harvard University and for several years was the Director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island. He currently teaches at Emory University and conducts nonviolent workshops worldwide.

Inventor of AR-15 Designed Specifically for Military Purposes, says Family

Eugene Stoner, the inventor of the original AR-15, designed the weapon specifically for the U.S. military.  Stoner was an ex-marine, and after many years of silence, the Stoner family spoke out about the intent of their father’s invention on June 16, 2016.

“Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47,” the Stoner family told NBC News. “He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.”

NBC News’ exclusive with the Stoner family also revealed that, “The ex-Marine and “avid sportsman, hunter and skeet shooter” never used his invention for sport. He also never kept it around the house for personal defense. In fact, he never even owned one.

FILE: Colonel Robert Sigholtz from Springfield, Virginia holds a new rifle in March 1967 — the AR-15 Horst Faas / AP file

And though he made millions from the design, his family said it was all from military sales.”

“After many conversations with him, we feel his intent was that he designed it as a military rifle,” his family said, explaining that Stoner was “focused on making the most efficient and superior rifle possible for the military.”

Related: Filibuster Ends After GOP Agrees to Allow Gun Control Votes: Senator

He designed the original AR-15 in the late 1950s, working on it in his own garage and later as the chief designer for ArmaLite, a then small company in southern California. He made it light and powerful and he fashioned a new bullet for it — a .223 caliber round capable of piercing a metal helmet at 500 yards.

The Army loved it and renamed it the M16.

A look at the AR-15 assault rifle’s place in America after attack in Orlando 3:10

But after Stoner’s death in 1997, at the age of 74, a semi-automatic version of the AR-15 became a civilian bestseller, too, spawning dozens of copy-cat weapons. The National Rifle Association has taken to calling it “America’s rifle.”

The bullets that tore through the Pulse nightclub in Orlando were Stoner’s .223 rounds, fired from a AR-15 spin off made by Sig Sauer.

Image: A SIG MPX hangs from the ceiling at the SIG Sauer GmbH on the exhibit floor

A SIG MPX hangs from the ceiling at the SIG Sauer GmbH on the exhibit floor during the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on May 20, 2016. Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg via Getty Images, file

In all, an AR-15 style rifle has been used in at least 10 recent mass shootings — including at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and a work party in San Bernardino, California.

“What has happened, good or bad, since his patents have expired is a result of our free market system,” Stoner’s family said. “Currently, a more interesting question is ‘Who now is benefiting from the manufacturing and sales of AR-15s, and for what uses?'”  (Courtesy: NBC News)

This question, posed by those who knew the inventor better than anyone, has now sent a much needed shockwave of wake-up calls across the country about the so-called American favorite “sporting gun”.   Clearly, the AR-15 was neither designed for self defense nor sport, but for assault.

M. Kita Williams

 

Should SEMI-AUTOMATIC weapons be Banned in U.S.?

WHY IN THE HELL are civilians, who have zero responsibility to serve and protect U.S. citizens, even allowed to have semi-automatic weapons?*  (Please weigh-in your opinion on the poll below).

*This article has been updated June 23, 2016, replacing the term “automatic weapon(s)” with “semi-automatic weapon(s)”.  Fully automatic weapons fire bullets continuously when the trigger is pulled, with a capacity to shoot over 1,000 BULLETS PER MINUTE. Whereas semi-automatic weapons, while equally lethal, are capable of shooting up to 65 BULLETS PER MINUTE.  The biggest difference in the design is that semi-automatic weapons don’t shoot bullets continuously with one pull of the trigger, and can unload a magazine of 10 bullets at a time.  A shooter must pull the trigger each time to fire each 10 bullets.

One morning.  One club.  One heavily armed 29-year old U.S. citizen, Omar Mateen and 50 people dead, with another 53 injured today.  This horrific death toll could not have been possible had Mateen not had access to a semi-automatic weapon.  This marks the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.   Also, this death toll may increase as a result of the 53 injuries.

Semi-automatic weapons are made for one reason and one reason only: to kill multitudes of people at one time.  I am of the belief that ANYONE who is not issued a semi-automatic weapon for the protection of U.S. citizens by law enforcement agencies should be behind bars.

Semi-automatic weapons are on the open market for anybody that passes a background check. On the underground market, these weapons are available to anyone.

I’m sorry, but no background check out there can accurately predict who may be a borderline mass killer, although they have not been incarcerated or diagnosed as mentally ill.  So, how about this?  NOBODY gets one.

As blood soaks the community of Orlando, FL today in the wake of Mateen’s senseless and horrifying murder spree, the only thing the media wants to focus on is the probable”ISIS terroristic tie”.  Not to mention that Mateen’s family is originally from Afghanistan. According to CNN, Omar Mateen was born in New York.

CNN reports,  “The Orlando nightclub shooter called 911 around the time of the attack to pledge allegiance to ISIS and mentioned the Boston bombers, according to a U.S. official.”

Clearly it is essential to learn what and how information about ISIS was provided to the shooter in the first place.  However the Boston bomber he referred to didn’t have one thing to do with ISIS.  Nor did the shooters in Charleston, SC, Aurora, CO, Sandy Hook, CT, or Columbine – to name just a few.

M. Kita Williams

 

Muhammad Ali Knocks Trump’s Islamaphobia Out

In honor of the life of “The Greatest” man who shook up the world, Muhammad Ali, this article has been reposted.

It’s over, Trump. The GOP contender, Donald Trump might as well find that white towel while he can still see. You know, kind of like the self preservation tactic billionaires use before they have to pay “humungunomous” debts.  They would find that attorney of theirs QUICK and file bankruptcy Chapters 7, 11, and 13.

You better wake up and apologize

The most globally recognized, heroic, living icon on the planet just knocked Trump out cold.  Oh, and by the way…he’s Muslim.  His name? The Champ, otherwise known as Muhammad Ali.

Donald Trump, you have “bragadociously” barked up the wrong universal beanstalk.  When the most admired, respected, and identifiable global giant gets roused, masses of millions of people from every ethnic origin and corner of the world will listen.   

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Getty Images

When a man is truly great, he doesn’t need to move a muscle to shake up the world.  For when he showed the world how to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”, the reverberations continued in the earth for decades to come.

According to USA TODAY, Martin Rogers reported on December 9, 2015:

“Muhammad Ali aims message at Donald Trump: Terrorism perverts ‘what Islam really is’ “

“Muhammad Ali aimed a powerful and impassioned message at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying that the recent global terrorism crisis has “perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.”

Ali became a Muslim and changed his name from Cassius Clay during the height of his career as one of the greatest boxers in history. His message came in a statement following a week in which Trump cast doubt on President Barack Obama’s assertion that several American “sporting heroes” practiced Islam.

“I am a Muslim, and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world,” Ali said. “True Muslims know the ruthless violence of so-called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion.

“We, as Muslims, have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda. They have alienated many from learning about Islam. True Muslims know or should know that it goes against our religion to try and force Islam on anybody.”

One of the main principles of Trump’s campaign has been taking a hard line on immigration. In the wake of the San Bernardino mass shooting that killed 14 people last week, Trump called for the establishment of a national Muslim database and for restrictions on Muslims wishing to travel to the United States.

Ali’s political views did not endear him to the establishment in the 1960s, and his affiliation with the Nation of Islam ignited controversy during his reign as world heavyweight champion…

Ali said, “I believe that our political leaders should use their position to bring understanding about the religion of Islam and clarify that these misguided murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.”

What can a person possibly do or say when The Champ has just knocked them out cold, without even leaving his heavyweight throne?

Mr. Trump, many people are now fully aware that you are not what’s considered a good man. Instead of using your spotlight to stand up for what is right and unifying, you pander to people’s fears.

You have built a wall all right.  Now you’re boxed in its’ corner…by the “greatest of all time”.

Needless to say, you are a far cry from the greatness of a Muhammad Ali. “The Greatest” is a man who showed the world that he stood for peace and justice, still does, has never wavered on his positions, then keeps on coming until his opponent recognizes that they’ve been a dope before Ali ever stepped in the ring.

It would be absolutely logical at this point Mr. Trump to “run things like you run business,” starting with this debacle of a presidential campaign. Since you’re familiar with exit strategies, here’s one that will work well:

  1. Find white towel
  2. Wave white towel
  3. Fire everybody and blame your knock-out on a technicality / TKO
  4. Watch private jet power up
  5. With windblown hair, turn to camera and wave
  6. Exit stage left, board multi-million dollar jet, fix hair and a drink

Sincerely,

M. Kita Williams, as well as millions of Americans and global inhabitants

Source: Muhammad Ali Knocks Trump’s Islamaphobia Out

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