Editorials: Thoughts on Judge Posner’s Admission of Error on the Indiana Voter ID Law | Paul M. Smith/ACS

As the lawyer who argued the constitutional challenge to the Indiana Voter ID law in the Supreme Court in 2008, I was both fascinated and pleased to hear that Judge Richard Posner – the author of the Seventh Circuit majority opinion affirmed by the Supreme Courtin Crawford v. Marion County Elections Board – has now publicly stated that he was wrong.  It is refreshing, if not unprecedented, for a jurist to admit error on such a major case.  I was a little less pleased to see that he attempted to excuse his error by blaming the parties for not providing sufficient information to the court.  As he put it in an interview quoted in the New York Times, “We weren’t given the information that would enable that balance to be struck between preventing fraud and protecting voters’ rights.”  Really?  The information provided was enough for the late Judge Terence Evans, dissenting from Judge Posner’s decision, to say quite accurately: “Let’s not beat around the bush:  The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly-veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by folks believed to skew Democratic.”

Voting Blogs: Kris Kobach and the Seven Dwarfs | Rick Hasen/Election Law Blog

During yesterday’s “To the Point” show, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and I went over the question whether voter identification laws actually can prevent fraud.  I pointed out that impersonation fraud rarely if ever happens, and Kobach confirmed he’s got no cases of impersonation fraud he can point to in Kansas.  But Kobach also said that a state id requirement would be necessary to prevent a different type of crime: the use of false registrations (of fictitious people) to cast votes in elections.  He gave the example of someone registering and voting ballots for the fictitious seven dwarfs.  I pointed out that I was not aware of a single case of fraudulent registrations (such as from ACORN) leading to actual fraudulent votes (the reason the ACORN-type fraud occurred was because poor people who worked to register voters made up fake names to keep their jobs, not to rig elections.)  But a reader sends along another great point about why a state i.d. is unnecessary to stop voter fraud in this instance:

I was struck by the “perfect crime” tale — the  hypothetical attempt to register the seven dwarves. He seems to have ignored that HAVA’s voter id requirements for any voter who registers to vote by mail and has not previously voted in a Federal election. (See HAVA Section 303)  That is of course, presuming that Sleepy and Grumpy are not long time registered voters. If those “voters” want to vote absentee (I doubt the fraudster would be able to produce Sleepy and Grumpy to cast an in person vote without arousing some suspicion), they are required to provide a valid photo ID or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

National: Congress Investigates GOP War on Voting | Rolling Stone

In the current issue of Rolling Stone, I examine how Republican officials in a dozen states have passed new laws this year designed to impede voters at every step of the electoral process. It’s a widespread, deliberate effort that could prevent millions of mostly Democratic voters, including students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly, from casting ballots in 2012. Congress is, belatedly, starting to pay attention, and yesterday afternoon Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, held a hearing on “New State Voting Laws: Barriers to the Ballot?”

“I am deeply concerned by this coordinated, well-funded effort to pass laws that could have the impact of suppressing votes in some states,” said Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate.

“Rather than protecting right to vote,” said Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, a witness at the hearing, “we’re seeing a brazen attempt around the country to undermine it.” He pointed to legislation that would make it more difficult for citizens to register to vote or for groups like the League of Women Voters to register new voters, cut back on early voting, require government-issued IDs that specifically target young and minority voters, and disenfranchise ex-felons.

National: Sen. Durbin raises alarm on state laws affecting voter turnout | The Hill’s Ballot Box

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is concerned voter turnout is at risk of being suppressed across the country — and thinks a spate of new state laws are to blame. Durbin, who chairs the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, called a hearing Thursday to examine laws that limit early voting, require photo identification and regulate who can volunteer for voter registration.

The senator pointed to Texas and Florida as states that have moved to restrict voter registration drives in the name of curbing fraud, but said such fraud is almost nonexistent and is used as an excuse to disenfranchise voters.

“Protecting the right of every citizen to vote and ensuring elections are fair and transparent are … American values,” said Durbin, who will send a letter to governors in Florida, Wisconsin and Tennessee about voter-related concerns in those states.

Editorials: Jennifer Wagner: Charlie White’s lonely outpost | The Indianapolis Star

If there’s one thing Indiana Republicans and Democrats can agree on, it’s that disgraced Secretary of State Charlie White should step down from the office he’s embarrassed since the day he took the oath.

On Tuesday, the Indiana Recount Commission granted White a temporary legal reprieve, ruling that the state’s election laws are sufficiently vague to prevent his removal from office. White faces criminal trial in August on seven felony counts of voter fraud, theft and perjury.

White has attempted to turn his failure to properly register to vote and his illegitimate service on the Fishers Town Council into an intricate personal tale: It wasn’t his fault he broke the law. Life just got too complicated to focus on the details.

Indiana: Supreme Court denies appeals in Charlie White case | fox59.com

Friday, the Indiana Supreme Court denied appeals in the case against Secretary of State Charlie White (R).

White was indicted by a Hamilton County grand jury earlier this year, on seven counts including voter fraud, theft and perjury. White is accused of voting in the wrong precinct while he was on the Fishers Town Council. White maintains it was an honest mistake. He’s also at the center of another investigation, accused of accessing a confidential report about him made by his predecessor, the previous secretary of state Todd Rokita (R).