Voting Rights

PFAW Action Fund Endorses Derek Cressman for California Secretary of State

People For the American Way Action Fund has announced an endorsement of Derek Cressman’s candidacy for California Secretary of State.

“Derek Cressman has been a consistent progressive leader, standing up against big money in politics and for fairness and the people’s voice,” said PFAW Political Director Randy Borntrager. “He will serve the people of California well as Secretary of State.”

Cressman is one of five primary candidates for Secretary of State.  He served as director of the Democracy Program for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and the state PIRG organizations, fighting for the environment, open government, and fair elections.  He subsequently founded Earth Tones, an environmentally friendly communications company that donates 100 percent of its profits to environmental groups.

In 2006 Cressman began working with Common Cause on its groundbreaking voting rights and elections programs, eventually directing the organization’s Citizens United information campaign. While at Common Cause, Cressman led 35 state chapters as vice president for states. During his tenure, Common Cause expanded its coordination of grassroots organizing and advocacy on money in politics across all of its local chapters, pursuing local ordinances and referenda as a strategy to draw more attention to the issue.

Derek Cressman’s positions on women’s health, comprehensive immigration reform, public education funding, equality for all Americans, and money in politics – among other issues – distinguish him as quality progressive candidate for California Secretary of State.  His campaign website is http://www.derekcressman.com.

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Terrible Republican Secretary Of State Seeks Same

A Wall Street Journal story last week on a new set of PACs seeking to influence secretary of state races reported that the new conservative PAC, SOS for SOS, will be led by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.

"We are no longer going to let the left decide the size and dimensions of the playing field," Blackwell told WSJ.

It wasn’t long ago that Blackwell himself was deciding the size and dimensions of the electoral playing field in Ohio by, among other things, dictating the size and dimensions and paper stock of mail-in voter registration cards.

Leading up to the 2004 elections, Blackwell became notorious for administering elections rules that made it a lot harder to vote. The most colorful of these was a last-minute regulation on the size and paper quality of printed voter registration cards. Rolling Stone explained:

To further monkey-wrench the process he was bound by law to safeguard, Blackwell cited an arcane elections regulation to make it harder to register new voters. In a now-infamous decree, Blackwell announced on September 7th -- less than a month before the filing deadline -- that election officials would process registration forms only if they were printed on eighty-pound unwaxed white paper stock, similar to a typical postcard. Justifying his decision to ROLLING STONE, Blackwell portrayed it as an attempt to protect voters: ''The postal service had recommended to us that we establish a heavy enough paper-weight standard that we not disenfranchise voters by having their registration form damaged by postal equipment.'' Yet Blackwell's order also applied to registrations delivered in person to election offices. He further specified that any valid registration cards printed on lesser paper stock that miraculously survived the shredding gauntlet at the post office were not to be processed; instead, they were to be treated as applications for a registration form, requiring election boards to send out a brand-new card.

Blackwell's directive clearly violated the Voting Rights Act, which stipulates that no one may be denied the right to vote because of a registration error that ''is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified under state law to vote.'' The decision immediately threw registration efforts into chaos. Local newspapers that had printed registration forms in their pages saw their efforts invalidated. Delaware County posted a notice online saying it could no longer accept its own registration forms. Even Blackwell couldn't follow the protocol: The Columbus Dispatch reported that his own staff distributed registration forms on lighter-weight paper that was illegal under his rule. Under the threat of court action, Blackwell ultimately revoked his order on September 28th -- six days before the registration deadline.

Other Blackwell projects in the lead-up to the 2004 election included making it harder to cast a provisional ballot and keeping urban precincts low on electronic voting machines, resulting in long lines. A report from Democratic Rep. John Conyers found that “actions by Mr. Blackwell, the Republican Party, and elections officials, disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Ohio citizens, predominantly Minority and Democratic voters.”

Blackwell’s partisan bent was never a secret. After losing his campaign to be Ohio’s governor in 2006, he moved on to work for the Family Research Council and tried to angle himself into the job of chairman of the Republican National Committee.

In other words, Blackwell is the perfect person to lead the Right’s new effort to elect Republican secretary of state candidates in the mold of Kansas’ Kris Kobach, who see their jobs not as encouraging and facilitating voting, but making it harder...especially for certain Democratic-leaning constituencies.

PFAW: Scandal Surrounding Senate President is More Evidence of Big Money Assault on Wisconsin

MADISON – Wisconsin Senate President State Senator Mike Ellis’ announcement Friday that he will not seek re-election, which arrived after Ellis was caught on camera claiming he might set up his own political action committee to attack his Democratic opponent, is evidence of the big money assault on the Wisconsin Legislature, said People For the American Way Regional Political Coordinator Scott Foval.

“Mike Ellis apparently felt he had no choice but to raise big cash just to compete, and allegedly was willing to compromise his ethics in the process,” Foval said. “The fact that the Senate President got caught planning to form a super PAC to attack Penny Bernard Schaber is just evidence of a larger problem – too much political money driving who gets elected in Wisconsin.”

People For the American Way and its allies have repeatedly highlighted how Wisconsin Republicans have enacted policies that benefit the wealthy and powerful corporate interests. Since 2010, Wisconsin’s GOP legislators have enacted restrictions on women’s health, restrictions on voting rights, and restrictions on collective bargaining for public employees, as well as a budget that favors wealthy tax payers rather than the middle class. PFAW’s Foval called on citizens to fight back against big money in politics and strike back at the voting booth.

“The time has come for Wisconsin’s voters to take back our state by registering to vote, hitting the streets to knock doors, and voting for progressive candidates who represent the people instead of big money donors,” Foval said.  “This isn’t cause for celebration. It’s a call to put our heads down, and get to work to elect new leadership to the Wisconsin Legislature and Governor’s office.”

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Voting Rights Advocates Rack Up More Wins

Earlier this month, PFAW reported on what has gone right for voting rights at the state level in 2014. While there is much more work to be done to enact needed reforms and to step up and counter threats when the right to vote is under attack, states like Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina have shown that we can win. Now we've uncovered even more evidence of why we can and should keep fighting the challenges that lay before us.
PFAW

Florida & Oregon Drop Out Of Kris Kobach's Faulty Voter Roll Crosscheck Program

The Miami Herald reported Friday that Florida and Oregon have dropped out of Interstate Crosscheck, the disputed voter-fraud detection service run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, with Oregon election officials citing "unreliable" data from the program.

Interstate Crosscheck’s reports in 2013 include Florida data based on the 2012 election. However, Florida is absent from the 2014 report.

We asked a spokeswoman for Republican Secretary of State Ken Detzner why Florida dropped out.

“The Department of State and Supervisors of Elections currently work with elections officials in other states to update registrations regarding residency, and we are always exploring options to improve the elections process,” Brittany Lesser said.

Oregon is another state that changed its mind about sharing its voter data with the Kansas project. Its explanation was more blunt than the one we got from Florida.

“We left because the data we received was unreliable and we felt joining the ERIC project would better meet our needs, said Tony Green, spokesman for Oregon Secretary of State.

ERIC is a project of the Pew Charitable Trust  to improve the accuracy and efficiency of state voter registration systems. States must pay to participate in ERIC while the Kansas project is free.

Voting rights opponents went into full-blown panic mode last week when North Carolina elections officials, citing data from Kobach's program, announced that 35,000 people who voted in North Carolina could have also voted in another state. That this number turned out to be completely overblown -- and that the state's top elections official urged caution in jumping to conclusions  -- did not stop Dick Morris and the Tea Party Nation from claiming that as many as a million Democrats voted twice in the 2012 elections.

via Rick Hasen​

Tea Party Nation Claims More Than A Million Democrats Voted Twice In 2012

Tea Party Nation president Judson Phillips has been hard at work crunching numbers, and today announces a starting conclusion: President Obama won reelection in 2012 because more than a million people cast votes in two states.

How did Phillips reach this number?

Well, he starts with a North Carolina elections board report that it found 35,750 records of people who voted in the state whose names and birthdays matched people who had voted in other states.

North Carolina used a program run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, which even Kobach acknowledges produces a “significant number” of “false positives.” Officials using the program in Ohio and Colorado failed to identify a single case of fraudulent voting from the “matches” that the program produced. Even the North Carolina elections board has backtracked from its original blockbuster number, telling ThinkProgress that “we are not jumping to conclusions here.” In other words, North Carolina’s report contains no proof of any voter fraud, much less 35,000 cases of it.

But never mind the facts! Phillips then “extrapolate[s]” the North Carolina figure “out over the entire population” to guess that there “could be over one million double votes in 2012,” thereby winning President Obama the election. (Of course, in Phillips’ reckoning, all of these imaginary cases of voter fraud were perpetrated by Democrats – although they still weren’t enough to win North Carolina for the president).

“Democrats are not winning elections,” he concludes. “ They are taking them the old fashioned way. They are stealing them.”

What is the shocking secret that may explain how Obama got a second term?

A study done in North Carolina showed that 35,750 people who live and voted in North Carolina may have voted in another state in the 2012 Presidential election. The study was based on comparing the first and last names along with date of birth for people who voted in 28 other states. In 765 of those cases, social security numbers matched as well.

This number would have probably been larger but only 28 states participated and the four largest states, California, New York, Texas and Florida did not participate.

If you extrapolate this figure out over the entire population, that could be over one million double votes in 2012.

Democrats are not winning elections. They are taking them the old fashioned way. They are stealing them.

Lest we think that Phillips is just pushing a fringe argument, Kobach himself yesterday made a very similar claim, citing absolutely no evidence to claim that widows are voting “all the time” on behalf of their deceased husbands. Kobach has previously claimed that the “radical left” opposes his suppressive policies because they “feel they can benefit” from massive fraud.

And, to Phillips’ credit, his voter fraud estimate is more conservative than that of former Libertarian vice presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root, who estimates that Democrats “across the country” voted ten times each for President Obama .

UPDATE: It appears that Phillips may have gotten his conclusion from Dick Morris, who wrote an op-ed in The Hill this week making the same claim. Meanwhile, the theory is getting debunked again and again.

Kris Kobach Claims Voter Fraud Is Real Because Widows Vote For Their Late Husbands 'All The Time'

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach – the mastermind behind anti-immigrant and voter suppression legislation throughout the country – joined radio host Joyce Kaufman yesterday at an event hosted by the anti-immigrant group FAIR, where he currently holds a top legal position.

Kobach has been on a media blitz recently defending Kansas’ strict voter ID law, which requires people registering to vote to present a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship, a requirement that has left tens of thousands of Kansans with incomplete registrations .

Kaufman, who is based in Florida, told Kobach, “I can’t imagine how many widows are voting for their dead husbands.”

“Yeah, it happens all the time,” Kobach replied, going on to explain that people who die or move out of state often stay on a state’s voter rolls.

Kobach’s conflation of out-of-date voter rolls with fraudulent voting is common among advocates of voter suppression laws. While fraudulent voting is extraordinarily rareincluding in Kansas – Kobach has used the threat of such fraud to push faulty voter roll purges in states across the country.

Kobach went on to claim that those who cite the disproportionate effect of voter ID laws on people of color are in fact themselves making a “racist argument.” “You’re telling me that because of a person’s skin color, he’s less able to find his birth certificate?” he asked. “That’s just crazy to make that argument.”

In fact, numerous studies have shown that voter ID laws disproportionately affect minority communities and are often passed in response to an increase in minority voting.

Kaufman: I can’t imagine how many widows are voting for their dead husbands in communities like I lived in.

Kobach: Yeah, it happens all the time. There are basically three sources of people on our voter rolls who are not supposed to be there. One is people who die and they stay on the voter rolls. The other is people who have moved out of state, but they’re on the rolls in both states. And the third is aliens, people who were never entitled to vote in the first place. And we’re trying to do something about in Kansas, but you can imagine how the folks on the left complain and say, ‘Well, you can’t do that.’ Well, yeah we can do that and we’re going to do that.

Kaufman: And it’s not bigoted.

Kobach: It’s not at all!

Kaufman: You’re not doing it to close the doors on minorities.

Kobach: Yeah, exactly. And I think it’s outrageous the argument some make that it hurts minorities. It’s almost a racist argument! You’re telling me that because of a person’s skin color, he’s less able to find his birth certificate? That’s just crazy to make that argument.

Wayne Allyn Root: Democrats Won In 2012 By Voting 10 Times Each

Wayne Allyn Root, the conservative activist who ran for vice president on the Libertarian ticket in 2008, claimed last month that President Obama won reelection because “Democratic voters across this country are voting four times, five times, 10 times each for the Democrats.”

In a video commentary posted in late March, Root insisted that “Democrats are winning elections through what appears to be massive voter fraud.”

Root — who is also a birther — cited the right-wing myth that the fact that a handful of precincts in the heavily Democratic Philadelphia recorded no votes for Mitt Romney means that Democrats were “stuffing the ballot box.” The Philadelphia myth is part of a right-wing trend of blaming Democratic victories on unproven voter fraud in urban areas.

Root also said that President Obama should be impeached over alleged IRS targeting of conservatives, citing the removal of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.  “If you think impeachment can’t happen, it’s a pipe dream,” he said, “I’ve got news for you. Study Ukraine."

True The Vote Misreads Poll To Claim 20 Percent Of Americans Want To Let Non-Citizens Vote

A leader of voter suppression group True The Vote apparently believes that a significant percentage of Americans want non-citizens to be able to vote in U.S. federal elections.

On yesterday’s True The Vote conference call, which featured Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the Heritage Foundation’s Hans Von Spakovsky, True The Vote executive director Jennifer Wright claimed that over 20 percent of Americans want non-citizens to be given voting rights.

Discussing Kobach’s new law in Kansas, which requires people registering to vote to present a birth certificate or similar documentation of citizenship, Wright warned there is a growing push to let non-citizens vote in national elections: “I wonder about those citizens who think that non-citizens should be able to vote. Because I don’t think anyone would argue that we should be able to vote [or] that I should be able to vote in an election in Mexico even though I live in a border state.”

She cited polls “showing that over 70, 78, 80-plus percent of people throughout the United States agree that you should be a citizen to vote.” She appears to be referring to a recent poll from the conservative Rassmussen, which found that 78 percent of respondents agreed that voters should be required to prove their citizenship before registering. It asked no questions about whether or not non-citizens should be allowed to vote.

Of course, the current federal voter registration form does require proof of citizenship in the form of a sworn statement under penalty of perjury. Kansas’ law requires extra proof in the form of a birth certificate or naturalization document, an administrative hurdle that has left the voting rights of tens of thousands of Kansans in limbo .

But in the paranoid universe of True The Vote, people who oppose voter suppression laws actually want foreign nationals to be able to cast votes in American federa; elections, using the federal voter registration form as a “work-around around the proof of citizenship.”

I originally hail from Arizona myself, so I am familiar with how this ruling came down through Arizona and the concerns we had in our state that this federal form would then be a work-around around the proof of citizenship. So to be able to have it now spelled out in black and white, and I think quite confidently it will remain so, is a boon for election integrity.

Because, obviously, the studies are out there showing that over 70, 78, 80-plus percent of people throughout the United States agree that you should be a citizen to vote. I wonder about those citizens who think that non-citizens should be able to vote. Because I don’t think anyone would argue that we should be able to vote, that I should be able to vote in an election in Mexico even though I live in a border state, or whatever arguments we may have.

Kris Kobach Inadvertently Explains What's Wrong With Kansas' Strict Voter ID Law

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, following a federal court ruling upholding his strict requirement that people registering to vote must present a birth certificate or comparable proof of citizenship, is now hoping to peddle the law to other states. But in a conference call last night hosted by the group True The Vote, which was founded to support voter suppression laws, Kobach inadvertently explained what is so wrong with his policy, which has left 16,000 Kansans with their voter registrations suspended.

Kobach told True The Vote that he hoped that other states with voter ID laws would adopt his stricter version, and said that he had already discussed the possibility with Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. He also promised to put a generic version of the law on his personal website for activists to present to their own state legislators.

But while defending the law, Kobach made an argument that in fact illustrates what an extraordinary hurdle it may present to some voters.

“We really gave people lots of options” to prove their citizenship, Kobach boasted. He noted that there was even a “special process” for people who don’t have their birth certificate: “We created a process for that person to go before the state elections board and provide affidavit evidence and other evidence to show that they’re a US citizen. And that process has only been used twice.”

Yes, out of 16,000 people who have yet to provide the state with citizenship documentation, just two people without the proper documents have made it through the new bureaucratic hurdles to prove that they are citizens....which Kobach somehow sees as a great victory.

Later in the call, Kobach speculated that voter suppression laws helped increase the turnout in the 2012 elections because the people who are targeted by such laws actually love them. He said that he had talked to a counterpart in a southern state who told him of counties with high minority populations “where election fraud is so ingrained in the experience of voters…so when voter ID came along they had hope.”

“He believes it was the hope of a fairer election among some minority communities that had experienced fraudulent elections that drives the higher turnout,” Kobach said.

In fact, many elections experts say that high turnout among African-American voters in 2012 was driven in part by a backlash to voter suppression laws, not support for them.

Florida Senate Committee Takes Up Voting Rights Bill

SPB 7068 – which cleared a procedural hurdle on March 10 and is expected to come back before the Committee later this month – addresses a number of issues, including the use of certain drop-off locations for the submission of absentee ballots. Last year, Secretary of State Ken Detzner issued a directive against the use of some drop-off sites, such as tax collector offices and county library branches, despite their use in Pinellas County since 2008.
PFAW

Wisconsin Democracy Advocates Push Back Against Voter Suppression and Big Money in Politics

Today, under the banner of the Coalition to Protect Wisconsin Elections, a group of seventeen grassroots nonprofit organizations including People For the American Way gathered in the Wisconsin Senate Parlor to protest a batch of anti-democracy voting rights and campaign finance bills slated for Senate consideration tomorrow. The event included voters with their mouths taped shut to symbolize their voices being silenced by the proposed legislation as well as speakers from a range of progressive organizations, including PFAW regional political coordinator Scott Foval.

Speakers expressed opposition to a legislative package that will restrict access to a free and fair vote, allow unfettered spending on so-called political “issue ads,” and reduce transparency on reporting political activity in Wisconsin, including:

•  Senate Bill 324, restricting early voting hours and banning the option of weekend voting like “souls to the polls” drives organized by faith communities.

•  Senate Bill 267, making it more difficult for people to register to vote early.

•  Senate Bill 655, repealing current law to allow lobbyists to contribute directly to legislators starting April 15 of election years, even while the legislature is in session; lowering the bar for disclosing political contributions; and allowing unlimited Internet political activity without disclosure to the Government Accountability Board.

•  Assembly Bill 202, requiring poll observers to be allowed as close as three feet to poll workers, despite numerous complaints of harassing and intimidating behavior in recent elections.

Also under consideration, but not yet added to the official Senate calendar, is Senate Bill 654, which would rewrite the rules for disclosing political “issue ads” ahead of an election.  And currently seeking sponsors but not yet introduced is a bill that would eliminate same-day voter registration.

These bills could do serious damage to our democracy. In 2012, hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites cast their ballots early. Several municipal clerks, who are responsible for administering elections, offered extended hours for voting to allow working people to participate in their democracy by casting their votes after work or on weekends.

In addition, the proposed new disclosure requirements would allow nearly unlimited, undisclosed political ad spending, both in broadcast and on the Internet, as well as increased allowances for solicitation activity for political bundling by political action committees and political conduits.

But “We, the People” are fighting back. Check out the video of today’s event below:

PFAW

African American Ministers In Action Condemn Cuts to Ohio Early Voting

In response to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s announcement yesterday of early voting cutbacks, Reverend Dr. Tony Minor of Cleveland, a member of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action, said:

“These changes blatantly discriminate against the African American community. Limiting early voting hours by cutting Sundays and weekday evenings is a transparent attempt to block some Ohioans from participating in their democracy.

“It’s no secret that many Ohioans can’t vote during work hours. Our elected officials should ensure that democracy works for everyone, not making cuts to early voting that disproportionately impact African Americans.”

People For the American Way's African American Ministers In Action represents 1,500 African American clergy working toward equality, justice and opportunity for all.

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Ohio Faith Leaders Speak Out Against Restrictive Voting Laws

On Wednesday the Ohio legislature passed two restrictive voting laws that cut early voting and gut the state’s absentee ballot program, among other measures. This afternoon, Governor Kasich signed them into law. In response, the Ohio members of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action released the following statement:

“It is shameful that in this day and age, we are still fighting to protect the right to vote. Hiding behind the debunked myth of ‘voter fraud,’ it is clear as day that Republican leaders simply want to make it harder for some Ohioans to cast a ballot. Our elected officials should be encouraging all Ohioans to participate in their democracy, not pushing suppressive laws that threaten our most fundamental right as citizens.”

People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action represents a network of 1,500 African-American clergy working toward equality, justice and opportunity for all.

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Assault On Voting by Ohio GOP Ahead of November 2014 Elections

Ohio Republican legislators are up to their voter suppression tricks again, trying to limit absentee ballot registrations and restricting voting hours ahead of the November 2014 elections. The Columbus Dispatch reported Friday that GOP Rep. Mike Dovilla, Chairman of the Ohio House Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee, said the committee will vote on Senate Bill 205 and Senate Bill 238 as early as Tuesday.  If passed out of Dovilla’s committee, it could be off to the full House for a floor debate on Wednesday.

SB 205 would ban county clerks from mass mailing absentee ballot applications to all voters, holding that duty only for OH Secretary of State Jon Husted, who has proven in the past that he will restrict voting access almost every chance he gets.

SB 238 would achieve one of Husted’s anti-voter policy agenda items by limiting early voting days, effectively eliminating Ohioans’ ability to register and vote on the same day anywhere in the state.

These legislative moves come just days after the news broke that Hamilton County officials might relocate Cincinnati’s largest early voting location to a new, much less accessible location.  That decision met with considerable push-back from voting rights activists and the media, resulting in a deadlock vote from the Board of Elections. The final decision now also goes to Secretary Husted to decide, effectively putting the power to restrict access to early voting in Cincinnati’s largest city in his hands.

If you are from Ohio, call your Representative now and tell them to protect your early voting rights by voting ‘NO’ on SB 205 and SB 238. You can find your Representative’s contact information here: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/members/member-directory. Once you have talked to your Representative, drop us an email at political@pfaw.org to let us know what they said.  We’ll keep tabs on the situation and update you on voter suppression efforts in Ohio – and across the country – on the PFAW blog.

PFAW

Right Wing Targets 'Moral Mondays' Organizer

Right-wing groups and media are waging a concerted attack on Rev. William Barber, organizer of this weekend’s “Moral March” in Raleigh, North Carolina.

North Carolina’s politics lurched to the far right after multimillionaire Art Pope poured money into a far-right takeover of the state government.  A tidal wave of horrible legislation last year attacked voting rights, public education, health care, and unemployment insurance -- and raising taxes on poor families to give tax breaks to a handful of the state’s wealthiest people. Basically, if you want to see what unfettered Tea Party governance looks like, look at North Carolina.

In response, a huge statewide coalition led by Barber, the president of the state NAACP, organized “Moral Mondays” protests to draw attention to the legislature’s extremism. State GOP officials initially dismissed the movement, with one legislator deriding “Moron Mondays” and others blaming the protests on “outside agitators.” But the protests grew to thousands, with more than 900 people, the vast majority of them from North Carolina, being arrested.

The progressive Forward Together coalition drew tens of thousands of people to Raleigh this weekend for a “Moral March,” which kicked off a year of organizing and voter engagement. This progressive mobilization has generated excitement among progressive activists nationally, and has made Barber a target of the right wing.

In recent weeks, Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren have invited Sen. Tim Scott, Allen West, and Star Parker – all right-wing African Americans – to attack Barber for comments he made suggesting  that Scott is a ventriloquist dummy for the Tea Party.

In the days leading up to Saturday’s march, the state’s Republican Chairman Claude Pope slammed Barber for using "inflammatory and offensive" rhetoric. And Tami Fitzgerald from the North Carolina Values Coalition snarked, “The so-called Moral March on Raleigh is anything but moral. It is spearheaded by groups that support abortion and homosexual marriage.” I am not aware that Fitzgerald has raised moral objections to right-wing state officials’ attacks on poor families’ access to health care.

At a press conference after the March, Tea Party activist David Webb, a Fox and Breitbart contributor, badgered Barber about whether he owed Scott and other black conservatives an apology. No apology was forthcoming. The unruffled Barber said his job and calling are “to speak the truth about public policies, policies that hurt millions of people.” 

Barber said his critique was based on policy, not personality. “While some people may choose to get caught up on a metaphor,” Barber said, “the real indignation and upsetness should be over the regressive agenda” and over policies that are causing “real-life suffering and death.”

If folk want to get upset, get upset over the denying of Medicaid expansion, get upset over voting to reject unemployment benefits for laid off workers who are Republican, who are Democrat, who are black, who are white. Get upset over reduced access to public education and funding of it….and get upset over the attacks to turn back voting rights that were won through blood, sweat and tears.”

 

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