Posts Tagged ‘Election Law’

Hinds County not only special election primary

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Hinds County supervisors are refusing so far to pay (although Mississippi law requires them to do so) for Democratic and Republican primaries for two special elections for supervisor, claiming there is no money in the budget. They’ve asked for an Attorney General’s opinion on the matter (see Jackson Jambalaya: Supervisors refuse to pay for primaries until AG opines).

Special elections typically are nonpartisan; however, the law allows for parties to conduct primaries in county and county district offices.  Also this year, Noxubee County’s Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Ike Brown has called for a Democratic Primary to replace Circuit Clerk Carl Mickens who resigned earlier this year. The general election is set for November 5, but according to the Macon Beacon, “If there are no Republican or Independent qualifiers, the Democratic primary election will decide the winner.” Three candidates have qualified so far for that primary.

The law is pretty clear and I expect the Attorney General’s opinion will not be favorable to the Hinds County Supervisors who oppose paying for the primaries.  But were the AG to decide counties do not have to pay for primaries, it could impact more than just Hinds County.

UPDATE: As expected, the Attorney General’s Office told the Hinds County Board of Supervisors they are responsible for paying for the primary elections. From the Clarion Ledger report:

The opinion written by special assistant attorney general Phil Carter, a veteran staffer in the agency’s elections division, succinctly says: “The Hinds County Board of Supervisors is legally obligated to pay the expenses enumerated in Section 23-15-301 for conducting the Sept. 24, 2013 primary elections. The manner in which those expenses are to be paid is determined by the board.

“In response to (supervisors’) second question, the fact that the unforeseen expenditures are not within the budget does not remove the county’s obligation to make those expenditures.”

Thoughts on VRA & agreeing with Obama

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

“Today’s Supreme Court decision on the #VRA is a setback, but it does not mean the end of our efforts to stop voting discrimination.” - @BarackObama

President Barack Obama is correct that today’s Supreme Court Decision on the Voting Rights Act “does not mean the end of our efforts to stop voting discrimination.” Mainly because it is Section 2 of the VRA which forbids voter discrimination. Lyle Denniston explains at SCOTUS Blog:

** Section 2, which the Court said was affected “in no way” by the decision, applies permanently to every state and local government across the nation, forbidding discrimination in voting, but the government or a private challenger must prove that in each case, one at a time.

What it does mean is that now if a county is notified that a polling location is in disrepair (for example, burned down), they can move the polling location across the street without first getting permission from the Department of Justice. And if voters or the government believe it is actually a nefarious plot to suppress voters, that decision can still be challenged. And according to Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, it means:

“The process for implementation of Constitutional Voter Identification begins today. It will be conducted in accordance with the Constitutional Amendment adopted by the electorate, funded by the Legislature, and regulations as proposed by the Secretary of State.”

Hosemann said Voter-ID should be in place by mid-2014.

It means a lot more in between routine and practical election matters and the implementation of a state Constitutional amendment. Just so far in June of this year, the Department of Justice issued notice under Section 4 & 5 of the Voting Rights Act on 16 different cases in Mississippi involving Bolivar, Carroll, Calhoun, Perry, Rankin, Tishomingo, Harrison, Pike and Hinds counties.

But to President Obama’s point, it does not mean voter discrimination can be allowed. Antics like those by Ike Brown in Noxubee County were prosecuted by the Department of Justice under Section 2 of the VRA.

Mississippi’s lone Democratic congressman, the Second District’s Bennie Thompson, piled on to the hysteria saying in a statement, “Today’s Supreme Court decision will make it harder for many Americans to exercise their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to vote.” Not true. Either that was already happening but more slowly (not enacted until pre-cleared, but enacted afterward), or voters will have the same protection from the Courts they have always enjoyed.

Essentially, today’s decision says Congress might find a way to require areas to submit election changes to the U.S. Department of Justice for review and approval, but the current method (using 50 year old data) does not work. It does not touch any person’s right to vote or curtail access to the Courts for policies that might impact voting. Or in the words of the decision:

“The [15th] Amendment is not designed to punish for the past; its purpose is to ensure a better future…To serve that purpose, Congress — if it is to divide the States — must identify those jurisdictions to be singled out on a basis that makes sense in light of current conditions. It cannot rely simply on the past.”

Thompson aims at “fishy” Republican “tricks” in Jackson mayor’s race

Friday, May 17th, 2013

My column* this week examined Congressman Bennie Thompson’s involvement in Democrat versus Democrat races this year in municipal and special elections (read it here). Particularly, I looked at his radio commercial (audio here) for Canton Mayor William Truly.

From the column:

Thompson says in the radio spot, “This is Congressman Bennie Thompson endorsing mayor William Truly for re-election as mayor of Canton, Mississippi. I’ve worked with Mayor Truly to bring change to Canton, Mississippi. Now the Republicans have hand-picked candidates in every race. They can’t win out-right, so they picked people who look like US to run. Don’t fall for the Republican tricks. On May 7, vote to reelect Mayor William Truly: mayor of Canton, Mississippi.”

Thompson’s emphasis on the word “us” begs the question of whom is he speaking. Perhaps he means Republicans who look like Democrats (odd because people don’t change how they look by marking a party affiliation on their qualifying papers). He can’t mean actual Republicans because while there are Republicans running for mayor and one alderman seat, there are not Republicans in every race. There are a number of independents running, perhaps he means them. Whoever he means, they apparently look like Thompson in some way.

Civil right lawyer Robert McDuff, who has contributed to Thompson’s campaign in the past and has served as attorney for Democrats in redistricting issues, wrote a law review article on the importance of the Voting Rights Act on Mississippi and discussed the term “us.” In it he writes, “The phrase ‘one of us’ implies there is a ‘them.’…The use of this in black-white campaigns-suggesting that ‘us’ is one race and ‘them’ is the other-is particularly unfortunate since it exploits racial divisions. Regrettably, this is not a thing of the past…Racial campaign appeals still surface in elections in the state….the white candidate in a black-white election adopted the campaign slogan, ‘one of us,’ which had been characterized as a racist appeal by a federal court when it was used by a white candidate in a black-white congressional race over twenty years earlier…The three-judge federal district court, in its subsequent 1984 decision, pointed out that this was an obvious racial appeal to the white majority: ‘Evidence of racial campaign tactics used during the 1982 election in the Second District supports the conclusion that Mississippi voters are urged to cast their ballots according to race. This inducement to racially polarized voting operated to further diminish the already unrealistic chance for blacks to be elected in majority white voting population districts.’”

Now Thompson has a cut a spot for Jackson radio (WMPR 90.1FM) for Chokwe Lumumba (audio here) in the Democratic Primary run-off. It seems Thompson is after those tricky Republicans again. But not Jackson Republicans; no, he puts the blame on Rankin and Madison Republicans.

["Bennie Thompson, he's the one we need" music] Hello, this is Congressman Bennie Thompson endorsing Jackson mayoral candidate attorney Chokwe Lumumba. When I see Republicans from Rankin and Madison County supporting the other so-called Democrat in this race, I know that something is fishy. I know these Republicans well because they are the same Republicans who always support my opponents and they opened their checkbooks last fall for Mitt Romney in an effort to kick President Obama out of the White House. These Republicans want to create charter schools, pass voter-ID laws, cut Pell Grants, end Medicare and reduce Social Security benefits. Jackson voters are too smart to fall for these old Republican tricks. On Tuesday, May 21, vote for a real Democrat, vote for attorney Chokwe Lumumba. Thank you. [Paid for by the Committee to Elect Chokwe Lumumba Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi]

Thompson calls candidate Jonathan Lee a “so-called Democrat.” Lee is a Democrat for sure, but Lumumba, the “real Democrat” told a crowd during the last cycle, “It’s an election we intend to win. But there is no question we are not a Democrat like Barack Obama. We are not a Democrat period and I make that statement clear.” He later clarified according to the report, “Lumumba says he is affiliated with the Mississippi freedom Democratic Party and that qualifies him to run on the Democratic ticket. He also says he intends to make history if he wins by creating a new political party.”

Thompson is a strong political force. If Lumumba loses, he faces little short-term political damage in Jackson. If Lumumba wins, Thompson maintains his status as kingmaker.

The only real question from the Jackson ad that came to my mind is whether the use of Thompson’s own political jingle (which he uses in his own federal campaign and promotes him as “the one we need”) at the beginning and end of the Lumumba paid campaign spot runs afoul of federal campaign finance rules.

Federal rules permit candidates like Thompson to “endorse other federal and nonfederal candidates without running afoul of the coordination rules. They may also solicit federal funds for other federal and nonfederal candidates, political committees and certain tax-exempt 501(c) organizations as permitted by 11 CFR 300.65.5 Such endorsements or solicitations are not coordinated communications (i.e., in-kind contributions) with respect to the endorsing or soliciting candidate unless the communication promotes his or her candidacy or attacks his or her opponent.” Certainly any infraction would be minor, but I know when I first heard the ad, I wondered why a Bennie Thompson campaign ad was running this year.

(*A correction in the column: I noted that Republicans in the Mississippi delegation had not endorsed in Republican versus Republican fights, but reader Steven Carter noted that in fact Congressman Gregg Harper was a fundraiser sponsor for Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler in her primary against Supervisor John Bell Crosby.)

Election Report notes “inappropriate voter assistance” in 2012

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Last week Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann released the report on the conduct of the 2012 elections in Mississippi.

From the press release:

The report also details Election Day issues noted by our Agency and the forty observers sent to forty counties across the State.

Some of those issues include:

• Distributing and receiving ballots for emergency responders;
• Inappropriate voter assistance, “too many to count” in one instance;
• Campaigning too close to the polls;
• A failure of some counties to timely certify their elections; and,
• Lack of signage.

Here are the issues from the report. Inappropriate voter assistance continues to be a problem and the report singles out Calhoun, Neshoba and Walthall Counties. (Emphasis below is mine):

A few parking areas at polling locations were reported to be unpaved, making access for the disabled difficult. Observers noted that some polling places were too small or overcrowded, such as the Main, Highway 9 and Bruce #3 precincts in Calhoun County, resulting in less privacy in the voting process and a violation of the thirty foot (30’) rule. This problem also presented itself at precincts located within courthouses, as experienced by voters of the East Vaiden precinct in Carroll County

At least one (1) precinct in each of the following counties was missing at least one (1) sign and/or posting required by the Help America Vote Act and/or Mississippi law: Adams, Amite, Attala, Calhoun, Carroll, Claiborne, Holmes, Hinds, Jasper, Jefferson, Kemper, Leake, Leflore, Lincoln, Lowndes, Marshall, Montgomery, Noxubee, Pontotoc, Quitman, Walthall, Washington and Webster.

Observers noted an absence of instructions provided to voters casting an affidavit/provisional ballot in at least one (1) precinct in Attala, Claiborne, Holmes, Humphreys, Jasper, Kemper, Lafayette, Leake, Leflore, Lowndes, Noxubee, Perry and Walthall Counties.

A voter was allowed to enter the East Vaiden precinct in Carroll County and cast her ballot while wearing a tee-shirt supporting a presidential candidate, while others in Claiborne County were actively campaigning in a driveway leading to the entrance of Precinct 3A. The Secretary of State’s Office received numerous complaints on Election Day of a particular candidate’s campaign providing completed sample ballots to voters as each entered polling places in several counties,which included Holmes and Hinds Counties, in violation of the 150’ foot rule and the 30’ foot rule.

Election Day observers noted curbside voting taking place in a number of polling places visited within the counties, and proper procedures were followed by the poll managers. However, at least one observer noted an unusually high number of curbside voters, seventeen (17) at Precinct 94 in Hinds County between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Inappropriate voter assistance was noted by observers in polling places located in more than one-half of the forty (40) counties, meaning that poll managers were offering assistance to voters who did not request assistance and/or articulate a statutory reason for requiring assistance. Of significance were the notes of the observer in Calhoun County, who wrote that the number of voters assisted in one precinct were “too many to count”; the observer in Neshoba County who counted 68 voters assisted, with 25 having requested assistance and only one (1) voter actually articulating a statutory reason for requiring assistance; and the observer in Walthall County who counted 33 voters assisted between 8:10 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., with 1 having requested assistance and only 1 articulating a statutory reason for requiring assistance.

Some voters may have to show ID this election

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

On behalf of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus, Senator Kenny Wayne Jones wrote a letter-to-the-editor opposing voter-ID and reminding voters that the Mississippi Voter-ID law will not be in force this November.  But his claims that no one should be asked for their ID may not be accurate.  Jones wrote:

Remember, no one can request a citizen’s photo identification or question their residential status….If you are asked for identification of any kind, your rights have been violated and you should immediately call the Secretary of State at (601) 576-2550.

Actually, some voters may have to show ID this election.  Not only would it not violate their rights, it is federal law.

First time voters who register by mail who do not provide proof of identification (Drivers License Number; Social Security Number; utility check; etc) are required to show some kind of proof of identification at the polls.  This ought not impact many Mississippians because the mail-in voter registration form used by the Mississippi Secretary of State requests that information up front.  However, as the form says, if that information is not provided during registration a voter may have to provide that information to election officials. This is also explained in the Mississippi Voter Information Guide prepared by the Secretary of State.

RR: Mississippi Ballot Initiatives - Life, Liberty, Property

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

There are some frivolous ideas out there for ballot initiatives.  One in Mississippi has to do with a dispute over the mascot at the University of Mississippi. Not having attended Ole Miss, I’ve been entertained by the mascot war which began with the sacking of Colonel Reb and has resulted in the creation of the Rebel Bear (or Black Bear or Rebel The Bear or A Bear Named Rebel or something). I don’t have a dog in that hunt. I liked Colonel Reb just fine but right or wrong the university made a decision and I don’t think opposing it should rise to the level of a constitutional amendment. But as they say, its a free country.  Just because it isn’t my thing doesn’t mean others don’t care passionately for it and they can avail themselves of the same political process as everyone else.

I doubt they will get the required signatures to put it on the ballot. Only five times has that been accomplished.  The first two times were term-limit measures (in 1995 and 1999) and both lost on the ballot.  The other three times are this year: Personhood, Voter-ID, Eminent Domain.  I write about these initiatives in my column this week and you can read it online in the Neshoba County Democrat: Perry / Initiatives on life, liberty, property

Todd Wade & The State Board of Election Commissioners

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Last week I wrote about the removal of Senate District 9 Republican nominee Todd Wade from the general election ballot by the State Board of Election Commissioners.  The short the column is Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann questioned whether or not Wade was a qualified elector of Mississippi for four years. No one could prove that he wasn’t; but he could not prove to the satisfaction of Hosemann and Attorney General Jim Hood that he was. My take on the matter was that regardless of whether he was or was not, the time period to challenge him on that matter had already passed according to legislative statute and the SBEC did not have the authority to violate that statue.  The SBEC argued they had done it before, so they could do it again. You can read the full column in the Madison County Journal: Dem’s hosing of Todd Wade.

Here are some more rough notes I made while writing the column.  I don’t pretend to suggest they’re complete thoughts or even complete sentences.  But they are ideas or information I couldn’t squeeze into the column.  These were not my first SBEC meetings to attend (they are open to the public), but I always learn something new.  Sometimes they would be great events for a civics teacher to bring students to observe (although I do suggest you check first to make sure there is room). For example, I have been at their meetings before when they have removed candidates and thought nothing of it.  But then I had not heard before the argument and seen the law that Wade’s lawyers presented, and I think they made their case that the action of the SBEC violated state law.


Notes from 9/13/2001 noon meeting:

Court reporter present: requested by Hood and arranged by Hosemann. Court reporter transcribed the full meeting.

There was some dispute over when Wade was notified that his qualifications would be challenged at the September 9 meeting. He claims his first notification from Hosemann’s office was the day of the meeting but fortunately he had heard about the challenge through other channels and so was already on his way to Jackson from Oxford when they called.  Hosemann’s staff claims Wade was called on September 7; although Wade disputes the nature of the conversation.  Either way, both dates clearly fall after the September 2 window described by state law.

Hosemann’s staff argued the SBEC does not fall under the Administrative Procedures Act because the legislature has not specifically given it the authority to make rules.  Wade’s attorneys argued the statute generally gives the SBEC the authority and the position argued by Hosemann would “gut the Administrative Procedure Act.” When asked by Wade’s team whether the Attorney General’s Office agreed, Hood testily responded out of what appeared to be anger or frustration that he didn’t have to answer because his clients are state employees and that is who he gives opinions to and Wade’s lawyers are not his clients. Then settling down he said that the Attorney General’s Office was in agreement with the Secretary of State’s Office on that matter.

Hosemann, “I picked up whatever procedure there was when I got here.”

Notes from 9/13/2011 5pm Meeting:

When told that Senator Billy Hewes, President Pro Tem of the Senate, would preside via speaker phone because Bryant was at the time “incapable of performing said duties” and the Constitutional line of succession went next to Hewes, Hood asked whether it should actually be the Speaker of the House.  Barbour’s counsel read the constitutional provision and Hood seem satisfied. In fairness, I too thought the Speaker was next in line after the Lieutenant Governor so the meeting served as good civics lesson for me.

SBEC removed John Luke Pannell, Reform Party Candidate for Secretary of State on a vote 2-0 (Hood made the motion). Hewes and Hood voted to remove, Hosemann said he wanted to abstain unless necessary because this would be his opponent. Pannell is blind (no drivers license) and lives with family so had no utility bills in his name.  He provided no proof of residency other than an affidavit. His voter-ID card was March 2011 with registration on February 18, 2011. Hewes asked if there had ever been a case where only an affidavit served as proof and Asst. AG Reese Partridge answered “no.”

SBEC removed Yasming S. Johnson, Reform Party Candidate for Senate District 45. Has ID card from Department of Public Safety from Nov 12 2009 and an affidavit by Shawn O’Hara saying he has known her to live at her address for 2 years. No driver license or utility bills. Hood moves to strike from ballot and all vote to do so 3-0.

Discussed a complaint against Johnny Dupree. Six typed pages and four more pages of pictures that was faxed to Secretary of State. Complaint was over a matter of $585. SBEC determines this has nothing to do with them and Hosemann moves to reject and vote is 3-0.

When discussing whether MSGOP could replace Todd Wade Hosemann said notification on the removal of Maddox had been delivered to MSGOP on Monday but no notification had been made on Wade because he didn’t know how the vote would go. Hood said they gave notice at the Friday meeting and ample time and notice has been given.

Ballot Approved 3-0.

Misc Notes

The law allows for a challenge of a candidate’s qualifications and anyone on the SBEC could make such a challenge. But it must be done as the law provides which includes - in a general election - the 31 day window after the primary. In fact, the law allows you to challenge a candidate’s qualifications even after he has won an election. But the legislature protects candidates and parties from last minute challenges like this one through an exclusive process which was not followed.  You can follow the constitution without breaking the law.

As a statewide elected Republican official, Hosemann sits on the Mississippi Republican Party State Central Committee (SCC). Wade qualified for office on May 13. The qualifying deadline was June 1. On June 3 the Mississippi Republican State Executive Committee (SEC) certified the candidates.  On June 6 the Secretary of State’s Office contacted the MSGOP with questions on residency and qualifications of several candidates including Wade and some incumbent Republican legislators.  The MSGOP provided their information and a week later the Secretary of State’s Office sent the MSGOP the sample ballot which included Wade as a candidate. On August 2 Wade became the Republican nominee without opposition and the 31 day clock for receiving a challenge started. On September 2, that clock stopped without challenge. Hosemann is not on the SEC. Everyone on the SEC is on the SCC but not everyone on the SCC is on the SEC. The SEC is charged by statute as the responsible body to certify the candidates. (Letter From Arnie Hederman, Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party to Mississippi Republican State Executive Committee)

Wade believed he had been treated unfairly and appealed to the courts.  Dropped his challenge saying he did not want to be responsible for the failure of overseas military ballots arriving on time. Certainly had the statutory deadline for challenging Wade’s candidacy been followed, there would have been more time. Only a few days if challenged at the last minute but had he been challenged earlier he may have had weeks to pursue a legal challenge without delaying the ballot. It seems to me that was one of the reasons the legislature created that process. (Todd Wade Statement: Todd Wade Sites Mississippi Military Personnel’s Right to Vote as Reason to End Appeal)

A federal court decision from 2007 – involving a Reform Party dispute – describes the State Board of Election Commissioners “as an administrative agency of the State of Mississippi.”

Todd Wade: “The Facts About The Election Commission’s Decision” (Includes links to his brief provided to State Board of Election Commissioners, Gourlay v. Williams and Jim Hood’s Attorney General Opinion mentioned above)

DC Circuit “the First Amendment cannot be encroached upon for naught”

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Last month I wrote about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v FEC and its impact (or lack of) on Mississippi elections. In the column I wrote about three more upcoming cases that could impact campaign finance laws nationwide. One involved an organization known as

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is currently reviewing v FEC in which plaintiffs are challenging the $5000 contribution cap from PACs to organizations making independent expenditures for or against federal candidates.

Today the D.C. Circuit, in a unanamous 10 judge decision, struck down federal contribution limits from individuals to an organization wishing to make independent expenditures. It upheld organizational and disclosure requirements for that organization. The WSJ Law Blog has the background on the ruling.

A seperate case decided today involved soft-money fundraising for party building efforts. I wrote:

Republican National Committee v FEC in federal district court seeks to strike the McCain-Feingold prohibition against soft-money for efforts unrelated to candidate advocacy (party building, redistricting efforts). The Court could use such a case to strike or ease contribution limits.

In this case, the AP is reporting a loss for the RNC:

In a case brought by the Republican National Committee, a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court in Washington said it lacks the authority to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that upheld the ban on soft money fundraising by national party committees. That ban is a cornerstone of the so-called McCain-Feingold law and one of the few major parts of the law to survive court challenges.

The RNC had argued that it should be able to raise soft money for state elections, congressional redistricting, legal costs and other activities that it said had nothing to do with federal elections. The Federal Election Commission contended the soft money ban should be upheld.

The RNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling, including whether it will appeal to the Supreme Court.

Both of these rulings, along with Citizens United earlier this year, increase or reaffirm the opportunity and ability of organizations to participate in elections while leaving political parties, coordinated political pacs, and candidates restrained under more burdensome rules.

Freedom of Speech should not be limited due to the identity of the speaker

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

I posted earlier regarding my column on the Citizens United decision. Here are a few other thoughts that cut from the column.

In his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama criticized the decision saying “the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections. I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests.”

Writing for The National Law Journal, Tony Mauro writes “For high court, a rare rebuke”:

Critics who have parsed the remarks point out that the Court in Citizens United left a century-old law intact-the Tillman Act of 1907, which bars direct corporate contributions to candidates. Instead, the Court struck down more recent statutes and precedents affecting independent expenditures – legally different from direct contributions – by corporations. And on the foreign-corporations point, Citizens United explicitly declined to rule on the issue, and other laws undisturbed by the decision regulate foreign participation in U.S. elections.

But aside from that, President Obama seems to believe that the wealthy or powerful should not have the same freedom of speech as you or me. (If you’re reading this and are wealthy or powerful, I don’t meant to exclude you…I’m sticking up for you.) It is troublesome for the State to begin limiting speech because of the identity or characteristics of the speaker. Americans do not lose their freedom to speak as they grow in wealth or power.

For that matter, the Court recognized that corporations with great wealth include some media corporations. There was a media exemption written into the now invalidated law which the Court described as an admission of the law’s failure to uphold free speech, by treating some corporations differently from other corporations because of what purpose they serve.

The Court noted the long tradition that the government cannot limit speech based on the identity of the speaker; and limiting speech based on the wealth of the speaker would do just that. While the Court recognized the state does provide certain advantages to corporations over individuals who combine to create them “such as limited liability, perpetual life, and favorable treatment of the accumulation and distribution of assets” that this does not mean a corporation must forfeit its freedom of speech in exchange of those recognitions.

RR: “Citizens United” & Free Speech; Rejecting Early Voting; Karl Rove & Alan Nunnelee

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Here are three more columns that should catch the blog up on my recent columns.

This week I wroted about the “Citizens United v FEC” decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. I looked at its impact on federal elections, Mississippi’s campaign finance laws and how it will have little impact here, and a few more cases coming up that the Court could use to further define our national campaign finance laws. You can read it at the Madison County Journal online: Perry / A win for the First Amendment

There are various concerns about early voting: it increases the opportunity for election fraud, lengthens the campaign season and diminishes political debate, creates logistical challenges for election officials, and substitutes a civics of convenience for our citizen fellowship. I discussed the early voting bill currently before the Mississippi legislature and expanded on those concerns in my column two weeks ago. One item that I mentioned, that is often underlooked when people talk about early voting, is that it is not the same as absentee voting. If you vote absentee and change your mind, you can show up on election day and cast a vote and that absentee is purged. But if you do early voting, there is no way to change your vote. Plus, this bill doesn’t remove absentee balloting (or the fraud connected to it in many counties), it just adds an additional system to corrupt. More details in my column at the Madison County Journal online: Perry / Rejecting early voting

Finally, I enjoyed interviewing Karl Rove recently as he appeared at a fundraiser for Alan Nunnelee in his challenge to unseat Democratic Congressman Travis Childers in Mississippi’s First Congressional District. We talked about Nunnelee’s race, the then recent win by Republican Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and the liberal control of Congress. Its all in the Madison County Journal online: Perry / Nunnelee, judgement on Pelosi

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