Thursday, April 19, 2007

Court Rules Against Bush Administration: DoJ Failed To Show ‘That Any Voter Fraud Occurred’

Think Progress

scholzman.gif For the past six years, the Bush administration and the Justice Department’s political appointees have “pursued an aggressive legal effort to restrict voter turnout in key battleground states in ways that favor Republican political candidates. … On virtually every significant decision affecting election balloting since 2001, the division’s Voting Rights Section has come down on the side of Republicans.”

In 2005, the Justice Department went Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) for not keeping the state’s voting records up-to-date. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey sharply criticized the Justice Department’s weak case and ruled in favor of Carnahan:

Laughrey said it was difficult to gauge the scope of the problem “because the United States has not presented the actual voter registration lists and shown who should have been included or excluded and why.”

“It is also telling that the United States has not shown that any Missouri resident was denied his or her right to vote as a result of deficiencies alleged by the United States,” Laughrey wrote. “Nor has the United States shown that any voter fraud has occurred.”

The case was led by the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, Bradley Schlozman, who earlier served in the Justice Department’s civil rights division. In 2005, he reversed the career staff’s recommendations to challenge a Georgia photo-ID law that a federal judge later likened to a “modern-day poll tax.”

Courts are increasingly dismantling the Bush administration’s attempts to go after political adversaries at the state and local levels. Earlier this month, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an aide to Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle “was wrongly convicted” of public corruption. The federal judges, acting with “unusual speed,” “assailed the government’s case” and said that U.S. attorney Steven Biskupic’s evidence was “beyond thin.”

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