Is Allen West and other Republicans any better than the Democrats?
Allen West has voted for NDAA and The Patriot Act; including other supposedly Conservatives.
National Defense Authorization Act
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the act, which it called HR540 on Wednesday evening by a vote of 283 to 136, with 14 members not voting.
The House released the official vote tally on its website and it shows that 190 Republicans voted for the bill and 43 voted against it, while 93 Democratic representatives voted for and 93 voted against it.
Congress made and pass the bill.
Republicans in the Missouri Legislature who consider Mr. Reagan their patron saint would do well to apply that concept to their misguided attempts to make it harder for Missourians to exercise their fundamental right to vote.
No one in the Legislature is more committed to trampling on this right than Rep. Shane Schoeller, the third-term Republican from Willard who is running for secretary of state.
Mr. Schoeller not only wants to ask voters to weaken the state constitution and then disenfranchise any state voters who lack a specific form of government-issued photo identification, now he also wants to take away the right of absentee voters — including members of the armed services — to mail in their ballots.
House Bill 2109 is horrendous for a variety of reasons. Examining its origins, its sloppy construction and its potentially devastating results sheds light on how far modern conservative ideals have drifted from what Mr. Reagan had espoused for the Republican Party.
Mr. Schoeller's bill is borrowed from one passed in Kansas written by that state's secretary of state, Kris Kobach, a noted anti-immigrant crusader whose ideas helped spawn Arizona's and Alabama's divisive and unconstitutional anti-immigrant laws.
So much for the shining city on a hill.
Mr. Schoeller's bill would require potential voters to prove their citizenship. On its surface, that doesn't seem unreasonable. But the devil is in th details.
The bill, for instance, gives local election boards the right to determine if your birth certificate is adequate. (Note to Hawaiians: Cancel that move to Missouri). Similarly, if you have a drivers license from a state that your local election authority doesn't think protects citizenship enough, you might not be able to register to vote.
The worst provision in Mr. Schoeller's bill would take away the long-held right of Missourians who request absentee ballots to vote by mail. These folks already are registered to vote. Some of them are disabled and can't get to the polls. Others are members of the military, stationed far from home, perhaps even overseas protecting the very right to vote that Mr. Schoeller seeks to diminish.
Why in the name of stubborn facts would Mr. Schoeller offer such a proposal? He told us that some of his constituents are concerned about potential voter fraud.
"I don't have an example of this actually happening," he told us.
Of course he doesn't. On the other hand, a lot of people do mail in their absentee ballots — 270,000 of them in 2008, the last presidential election. More than 11,000 of those came from military personnel.
Yes, facts are stubborn things. Here's another one: A 2005 study of the voting system in Oregon, the one state in the nation with an entirely vote-by-mail system, found it to be "more accurate" and protected from fraud than most state voting systems. The study was co-chaired by James A. Baker III, who served as chief of staff and Treasury Secretary under (wait for it) Ronald Reagan.
Mr. Schoeller insists his intent is not to diminish voting rights. But the undeniable and stubborn fact is that every voter-related bill he's offered does precisely that.
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