Project Wonderful

Monday, September 29, 2014

Supreme Court Reverses Injunction to Block Early Voting Cutbacks in Ohio

I'm too displeased to come up with anything creative to say and you've heard it all from me before. Here it is from Talking Points Memo:

The Supreme Court said early voting cutbacks in Ohio can go into effect on Monday, reversing an order by a federal judge to block the state's restrictive voting law.

The Court's decision came within one day of when Ohioans would have been able to head to the polls to cast their ballots in the 2014 midterm elections.

The Supreme Court's decision to reverse the injunction — which was upheld by an appeals court last week — was divided 5-4 along ideological lines. The request was submitted to Justice Elena Kagan, who turned the matter to the full court.

The next step is for the lower courts to consider whether the Ohio law is valid on the merits.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Senator Survivor

"Discovery Channel on Thursday announced that “Rival Survival,” featuring Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) as dueling colleagues turned desert-island teammates, is set to air Oct. 29.

Filmed over a week on Erdu in the Marshall Islands, the show will follow the senators as they try to work together (see America, it can be done!) 'as they attempt to spear fish, build shelter and find enough water to survive for one week.'"

Devotees will remember that I am not a huge fan of the reality show contestant/politician. However, I would tune into this mostly because it's only one episode and it's a trip at least one of them would have taken anyway; this is a trip Sen. Flake has taken twice before. No doubt this is a publicity stunt, but the Teddy Roosevelt enthusiast in me loves the idea of two disagreeing Senators putting partisan politics aside and bro-ing out in nature.

The show will air on October 29th.

This Ad Though (Second Installment)

As election season wears on, the ads are getting weirder.

Bizarre, Sexist Ad Makes My Brain Explode

Ignoring for a second the misleading implications it contains about Obama and his presidency, and there are more than a few, this ad still infuriates me. Although Americans for Prosperity funder John Jordan claims the "the purpose of this is to treat women voters more like adults" the effect is quite the opposite. What this ad implies to me is that women are incapable of understanding anything outside of their burning desire to be loved and protected by men. "It's understandable that women got tricked by Barack Obama because he's a man and women are simple and gullible."

I didn't actually know I could want to vote for Democrats more than I already did, but now I do just to spite the sexist assholes who produced this ad.

Art Imitating Life Imitating Congressmen

Most of the time I find the Onion obnoxious, but there are times when it is really spot on. Why are some men so gross?

Happy National Voter Registration Day From George Takei

Monday, September 22, 2014

What I Wish I Had Known At 30 With Ed Espinoza

Ed Espinoza, 41, Executive Director of Progress Texas

I have worked with Ed two times and yet somehow we don't have a picture together! Ed has always been super generous about sharing advice with me and it is my honor to share some of that with you! Some gems in here. Take it away, Ed!

1) Tell us a little about your career path.
I fell in to politics by accident when I was 19 by volunteering for a campaigns that had been tabling at my school, Santa Monica College. I loved it, changed my major from marine biology to political science and transferred to UCLA. I eventually got a job working for the Clinton/Gore re-elect, which opened the door to staying employed with the California Democratic Party in one way or another for six years. I've since worked on 51 campaigns in about 15 states. I was the western desk at the DNC from 2009-2011, I was a political analyst for CNN from 2011-2012 and now run an organization called Progress Texas based in Austin.

I left the business a few times to work for a couple of big PR firms to sharpen my media skills (you know, to have a respectable private sector career), but I always came back to politics. It took me about 10 years of working on campaigns to not be shy about the subject with my non-political friends and accept the fact that I am a political professional. It was great, it was like coming out of the closet for politics.

2) What are you most proud of?
I've been fortunate to be a part of many milestones, having a small part in the election of the first black president as a California superdelegate and as a campaign worker, and working on the passage of healthcare reform while working at the DNC. And of course being a part of the Stand With Texas Women movement supporting the Wendy Davis filibuster at the Texas Capitol during the summer of 2013. Important events, and I feel fortunate to have been a part of all three while working with very impressive people.

3) What is the best advice you've received?
Two pieces of advice have stuck with me for years. They are conflicting, but they make sense in their own ways:

Grandpa Mike: "Do what you love, otherwise you'll spend 40 years of your life just workin'."

My best friend from back home: "Do what you're good at, and know that it might not be the thing you love to do."

I guess the solution is to either fall in love with what you're good at or get really good at what you love. I really like communications and have built a fine career in it, but I'm very good manager. I don't really enjoy managing, though I like that I know I'm good at it. Lucky for me I guess that I'm currently directing a communications shop.

4) What is the worst advice you've received?
Hard to say specifically, but you'll get a lot of good and bad advice in your life - the key is in knowing the difference between the two.

5) What lesson are you still trying to learn?
How to not get too worked up over things, not letting the constant flow of electronic media keep me from paying attention to the people I'm spending time with, and most of all that whole work/life balance thing.

Hobbies are important, they keep us from becoming one dimensional and we actually use our brains better when we are able to turn them away from work for a while. It also helps you see that you are more than the sum of your day job. I try to get out on the water, see more live music, and am working on being an awesome iPhone photographer.

6) What was the best thing about being in your 20's?
Being able to make mistakes, and in general just not knowing any better. You can accomplish so much when you don't have any preconceived notions holding you back.

I started doing political analysis on national TV in my 20's because I didn't know that such commentary was supposedly reserved for experts. I went on the air and had good segments but also some bad ones, one interview was so bad they cut away from me to cover a gas leak in Missouri.

But that's the thing, you're gonna fuck something up and it's not going to be the end of the world. You learn from it and you get better.

7) What is one thing I should absolutely do before I turn 30?
I feel like an easy answer here would be to say "skydive" or "go to Tahiti!" My best suggestion on what to do before turning 30 is to develop a good sense of who are (and who you aren't). Know what you're good at, what you enjoy doing, know who you want to be. Maybe you want to be an expert on an issue, or someone who is a great fundraiser, or the next David Plouffe. Once you can visualize who you want to be, you'll figure out what to do and where you should be working.

And if you do go to Tahiti...think about going solo. You learn a lot about yourself when you're on your own (plus you get to set and change your itinerary your own way).

8) What's the best thing about being 41?
After 20+ years of doing this I know who I am and what I'm good at doing.

And if someone thinks differently, I don't let it hold me back. In general, things got a whole lot easier when I stopped giving a shit about things like that.

9) What are you looking forward to?
Packing up my carry-on and getting on a plane. Watching UCLA football. Going to see a band that I love.

But above all the one thing I always look forward to is catching up with old campaign friends. You meet a lot of smart/funny/interesting people in politics.

Coming from campaigns is like coming from a bad neighborhood - it makes you tough. And you develop a similar bond with the people you came up with, if only because you all managed to survive it.

10) What else?
Emulate people you admire. More than just what they know - learn how they think. Study the intangibles; how they make decisions, build bridges, diffuse conflict.

Return calls.

And if a bartender ever asks "what's in that?" you don't wan't him making it. Order a bottle of beer.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Organizer Store- My Current Obsessions

You guys, I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but when I was an organizer, we had to canvass in the snow uphill both ways. Alright not really, and thank God I came into the game just about the time VAN started printing dot maps, but there is a lot of really cool stuff out there (ahem, Iphones, prolific use of GPS, minivan) that I wish had been around when I was an organizer. Then there are the things I have and enjoy now that I can still enjoy now but really wish I had had access to as an organizer. Sorry campaign bros, because these are the things I’m currently into and I am who I am, the first three are just for us ladies (or you know people who wear dresses and makeup, you do you.)

Gwynnie Bee
Those of you who know me know that when it comes to fashion I have what might described as champagne taste and field organizer budget. I also really, really hate doing laundry, which is why it’s incredible that it took me so long to subscribe to Gwynnie Bee. What is Gwynnie Bee you ask? It’s a clothing subscription service for women sizes 10-32. You sign up for a subscription plan (which start at $35/month) and put as many items from their inventory as you like in your virtual closet. Then they send you clothes! You wear and keep a garment for as long as you like and when you’re finished you just send it back and they send you a new one!

As much as this sounds like one, this is not an ad for Gwynnie Bee and they have not asked me to promote their service in any way. I just think it’s a really good idea, especially if you’re on a campaign. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to be able to stress shop online all the time (because who has time to go to the store) and have an endlessly rotating wardrobe without ever doing laundry (because who has time to do anything?). Since signing up for Gwynnie Bee 2 months ago I must have saved at least $100 on dry cleaning. Anyway, I use it and I think its great. If I had had Gwynnie Bee back in my organizing days it would have spared me a lot of days of wearing yoga pants in the office. If you think this might be something you’d be into they offer a free month trial AND if you use this link you and I both get a free upgrade (so please use my link) happy shopping!

Maybelline 24 Hour Super Stay Lip Color
I warned you this was gonna get girly! I’m by no means implying that makeup is something you need to be spending your time/money/energy on out in the field, BUT if it is something you choose to wear all or some of the time this is a really good one. This sucka stays on ALL DAY LONG. It goes on like a lip gloss packs a big color punch and stays on (and comfortable) through multiple diet cokes or trips to Starbucks. It comes with a clear gloss chapstick thing so your lips never feel dry the way they can with other long lasting lipsticks. Best of all, it’s a drugstore brand so it’s readily available and cheap. One tube will cost you around $6 and it’s a perfect way to add a little glamour to your day with a less than 1 minute investment of time.

Diorskin Airflash Foundation
Sadly, Diorskin is on the opposite end of the price spectrum when it comes to cosemtics, but in my opinion it is worth the price. You simply mist it on your face in sort of a Z motion and in 20 seconds you have pretty much flawless coverage. (Warning check under your eyes or anywhere you might scrunch up your face during application because you might require a quick smoothing). Yes, it’s $60 a bottle (I have tried the Sephora knock-off and it is nowhere near as good quality) BUT if you are someone who a) wears foundation anyway b) feels self-conscious about redness or dark circles that are basically inevitable in the life of an organizer or c) is out canvassing a lot and therefore should be protecting your skin anyway, it is well worth the investment. That bottle lasts a long time and is an amazingly quick/convenient way to brighten your face without spending precious sleep, shower or organizing time “doing your makeup.”
Unlike the aforementioned items on this list, is gender expression neutral and absolutely free. You simply link your debit and credit cards to a secure account and Mint tracks where you spend your money. It allows you to set budgets (so you don’t go over your bar or coffee allotment for the month), flag items for reimbursement so you always know what you should be getting paid back, and dings you when you’re about to go over your spending. This is an extremely helpful tool for those of us who never seem to be able to save the money we intend to, and instead let it get eaten away by a Pumpkin Spice Latte here and a drunken plate of nachos there. It’s not that I condemn thccese occasional treats (quite the contrary! You need to indulge yourself in the little moments you can) but Mint does make you more aware of where your money goes so that when the urge strikes you can make an informed cost benefit analysis. (By the way for money saving on the campaign trail tips, check out this post from my friend Ed Espinoza here.)

Okay if you’re not using Spotify who even are you? Sometimes headphones are the only escape you have from your coworkers and when my headphones are in, my Spotify is on. Think of Spotify as if Itunes and Pandora had a baby, and that baby was free. Spotify hosts a huge library of songs (I‘d say 95% of anything I ever search for) that you can listen to, save to playlists, or create radio stations from. Spotify is also home to your official CampaignSick collaborative GOTV, Field, Finance and Data playlists. This means that if you have a Spotify account you can subscribe to these lists and had share songs for other campaign nerds across the country to enjoy! For a little more a month you can enjoy these same features on your phone, including the ability to download songs, which I find well worth my while as a frequent airplane/Amtrak passenger and pedestrian commuter, but not necessarily an investment I would have made when I basically lived life in a 20 mile radius of my office. So your call on that one.

Until next time! What are your organizing must haves? Don’t forget to use my Gwynnie Bee link if you’re interested and as always…

Campaign Love and Mine,


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ask An Election Nerd: Coordination Frustration

I am an FO on a coordinated campaign, and it is my first show. I am finding that local campaigns seem to hate us! Also, each of the candidates seems to have their own low-key field team outside the coordinated, and they keep reaching out and confusing my volunteers! Is this common? I have one vol who probably won't come out again because he thinks the coordinated is just not a thing. I don't know what to tell him!

Ah the eternal struggle of the coordinated! This is a great question and one I have addressed more or less in the past, but it comes up every year and it’s something I wish I (and almost everyone I’ve ever worked with) had better understood.

When it comes to coordinating (as in most campaign inter-personnel matters) empathy is the name of the game. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess both from the tone of your question and the necessity of your situation that you believe your campaign is the most important, if not in the country then certainly in your office. Good! As well you should! Organizing is a job where sometimes in order to get through the day it helps to believe with certainty that your work has dire consequences for the state and the nation. Well guess what? So does everybody else there.

Let’s talk a little bit about how a coordinated campaign works. Various candidate campaigns “buy in” to the coordinated through the state party to be part of the coordinated effort. The amount they pay is usually dictated by their budget, which generally varies by the size of the race. Thus a gubernatorial candidate who is running statewide is sure to contribute a greater amount toward the coordinated budget than a state senate candidate who is running only her in own district.

Naturally, campaigns that contribute more to the coordinated effort have a greater influence over its direction and content. This means that while a coordinated campaign might ID for all of its candidates, canvassing and phone scripts only include persuasion for the one or two candidates “at the top of the ticket.” Likewise, while canvassers and callers might be trained to ID for all candidates, the reality is that the number of IDs collected for each candidate dwindles as you move down the script by which time voters get annoyed and callers get lazy. This, by the way, is why coordinated campaigns are at their best during GOTV when you’re just turning out rather than ID’ing and persuading voters.

As you can imagine, state legislative campaigns want an opportunity to persuade and voters as well. In addition, while targeting for most Democratic campaigns is similar, it is far from identical. Race, religion, gender, record and opponent might all play into a local campaign wanting to target a slightly different group of voters from the coordinated, which is driven by the state party and top of the ticket candidates. Let’s say you live in a conservative part of a swing state and the top ticket candidate has a moderate Republican opponent for an open seat. In a statewide race, your vote goal might only call for you to win 35% of your county. However in a race where your county encompasses 80% of the district, 35% isn’t gonna cut it. Now let’s say a conservative Democrat is running for State Senate in that area and her opponent made insensitive comments about sexual violence, and was caught using cocaine and having a sexual relationship with one of his interns. She might try appealing to moderate Republicans, or Republican women, people who you probably don’t want to remind that there’s an election at all.

My point is yes, there is truth to the axiom that a rising tide floats all ships, but not in all cases. Everyone here has a job to do and no one wants to give up control, for reasons that vary from valid to ego-driven. Remember, they’re no more “your” volunteers than theirs.

So, what to do? I wrote a post about coordinating campaigns at a slightly higher level than you’re talking about last year, but I think a lot of the same advice still applies.

First off, I highly recommend coming up with a calling/canvassing schedule. If your field director hasn’t already mandated this make up a calendar of where your volunteers will be knocking/calling when and work it out so this doesn’t coincide with other campaigns. Not only will you avoid turf wars, but you’ll get a better response rate and be more efficient as you benefit from each other’s data collection.

When it comes to volunteers, you’re dealing with a limited pool of resources so occasional conflict is inevitable. With a volunteer in the situation you described I would propose one of the following solutions. Either 1) If this is a regular volunteer set up a weekly schedule with her and the other campaign where she volunteers for you on Monday and them on Weds (or whatever.) 2.) Agree with this other campaign’s organizer/field director to have this specific volunteer call your list when she comes in but make sure she uses a script that to includes (or even begins with) their candidate’s persuasion message. This type of stuff happened on the ground from time to time when I was an FO/Regional . As long as it’s only one or two volunteers (and of course you can’t do this with all of them) for the sake of peace in your office, what your field director doesn’t know won’t hurt her. (Sorry Coordinated Director/Statewide Field Director friends…Sorry! Sorry! I love you!)

Another important rule of thumb for keeping a peaceful coordinated office is when you say you’re going to do something, do it.
If you promise not to call a certain volunteer list on Wednesdays and you are then compelled by your field director to call that list, be upfront about it and work out a solution with your office mate. She will trust and like you a lot more if you keep her in the loop rather than go behind her back and create more tension.

Finally, we’re back to empathy. Acknowledge that you are all in a stressful situation with finite resources and nerves are gonna get frayed, but at the end of the day you have way more in common with each other than you do with most people. The more you can foster a “we’re in this together” mentality in your office the better off you’ll be.

I hope that helps! Thank you for all the amazing work you’re doing out there and thanks for reading.

Campaign Love and Mine,


Friday, September 5, 2014

Kansas Secretary of State Refuses to Remove Democrat From Ballot

Remember yesterday when I wrote that Democratic candidate Chad Taylor's withdrawal from the Kansas Senate race could lead to a possible upset in Pat Roberts' bid for re-election? Apparently Republicans were thinking the same thing.

Not only the did the national party dispatch top Republican strategist Chris LaCivita to take control of the campaign but Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach is trying to block Taylor from removing his name from the ballot. Taylor says he did everything he was supposed to do to legally withdraw his name, Kobach says he didn't. Sounds to me like yet another example of Republicans trying to change the rules to the game when they stop winning.

Six Senate Forecasts Combined, Plus Meet My Friend Pete!

If you're like me, when you hear the phrase "Senate forecast" your first reaction is "cloudy with a chance of boring." It's not that I don't care what's going on in elections across our country (hi, have we met?) or that I don't appreciate a good data nerd out. It's just that there's so much information out there, so many numbers flying around, that it's hard to parse it all out- especially when it's your job to figure out how we're going to win rather than what the actual likelihood of doing so is.

Luckily there are some people not like me, including my good friend Pete Solecki (to be clear Pete also cares about how we're going to win but that's another blog post.) Pete, in addition to being my bro back from the whoa back, is a data and digital strategist of the Democratic persuasion. He has helpfully compared, contrasted and finally combined six leading forecasts for the 2014 Senate elections. (That's what you're looking at above.) He maps it all out for you on his new website here. He's very smart that Pete Solecki. Look forward to more links to Pete's page from CampaignSick or why not follow him all on your own?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Planned Parenthood Shuts Down Ridiculous GOP Pro-Women/Labor Claim

Are you f-ing kidding me? Republicans claiming labor day is like them taking credit for a gay marriage. And for WOMEN no less? Prominent Republicans won't even acknowledge that a wage gap exists. It would be like Britain tweeting "You're welcome, also we have great food" on Independence Day. Picture above and supporting HuffPo article here. (About Republicans' record on pay, not the British thing.)

Proving once again that saying something doesn't make it true.

Two Percent of Americans Report Having Run For Office

Office seekers are overwhelmingly male (75%) and white (82%). Imagine my surprise. You can read the Pew Report here.

Kansas Could Have An Independent Senator. So That's Exciting.

If you're a Republican Senator, you'd think your Democratic opponent dropping out before the general election would be a good thing. Not so for Incumbent Republican Senator Pat Roberts who just survived a tea party primary challenge. Democrat Chad Taylor's surprising announcement that he was withdrawing from the Kansas' US Senate race paves the way for a potential galvanization of anti-Roberts sentiment behind Independent Greg Orman.

Fox News (I know.):
"A recent poll from Democrat-leaning Public Policy Polling showed Orman had a 43 percent to 33 percent lead over Roberts if the race was just between the two of them.

On the other hand, if all three candidates were in the race, 32 percent of voters picked Roberts, 25 percent picked Taylor and 23 percent picked Orman, according to a Public Policy Polling poll.

Orman had positioned himself as Roberts' most formidable opponent, and his fundraising was more robust than Taylor's...

Orman, the co-founder of a business capital and management services firm, ran for Roberts' seat in 2007 as a Democrat but dropped out early in 2008. He said he grew unhappy with both parties.

On Wednesday, Orman received the endorsement of Traditional Republicans for Common Sense, a group of former moderate GOP state legislators unhappy with the party's conservative leanings."

Huh. This just became a race to watch.

NAACP v. Husted

Despite what the picture on his website might have you believe, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted REEEEAAALLLLY doesn't want more people voting. Like really, really. You may remember some of his greatest hits like getting sued by OFA and getting hauled in front of a judge for deliberately disobeying the court's order to restore early voting. The ACLU brief sums it up nicely.
"In Ohio, targeting early voting has become a pattern. In 2011, the Ohio General Assembly passed a law eliminating both Golden Week and the last three days of early voting before Election Day. Voters responded by organizing a ballot referendum to strike down the law, prompting legislators to repeal it on their own.

In 2012, Husted continued the pattern by issuing a directive that cut the same three days of early voting for all non-military voters. The Obama campaign responded with a federal lawsuit and the court forced Husted to restore the early voting days, allowing an additional 67,000 voters to cast an in-person ballot before the election."
May of this year rolled around and Husted and his bros in the legislature were like, "You know what we should do? Cut early voting. That's gone awesomely and been totally legal before." Enter NAACP v. Husted.
"The lawsuit names Husted and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine as defendants. It seeks to strike down Ohio Senate Bill 238, a 2014 law that eliminated the first week of early voting in Ohio. This period, often referred to as "Golden Week," enables voters to register and cast a ballot on the same day. The suit is also challenging a 2014 Husted directive that further slashed the early voting period by eliminating all Sundays, the Monday before Election Day and all evening voting hours."
Thankfully, and unsurprisingly, a Federal court granted injunctive relief this morning ruling that the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act(the part prohibiting laws that have a racially discriminatory effect) which means Golden Week (weird name) will be restored for the midterms. Can Ohio please stop now?

Florida Congressman Holds Sexist Weirdo Fundraiser

Let's tackle the first thing that every campaign manager notices about this invite: the text is so tiny! Who is gonna read all that?

Now that that's out of the way let's examine the content of the text. "Good men sitting around discussing & solving political & social problems over fine food & drink date back to the 12th Century with King Arthur’s Round Table" WHAT?

"Tell the Misses not to wait up because the after dinner whiskey and cigars will be smooth & the issues to discuss are many." And the sentence structure will be awkward.

"Whatever you do, don't tell her the night's menu includes Irish Cheddar, Whiskey Cheddar [Yeah! Because bitches hate cheeses!] salt & pepper potato cakes...[Democrats just call them latkes.]... and Green Irish Whiskey Sour Jell-o [You know, how King Arthur used to do Jell-o shots.]"

Look, I love a good theme party, but the implication here is a nostalgia for when women didn't participate in public life, and that doesn't work for me.

Campaign Manager Luke Strickland says, “It is laughable that an issue is being made over an invitation to a private event hosted on Steve’s behalf six months ago. We have also participated in events with women, young professionals, doctors, sportsmen." First of all Luke, nothing in politics is private. Second of all, you don't get a free pass for having done in the past what you are supposed to do always; that is represent ALL the people in your district.

Source: Buzzfeed

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Small Town Sues ALL of Its Voters

What do you do when you live in a small town and the election numbers don't add up? Haul everyone in for questioning. I have to say despite the ridiculousness of this headline, there's something kind of quaint and endearing about this story. I love the idea of democracy so local that you can sit all the voters in an election down together to sort out any irregularities. The town in question is Montezuma, Colorado (a place I have actually been) and the details are so priceless that I just quoted a large chunk of the Denver Post article below.

The matter of a town suing its voters began with a highly controversial election for mayor and town board. It was held April Fools' Day.

In a town of 65 residents where a draw for a short straw used to decide who had to serve as mayor, an unprecedented dozen candidates ran for office. The hot-button issue that led to this kind of participation involved second-home owners.

New Montezuma Mayor Lesley Davis, who was elected by a three-vote margin, claimed that 13 of the voters and at least two of the candidates were not really residents of the town.

'This is our only option to have an objective judge take a look at the election controversy and give us his advice on how to move forward,' Davis said.

Locals say it is easy to tell who doesn't really live there by the piles of unplowed snow in driveways. Montezuma sits at 10,200 feet, 5 miles up a dirt road from the Keystone ski resort.

The lawsuit states that an investigation by the Summit County district attorney's office found that at least five voters were not qualified to vote because they weren't residents.

The lawsuit also cites a number of mistakes in the ballots, including the fact that there were no removable stubs to protect the anonymity of the voters. To try to rectify that, town Clerk Helen Moorman sewed stubs to the ballots but didn't realize the ballots still contained numbers that gave away voters' identities.

The upshot to all the mistakes is that no one in Montezuma knows if the current elected officials were elected properly. No challenge was filed within the 10-day window following the election. Thus, the lawsuit filed by Denver attorney Kendra Carberry. She did not return calls seeking comment.

"Now I'm paying someone to sue me," Montezuma voter Chris Baker said. "It's fairly disturbing that the town is using our tax money to sue us."

How can you not love this story?

Federal Court Hearing Arguments in Texas Voter ID Case

Arguments over the legality of Texas' notorious ID law are being heard by a Federal judge in Corpus Christi.

What's super interesting about this case is that the law was originally rejected during preclearance but with preclearance effectively off the table the Justice Department will argue its case by proving that the law intentionally disenfranchises minority voters. (This, by the way, is emblematic of the shift in burden of proof in an post- Shelby County v. Holder world.) It is worth noting that under still intact Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, a law is prohibited if it has the effect of discriminating against voters on the the basis of race. However, the Justice Department seeks to meet a stricter standard and prove that the law was enacted with the intent to discriminate. As you may remember, it was the formula used to determine which jurisdictions were covered and not preclearance itself that was stuck down in Shelby County v. Holder. If the DOJ can prove intent to discriminate then the federal judge can place Texas back under preclearance.

My favorite quote from a New York Times article on the case, "Texas alleg[es] that the Justice Department has gone after “only Southern, Republican-led states” and suggesting that the agency ignores the concerns of white Republican voters and favors minority Democratic voters. The allegations have outraged lawyers for the Justice Department and several minority groups, voters and Democratic lawmakers who are part of the agency’s lawsuit against Texas." Man white Republicans just can't catch a break in the disenfranchisement game.

This Ad Though

I can't tell if this ad is great or terrible.

Really Mitch, not 9/11?

Black Guy Gets Arrested For Distributing Voting Rights Literature, Everything is Terrible

From Think Progress: The stars of North Carolina’s Moral Mondays movement took the stage on Labor Day at Charlotte’s Marshall Park to condemn the state’s record on voter suppression and racial profiling, and urge the community to organize and turn out at the polls this November. Just a few hundred feet away, police cuffed and arrested local LGBT activist and former State Senate candidate Ty Turner as he was putting voting rights information on parked cars. The whole story can be found here.

Video above is of the arrest and pretty hard to watch. There's an initial visceral reaction of "why doesn't this guy calm down?" and then you realize what exactly is happening and it is hard to remain calm yourself. What year do we live in?