Showing posts with label Politicians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politicians. Show all posts

October 24, 2018

LGBT Rights Are a Partisan Issue and GLAAD Survey The Candidates For You

 National LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD released its first-ever political candidate survey on Tuesday, and the responses — or lack thereof — revealed a stark partisan divide when it comes to views about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans.
The “Electing Acceptance” survey seeks to assess political candidates’ comfort level with LGBTQ people, and the findings are intended to help voters make informed decisions at the ballot box.
“Americans deserve to know if the candidates they are putting in positions to make important decisions about their lives, their families, and their communities match their own levels of comfort and acceptance when it comes to LGBTQ people,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said of the inaugural survey.
GLAAD sent the survey to the nearly 1,200 candidates running for seats in both houses of Congress, as well as those running for governor and lieutenant governor. But while 240 Democrats and 79 third-party candidates filled out the survey, only 32 Republicans did so. Of those who responded, 99 percent of Democrats, 80 percent of third-party candidates and 55 percent of Republicans received an “Ally” designation from GLAAD — the highest of the three ratings.
Image: Glaad Election Graph
In order to assess whether the candidate is an “Ally,” “Detached Supporter” or “Resistor” when it comes to LGBTQ acceptance, candidates were asked to rate how comfortable they are in seven different scenarios. These scenarios include having an LGBTQ person at your place of worship, learning that you have an LGBTQ family member, learning that your doctor is LGBTQ, seeing an LGBTQ coworker’s wedding photo, seeing a same-sex couple hold hands, having your child learn about LGBTQ history in school and learning your child has an LGBTQ teacher.
After receiving the candidates responses, GLAAD then classified them into one of the three categories based on their answers. Allies expressed comfort with every scenario, resistors were not comfortable with any scenario and detached supporters had a mixed comfort level with the seven scenarios presented.
Of the approximately 40 percent of Republicans who earned a Detached Supporter designation, most of them expressed discomfort with their children being taught LGBTQ history in school.
Several Democrats in tight races — including Georgia gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams and Senate candidates Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Jacky Rosen of Nevada and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — earned Ally ratings while their opponents did not respond to the survey.
“Acceptance should never be a partisan issue,” Ellis said, “but the paltry response from Republican candidates is unfortunate and the latest sign that creating an America where LGBTQ Americans are accepted is not a priority for their party.”
Image: Glaad Election Graph
Logan S. Casey, a policy researcher at Harvard University, said he was not surprised by the partisan results of the survey. In his own research, he foundRepublicans were more likely than Democrats to report feelings of “disgust” toward LGBTQ people.
“Politicians are people, and some people still aren’t comfortable with being around LGBTQ folks or seeing them express affection,” he explained. “My research shows that some people still feel not only uncomfortable with, but also outright disgust toward LGBTQ people, and that makes them less likely to support LGBTQ policies and more likely to avoid LGBTQ people. That said, these politicians are largely out of step with public opinion.”
Only four Republican incumbents responded to GLAAD’s survey: Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, Rep. Donald Young of Alaska, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Vermont Governor Phil Scott. Their responses earned them an Ally designation by GLAAD.
“Supporting LGBTQ equality should never be a partisan issue,” Rep. Curbelo told NBC News. “I’m proud to be an LGBTQ ally, because supporting equality for all people is simply the right thing to do.”
Curbelo’s Southern Florida district — which includes Key West and parts of Miami-Dade County — is classified as a “toss up” by the Cook Political Report. He is in a close race with Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Democrat who also completed the GLAAD survey and received an Ally designation. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick is in a similar situation to Curbelo. Fitzpatrick is running for reelection in the suburbs of Philadelphia, a battleground district the Democrats are hoping to flip in the midterms. The Cook Political Report has Fitzpatrick as the slight favorite to win over his Democratic opponent, Scott Wallace, who also completed the survey and attained an Ally status.
Fitzpatrick told NBC News that he responded to the survey, when so many fellow Republicans did not, because “it’s a cause a believe in, and I’m proud of my position on it.” He described himself and Curbelo as the “next generation” of the Republican party “who think very differently” on issues like LGBTQ rights, and he added that it’s an area “the GOP needs to make significant strides on.”
Casey agreed, saying Republicans who break with their party when it comes to LGBTQ rights, would likely be awarded at the polls.
“An increasing majority of the public is supportive of a wide variety of LGBTQ issues,” he explained. “In other words, they would have plenty of public opinion support, including among independent and Republican voters, if they chose to break with their party on LGBTQ issues.”
Vermont Governor Phil Scott, who is running against transgender Democrat Christine Hallquist, is likely trying to “shore up [his] credentials on LGBTQ issues” ahead of next month’s election, according to Casey. Scott and Hallquist both completed the GLAAD survey and were labeled allies due to their answers indicating comfort in all seven scenarios presented. Should Hallquist beat Scott in November, she would be the first transgender governor in U.S. history. Casey said he was most surprised by the survey results of Rep. Donald Young of Alaska, whose answers earned him Ally status by GLAAD.
“He’s got an extremely anti-LGBTQ voting record,” Casey said, “but perhaps he is responding to voters’ rejection of the anti-trans Proposition 1, which was defeated in Anchorage back in April.” Proposition 1 would have required transgender people to use public facilities that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates.
Ellis said she is disappointed that the “majority of the people that stayed silent” on these survey questions are from “the party in power,” but she hopes voters consider candidates answers — and their silence — next month.
“As LGBTQ people and our allies got to the polls on November 6, they need to know where these candidates stand,”she stressed.

June 20, 2018

Kansas Sec Of State Kobach Looses Case on Requiring ID to Vote Judge Orders Him to Take Legal Classes

 Image result for kobacj to study judge orders

Kansas cannot require people to prove their U.S. citizenship before they can vote, a federal judge says, ruling that the state's election law is unconstitutional. The judge sharply criticized Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has based much of his political career on worries about voter fraud.
Chief District Judge Julie A. Robinson sanctioned Kobach — who led President Trump's voter fraud commission — by ordering him to take a legal class on the rules of evidence or procedure. Kobach represented his office and was the lead attorney in the case.
The judge said Kobach failed to show there had been a "substantial number" of people who managed to register to vote in Kansas without being U.S. citizens.
Starting in 2013, people who wanted to vote in Kansas needed to produce documents proving their U.S. citizenship, such as a driver's license, birth certificate, naturalization papers, a passport.
Robinson said that law violated the National Voter Registration Act and the 14th Amendment, in a 118-page ruling that decided two consolidated cases.
Image result for kobacj to study judge ordersKansas had already required voters to be U.S. citizens — but before 2013, people were able to satisfy that rule by affirming their eligibility on their registration application.

Kobach was a driving force behind the change. The trial, which concluded in March, was his chance to show it was based on real concerns and would protect elections in Kansas from fraud. 
Heading into the trial, Kobach said that since 1999, his office had confirmed 127 cases of noncitizens who had either registered to vote or attempted to do so. Of that number, 43 had succeeded in registering and 11 had voted.
Those figures were just "the tip of the iceberg," Kobach had vowed. But after reviewing the state's evidence and hearing from its experts, Robinson concluded that "there is no iceberg; only an icicle, largely created by confusion and administrative error."
Robinson noted that Kansas is a state with some 1.8 million registered voters — and that the number of people in Kansas who aren't U.S. citizens who either registered to vote or tried to do so is 0.6 percent of the state's noncitizen population.
Based on the evidence, the judge ruled, Kansas' interests in preventing fraud, while legitimate, are "not strong enough to outweigh the tangible and quantifiable burden on eligible voter registration applicants in Kansas who were not registered to vote before January 1, 2013."
The new law also complicated the process for "motor voter" applicants, who might not have brought the proper citizenship documents when they applied for or renewed a drivers' license. Kansas drivers are required to provide proof of lawful presence when they apply for their first license.
As the judge wrote in her ruling, "Of the 30,732 applicants whose applications were, as of March 31, 2016, suspended or canceled due to failure to provide [documentation], approximately 75 percent were motor-voter applicants."
The American Civil Liberties Union led the legal challenge to the Kansas law.
"That law was based on a xenophobic lie that noncitizens are engaged in rampant election fraud," said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project. "The court found that there is 'no credible evidence' for that falsehood, and correctly ruled that Kobach's documentary proof-of-citizenship requirement violates federal law and the U.S. Constitution."
During the trial, Kobach "denied allegations of voter suppression, and put experts on the stand to present polls and surveys that they say show almost all Kansans have easy access to documents like birth certificates," as Celia Llopis-Jepsen of the Kansas News Service reported for NPR.
The plaintiffs included the League of Women Voters of Kansas, which said it had struggled to help young voters register because of the new law. Some applicants were unable or unwilling to show their papers to a volunteer, the League said. Others balked at the time investment after the process went from taking less than five minutes to requiring a full hour.
The organization also said it was forced to halt nearly all of its operations so it could change its protocols. The main concern: that volunteers might somehow be found liable if they handled or copied applicants' citizenship documents and other records.
For instance, a voter registration drive at Washburn University yielded 400 voter applicants — but most were incomplete and, after weeks of effort, only around 75 voters were registered.
The evidence, Robinson wrote, backed up an expert's opinion that Kansas' law "disproportionately affects the young and those who are not politically affiliated."
Another issue: Before the League could help would-be voters to finish the registration process, it had to buy the "suspense list" from the secretary of state's office – something it did several times. It also purchased the full list of voters, to verify who was on it.
In sanctioning Kobach, the judge gave the secretary of state roughly one year to provide proof of the additional training, which would be part of the mandatory continuing legal education classes that many attorneys take to maintain their law licenses.
Robinson cited "a pattern and practice by [Kobach] of flaunting disclosure and discovery rules that are designed to prevent prejudice and surprise at trial. It's unclear, she said, whether he "repeatedly failed to meet his disclosure obligations intentionally or due to his unfamiliarity with the federal rules."
Kobach, we'll note, is a Harvard graduate who earned his law degree at Yale and was a law clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. He also taught constitutional law as a professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, according to his official biography.  
The ruling comes two months after the judge found Kobach in contempt of court for disobeying her order to allow some potentially ineligible voters to remain eligible to cast a ballot under a preliminary injunction.
Kobach is running for governor in Kansas' current election season, locked in a tight Republican primary race against incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer — who rose to the office after former Gov. Sam Brownback won confirmation as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.


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