Bagging “Jim Eagle”: 11th Circuit Upholds Florida’s Voting Reforms

It appears that “Jim Eagle” has flown the coop.

Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld critical provisions in Florida election law reforms, including provisions that Democratic politicians and pundits spent years misrepresenting as “a return to Jim Crow.” Many of these attacks were directed against Georgia, which was the subject of boycotts. However, other states passed similar provisions. In a majority opinion written by Chief Judge William Pryor (and joined by Judge Elizabeth Grant), the 11th Circuit found that the district court misconstrued the controlling precedent and made factual errors in its injunction of a few of the provisions enacted by Florida.

The voting reforms were signed into law in 2021 by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.

The decision deals with many of the provisions long denounced in the media as voter suppression from regulations on ballot drop boxes, the solicitation of voters at the polls, and the delivery of voter-registration forms by third-party voter-registration organizations.

These provisions have been called a virtual return to the confederacy by President Biden.

Indeed, it was not enough for Joe Biden to repeat his past claims that these provisions were “Jim Crow on steroids” and “sick.” He weirdly called them  “Jim Eagle.” Former Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias also denounced the laws and was hired to challenge them, including the action in this litigation.

Elias and others also lost similar efforts in Georgia. Courts have rejected voter suppression claims by Stacey Abrams, Elias, and others.

One of the key provisions being challenged in both Florida and Georgia (and repeatedly referenced by Biden) is the ban on campaigns and groups handing out food and water to people waiting in line at election sites. These so called “line warming” provisions are designed to prevent campaigns from getting around bans on politicking near voting sites by handing out things of value to voters just before they cast their votes.

The provisions in Georgia (and states like Florida) have been grossly misrepresented by President Biden and others.

Even The Washington Post awarded Biden four “Pinocchios” for his characterization of the law. For example, Biden declared, “it’s sick. It’s sick … deciding that you’re going to end voting at 5 o’clock when working people are just getting off work.” Biden repeated this claim despite it being untrue. The election law actually does the opposite. It guaranteed that, at a minimum, polls would remain open for a full workday while allowing extended hours commonly used on Election Day.

Biden also claimed that the Georgia law prevented water from being given to voters waiting in line at polling places: “Imagine passing a law saying you cannot provide water or food for someone standing in line to vote, can’t do that? C’mon!” That is also untrue.

The law does not prevent providing water to people standing in line. The law allows “self-service water from an unattended receptacle” for voters waiting in line. Instead, it blocks campaigns from directly supplying such drinks and allows anyone to give water to voters outside of a limited area around the polling place. In reality, the Georgia and Florida laws have considerable overlap with provisions in other states.

Courts have swatted back these challenges and refused injunctions.

In one of the most significant elements of the decision, the 11th Circuit reversed U.S. District Judge Mark Walker’s order that the state must secure court approval for a decade before it enacts any changes to three areas of election law. The court found that Walker committed errors on the applicable standards as well as “clearly erroneous” findings of fact. It noted that Walker ignored that “[w]e have rejected the argument that ‘a racist past is evidence of current intent.’”

Moreover, in his district court order, Judge Walker wrote that “for white and Black voters in Florida, separating race from politics only works in science fiction.”

However, Chief Judge Pryor responded that “the Supreme Court has warned against conflating discrimination on the basis of party affiliation with discrimination on the basis of race.”

Judge Walker will now have to reconsider the case.

The court did affirmed Walker on vague language banning any activity with the “effect of influencing a voter” near a voting area. The law prohibited people from “engaging in any activity with the . . . effect of influencing a voter.” Chief Judge Pryor balked at the vagueness of that language:

“How is an individual seeking to comply with the law to anticipate whether his or her actions will have the subjective effect of influencing a voter? Knowing what it means to influence a voter does not bestow the ability to predict which actions will influence a voter. As a result, the district court correctly determined that this phrase in the solicitation provision ‘both fails to put Floridians of ordinary intelligence on notice of what acts it criminalizes and encourages arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement, making this provision vague to the point of unconstitutionality.’”

Nevertheless, that was a minor victory given the reversal of the major provisions. It specifically found that the ban on giving food and water in line, the drop box limitations and the third-party voter registration restrictions are all lawful under the 14th and 15th Amendments and the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

The majority lays out its reasoning in 78 pages of detailed refutation of the district court’s findings and standards. What is curious is that Judge Jill Pryor does not specifically address a single one of these arguments and just offers a conclusory one paragraph dissent:

“I would affirm the district court’s injunction prohibiting the enforcement of S.B. 90’s drop-box, solicitation, and registration-delivery provisions. In my view, the district court, in its thorough and well-reasoned order, committed no reversible error when it concluded that these provisions violated the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution, as well as section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Given these violations, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it ordered the State of Florida to submit to preclearance under section 3 of the Voting Rights Act. I respectfully dissent.”

That is equivalent to a judicial shrug. It is curious because the plaintiffs may seek an en banc appeal or a petition for writ of certiorari before the Supreme Court. It is useful to have a reasoned dissent that addresses these appellate issues. Instead, Judge Jill Pryor offers a mere 153-word dissent, if one counts “I respectfully dissent.”

While the plaintiffs may want to go for an en banc review, an appeal to the Supreme Court would come at a heightened risk. They could magnify this loss with a major new ruling from the highest court. Chief Judge Pryor’s reasoning is likely to resonate with a majority of the Supreme Court, particularly the rejection of the preclearance order. Most public interest advocates seek not to just make good law but avoid making bad law in the interests of their clients. Doubling down on a bad hand could prove costly for these groups.

142 thoughts on “Bagging “Jim Eagle”: 11th Circuit Upholds Florida’s Voting Reforms”

  1. According to Reuters:

    “April 27 (Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld several Republican-backed voting restrictions in Florida, overruling a lower court judge who had found the laws intentionally discriminated against minority voters.

    In a split 2-1 decision, a panel of judges at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the evidence did not show that lawmakers deliberately targeted Black voters when they passed provisions limiting the use of ballot drop boxes, barring third-party organizations from collecting voter registration forms and preventing people from engaging with voters in line.

    Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to launch a bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination next month, signed the restrictions into law in 2021, amid a national push by Republicans for new limits in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud following his defeat to Joe Biden.

    Several civil rights groups challenged the law in court. In March 2022, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee had struck down most of the law as racially discriminatory.

    He also ordered the state to seek court approval for any further changes to those provisions for 10 years, a practice known as “preclearance” that he said was justified by a long history of discrimination.

    But the appeals court ruled that Walker had erred, both on the law and on the facts, and threw out the preclearance requirement.

    The two judges in the majority, William Pryor and Britt Grant, were both nominated by Republican presidents; the dissenting judge, Jill Pryor, who is not related to William Pryor, was nominated by a Democrat.”

    The last sentence explains the ruling. The district judge found discrimination, and so did the dissenting judge. The two Republican-nominated judges on the appeals court did not. It was 2 to 2, hardly the slam-dunk massive victory Turley portrays it to be. Whadt is especially pathetic is that the appeals court just summarily dismissed the idea that there has been historic discrimination, by claiming it previously “rejected” that argument, and therefore, no preclearance should be required for further laws restricting voting. Everyone with a brain knows better. Keep in mind that the Big LIe is the impetus behind all of these laws. More fallout from the narcissistic swine.

  2. Joseph Biden, Chuck Schumer, et al, incited violence against Catholic SCOTUS Justices.
    Where is the outrage? It is outrageous there is none

    Justice Samuel Alito: ‘This Made Us Targets of Assassination’

    The author of the Dobbs abortion ruling answers attacks on the court’s ‘legitimacy.’ He says he thinks he knows who leaked the draft and is certain about the motive.

    “I personally have a pretty good idea who is responsible, but that’s different from the level of proof that is needed to name somebody,” he says. He’s certain about the motive: “It was a part of an effort to prevent the Dobbs draft . . . from becoming the decision of the court. And that’s how it was used for those six weeks by people on the outside—as part of the campaign to try to intimidate the court.”

    That campaign included unlawful assemblies outside justices’ homes, and that wasn’t the worst of it. “Those of us who were thought to be in the majority, thought to have approved my draft opinion, were really targets of assassination,” Justice Alito says. “It was rational for people to believe that they might be able to stop the decision in Dobbs by killing one of us.”

    1. “Those of us who were thought to be in the majority, thought to have approved my draft opinion, were really targets of assassination,” Justice Alito says. “It was rational for people to believe that they might be able to stop the decision in Dobbs by killing one of us.”

      Why would anyone not think this is the way the left acts? They kill babies without any concern whatsoever.

  3. Jonathan: Donald Trump is on the campaign trail–still falsely claiming “massive voter fraud” prevented him from winning the 2020 election. In an ironic twist Special Counsel Jack Smith has just issued a subpoena to the firm Trump hired to prove his false claim. Smith has called for Ken Block, founder of Simpatico Software Systems, to turn over docs related to his work for the Trump campaign. SSS is the second firm Trump hired and both found there was no voter fraud in the 2020 election. Block was paid $700,000– not exactly chump change for what turned out to be a fool’s errand. Did Trump get taken to the cleaners?

    Block said in a statement: “There were just crazy claims of fraud coming the most unlikely places, and some from very likely places that I was asked to evaluate carefully and was able to document and prove that every one of them was false”.

    There you have it–from the very company Trump thought would uncover all that “voter fraud”. It appears Jack Smith is leaving no stone unturned in his investigation of Jan. 6 and Trump’s role in it. That’s not good news for the Trumpster and why he continues lash out with this statement that Smith’s investigation is a “targeted politically motivated witch hunt against President [former president!] Trump concocted to try to prevent the American people from returning him to the White House”. This statement from Trump shows he is a cornered wild animal who knows the hunters are closing in. He thinks he can threaten and intimidate Jack Smith. Trump doesn’t know who he is up against!

    1. Absence of evidence is not proof of no fraud. You cant prove a negative. IN fact, the lefts most consistant talking point. “there was not enough fraud to change the outcome”.

      1. If there’s no evidence of fraud, why are republicans chomping at the bit to throw up any and all roadblocks to voting?

        “We have no evidence of fraud so let’s pass a bunch of laws to prevent Democrats from vot- I mean to prevent fraud”

        1. Republicans want standard common sense rules so legal votes are not diluted by illegal ones pushed by Democrats.

          The left acts fraudulently and matches leftist anonymous posters.

        2. Anonymous, please tell us if there has been any occasion when you have been prevented from voting. Who are the imaginary people that you say have not been able to vote if they could prove that they are citizens of the United States. Perhaps a person you are saying can’t vote is a citizen of Venezuela. In such a case you are indeed correct in your non sequitur.

      2. Absence of evidence was the plan.

        MI: we could not find fraud, after we eliminated fraud detection capabilities

        progressives – first we will eliminate fraud detection capabilities, then there will be no fraud

        Michigan verifies ballot using signatures.

        The progressive secretary of state of MI issued a diktat for the 2020 election that all signatures must be presumed valid. That diktat was illegal.

        If you presume signatures to be valid, and verify ballots by signature, can you find ballot fraud?

        I know that is over the head of progressives, but everyone else realizes the claim of “no fraud” is ridiculous

        1. Here’s the irony. Before the 2022 gubernatorial election, the Demcoratic Party of Michigan disqualified the leading Republican candidate James Craig (a black man incidentally) by getting signatures on his nominating petition disqualified! They also disqualified the second leading candidate. They probably knew all along that there were problems with the firm gathering the signatures and said nothing. This ploy proves that it is not always a case of “denying voting rights” if you challenge the genuineness of signatures.

      3. “Absence of evidence is not proof of no fraud. You cant prove a negative.”

        According to John B. Say. Absence of evidence IS proof. He argues that point all the time.

        1. Please do not misrepresent me.

          “You can not prove a negative” – which as a generalization is accurate, but NOT as a rule of logic,
          Is not the same as absence of evidence.

          It is extremely hard to prove a negative – so hard that it is rarely done.
          In some instance it may actually be impossible.
          In others it requires information that there is no way to obtain.

          But it DOES happen occasionally.

          The Collusion Delusion – i.e. No Trump/Russia collusion was effectively proven when the Steele Dossier and Alpha Bank nonsese were stablished as hoxes coming from the Clinton campaign.

          The meaning of absence of evidence depends on the extent to which an investigation has been conducted and how thorough that investigation is.

          The absence of evidence when there has been no investigation means little.
          Conversely when DOJ/FBI/DC, All the media, and myriads of other global investigative resources have thoroughly investigated something.
          The absence of evidence does not prove a negative to a logical certainty, but it does prove it to an incredibly high degree of probability.

          Between the complete absence of evidence of a Zoonnotic origin for Covid – despite incredibly thorough and motivated effort,
          Combined with growing evidence that Covid came from the WIV does not prove absolutely that Covid came from the WIV.

          But I beleive the current odds are several billion to 1 that Covid came from WIV. Or in the negative – Covid did not come from Bats or Pangolins or Raccoon Dogs directly to humans.

          There are not a very large number of things in the world that are provable to mathematical or logical certainty.
          But there are an infinite number of things that can be proven to an incredibly high degree of certainty.

          It is harder to prove a negative to a high degree of probability, it is not impossible, and it happens frequently.

        2. Absence of evidence legally means there can be no investigation.

          Law enforcement may not investigate a crime – without some evidence that a crime actually took place.

    2. So you are arguing that making claims that you think are false is a crime ?

      Great, lets lock up everyone who said Trump colluded with Russia.

      There is no foundation for Smith’s inquiry and if we had courts that followed the constitution they would have stopped this long ago.

      Challenging an election is a right.

      Criminally investigating a challenger is a totalitarian violation of the constitution.

    3. I find it interesting that those of you on the left are constantly inverting the standards.

      Do you really think that Government should be able to run elections anyway it wants and that it is voters and candidates duty to prove that the government fostered fraud and error ?

      If you beleive that Government can do whatever it pleases regarding elections why did you challenge FL and GA election laws ?

      And if you do not beleive that Government can do whatever it pleases – then why are you opposed to investigating claims of election fraud ?

      Those of you on the left continue to constantly make stupid claims of voter supporession – when the lews that you rant about have actually increased the election participation of those you claim are being supressed

      Do we need to appoint a Special counsel to investigation your election related lies ?

      Regardless, the majority of americans continue to believe the 2020 election was rigged.
      That despite all your ranting and coverups and refusal to engage in inquiry.

      If only 10% of Americans though our elections were rigged – that would require changing our election laws.

      It is highly unlikely that DVS rigged the 2020 election – and most people do not beleive that.

      But even today that is NOT something that we know for certain.

      And elections REQUIRE that we KNOW FOR CERTAIN there was not sufficient fraud to alter the outcome.

      Without that certainty the election is not valid.

      Conducting Trustworthy elections is not all that hard. Yet we can not manage to do it.

      US and global businesses manage to acheive 6sigma standards – 3 errors out of 1,000,000
      That would be about 400 fraudulent otherwise invalid ballots across the country.

      As has been repeatedly shown – the error rate for mailin voting is north of 6%.
      That means that almost everywhere there is mailin voting in the US the margin of victory is lower than the margin of error.
      And that ignores the fact that it is not possible to prevent election fraud where there is mailin voting.

      In the 19th century in response to rampant election fraud 38 US states put requirements for secret ballots in their state constitutions and nearly all states have secret ballot requirements in the law.

      There are 4 requirements fo ra secret ballot

      1). an official ballot being printed at public expense,
      2). on which the names of the nominated candidates of all parties and all proposals appear,
      3). being distributed only at the polling place and
      4). being marked in secret.

      Ballots are like currency – arguably they are currency. In the 19th century voters were given preprinted and filled out ballots and paid to drop them into ballot boxes.

      Today the value of the average ballot – based on campaign spending is about $300. In tight races it may be 10-100 times that.
      Do you honestly beleive with Billions being spent on elections and trillions at stake that no one would skip trying to influence voters and just forge ballots ?

      If ballots are not printed by the state – with the same anti counterfeiting and fraud features as currency – you will get counterfeiting.
      You may anyway.

      In AZ in 2020 and 2022 (and other places) ballots were badly priting by printers and all kinds of problems ensued.
      There is no doubt that printer problems effected the election. The only question is whether that was a few hundred votes or a few hundred thousand.

      Instead of having court cases with competing experts tying to guess what might have happened had those in government done their job. We could avoid such court cases – by conducting secure trustworthy and error free elections.

      In Berlin with far less error than in AZ The courts tossed the entire election – because the results could not be trusted.
      And there was no allegation of fraud, merely problems with equipment that were a fraction of the scale of those in AZ.

      It is not actually that difficult to create an uncounterfeitable ballot. Yet we do not do so.

      Secret ballots require that Ballots do not leave the polling place – that too is an anticounterfeiting measure.
      But it is a broader antifraud measure.

      The courts just upheld laws that prohibit people from trying to influence voters in line for an election.

      How do you prevent efforts to illegally influence voters when they are voting from home with mailin voting ?

      How do you keep those from one party or the other from coercing, or inducing voters in their home to vote specific ways ?
      Recently we found that voters in detroit were getting gift cards in return for mailin ballots.
      How do you stop parents from coercing their children, or spouses from coercing each other or children from coercing their parents ?

      If Ballots leave the polling place – how do you stopp voters from being bribed ?

      How do you even detect that such bribery or coercion occured ?

      In WI in 2016 and 2018 there were less than 10,000 ballots cast in nursing homes.
      WI has laws that send an election official to a nursing home at a residents request to provide a resident a ballot allow them to vote it, and to take it back to the county. This is much as absentee ballots are handled – except that election officials come to you – not your to them.

      In 2020 the WI SoS allowed unconstitutionally absentee voting by maill and almost 150,000 nursing home residents voted.
      Including many who were in coma’s or so demented they did not even know there was an election.
      Many residents claim never to have requested absentee ballots or to have filled them out.

      Finally we have the marked in secret provision – one of the most important.

      If you can prove how you voted, you can get paid(or punished) for voting.
      This is why you can not vote anywhere that is not both private and supervised by election officials.
      No one can see you fill out your ballot, see you and your ballot after it has been filled out.
      There can be no photographs of ballots. There can be no way after you have cast your ballot for others to know how you voted – or there WILL be large scale voter fraud.

      How do we know – that should be easy to understand based on the financial factors at stake in an election.
      But we also know from history. Votes went for about $5 each in the 19th century. That is about $300 in todays dollars.

  4. I read every thing that JT posts and 99.99% of the time I agree with him but this is one of the 0.01% of exceptions. However I rarely post because the Turley blog commentariat are extremely right wing. This used not to be the case, 20 years ago there was a balance of leftists and rightists and as I remember it comment was civil. This is no longer the case people make sneering replies including unwarranted assumptions about others’ ideologies from one single short post.

    IANAL but I have opinions about the law. The law is what is written as interpreted through a process involving many layers of lawyers including solicitors, advocates and several layers of judges. Lawyers have opinions and ideologies and mostly they are on the conservative side one might say the extremely conservative side. When a lawyer makes an argument he is a warrior in a trial by combat that involves battling through a thicket of thorny poisonous laws/plants to make an argument that he/she or it thinks will convince a prejudiced jury or a set of prejudiced judges. All members of species homo sapiens are prejudiced and mostly unaware of what they are. I belive this post of JT’s is both absolutely RIGHT according to THE LAW but absolutely WRONG in his failure to acknowledge that the effects of the law will lessen the number of members of despised minorities can actually vote. It is NORMAL for a political party to do everything that it can to facilitate voting by its supporters and to prevent voting by those who oppose it. If I wera a republican I would support these laws because they will have the systemic effect of preventing Blacks, Hispanics and poor people from voting. What JT is ignoring is that the motives of those who passed these laws come from the desire to prevent certain people voting Democrat so that they can win elections, that the motives of Democrat supporters are the opposite and that the laws have the effect of suppressing the votes of members of the UNDERCLASS. Members ot the underclass are less likely to have either a car or the spare time from a the precarious poverty wage McJob from which they cannot take time off to either to reach a motor registry to get the photo-id without which they can’t vote or to stand for 4 hours in the voting line at hat the voting precinct. Fact lines at precincts where underclass people vote have long lines because the people who allocate voting resources i.e. Republicans starve those precincts of resources. Fact members of the underclass are more likely to be unable to vote in person and to need drop boxes or a helper to deliver a vote. The systemic effect of these laws and the motives for passing them are to lower the underclass vote. Someone commenting on this thread made the comment that because he didn’t worry about the need to have a photo-id wouldn’t prevent him from voting a member of the underclass has no right to winge about his own inability to vote.

    1. “Members ot the underclass are less likely to have either a car or the spare time from a the precarious poverty wage McJob from which they cannot take time off to either to reach a motor registry to get the photo-id without which they can’t vote or to stand for 4 hours in the voting line at hat the voting precinct.”

      I’ll bite, how’d they get the McJob without ID? Family business? Same question, how does a family acquire a business, or the means to operate one without a tax-ID, if no one within has ID?

      Your comment is heavy on theoretical presumption, light on evidence. You’d think there’d be wall-to-wall television coverage every election day of the thousands to millions of people being turned away at their polling places do to lack of ID. So, respectfully, if what you’re saying is accurate, where is that coverage?

      1. @JAFO

        Yup. White, privileged, liberal presumption, most likely. To progressives, ‘Others’ are pretty much just mindless pets who could not possibly achieve without the interjection of opinion or law of said progressives. That poster needs to get the heck out of their bubble. Absolute regurgitated rubbish.

      2. “Your comment is heavy on theoretical presumption, light on evidence. ”

        That is the sum total of Moulton’s visits here. Thanks for the pithy summary of his visits.

    2. ” I would support these laws because they will have the systemic effect of preventing Blacks, Hispanics and poor people from voting.”

      Your welcome to your opinion. Your problem, the opinion is devoid of facts.

      The assumptions you use, are not new and unique. They have been proven wrong every time they are trotted out.

    3. @carlyle

      Right wing? 😂😂 Nope, hardly; lifelong independent. As are many others who post. Some are lifelong dems who’ve soured on the party, or Libertarians. Declining leftist madness does not automatically make someone ‘right wing’. It’s just that to the modern dem party, anything a centimeter toward center is ‘alt right’. Actually knowing the contents of and quoting our Constitution is ‘alt right’ to a modern dem. You, friend, are clearly a troll. Actual posters do not start out with misinformed invectives in an attempt to discredit, knowing most will just read the first sentence or two and move on. Nice try, though.

      1. @James. You validate my opinion of JT’s comment ors.

        Many years ago author Gore Vidal said something to the effect that the US is a one-party state ruled by the property party which has two right wings called Democrats and Republicans. Both wings are to the extreme right but the Republicans more so. The conservative parties in Australia the Liberals and Nationals are considerably to the left of the so-called leftist democrats.

        In the US a third of the money for election advertising comes from a mere 30,000 donors who are not the 1% but the 0.01% of the population, the seriously wealthy who have money not in the millions but in the hundreds of millions. The Democratic party pretends to be concerned with the interests of the non-rich, it talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. US politics is seriously dysfunctional, that in the UK is following close behind and I am probably underestimating the similar progress in Australia.

        People do not understand racism. In my opinion we spend too much time talking about racism and too little talking about other otherisms which involve the same mechanisms of individual and group psychology. Probably the damage done by hatred of women exceeds that caused by racism. In every homo sapiens mind there is a divide between what that person considers legitimate life forms, THE US who are high on every scale where a high value is good (e.g. Intelligence, honesty ….) and low on every scale where a high value is bad (e.g. stupidity criminality …..) and THE THEM who are entirely the opposite. This division can be along any of the fault lines in society, race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic class …… In the Balkans in the ’90ies the killing was on religious fault lines because in that region 3 religious empires met, Eastern Christianity, Western Christianity and Islam and inserting wedges in the fault lines was easy and perceived as profitable to exploit for unscrupulous politicians. Racism is just that otherism with which we are most concerned.

        There very few conscious racists who think and speak bout wanting to kill black or Hispanic or whatever people, but there are a few, for example the 3 men who killed Ahmaud Auberry and the man who beat to death schoolboy Cassius Turvey in Perth Western Australia. When someone asserts that “I am not a racist” he is not consciously lying because racism is in the unconscious mind and the full chain of thoughts that result in action do not surface into the conscious. The unconscious mind is not a big mystery, it is just where 99.99% of our thinking occurs, the consciousness is that 0.01% that serves as the mind’s post and telegraph office where ideas are transformed into language for export to other minds or language imported from other minds is unpacked and submitted to the unconscious,

        Most of our thinking is unconscious that is where the work is done and relevant bits of it surface into the conscious. It is as if we have a powerful AI working away in the background while we are doing other things. Otherisms exist as collections stereotypes in the unconscious. Imagine a cartoon drawn on a big whiteboard. At the bottom two figures representing a black man and a white man, above them thought bubbles each containing figures of a black man and a white man and other bubbles containing descriptions of vices and virtues and lines of varying thickness connecting the imagined black and white men to the various vices and virtues. A thick line indicates belief in a strong connection a thin line belief in a weak one. In the minds of most white men the line connecting the imagined black man with vices like criminality and stupidity is thick and that connecting to the virtues thin and for the imagined white man the reverse. Reverse everything I have just said for the bubble above the head of the black man. Such stereotypes dominate behaviour of people who are under stress and explain exceedingly bad outcomes.

        It is possible to find out what ideas are in one’s unconscious. I recommend the book “A New Guide to Rational Living” by R A Ellis as a way to learn necessary techniques.

    4. This brown, Independent, US citizen has never had a problem voting.
      My grandmother on my mothers side, very brown, only educated to the sixth grade had a picture ID.
      Grandfather, also low education, had a driver license.
      They voted too.
      But they also were a different generation. They lived below there means, in some cases way below, saved their money, and owned their home outright before they retired.

      1. Upstate, I am sure Moulton will be shocked at your reply. His observations are only skin deep and he doesn’t recognize what really counts. Though to him we are a ‘black and white’ example of how different we are, essentially, we are the same and come from the same place.


    Why waste time with trivial minutiae? The problem with voting rights lies in the unconstitutional “Reconstruction Amendments” of Lincoln’s “progressive” successors and their mentor and guru, Karl Marx (Marx congratulated Lincoln for leading America toward “…the RECONSTRUCTION of a social world.” Thanks, Karl.).

    “They consider…that it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln,…to lead his country through the…[RECONSTRUCTION] of a social world.”

    – Karl Marx to Abraham Lincoln, 1864

    The essence of the America of its Founders was vote criteria freely implemented by States in the American restricted-vote republic. Voting without criteria, voting without scrutiny and restriction (i.e. one man, one vote) engenders no outcome other than dictatorship, the condition America now finds itself in (i.e. California and blue states).

    The “Reconstruction Amendments” were improperly ratified under a corrupt government, after an unconstitutional period of political suppression and war, including fascism, barbarous despotism, tyranny and brutal post-war military occupation and oppression, which is an illicit and wholly inappropriate environment for prosecuting amendment. In normal times that are conducive to amendment, it is virtually impossible to achieve ratification. Lincoln’s “socialist” successors corruptly rammed through, not one, but three amendments. Lincoln’s successors did not amend the Constitution, they “fundamentally transformed” America through illicit, unconstitutional, cruel and inhumane kinetic military force.

    The Supreme Court recently acted retroactively by 50 years to strike down irrefutably unconstitutional Roe v. Wade.

    The Supreme Court must now act retroactively by 150 years to strike down the illicit, corrupt, antithetical, improperly ratified and unconstitutional “RECONSTRUCTION Amendments.”

    The Supreme Court must take America back to the Constitution and Bill of Rights; it must take America Back to the Future.

    1. Give it up George. You may be right (and I think to a great extent you are) but that water passed over Niagara Falls many years ago. The original Constitution did create “a more perfect Union” from what existed before, but it was, by no means, the “perfect Union” you think it was. Lincoln saw this and in his mind his ends justified his means. You should use your considerable intellect and research powers to address the issue at hand: the franchise. The Left sincerely believes that the more votes that are cast (or “found”) the more likely they are to win an election and be able to push the nation into a New World Order of Socialist Totalitarianism, which, for some inscrutable reason, is their goal. We could argue with that premise but let’s assume it is correct. For that reason the Left does everything it can to get or “find” more ballots, by expanding voting days and hours, by eliminating ID and signature verification, to encourage unmonitored “drop boxes” and “ballot harvesting”, by expanding the voting base as much as possible to include folks with mental issues, minors who everyone knows have not yet fully developed a rational mind, to non-citizens and illegal immigrants (who they encourage to flood across the border) and, if they could ever achieve this political wizardry, I suspect they would extend the franchise to the unborn as well. There are indeed, documented cases of dead people voting. Of course, the wider the franchise is extended the more difficult it is to police and the easier it is to “find” votes when they are needed. The true experts in that specialty are found in Chicago and here is what one of them has to say about it:

      “If the question is are the Democrats stealing votes in Philadelphia, my answer is, ‘Is the Pope Catholic?’ It’s a time-honored tradition,” Blagojevich emphasized. “Big Democrat-controlled cities like Chicago, my hometown, Philadelphia, to do precisely what they’re doing now I’ve never seen such a magnitude because this I think is an indication of just how widespread it is, how deep it is. And I don’t think it’s just confined to Philadelphia. My instincts, again coming out of Chicago Democratic politics, my instincts tell me it’s going on in Atlanta, it’s going on in Detroit, it’s going on in Milwaukee, it’s going on in Las Vegas. It’s like what Justice Powell said about pornography: You can’t define it, but you know when you see it. And coming out of the Democratic Chicago political establishment, I know how they operate. They control polling places, they stop votes when their candidate’s behind, and then in the wee hours of the morning, in the dark of night, the stealing starts.”

      PS Actually he is wrong on one minor point. It wasn’t Justice Powell who said that it was Justice Potter Stewart, and he said it about “obscenity” not “pornography”.

  6. Jonathan: Permit me to return to an old theme. Exercising the franchise is is an essential part of “free speech”. Not everyone on this bog agrees. Some seems to think we should go back to a time when only white property owners had the right to vote. I hope you are not one of those. But your column bizarrely endorses the 11th Circuit’s decision that upheld Florida’s voter suppression laws.

    For years the GOP has engaged in a scheme to make it harder for Black people and other minorities to vote. That’s because the GOP knows the more people who vote the harder it is for the GOP to prevail in local and national elections. Blacks and other minorities tend to vote for Democrats. That is why voter suppression is the GOP game plan in 2024. Florida’s voter suppression is a mirror image of the voter suppression efforts in Georgia–particularly the limitations on ballot drop off boxes. This will particularly adversely affect older voters and the disabled.

    Of course, the GOP argues that the voter suppression laws are needed to prevent “voter fraud”. But there was no evidence of “voter fraud” in the 2020 elections where ballot drop-off boxes were widely used–primarily because of the Covid pandemic. I have a friend who lives in California where drop-off boxes were widely used for years without any legal challenge to the vote in that state.

    In any healthy democracy voting should be easy. But in Florida Gov. DeSantis wants to make it more difficult. It’s a newer and more insidious version of “Jim Crow”. Hopefully, the lower courts, on remand, will find Florida’s voting laws violate both Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1st and 14th Amendments.

    1. JT is analysing according to existing laws and no existing law that opponents of voter suppression have used in their arguments against these Florida and Georgia laws makes them unlawful. That is a legal fact.

      However there is another fact and that is that the people who drafted these laws drafted them because they prevent some people who would vote Democrat from voting. They have the right to claim that it is not racial animus but class animus or purely the desire to suppress the Democrat vote and since Isaac Asimov’s psychic probe does not yet exist we who think otherwise can think so but can’t prove it.

    2. Dennis you have another lengthy comment. In all those words, the only example you have is restrictions on ballot collection boxes. No evidence how that suppresses a vote. Mail boxes are more prominate, than ballot collection boxes.
      Using a one party state like California, to claim there is no abuse of those boxes, is tone deaf, by orders of magnitude.

      1. Iowan2: What utter nonsense! “Mail boxes are more prominate (sic), then ballot boxes”. Of course they are because ballot drop-off boxes only appear during election time! You are just full of nonsense! In California, every eligible voter receives a ballot in the mail. You mark your ballot, seal in the envelope and return it by mail or drop it off at a ballot drop-off location–usually within a few blocks from where you live. Couldn’t be simpler. What “abuses of those boxes” are you talking about? Name one voting district in California where there has been a successful challenge to any ballot drop-off box?

        And, yes, California is a “one party state”–heavily Democratic. So? That’s because the GOP has no ideas that appeal to most voters. Blacks and Latinos vote in large numbers in California because the GOP does not control voting. It can’t impose voter suppression measures like in Florida and Georgia.

        But there are parts of California that are heavily Republican. How do you account for the fact that Kevin McCarthy, the GOP Speaker of the House, has been elected and re-elected? He comes from the San Joaquin Valley–a GOP stronghold. So California is not exactly a “one party state”. I consider all your complaints just sour grapes!

        1. “That’s because the GOP has no ideas that appeal to most voters.”

          Really? There is no evidence of that.
          There IS evidence of rigged elections, though.
          Remember, Cali was once a Red state.
          It’s actually much redder than you think.
          Democrat fraud prevents it from turning red.
          Prove me wrong.
          You can’t.

          1. “…because the GOP has no ideas that appeal to most voters.”

            The evidence is actually the opposite. Latinos and blacks are naturally conservative voters. But they have been hijacked and brainwashed and bribed into voting Democrat — for policies that are actually antithetical to their cultural values.
            Trump made a huge dent in gaining votes from both constituencies. So much so, that it put the Democrat party on high alert.

        2. “California is a “one party state”–heavily Democratic.”

          Nice to see someone admit that the Left is responsible for turning California into a cesspool, with some 700,000 people each year fleeing that sewer. The mass emigration is so acute that it now has its own name: “California exodus.”

    3. The question is how were voting laws changed in this country; certainly not by legal means.

      How did the Founders intend to “keep” America per Ben Franklin’s admonition: We gave you a restricted-vote republic, if you can keep it.

      Answer: Through a severely restricted vote.

      The restricted vote is existentially crucial in America.

      One man, one vote “democracy” is one man, one vote “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

      The Constitution and Bill of Rights were to hold dominion.

      Since the crimes of high office of Lincoln, the principles of communism have been incrementally implemented, voiding and nullifying the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

      America now muddles forward under Central Planning, Control of the Means of Production (i.e. regulation), Redistribution of Wealth and Social Engineering while adhering to Marx’s slogan “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”

      Lincoln broke every fundamental law in America, every law in the Constitution, starting with his denial of secession which is not prohibited, to “fundamentally transform” the United States.

      The United States of America was stolen at gunpoint by Abraham Lincoln and ultimately transformed into the Union of American Socialist States (UASS).

    4. Dennis – in what other countries in the world is it legal to drop off other peoples’ votes, or even their own votes, in unguarded ballot boxes? In what other countries are half of the ballots mailed in? Such procedures are obviously inimical to not only correct, but also private voting. When I lived in West Germany in the 1970’s election day was on a Sunday. Almost everyone went to the polls on that day and the result of the election was known by 10 pm on election night. No one questioned the validity of the election. It appears that the Germans have a greater commitment to real democracy than our Democrats.

      1. Edwardmahl: You are like Iowa2. Full of it. In the 2020 elections voter drop-off boxes were required or allowed in 29 states. Only 11 states, predominantly in the former Confederacy, drop-off boxes are banned. In Kansas, Alabama and North Carolina they have no applicable law but drop-off boxes are not used. Why is it that only in states controlled by the GOP are drop-off boxes prohibited? You know the answer as well as I do..

        You falsely claim drop-off boxes are “unguarded”. In California there are manned and unmanned boxes. Doesn’t mean the unmanned ones are not safe from tampering. In the main urban areas, like LA, most boxes are manned. The boxes themselves are safe and secure. Look at Cal’s extensive regulations on the design of the boxes–see the Code of Regulations, Sections 20130 thru 20138. Can you cite one case where a drop box in California or any other state was tampered with? Drop-off boxes are as secure as voting in person.

        In Germany elections are always held on Sundays. For a good reason. Voters are off work on Sundays. That’s why Germans vote in large numbers. So why do we hold our national elections on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November? That might have made sense in 1845 but not today. Census surveys show 1 in 4 people don’t vote because they work and can’t get to the polls. That’s a disgrace only designed to keep the vote low. That’s why voting by mail and drop-off boxes make perfect sense and why Republicans are so opposed to it.

        Your argument is based on the spurious claim by Donald Trump that mail-in voting caused “massive voter fraud” in the 2020 election. The two firms Trump hired to find that “fraud” came up empty handed. They admit there was no valid basis for Trump’s claims. But facts don’t matter to you and Iowan2.

    5. “Blacks and other minorities tend to vote for Democrats.”

      And dead people. Don’t forget dead people. Lots of Democrats count on lots of votes from dead people.
      Which is why they fight like heck to prevent cleanup of voter databases.

    6. “But there was no evidence of “voter fraud” in the 2020 elections where ballot drop-off boxes were widely used…”

      Haha. Yeah, nope. That is a Democrat/media talking point, Dennis.
      It is a narrative. A talking point.
      Not to be confused with the truth.
      Or the reality. Or the facts on the ground.
      Of course there was fraud and cheating.
      It’s on video.
      But corrupt judges and election authorities will never EVER allow actual “evidence” to be seen or adjudicated.
      Not ever gonna happen, my friend.
      The entire system is corrupt.
      From top to bottom.

    7. “For years the GOP has engaged in a scheme to make it harder for Black people and other minorities to vote.”

      That is a Democrat talking point. A narrative. A lie.
      Keep drinking the Dem Kookaid Denny.

  7. Perhaps reparations are actually in order. What Native American tribes were involved in slavery?
    Some indigenous groups also adopted the European practice of African chattel slavery. All Five Civilized Tribes—the Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations—adopted slavery. During the Trail of Tears, they took with them several thousand African slaves. The Democrats should place a tax on all of the Native American held casinos and distribute the collected funds to the black community. I hear that the next thing the Democrats will be calling for is the right to vote from your chair in front of the slot machine and if you have a problem a Democratic poll worker will happily assist you. Oh yes dearie just pull this handle and your vote for Biden will be automatically registered. Isn’t that convenient? I do so like your blue hair color. Would you like some jello while your waiting to vote. The flavor of the day is Bidens favorite ice cream flavor.

  8. The fact that there is a debate about the need for food and water while people wait to vote is a sign of failure. If government officials were competent at planning and logistics, the lines would rarely be long enough for that to be an issue. A decision to use ballot marking devices, ballot printers, and ballot scanners can also cause long lines. It is not uncommon for such devices to malfunction on election day.


    “Rishi Sunak refuses to apologise for UK slave trade or to pledge reparations”

    PM says ‘trying to unpick our history is not the right way forward.’

    Rishi Sunak has refused to apologise for the UK’s role in the slave trade or to commit to paying reparations.

    – The Guardian

    Sunak made no comment on the responsibility of the nations, tribes and African tribal chiefs who abducted and sold their countrymen.

  10. “news” articles that rely on democrat politicians’ or progressive activists’ quotes should be required to have an expiration date.

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