Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The ACLJ Is Lying Bigtime

Screenshot from http://aclj.org/ August 8, 2012.

I respect the communication skills of The American Center for Law and Justice even when they're doing an admirable job of promoting what I consider to be the wrong side of an issue. Normally this is a healthy sort of hair-pulling disagreement I have with what I'm hearing on the radio, seeing on TV, or reading on their website. Recently, however, they've taken to straight up lying about a certain issue. Not cool.
"Why is President Obama - our nation's Commander-in-Chief - going after our U.S. military? Why is his re-election team putting up roadblocks for members of the armed forces when it comes to the upcoming election?

As you may know, the President's re-election team has gone to federal court challenging an Ohio law that clears the way for a lawful three-day extension so those men and women who defend our freedoms can cast their ballots."
— Jay Sekulow, "Why is the Commander-in-Chief Putting Up Roadblocks for Military Voters?"
Good material for making Obama look like a military-disrespecting anti-democratic jerk, but it's not true. Sekulow and at least one other ACLJ writer make it sound like Ohio passed a law so that members of the military would have three more days than they previously had to vote...and that Obama is trying to stop this from happening.

What really happened is that everyone was able to vote early on the three days just before the 2008 presidential election. Over ninety-thousand people voted during those days! Recent legislation took those three days away from non-military voters (including veterans), leaving the days in place for eligible military voters.

The lawsuit that has the ACLJ all upset seeks to "restor[e] in-person early voting on the three days immediately preceding Election Day for all eligible Ohio voters." That's it. Neither Obama nor groups associated with him are trying to "put up roadblocks" for military voters or "limit" military voting.

Imagine if...

...for years, everyone in your state could vote early, then one year the legislature decided that only voters in the western half of the state could vote early. Someone sues to let voters in the eastern half of the state vote keep voting early too. Now imagine that the ACLJ responds by claiming the lawsuit is about "putting up roadblocks" for western voters.

Ridiculous, right?

The Distraction

Now I admit, there is a part of this lawsuit that's worth debating: is it constitutionally permissible to take a few early voting days away from non-military voters, while leaving those days in place for military voters? Let's assume — as the ACLJ argues — that it is constitutionally permissible. Here's the result:
Non-military voters lose three days of early voting.
Military voters keep their three days of early voting.
What if — as the lawsuit argues — such a difference is unconstitutional?
Non-military voters keep their three days of early voting.
Military voters keep their three days of early voting.
It's almost like the constitutionality issue won't affect military voting in Ohio at all! (It's exactly like that.)

But Don't Take My Word For It

There are a number of audio, video, and text resources on ACLJ's website about this issue.

And here's the lawsuit.

Finally, here are some other articles that say pretty much what I said.

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