Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is Wisconsin's biggest and most powerful corporate lobbyist group. Learn more about WMC's spending on elections and lobbying, positions on issues and policies, and the effects of WMC's agenda on Wisconsin.
Ten states now have unprecedented restrictive voter ID laws. Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin all require citizens to produce specific types of government-issued photo identification before they can cast a vote that will count. Legal precedent requires these states to provide free photo ID to eligible voters who do not have one. Unfortunately, these free IDs are not equally accessible to all voters. This report is the first comprehensive assessment of the difficulties that eligible voters face in obtaining free photo ID.
In the past two years, states across the country passed a wave of laws that could make it harder to vote. The Brennan Center chronicled these laws in our report, Voting Law Changes in 2012(originally published on October 3, 2011)
UPDATED 10/16/2012: Voting Laws in effect for the 2012 election
Fourteen states have passed restrictive voting laws and executive actions that have the potential to impact the 2012 election, representing 185 electoral votes, or 68 percent of the total needed to win the presidency.
A breakdown of laws and executive actions in effect in 2012:
This report reviews how prepared each state is to ensure that every eligible voter can vote, and that every
vote is counted as cast. Because we cannot predict where machines will fail during the upcoming national
election, every state should be as prepared as possible for system failures.
The Verified Voting Foundation, the Rutgers Law School Newark Constitutional Litigation Clinic and
Common Cause surveyed states’ voting equipment and ranked the states according to their preparedness.
The rankings are based on how states laws and practices compare to a set of best practices already being
used in some places.
On August 28, 2006, the Brennan Center released a report and policy proposals regarding the performance of various voting systems and their ability to allow voters to cast valid ballots that reflect their intended choices without undue delay or burdens. This system quality is known as usability. Following several high-profile controversies in the last few elections including most notoriously, the 2000 controversy over the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach voting system usability is a subject of utmost concern to voters and election officials.
At a time when political operatives are trying to make it harder for some Americans to participate in the democratic process, community voter registration drives continue to increase the numbers of eligible Americans registered to vote. But, in recent years, state legislatures have attempted to make it harder for voter registration drives to operate. More than half of the states have some laws governing community-based voter registration drives. State Restrictions on Voter Registration Drives is the first comprehensive review of those laws.
A groundbreaking feature-length documentary made after the 2004 election about the enormous security flaws present in the machines that count our votes, and why only hand-counted paper ballots can protect our democracy.
Nine US Senators, led by Tom Udall of New Mexico, have introduced a joint resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 29, or SJRes 29) calling for a constitutional amendment to limit money in elections. It's presented as an effort to "Reverse Citizens United ," the 2010 Supreme Court decision expanding the never-intended constitutional free speech "rights" of corporations to spend money from their treasuries to influence elections -- without having to report it.
Citizens United resulted in an estimated $300 million spent on political ads in the 2010 mid-term elections, a four-fold increase from the 2006 mid terms. This is pocket change compared to the projections for the 2012 Presidential and Congressional elections.
Even from the mainstream media perspective, the "occupy" movement has been amazing to observe. Those outraged by the concentration of wealth and power have finally found their voice. They see a government that's been corrupted and captured by corporate money to the detriment of We the People's welfare.
But to those who've devoted lifetimes fighting corporate greed, something even deeper is happening. If "midnight" represents when the forces of greed triumph and the miraculous human experiment ends through global catastrophe, then we're surely in the last minute before. We may be witnessing a primal force deep within the heart of humanity, realizing — perhaps only subconsciously — how close we are to the precipice.
On Wednesday, October 12, 2011, the Liberty Tree Foundation convened a special briefing, the Teleconference on the Global Wave of Resistance. This global conference featured over 100 participants, and updates from leading organizers of the global wave of student and labor strikes, occupations, and revolutions. Panelists include core organizers from the UK, Germany, Israel, and Chile, as well as Wisconsin, Boston, Oakland, Washington D.C., and Wall Street, among others. This was the second such teleconference on corporatization and austerity org
Panelists included Nicolas Valenzuela, Uri Gordon, Mo Gas, James Sevitt, Adam Porton, Sarah Manski, Nadeem Mazen, Elaine Brower, Matt Nelson, plus moderator Ben Manski.
A year ago, New Yorkers watched in horror as voters in the progressive heartland of Wisconsin replaced progressive standard-bearer Russ Feingold with a Tea Party mega-millionaire, and the state’s capitol came under the control of self-described Tea Party Republicans. Months later, the impact of that electoral change became clear. Governor Scott Walker unleashed attacks on the right to organize, to engage in collective bargaining, to access health care, food, shelter, a quality education and even on the right to vote.
The protests that began in Wisconsin this year, and which now also fill the streets of Manhattan, Boston, Chicago, and this week, Washington D.C., have gotten the attention of the American political class. And how could they not? 2011 is becoming a remake of the 1999 Battle of Seattle, except this time the protests are ongoing, national and global, and the target is not just the World Trade Organization, but the entire edifice of corporate capitalism.
The Wall Street protests represent the most potentially transforming political movement in generations: finally a revolt against the root problem that corrupts and paralyzes U.S. government. And the nascent movement might actually succeed if we stop turning ordinary Americans against each other along the tired and destructive battle lines of left vs. right.
For the past forty years, the expansion of unchecked corporate power has taken over Washington and state capitals. Armies of industry funded lobbyists, PR firms, think tanks, fake "Astroturf" groups and billions in campaign contributions have quietly corrupted a vulnerable system of government and seized control.
Corporate Attack on Democracy in Montana: Communities Do Battle with Modern-Day “Copper Kings”
A year and a half after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission that corporations are “people” with expanded constitutional rights, the impacts of the ruling continue to reverberate. 24 states have been forced to re-examine their legal limitations on campaign financing by corporations. Among them is Montana, a state with some of the country’s strongest campaign finance laws.
In the 2010 US Supreme Court case, Citizens United v. Federal ElectionCommission, the judges of the highest court in the land narrowly ruled that corporations were "people" with First Amendment free speech rights. The corollary of this judgment is that corporations, as "persons," have the right to contribute unlimited funds to political campaigns as an exercise of their free speech.
[Note- The Wave is working with progressive leaders from around the state to organize a caravan that will travel from Wisconsin to D.C. for the start of the October 2011 Movement on October 6th. Click here for more information!]
October 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget. It is time to light the spark that sets off a true democratic, nonviolent transition to a world in which people are freed to create just and sustainable solutions.
If businesses are people, as Mitt Romney says, perhaps we should rewrite our Constitution to reflect that
Finally, Mitt Romney admitted publicly what too many Republican politicians — and plenty of Democrats, too — really think about we, the people. "Corporations are people," the former Massachusetts governor pronounced.
When I sit with my two teenagers, and they are a million miles away, absorbed by the titillating roil of online social life, the addictive pull of video games and virtual worlds, as they stare endlessly at video clips and digital pictures of themselves and their friends, it feels like something is wrong.
Large multinational corporations today wield enormous power. They determine whether our oceans are filled with oil, whether we get more floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes and other signs of an accelerating climate crisis, whether Americans have jobs or our jobs are outsourced to low-wage countries, whether our military budget keeps expanding, and whether our economy implodes, to name a few of the thousands of ways that mega corporations impact us on a daily basis.
The fundamental question here is, who is in charge of our country -- the big corporations or the people and their elected officials? Who should make the decisions about our well being, our future, our environment and our jobs?
The Walmart case is only one example of the Supreme Court's growing tendency to side with the interests of big corporations over the rights of ordinary citizens.
Americans realize that our rights and liberties depend on having a system of justice that we can trust. We know we should be able to show up in court to contest anything from a parking ticket to felony and make our case — whether we're rich or poor.
In the year and a half since the Citizens United decision, Americans from all walks of life have become concerned about corporate dominance of our government and our society as a whole. In Citizens United v. FEC, the U.S. Supreme Court (in an act of outrageous “judicial activism) gutted existing campaign finance laws by ruling that corporations, wealthy individuals, and other entities can spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns.
Throughout the country people have responded by organizing against “corporate personhood,” a court-created precedent that illegitimately gives corporations rights that were intended for human beings.
The Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) has educated, advocated and organized for the past 15 years against the rights of corporations to govern. Through historical and legal research, writings, speaking, workshops and strategic discussions, we helped build widespread awareness of what we called "corporate personhood" - the corporate acquisition of constitutional rights intended solely for natural persons that have usurped the rights of We the People to govern ourselves. We worked on this issue before it was popular, fashionable or newsworthy.
Corporations have no rights under the Constitution or its amendments. However, their constitutional rights as granted by the Supreme Court have multiplied like rabbits since the Santa Clara decision in 1886, and the end is not in sight.
The Supreme Court “. . . avoided meeting the constitutional question [of corporate personhood] in the [Santa Clara] decision.” (Morrison Waite, Chief Justice, U.S. Supreme Court, to his Court Reporter, 1886.) Nevertheless, the Court has repeatedly misused this decision as precedent for bestowing constitutional rights on corporations.
How the fiction of corporate personhood arose in the 1880s, perhaps based on a deliberate lie about the intent of those who drafted the Fourteenth Amendment. How a Supreme Court adjudicated railroad cases while being showered with major gifts from railroads. How the Court played fast and loose with Court records. How a Court Reporter’s notes passed as official Supreme Court opinion. How the Court declared a precedent that wasn’t, as the media slept through it all. How the story played out against a background of unregulated speculation, the ensuing Panic of 1873, and fervent class conflict. How the present Court used the very same fiction to renew the subversion of democratic government at the hands of wealthy corporate CEOs. How to put things right.