The Republicans’ latest failed effort to make it harder for minorities to vote is being led by a lawyer for the same GOP firm that’s behind a recent bid to undermine restrictions on robo-calls.
The day before the 2008 election, the Republican National Committee filed suit to end restrictions on GOP programs to combat voter fraud. Those “programs” have sometimes involved “voter caging” — challenging voters’ registration if mail sent to their residences was returned as undeliverable — and other tactics designed to suppress minority votes. But a federal judge yesterday rejected the GOP bid, Politico reports, ruling that “voter intimidation presents an ongoing threat to the participation of minority individuals in the political process.”
Almost as interesting as the fate of the lawsuit, though, is the identity of the lawyer behind it. That’s Tom Josefiak, a former FEC commissioner and long-time RNC counsel, who also happens to be a partner at HoltzmanVogel — the GOP law firm behind a slew of shady efforts to manipulate the voting process in favor of the Republican party.
As we reported last month, Jason Torchinsky, another HoltzmanVogel lawyer, is leading the legal effort to undermine state laws that restrict the use of robo-calls. Torchinsky is working on behalf of a shadowy conservative group that last year unleashed a barrage of anti-Obama robo-calls so vicious and misleading that they were denounced even by some Republicans.
Meanwhile, Alex Vogel, one of the firm’s principals, served as executive director of the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR), the bogus “voting-rights” group that was set up by GOP operatives in 2005 to “give ‘think tank’ academic cachet to the unproven idea that voter fraud is a major problem in elections,” as election law expert Rick Hasen has written. Torchinsky was also a key architect of that effort.
The bid to allow voter caging may have failed for now, but as we gear up for 2010, there will no doubt be other GOP efforts to swing the voting process in their favor — likely at the expense of minorities’ ability to vote. And it’s not a bad bet that HoltzmanVogel will be behind those efforts.