Category Archives: Elections

Trump is no Navalny, and prosecution in a democracy is a lot different than persecution in Putin’s Russia

By James D. Long. Published 2-22-2024 by The Conversation

Alexei Navalny in 2020 on a march in memory of politician Boris Nemtsov, who was killed in Russia. Photo: Michał Siergiejevicz/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The death of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, announced on Feb. 16, 2024, lays bare to the world the costs of political persecutions. Although his cause of death remains unknown, the 47-year-old died while serving a 19-year sentence in a Siberian penal colony.

“Three days ago, Vladimir Putin killed my husband,” said Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, in a Feb. 19 video.

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Ending Reign of GOP Gerrymandering, Evers Approves Fair Maps in Wisconsin

“Wisconsin, for the first time in over a decade, we will not have some of the most gerrymandered maps in America,” Evers said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 2-19-2024 by Common Dreams

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. Photo: Wisconsin National Guard/flickr/CC

For the first time since 2011, Wisconsin has state Assembly and Senate maps that do not unconstitutionally favor Republican candidates.

Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, signed new legislative maps into law on Monday that were crafted by his office and approved by the state Supreme Court.

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Feds ‘All F—king Tied Up in Knots’ Over How to Handle Election Threats

Top CIA, DHS, DOJ, and FBI officials recently gathered to discuss simulations on deepfakes and violence at the polls—and, as one journalist put it, “the results weren’t encouraging.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 2-9-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: Public Policy Institute of California/Facebook

Just nine months away from the U.S. general election, reporting published Friday by CNN suggests the federal government is poorly prepared to respond to “nightmare scenarios,” from violence at the polls to disinformation created with artificial intelligence.

One U.S. official familiar with a previously unreported meeting at the White House Situation Room in December told CNN‘s Sean Lyngaas that in terms of a coordinated federal response to an election-related threat, “we’re all f—king tied up in knots.”

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FCC Announces New Rule to Confront Deepfake Robocalls

While welcoming the rule, one advocate said it is “not enough to safeguard citizens and our elections.”

By Julia Conley. Published 2-8-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: Ivan Radic/flickr/CC

Just over two weeks after New Hampshire voters were inundated with artificial intelligence-generation robocalls featuring U.S. President Joe Biden’s fake voice telling them not to vote in their state’s primary, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday announced what one adocate called a “desperately needed” rule declaring such calls are illegal under federal law.

The FCC unanimously voted to adopt the declaratory ruling, saying calls like those made in New Hampshire are “artificial” under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

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Bombings Kill Dozens in Pakistan on Eve of Contentious Elections

As Pakistanis prepare to head to the polls with the country’s most popular politician behind bars on dubious charges, human rights groups sounded the alarm on a wide range of election-related repression.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 2-7-2024 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: YouTube

Dozens of Pakistanis were killed Wednesday in two bombings targeting political offices on the eve of highly contentious parliamentary elections from which the country’s most popular leader—who is jailed on what critics say are politically motivated charges—is banned.

The blasts both occurred in the southwestern province of Balochistan, homeland of the nomadic Baloch people, who also inhabit a large swath of southeastern Iran and southern Afghanistan. Government officials said the first bombing, which targeted independent candidate Asfandyar Khan’s office in the Pashin district, killed 18 people. A second blast approximately 80 miles away then killed at least 12 people at the Qilla Saifullah office of the Sunni fundamentalist Jamiat Ulema Islam party, which has close ties to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

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Despite Human Rights Concerns, El Salvador’s Bukele Reelected in Landslide

“Human rights violations have been constant during the Bukele administration,” said one activist. “We can only expect it to continue growing.”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 2-5-2024 by Common Dreams

Donald Trump and Nayib Bukele in 2019, Photo: Public Domain

As right-wing Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele on Sunday night declared victory in his bid for a constitutionally proscribed second term, critics underscored the human rights costs of a state of emergency that’s sacrificed civil liberties in the name of security.

Although votes are still being counted, there was no doubt on Monday of Bukele’s landslide reelection to another five-year term. The self-described “world’s coolest dictator” claimed to have won 85% of the vote, a figure roughly equal to exit polling figures published by Salvadoran and international media.

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Oregon Supreme Court Bans From Ballot GOP State Lawmakers Who Staged Walkout

“Oregonians deserve legislators who will show up and do their jobs—and when they don’t, there must be consequences,” said one advocacy group.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 2–1-2024 by Common Dreams

This photo shows the empty floor of the Oregon State Senate. (Photo: Cacophony/Wikimedia Commons)

Oregon’s Supreme Court on Thursday disqualified 10 state senators from reelection for participating in last year’s Republican-led walkout that paralyzed the Legislature for six weeks, delaying key Democratic bills on abortion, healthcare, and gun control.

The ruling upholds last year’s decision by Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade, a Democrat, barring the 10 lawmakers—nine Republicans and 1 Independent—from the 2024 ballot because they had accumulated more than 10 unexcused absences in violation of Measure 113, a state constitutional amendment approved by 68% of voters in 2022 following a series of Republican walkouts.

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Arizona GOP Bill Would Let Legislators Overrule Voters in Presidential Elections

“This is a full sound-the-alarm moment for American democracy,” said one critic.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 1-30-2024 by Common Dreams

Arizona state Sen. Anthony Kern (R-27), an ally of GOP former President Donald Trump, is spearheading a resolution that says “the Legislature, and no other official, shall appoint presidential electors.” (Photo: Anthony Kern)

Just months away from a potential rematch between Democratic U.S. President Joe Biden and Republican former President Donald Trump, democracy defenders are sounding the alarm about an Arizona bill recently introduced by a GOP state legislator.

State Sen. Anthony Kern (R-27) is spearheading Senate Concurrent Resolution 1014, which says that “the Legislature, and no other official, shall appoint presidential electors.” If it passes both chambers, the measure could appear on the November ballot.

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‘India Lurches Toward Full-Fledged Fascism’ as Modi Opens Contentious Hindu Temple

“The people of India have struggled for decades to secure a democracy that is secular, just, and equal. Modi must not be permitted to rob them of it now,” admonished Progressive International’s cabinet.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 1-22-2024 by Common Dreams

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the center of attention during the January 22, 2024 concescration of the Ram Mandir temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. (Photo: Narendra Modi/X)

The executive body of Progressive International warned Monday of the accelerating erosion of Indian democracy as right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially consecrated a highly controversial Hindu temple on the former site of a 16th-century Muslim mosque destroyed a generation ago by a Hindu nationalist mob.

Modi heralded the “advent of a new era” as he spoke outside Ram Mandir, a temple to the Hindu deity figure Ram—who epitomizes the triumph of good over evil—in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. The small city of approximately 55,000 inhabitants is known for its religious diversity and long history of peaceful coexistence between Hindus and Muslims.

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Primary Season Is Here, But Still No FEC Action on Campaign Deepfakes

A consumer advocacy group warns that deceptive images generated by AI are “one of the biggest threats to our elections.”

By Julia Conley. Published 1-16-2024 by Common Dreams

Image: ApolitikNow/flickr/CC

As consumer advocacy group Public Citizen marked three months since the Federal Election Commission closed its public comment period on regulating artificial intelligence-generated “deepfake” images in election ads, the group on Tuesday questioned whether the FEC itself is “just a computer-generated illusion.”

“Do we have a real Federal Election Commission?” asked Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, eight months after the group submitted its first petition asking the FEC to establish new rules banning deepfakes in campaign materials.

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