Category Archives: Voting

Celebrating a Congress That Looks ‘Like America,’ Ilhan Omar Shrugs Off Right-Wing Islamophobic Rant

“You’re gonna have to just deal.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-7-2018

Reps.-elect Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) at freshmen orientation on Capitol Hill last month. (Photo: @JossieValentin/Twitter)

Incoming Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Friday reminded a right-wing pastor and others who would lament the new cultural diversity of the U.S. Congress that the 2018 midterm elections simply gave Americans—particularly Democratic voters and progressives—the representation they asked for in Washington: the kind that looked like America.

After conservative minister and radio host E.W. Jackson delivered an Islamophobic rant on his show on Wednesday, decrying Omar’s status as one of the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress and warning that the Capitol is turning into a “institution of Sharia law,” the current state legislator replied simply that the pastor would “have to just deal.” Continue reading

Share

In ‘Craven’ Bait-and-Switch Attack on Workers, Michigan GOP Guts Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Proposals

“Imagine hating working-class people this much.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-5-2018

Michigan voters—joined by a “lame duck”—gathered to watch in Michigan’s capital as Republican lawmakers gutted a minimum wage hike and paid sick leave protections. (Photo: @LindsayVanHulle/Twitter)

Three months after ensuring that Michigan voters would not have a say in proposals to hike the state’s minimum wage and provide sick leave to workers, the state’s Republican-led Senate pushed through major changes to the initiatives on Tuesday, effectively gutting legislation that hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents had demanded.

Under the original minimum wage proposal, the state’s minimum wage would have gone up from $9.25 to $12 per hour by 2022—but workers will have to wait until 2030 under the GOP’s version of the bill. Tipped workers’s wages will go up to only $4 from $3.52 per hour by that time under the Republican proposal. Continue reading

Share

Emergency Protests Planned to Stop Scott Walker and Wisconsin GOP’s “Shocking and Naked Power Grab”

“This is straight out of a banana republic and should be a huge national story.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-3-2018

“Warning to our friends across the country: what happens in Wisconsin doesn’t stay in Wisconsin,” MoveOn.org Washington director Ben Wikler wrote. (Photo: Indivisible Madison)

As Wisconsin’s GOP-controlled legislature and outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker seek to thwart the will of voters by ramming through a sweeping slate of legislation that would drastically curtail Democratic governor-elect Tony Evers’ authority and ability to implement his agenda, progressive advocacy groups announced emergency rallies on Monday to fight back against the GOP’s latest “shocking and naked power grab.”

“This is straight out of a banana republic and should be a huge national story,” Mother Jones reporter Ari Berman said of the GOP plan, which would strip Evers’ power to approve decisions by the newly elected Democratic state attorney general and hand this authority over to the Republican legislature. Continue reading

Share

Election Day Was Filled With Frustrations, Claims of Mischief and Glimmers of Hope

Some states had ballot measures aimed at making it easier to vote or designed to take some of the politics out of how electoral districts are drawn up. In nearly every case, Americans seized the opportunity — with what the vote totals suggest was enthusiasm.

By Jessica Huseman. Published 11-9-2018 by ProPublica

Photo: Tom Arthur [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Election Day in America brought its familiar mix of misery and allegations of mischief: Aging voting machines crashed; rain-soaked citizens stood in endless lines; laws that many regarded as attempts to suppress turnout among people of color led to both confusion at the polls and angry calls for recounts and investigations.

 

The root causes have been at play for years. The neglect of America’s elections infrastructure, after all, has persisted, and all levels of government are responsible. And since the Supreme Court in 2013 voided a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, local governments have been emboldened in crafting hotly debated requirements for people to cast their ballots. Continue reading

Share

With Broken Machines and Hours-Long Waits Stopping Voters From Casting Ballots, Majority Says, “Make Election Day a Federal Holiday”

“Is voting meant to be an obstacle course?”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-6-2018

Photo: Big Dubya/flickr

A poll released as Americans cast their ballots in the midterm elections on Tuesday shows that more than half of the country believes Election Day should be made a national holiday—a likely partial solution to a number of problems that plague the voting system.

Fifty-four percent of respondents to the survey, taken by Hill.TV and HarrisX, say workers should be given the day off on Election Day, allowing them far more time to vote, saving them from having to leave their polling places without voting due to long lines and issues with voting machines, and potentially changing the United States’ generally low election turnout for the better. Continue reading

Share

‘Instilling Fear in the 11th Hour’: Experts Warn Trump DOJ Poll Monitors Being Sent to Intimidate Voters, Not Protect Them

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not have his eyes set on voter suppression but is instead exploiting this moment to push a false narrative about voter fraud.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-5-2018

Occupy Wall Street joined the NAACP as thousands marched in midtown Manhattan on December 10, 2011 to defend voting rights. Photo: Michael Fleshman/flickr

In a move civil rights groups denounced as a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to intimidate minorities, spread hysteria about non-existent voter fraud, and suppress turnout, the Justice Department announced on Monday that it is dispatching personnel to “monitor” 35 voting locations in 19 states during Tuesday’s midterms just as President Donald Trump warned in a tweet that any “illegal voting” will be punished with “maximum criminal penalties.”

“We condemn the Justice Department’s announcement regarding the deployment of federal observers,” Kristen Clarke, president and CEO of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a statement. “In stark contrast to how these observers have been deployed in the past, Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not have his eyes set on voter suppression and last-minute intimidation but is instead exploiting this moment to push a false narrative about voter fraud.” Continue reading

Share

Lawyers Turn to Activism as Civil Liberties Come Under Attack

A new generation of social justice attorneys has risen to defend against the hard-line policies of the Trump administration, from immigration and abortion access to voting and gender rights.

By . Published 8-6-2018 by YES! Magazine

To train a new generation of lawyers to fight for the rights of immigrants after the 2016 elections, Claire Thomas started an asylum clinic at the New York City law school where she taught.

In Seattle, Michelle Mentzer retired five years early as an administrative law judge so she could volunteer as an attorney with the ACLU.

And in Texas, Anna Castro traded her full-time job for contract work so she could prepare to attend law school to better serve her community. Continue reading

Share

‘Take Away Our Poverty, Not Our Children!’: Poor People’s Campaign Caps Off 40 Days of Action

‘We will keep coming back until everyone has housing, voting rights, clean water, peace, and justice!” says Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-23-2018

A portion of the Poor People’s Campaign’s poster for the action on Saturday.

Thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. on Saturday where the Poor People’s Campaign capped off 40 days of action with a rally and march to further energize its call for a “moral revival” and intention to “move forward together, not one step back.”

Twin banners declaring “Fight Poverty Not the Poor” flanked the stage, where rousing speeches by noted figures including Rev. William Barber, Rev. Jesse Jackson, American Federation of Teachers leader Randi Weingarten, as well as others on the front-lines of the fight for justice—and those who amplify their voices—drew cheers. Continue reading

Share

Poor People’s Campaign Leaders Among Dozens Arrested Nationwide as Moral Movement Persists

Ahead of Capitol Hill forum, Rev. William Barber and Rev. Liz Theohalis reportedly still in police custody

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-12-2018

Rev. Liz Theohalis was among the community leaders who were arrested on Monday on Capitol Hill, while demonstrating as part of the Poor People’s Campaign. (Photo: @UniteThePoor/Twitter)

A day after being detained for leading a Poor People’s Campaign demonstration on Capitol Hill—just two of the dozens of arrests of anti-poverty advocates at protests across the country on Monday—Rev. William Barber and Rev. Liz Theoharis were set to speak at a forum on inequality and poverty in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Elijah Cummings called the meeting in order to hear from Americans who are demanding that Congress address economic inequality and persistent poverty in many parts of the U.S.—amid the implementation of cruel policies like last year’s tax law, the benefits of which mainly went to the richest Americans. Continue reading

Share

What Facebook’s New Political Ad System Misses

Facebook announced a new system to make political ads more transparent. It’s got holes.

By Jeremy B. MerrillAriana Tobin, and Madeleine Varner. Published 5-24-2018 by ProPublica.

Screenshot: Bloomberg

Facebook’s long-awaited change in how it handles political advertisements is only a first step toward addressing a problem intrinsic to a social network built on the viral sharing of user posts.

The company’s approach, a searchable database of political ads and their sponsors, depends on the company’s ability to sort through huge quantities of ads and identify which ones are political. Facebook is betting that a combination of voluntary disclosure and review by both people and automated systems will close a vulnerability that was famously exploited by Russian meddlers in the 2016 election.

The company is doubling down on tactics that so far have not prevented the proliferation of hate-filled posts or ads that use Facebook’s capability to target ads particular groups. Continue reading

Share