Tag Archives: Democracy

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

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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

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‘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

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‘Stunning But Not Surprising’: Trump Administration Slammed for Secret Meetings About Venezuela Coup

“There are few nations that can lecture other nations on human rights & democracy but the one nation that can never lecture anyone is the United States of America.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-9-2018

The New York Times reported Saturday that the Trump administration met with Venezuelan military officials who sought to overthrow their nation’s president, Nicolás Maduro. (Photo: Noticia al Día)

Critics across the globe are expressing alarm over the “stunning but not surprising” revelation reported by the New York Times on Saturday that, according to 11 American officials and a former Venezuelan military commander, “the Trump administration held secret meetings with rebellious military officers from Venezuela over the last year to discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro.”

Some called out the Trump administration for the United States’ record on human rights. American activist and political analyst Ajamu Baraka tweeted, “There are few nations that can lecture other nations on human rights [and] democracy but the one nation that can never lecture anyone is the Unite[d] States of America.” Continue reading

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With Sixteen “Guilty” Verdicts All in a Row, Hundreds of Thousands Ready to Hit Streets If Trump Issues Pardons or Moves Against Mueller

“Manafort could spend the rest of his life in jail, and Cohen could be headed there too. This raises the threat that Trump will try to pardon his way to obstruction of justice. If he does, we will take to the streets.”

By Common Dreams. Published 8-21-2018

“If Trump pardons Paul Manafort, 350,000 Americans in more than 900 cities are ready to take to the streets to assert that nobody is above the law.”

In response to the admission of guilt to eight charges by President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and the eight guilty verdicts against his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Tuesday afternoon, the national progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org issued a blistering thread on Twitter in which it said the developments prove the Special Counsel’s office, led by Robert Mueller, is “on the right track” and also vowed that its millions of members are standing ready to defend the probe against any interference by the president. Continue reading

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Senate Dems Threaten Suit to Get Kavanaugh Records as Poll Shows Trump Nominee Least Popular in Decades

“Not only is Brett Kavanaugh extreme, he’s wildly unpopular. The momentum is on our side, and we’re not done yet.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-16-2018

While Senate Democrats continue to fight for records pertaining to President Donald Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaughthreatening on Thursday to sue the National Archives for documents detailing his time working for the second Bush administration—a new poll from CNN revealed Kavanaugh is the least popular nominee in more than three decades.

The survey (pdf), conducted by SSRS and published Thursday, found that only 37 percent of Americans want the Senate to confirm Kavanaugh, which CNN noted “is the lowest in polling dating back to Robert Bork’s nomination by President Ronald Reagan in 1987.” Forty percent of those polled said they oppose Trump’s nominee, while 22 percent said they have no opinion. Continue reading

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‘Actions Speak Louder Than Words’: Prominent Group ‘End Citizens United’ Called Out for Backing Democrats Drowning in Corporate Cash

“If their organization only supported candidates who firmly pledged no PAC money, their contributions could breathe much-needed life into grassroots campaigns. Instead it looks more like an intentional obfuscation.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-5-2018

At first glance, the prominent political action committee End Citizens United (ECU) appears to be dedicated to channeling widespread grassroots anger at corporate money in politics into promoting candidates who reject cash from big business and support bold campaign finance reform.

But a closer look at the candidates ECU endorses and funds reveals that the organization frequently uses its vast resources to reinforce the poisonous status quo. Continue reading

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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

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Irish Women Turn Out in Droves to Repeal Constitutional Ban on Abortion

“This vote can change Ireland into a more caring, compassionate place.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-25-2018

For nearly three decades, reproductive rights advocates have fought to overturn a ban on abortion in Ireland. (Photo: Abortion Rights Campaign)

Ireland expected the higher-than-usual voter turnout to continue into the evening on Friday as Irish citizens headed to ballot boxes in droves and women living abroad returned to their home country to weigh in on a measure that would repeal the Eight Amendement of the Irish Constitution, which bans abortion unless a pregnant woman’s life is at risk.

Reproductive rights advocates have created the pro-choice Together for Yes campaign to repeal the amendment, which grants equal rights to women and fetuses, and was added to the constitution in 1983. Votes will be counted beginning Saturday morning, with an announcement expected during the afternoon. Continue reading

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Recognizing Powerful Interests Running the Joint, More Than 75% of Americans Back Campaign Finance Reform

“Let’s turn opinion into action by overturning #CitizensUnited and enacting public financing of elections nationwide,” says Public Citizen in response to new Pew survey.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-27-2018

New findings from the Pew Research Center reveal widespread support for campaign finance reform. (Photo: Backbone Campaign/flickr/cc)

Amidst a widely-shared recognition that the country is effectively being run by powerful special interests, a new poll out Friday shows that more than 3 out of 4 Americans now support serious campaign finance reform as a way to mitigate the corrupting influence of money in the nation’s democracy.

The results of the extensive Pew Research Center survey, released Thursday, reveal Americans “see the country falling well short in living up to” democratic ideals and values, and believe core changes are needed in the political system. Continue reading

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