Tag Archives: Elections

Should the president pick the attorney general?

William Barr walks through Lafayette Park before demonstrators were cleared by federal police on June 1, 2020. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Joshua Holzer, Westminster College

Attorney General William Barr recently announced, late on a Friday, that Geoffrey Berman was “stepping down after two-and-a-half years of service as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.”

This announcement was news to Berman, who later contradicted Barr by declaring that he had not resigned and indeed had no intention of resigning. Barr then contradicted himself by informing Berman that since he had refused to resign, he had instead been fired. Continue reading

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With Election Just 4 Months Away, FEC Essentially Defunct as GOP Member Leaves for Koch-Funded Group

The White House announced it would nominate Allen Dickerson, a proponent of Citizens United, to the elections board

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-26-2020

After 10 months, the Federal Elections Commission in May regained a quorum with the confirmation of Republican appointee Trey Trainor—and promptly lost it just over five weeks later on Friday when commissioner Caroline Hunter resigned to join the Koch-funded group Stand Together, leaving the regulatory body again essentially powerless as the November general election draws closer.

“The FEC’s brief period of functioning appears to be over,” tweeted Public Integrity reporter Carrie Levine. Continue reading

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Voting Rights Advocates Warn of Impending ‘Disaster’ in Kentucky After Bid to Increase Slashed Number of Polling Sites Fails

Jefferson County has a population of roughly 767,000 and will have just one polling location.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-20-2020

Photo: Big Dubya/flickr

Voting rights advocates sounded alarm Friday after a federal judge denied an effort to expand the number of polling places in Kentucky.

The state, which holds a primary election on June 23 in which Democrats will determine the candidate to face off against Sen. Mitch McConnell, will have “[f]ewer than 200 polling places,” reported the Washington Post, “down from 3,700 in a typical election year.” Continue reading

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Federal Judge Upholds Expanded Absentee Ballot Law in Virginia, Blocking Right-Wing Group’s Attempt at Voter Suppression

“No voter should have to choose between their health and their right to vote during the pandemic.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-1-2020

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

Civil rights advocates applauded a victory for voting rights Monday after a federal judge denied a right-wing group’s request to restrict the use of absentee ballots in Virginia.

The Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law argued last week in favor of upholding the law, passed by Democratic legislators in February, which would allow Virginia voters to use absentee ballots in the 2020 election without providing an excuse. Continue reading

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‘Watershed Moment in Election Law’ as Judge Rules ‘Modern Day Poll Tax’ in Florida Unconstitutional

Advocates for restoring the voting rights of people with past convictions welcomed the ruling as “a powerful reminder that no one can trump the U.S. Constitution.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-25-2020

Screenshot: MSNBC

Civil liberties advocates celebrated after a federal court on Sunday struck down as unconstitutional a Florida law that would have denied the right to vote to nearly a million recently enfranchised state residents with past felony convictions until they paid all outstanding legal fees, fines, and restitution.

After Florida voters in November 2018 overwhelming backed Amendment 4—a ballot initiative that restored the voting rights of Floridians who have fully completed their sentences for felony convictions other than murder or sex crimes—state lawmakers passed legislation that critics condemned as a “modern day poll tax.” Continue reading

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Think Trump and Republicans Wouldn’t Try to Cancel an Election? Look at What GOP in Georgia Just Pulled Off

“Having NO election is rigging an election.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-19-2020

 

Brian Kemp takes the oath of office becoming the 83rd Governor of the state of Georgia Jan. 14, 2019 at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Photo: Georgia National Guard/CC

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp will be permitted to hand-pick the state’s next Supreme Court Justice after that same high court ruled last week that a special election set for Tuesday could be canceled.

Kemp and his Secretary of State, Brad Raffensberger, moved to cancel voting in the state earlier this year after state Supreme Court Justice Keith Blackwell announced he would step down after his six-year term expires at the end of 2020. Continue reading

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Growing Number of COVID-19 Cases in Wisconsin Fuels National Demands for Vote-by-Mail

“Congress is running out of time to ensure that the chaos that happened in Wisconsin doesn’t unfold on a national scale come November.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-27-2020

Photo: Don Moynihan/flickr

The increasing number of COVID-19 cases among people who voted in-person for Wisconsin’s April 7 election is fueling demands for Congress to help fund the implementation of expanded vote-by-mail provisions in every state for the rest of this year, particularly for the nation’s general election scheduled for November.

“So far, 36 people who tested COVID-19 positive after April 9 have reported that they voted in person or worked the polls on election day,” Jennifer Miller, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, told Politico Monday As the outlet reported: Continue reading

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Calling US Postal Service ‘A Joke,’ Trump Demands Four-Fold Price Hike for Customers Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

Such a move, say critics, “would be a disaster for millions of Americans who rely on USPS.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-24-2020

Postal workers and critics of the Trump administration’s plans to privatize the United States Postal Service (USPS) carried signs at a Los Angeles protest on Oct. 8, 2018. (Photo: Chloe Osmer/Twitter)

President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to withhold all future Covid-19 relief funding from the U.S. Postal Service unless the federal agency dramatically raises its shipping prices—a demand that critics say is ludicrous given the economic calamity the American people and the post office are now facing.

After U.S. Secretary Steven Mnuchin fielded a question about relief funding for USPS from a reporter at the White House during a bill signing ceremony Friday, Trump declared that “the Postal Service is a joke, because they’re handing out packages for Amazon and other internet companies, and every time they bring a package they lose money on it.” Continue reading

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‘A Day That Will Live in Infamy’: This Is What It Looked Like When Wisconsin Forced In-Person Voting During a Pandemic

“People are being forced to risk their lives to place their vote or fulfill their right as an American to vote.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-7-2020

Photo: Don Moynihan/flickr

As footage of Wisconsin’s crowded polling stations flooded the internet Tuesday, public health officials and civil rights advocates condemned the state’s Supreme Court and Republican legislative leaders for allowing in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic and thwarting Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ last-minute efforts to address voter safety concerns.

“It’s not going to be a safe election. People are going to get sick from this,” Brook Soltvedt, a 60-year-old textbook editor who is in charge of running the polling place at Thoreau Elementary School in Madison, Wisconsin’s capital, told The Cap Times. Continue reading

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‘A Harrowing Warning’ to All as Hungary Hands Far-Right Leader Dictatorial Powers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

“We could have a parallel epidemic of authoritarian and repressive measures following close if not on the heels of a health epidemic.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-30-2020

Viktor Orban. Photo: European Parliament/flickr/CC

Human rights groups and activists issued dire warnings about the state of democracy in Hungary—and the rest of the world—after the nation’s parliament on Monday approved a sweeping emergency law handing far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán dictatorial powers as the European country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

The new law indefinitely suspends elections and parliament, imposes up to five years in prison for anyone who intentionally spreads what the government classifies as misinformation, and gives Orbán the authority to suspend laws by decree as he works to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. The law easily passed Hungary’s parliament, which is dominated by Orbán’s far-right Fidesz party, by a vote of 137 to 53. Continue reading

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