Tag Archives: Elections

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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Brazil: the day after

Our Brazilian friends are going to be needing us, a lot, in the coming years. We, and what is left of global civil society, have to be prepared and give shelter to those under attack.

By Francesc Badia i Dalmases.  Published 10-27-2018 by openDemocracy

“Courage is what gives meaning to freedom” reads this graffiti on the walls of the Cachoeira public university, in the state of Bahia, pictured in September 2018. Image: Francesc Badia. All rights reserved.

 

 

We have to prepare for the day after.

Brazil is already suffering from a tide of unbearable verbal and symbolic violence, and the incendiary hate speeches are already claiming their share of victims. Bolsonaro’s victory seems indisputable and is forcing us to get ready for a double action.

The first thing will be to protect ourselves and prevent verbal attacks from turning violent under the cloak of euphoria for the victory of a candidate who considers the losers not ideological or political rivals but enemies who must be eliminated. Communist worms, they call them. Continue reading

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After Cutting All UNWRA Humanitarian Aid, US to Award Israel with $3.3B/Year in Military Aid

The bill, combined with even more aid given to Israeli missile defense, would give $38 billion to Israel over the next ten years, roughly equivalent to $23,000 for every Jewish family living in Israel over the next decade.

By Whitney Webb. Published 9-14-2018 by MintPress News

President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly. Photo: White House

A massive spending bill, which would deliver $3.3 billion dollars in military aid to Israel over the next year, passed the House on Wednesday under cover of a media blackout. The U.S. Senate had passed a different version of the same bill in early August, a vote that also went largely unreported.

Now, after the House’s passage of a slightly altered version of the Senate’s spending bill, officially titled the “Ileana Ros-Lehtinen United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018,” all that remains is for the two chambers of Congress to reconcile their versions before the product is sent to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. According to Skopos Labs, the bill now hasa 90 percent chance of being enacted. If enacted, the bill will be the largest aid package in American history. 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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‘We Fully Support a Free Press, But…’: White House Suggests Reporter Harassed by Trump Rally-Goers Probably Had It Coming

“Increasingly, Trump supporters are demonstrating just how aligned they are with his view that the political press is the enemy of the people.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-1-2018

A crowd of Trump supporters heckled CNN reporter Jim Acosta at a rally in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday night. (Photo: @emilylgoodin/Twitter)

At a press briefing on Wednesday, the White House offered a defense of President Donald Trump’s implicit endorsement of anti-press vitriol that was on display at his rally in Tampa, Florida the previous evening, when several Trump supporters heckled CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

When asked whether or not it is wrong for the president’s “most vocal supporters to be menacing towards journalists,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders assured reporters that the president supports a free press, while appearing to suggest that Acosta and other journalists may be deserving of mistreatment. 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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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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