Tag Archives: Florida

‘Intentional Vandalism’ Leaves Thousands Without Power in North Carolina

One right-wing extremist implied that multiple electrical substations were targeted to disrupt a drag show in Moore County. Local law enforcement authorities and the FBI are investigating.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 12-4-2022 by Common Dreams

Police officers survey the perimeter line of the West End substation in Moore County, North Carolina on December 3, 2022. (Photo: John Nagy/The Pilot)

Officials in a North Carolina county where more than 40,000 households remain without power amid freezing temperatures declared a state of emergency on Sunday afternoon, less than 24 hours after multiple electrical substations were damaged by gunfire in an apparent act of criminal vandalism.

“As utility companies began responding to the different substations, evidence was discovered that indicated that intentional vandalism had occurred at multiple sites,” Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said in a statement. The massive blackout, which began just after 7:00 pm Saturday night, is “being investigated as a criminal occurrence.” No arrests have been announced. Continue reading

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Citing Orwell, Judge Blocks ‘Positively Dystopian’ Censorship Law Backed by DeSantis

The federal judge lambasted Florida officials’ argument that “professors enjoy ‘academic freedom’ so long as they express only those viewpoints of which the state approves.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-17-2022 by Common Dreams

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

In an order that begins by quoting the famous opening line of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, a federal judge on Thursday blocked key provisions of a Florida censorship law that aimed to restrict how state university professors teach race, gender, and U.S. history.

“‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,’ and the powers in charge of Florida’s public university system have declared the state has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom,'” Judge Mark Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, an Obama appointee, wrote in his scathing decision, which temporarily halts enforcement of parts of the law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis—a possible 2024 presidential candidate. Continue reading

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‘This Is Important’: DOJ to Step Up Poll Monitoring for Midterms

“It matters that the Justice Department is protecting the rights of voters and enforcing federal voting rights laws,” said the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 11-7-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Keith Ivey/flickr/CC

Amid mounting fears of voter intimidation and political violence on the eve of the U.S. midterm elections, federal officials on Monday announced plans to monitor polls in 64 communities across two dozen states.

“Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Division has regularly monitored elections in the field in jurisdictions around the country to protect the rights of voters,” the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement. Continue reading

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The US Christian Right groups actively involved in voter suppression

OPINION: Religious and anti-abortion groups are trying to restrict voting rights ahead of the midterm elections

By Annika Brockschmidt  Published 11-3-2022 by openDemocracy

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

Anyone who wants a future in today’s Republican Party must openly claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, or at least dance around the question of electoral fraud enough to appease their dear leader.

Meanwhile, a coalition of conservative dark money groups with strong ties to the religious Right have made it their mission to curb voting rights in potentially election-deciding swing states. They are using allegations of Democratic voter fraud and ‘election integrity’ as tactics to engage in voter suppression. Continue reading

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Florida Voters Urged to Act as More Than 15,000 Mail-In Ballots Flagged

“We need every Floridian to have their voices heard in this election, which is why those who voted by mail should check with their county supervisor of elections office to ensure their ballot was received without issue,” said one advocate.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 11-4-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Florida Political Review/CC

With more than 15,000 mail-in ballots having been flagged for signature or other issues so far in Florida, democracy defenders on Friday urged people to track their ballot online to ensure it has been accepted and to promptly fix mistakes so that votes are not thrown out during next week’s pivotal midterms.

Voters can check the status of their ballot by calling their county supervisor of elections office or using the online trackers available in most counties. They have until 5:00 pm ET on Thursday, November 10 to resolve any outstanding issues. Continue reading

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Armed ‘Poll Watchers’ in Arizona Heighten Alarm Over Right-Wing Voter Intimidation

“This is obviously totally incompatible with liberal democracy and an open society,” said one commentator.

By Jake Johnson  Published 10-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Two masked individuals dressed in tactical gear sit near a ballot dropbox location in Mesa, Arizona on October 21, 2022. (Photo: Nicole Grigg/ABC15 Arizona/Twitter Screengrab)

Video footage released Friday night showing armed individuals sitting near a ballot drop box in Mesa, Arizona is heightening alarm over right-wing intimidation efforts as early voting kicks off across the United States.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office told a local ABC affiliate that it is investigating several individuals who were watching a Mesa voting location on Friday. The department confirmed that two individuals at the site were armed. Continue reading

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Direct democracy can force governments to better represent the people – but it doesn’t always work out

The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has led to a push for citizens initiatives to enshrine abortion rights.
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

 

Susan Stokes, University of Chicago

In August 2022, a statewide referendum in Kansas saw citizens overwhelmingly reject a plan to insert anti-abortion language into the state’s constitution. It comes as a slew of similar votes on abortion rights are planned in the coming months – putting the issue directly to the people after the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

But are referendums and citizens initiatives good for democracy? It may seem like an odd question to pose on International Day for Democracy, especially at a time when many feel democracy is imperiled both in the U.S. and around the world. Continue reading

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‘A True Danger to the Public Post Office’: DeJoy Moves to Consolidate USPS Facilities

“How many post offices will be closed?” asked one union official. “How many clerks and drivers will lose jobs?”

By Jake Johnson  Published 8-27-2022 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: C-SPAN

Postal union officials are sounding the alarm about the potentially damaging impacts of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s effort to consolidate post offices across the U.S. as part of his widely condemned 10-year plan to reshape the public mail agency.

Government Executive reported Friday that “more than 200 post offices and other U.S. Postal Service facilities are set to shed some of their operations as soon as this year as the mailing agency seeks to consolidate those functions at larger buildings, according to documents shared by management.” Continue reading

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Bad Day for DeSantis as ‘Stop WOKE Act’ Hit With Injunction, Lawsuit

“If Florida truly believes we live in a post-racial society, then let it make its case,” a federal judge wrote in blocking part of the controversial law. “But it cannot win the argument by muzzling its opponents.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 8-18-2022 by Common Dreams

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Stop WOKE Act suffered a two-punch blow Thursday as a federal judge blocked parts of the controversial law and a coalition of civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit against what they are calling “racially motivated censorship.”

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, issued a preliminary injunction against portions of the Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act, also called the Individual Freedom Act, saying it violates First Amendment free speech protections and the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Continue reading

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‘Hell State America’: Florida Appeals Court Won’t Let Parentless 16-Year-Old Get an Abortion

“The status of minors in a post-Roe America: Not mature enough to make decisions over your own body, but mature enough to be forced to continue with a pregnancy.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 8-16-2022 by Common Dreams

Reproductive rights advocates gather in front of Florida’s historic Old Capitol building Oct. 2, 2021. Photo: Danielle J. Brown

Reproductive rights advocates were outraged by a Florida appellate court’s Monday decision upholding a trial judge’s move to block a “parentless” 16-year-old from getting an abortion.

Escambia County Circuit Judge Jennifer J. Frydrychowicz recently rejected the unidentified teen’s request for permission to bypass the parental notice and consent requirements under Florida law. A three-judge panel from the state’s 1st District Court of Appeal upheld that decision, which critics called “barbaric,” “flabbergasting,” “outrageous,” and “unconscionable.” Continue reading

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