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 →
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 →
Civil rights advocates and secretaries of states are warning against a provision in a DHS reauthorization bill that would let the president dispatch Secret Service to polling places. (Photo: Penn State/flickr/cc)
Civil rights advocates and top election officials are expressing alarm over a section in the Department of Homeland Security reauthorization bill that would allow the president to send Secret Service agents to polling places.
“Who in their right mind would give this vulgar talking yam this kind of power?” quipped Charles P. Pierce at Esquire. Continue reading →
The Census Bureau is scrambling to respond to a last-minute request by the Justice Department to add a question on citizenship status to the 2020 census, according to hundreds of pages of emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The emails show that the DOJ’s December request set off a flurry of activity in the bureau as career Census officials hurried to research the history of how citizenship has been handled in past surveys, raced to come up with alternatives to the DOJ request and vented their frustration over public outrage on the issue. Continue reading →
Thanks to the new decision, said the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, “The new maps could result in a delegation that more closely resembles the will of Pennsylvania’s voters.” (Photo: Penn State/Flickr/cc)
Pennsylvania’s high court on Monday ruled that the state’s gerrymandered congressional map “clearly, plainly, and palpably” violates the state constitution and ordered the state to draw up a new map to be used in the primary.
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court today ruled in favor of voters choosing politicians rather than politicians choosing voters, and that is major victory for all Pennsylvanians,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, which filed an amicus brief in the case. “The court order will result in new maps in time for the 2018 election so that voters will not be forced to face a fourth congressional election under these unconstitutionally gerrymandered congressional districts.” Continue reading →
Gerrymandering was already shaping up to be an important issue this year, with huge implications for American democracy. But after the ruling this week on the North Carolina congressional map, the stakes have been raised still higher.
For the first time, a federal panel of judges ruled that a state’s map of its congressional districts was unconstitutional. The North Carolina map didn’t just give an advantage to Republicans – it manifested “invidious partisan intent.” The panel directed the state to draw the districts again by Jan. 24. Continue reading →
Amid widening violence and ongoing protests, members of the Honduras National Police force—including those within the U.S.-trained units known as the Cobras—say they are refusing to obey orders from the right-wing government of the incumbent president, Juan Orlando Hernández, who has used the security forces to crackdown on demonstrators and imposed a curfew amid allegations of voter fraud in recent elections.
“We want peace, and we will not follow government orders – we’re tired of this,” a spokesperson for the police told reporters outside the national police headquarters on Monday. “We aren’t with a political ideology. We can’t keep confronting people, and we don’t want to repress and violate the rights of the Honduran people.” Continue reading →
The U.S. Census is a nonpartisan accounting of every person who lives in the country, but President Trump’s top pick for its new deputy director could politicize the Census Bureau with his views on redistricting. (Photo: PaulSh/Flickr/cc)
President Donald Trump’s top pick for deputy director of the U.S. Census Bureau is the author of a book about the dangers of a competitive electoral system—leading to fears among voting rights advocates that the appointment would lead to a politicization of the agency which is heavily involved in how voting districts are drawn.
Thomas Brunelll, a political science professor at the University of Texas, is the author of the 2008 book Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America, in which he argued that voting districts packed with like-minded voters are fairer than those with a mix of Democratic and Republican voters. Continue reading →
Catalans did not take the news that Spanish Prime Minister will move to impose direct rule on their region quietly on Saturday. Nearly half a million people marched in Barcelona soon after the prime minister’s press conference.
Carles Puigdemont, president of Catalonia, joined the demonstration before a planned speech responding to Mariano Rajoy’s statement that pending the approval of the senate, which his party controls, he would remove the Catalan government from power and call for a special election in the coming months.
The protesters chanted, “Freedom!” and “Rajoy, Rajoy, so you know we are leaving!” Continue reading →
“Gerrymandering has no value in our democracy,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee on Civil and Human Rights. (Photo: Janai Nelson/Twitter)
Wielding signs that read “hands off our districts” and “you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your voters,” hundreds of civil rights advocates, lawyers, and lawmakers rallied in the nation’s capital Tuesday as the Supreme Court heard arguments in a landmark redistricting case that poses “the most serious challenge to gerrymandering in modern times.”
The case under consideration—Gill v. Whitford—is the result of a lawsuit filed by Wisconsin voters and the Campaign Legal Center in 2015 alleging that Republican-drawn state district lines violated the rights of Democratic voters. In 2016, a federal court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, arguing that the GOP’s district maps amounted to “an aggressive partisan gerrymander” and ordered the lines redrawn. Continue reading →