Election Day 2015 Results
November 4, 2015 5:30 AM   Subscribe

Houston Voters Reject Broad Anti-Discrimination Ordinance [The New York Times]
A yearlong battle over gay and transgender rights that turned into a costly, ugly war of words between this city’s lesbian mayor and social conservatives ended Tuesday as voters repealed an anti-discrimination ordinance that had attracted attention from the White House, sports figures and Hollywood celebrities. The City Council passed the measure in May, but it was in limbo after opponents succeeded, following a lengthy court fight, in putting the matter to a referendum.

Related:

- Voters in Ohio Reject Marijuana Legalization Amendment [LA Times]
Ohio voters soundly rejected a marijuana initiative Tuesday that would have legalized recreational and medicinal use of the drug, and would have limited commercial growing to a small group of investors who drafted and promoted the measure. The initiative was failing 65% to 35%, with nearly 90% of precincts reporting. “Issue 3 has been soundly defeated!” Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies crowed on Twitter. “No marijuana monopolies in this state!” Four other states and the District of Columbia have already legalized the recreational sale of marijuana, which is still a federal crime. Ohio would have been the first state in the Midwest to do so.
- Kentucky elects Tea Partyer Matt Bevin governor. [Salon.com]
Republican Matt Bevin has defeated Democrat Jack Conway in Kentucky’s gubernatorial election. Bevin, an ultraconservative businessman who launched an unsuccessful primary challenge to Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014, promised to roll back the commonwealth’s expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and dismantle Kentucky’s popular health insurance exchange, Kynect. Under Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, Kentucky was one of the few Southern states to embrace the 2010 health reform law. Conway pledged to continue Beshear’s health reform policies.
- Mississippi Republican Phil Bryant wins second term as governor. [Fox News]
Republican Phil Bryant has won a second term as Mississippi governor, easily defeating two candidates who ran low-budget campaigns. Democrat Robert Gray is a long-haul truck driver who spent just over $3,000 to run for Mississippi's top job. The Reform Party's Shawn O'Hara, who has unsuccessfully sought several statewide offices over the past 20 years, spent about $300 to challenge Bryant. The 60-year-old governor spent about $2.7 million. He campaigned by saying he has focused on creating jobs and making specific changes to education policy, such as creating charter schools and emphasizing reading skills in early grades

- San Francisco votes against limiting short-term Airbnb rentals: Proposition F fails at the polls. [The Verge]
San Francisco appears to have voted down Proposition F, which would place new limits on short-term rentals like Airbnb. Early results suggested the measure had failed by a margin of just under 14,000 votes, in a result that had been widely expected after polls showed little momentum. Airbnb was the chief sponsor of the anti-F movement, spending more than $8 million in an effort to stop it from being passed. And despite dozens of protesters storming company headquarters yesterday in an effort to link the company to rising housing costs, a majority of San Francisco voters apparently did not agree with them.
- Michigan politicians forced out of office by affair lose Republican primary. [The Detroit News]
Former state Reps. Cindy Gamrat and ex-Rep. Todd Courser were defeated in two special Republican primaries Tuesday that were triggered by their scandal-plagued departures two months ago from the Michigan House of Representatives. The tea party duo were vying for the GOP nominations to fill the seats they vacated on Sept. 11, when the Republican-controlled House ousted Gamrat and Courser resigned to avoid an all-but-certain expulsion for misconduct and misuse of taxpayer resources related to their extramarital affair.
- Salt Lake City Appears To Have Elected Its First Openly Gay Mayor [Salt Lake Tribune]
Salt Lake City voters elected Jackie Biskupski as Utah's first openly gay mayor and only the second female top executive in the capital city, according to the unofficial election-night count. Those vote tallies had Biskupski with 52.19 percent to two-term Mayor Ralph Becker's 47.81 percent — less than a 5 percentage-point spread. No additional results will be released until the Nov. 17 canvass. Becker did not concede Tuesday night but did compliment Biskupski on a hard-fought campaign. "I commend her, and really I've felt this way, she's run a very, very strong campaign. And the votes that have been counted so far show her in the lead, and it's a reflection of the campaign she's run, and I commend her for that," the mayor said. "Beyond that, I think we're going to have to wait and see what the final votes are."
These were just a few of the more prominent elections/issues that sent United States voters to the polls. If I missed any others that you feel are worth sharing, please do so.
posted by Fizz (204 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have friends in state government all across Kentucky, they're all terrified for their jobs today. Bevin's budget will probably look like Kansas or Wisconsin, at best, with the state's massive pension debts addressed 100% by vicious cuts to every state agency. Oh, and remember that map of the uninsured? Kentucky is about to go from the biggest Obamacare success story to 20% of the state having 3rd world healthcare access again. Plus there's other indignities, Bevin has promised a religous freedom bill that would enshrine the "Kim Davis rule" as law, and to fund the ridiculous Answers in Genesis Ark Encounter with state tax money. Just name a hate radio hot button topic and Bevin has promised to push it in Kentucky. He's easily the craziest ringwing nutjob now in elected office, right there with Sam Brownback.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:45 AM on November 4, 2015 [27 favorites]


On the bright side, Indianapolis easily elected Democrat Joe Hogsett as mayor and secured a Democratic majority on the City/County Council.
posted by Gelatin at 5:51 AM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]




The Republican majority held on in Virginia as well.

Meanwhile, in portents: Death Rates Rising for Middle-Aged White Americans, Study Finds [NYT]

After Obama's 2008 victory, my brother, in market research for 20 years, gently mocked my (now obviously foolish) optimism. He argued that most Americans would much rather die slowly than support the kind of radical change and action required to combat income inequality, climate change, or any of the other existential threats facing the US. Apparently, the alternative for many of them is actually to put a gun in their mouth.
posted by ryanshepard at 5:54 AM on November 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


Also worth noting that voters in Colorado voted overwhelmingly to recall Jefferson County school board members who pushed for charter schools, tried to oust the teachers' union, trashed student activism around GLBT issues, and considered banning AP US history (previously).
posted by lilac girl at 5:55 AM on November 4, 2015 [38 favorites]


I heard that the new Kentucky governor wasn't in step with the GOP (or some such understatement), but I didn't realize that's because he was so far past them on the Crazy Thermometer.

Good luck, Kentuckians -- sounds like you are in for a rough couple of years. :7(
posted by wenestvedt at 5:58 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Alas, what is my ex-home state (Kentucky) thinking? First Rand Paul, now this? My old boss/nemisis/Halloween-Party-Friend, Congressman John Yarmuth must be apoplectic. Hopefully he will not succumb to a catastrophic eye-rolling accident and continue doing the good work he is known for.

But still, what the fuck Kentucky?
posted by valkane at 6:01 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I want to live in a less embarrassing country.
posted by Foosnark at 6:01 AM on November 4, 2015 [37 favorites]


And KY Democrats losses went beyond Bevin; Adam Edelen, considered the brightest up and coming Democrat on the Kentucky Democratic bench and widely expected to challenge Rand Paul for Senate next year, lost his reelection for state auditor. Republicans took out or badly damaged basically the entire next generation of Democratic politicians in Kentucky in one night, the magnitude of the loss can't really be overstated.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:02 AM on November 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


Houston Voters Reject Broad Anti-Discrimination Ordinance [The New York Times]
"Supporters said the ordinance was similar to those approved in 200 other cities and prohibited bias in housing, employment, city contracting and business services for 15 protected classes, including race, age, sexual orientation and gender identity. Opponents said the measure would allow men claiming to be women to enter women’s bathrooms and inflict harm, and that simple message — “No Men in Women’s Bathrooms” — was plastered on signs and emphasized in television and radio ads, turning the debate from one about equal rights to one about protecting women and girls from sexual predators."
The word 'Texas' comes from the Caddo Nation (Native American) word "teyshas," which means "friends" or "allies." That's why the Texas state motto is "Friendship."

Which apparently only applies to straight, white Christian people. Not those pesky, queer brown folks.

Way to stay classy racist and sexist, Texas.
posted by zarq at 6:02 AM on November 4, 2015 [18 favorites]


The fact that HERO was killed by ridiculous, cartoonish transphobia the day after someone I really respect and admire came out as trans feels like an extra kick in the junk. God dammit, humanity.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:08 AM on November 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


the magnitude of the loss can't really be overstated.

Sure it can:

"Kentuky Re-invents the Double-Down."
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:08 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


A lot of doom and gloom, but in brighter news, Seattle looks to be re-electing its socialist city council member, Kshama Sawant, approved a $930 million transportation levy, and instituted the nation's first publicly financed elections—by a 20 point margin, so far.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 6:12 AM on November 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


Yikes! Just a bunch of bullshit out there. I guess insulting people via billboard and voting against your own well-being are good political tactics still.
posted by xingcat at 6:16 AM on November 4, 2015


Ohioans voted by referendum to make their redistricting process for the state legislature less partisan.
posted by mrbeefy at 6:17 AM on November 4, 2015 [28 favorites]


This really, really sucks for the Kentuckians who are going to lose their health insurance. I'm pretty angry about that. But I hold out hope that the devastating consequences of a Republican undoing the Medicaid expansion serves as a loud enough object lesson for the rest of the country, so that we can move on toward nationwide expansion sooner rather than later.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:19 AM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


zennie: "Democrats take control of Pennsylvania Supreme Court, win all 3 open seats"

This is actually a huge deal because it will mean that the Republicans probably won't control the redistricting effort in 2020 like they did in 2010.
posted by octothorpe at 6:24 AM on November 4, 2015 [23 favorites]


that simple message — “No Men in Women’s Bathrooms”

I was saddened to read of the vote there, but as political theater that was an incredibly effective way to (dishonestly and disgustingly) reframe the issue. It reversed who needed protection, and emphasized how for all the attention trans issues have received in recent years, many people still have very little understanding.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:25 AM on November 4, 2015 [25 favorites]


Some (admittedly small) bright spots for those on the left:
  • While the VA Senate didn't change, the GOP lost a seat in the House, which means they no longer have a veto-proof majority.
  • Both Ohio and Maine passed actual election reform (i.e., not the usual conservative voter suppression) referenda, and Seattle looks to do the same.
  • Combined with the PA Supreme Court wins, the OH and ME referenda could lead to more equal redistricting that prevents the GOP from winning majorities in elections with a minority of the votes.
  • Andy Beshear (son of the outgoing governor) won his race for KY Attorney General.
Not a lot of consolation, I know, especially over the KY and HERO losses.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:27 AM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


my little arkansas town went through the anti discrimination ordinance recently. it was passed by city council, repealed by a vote, then passed by a vote. here's hoping the story isn't done in houston yet.

as for ohio, i'm a huge legalization supporter and i'm so glad their plan failed. that is not the way forward.
posted by nadawi at 6:30 AM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Dip Flash, when bills that would require equality in public accommodations were raised in the Maryland state legislature (initially defeated, then passed in 2014), we saw the exact same ignorant message being pushed by right-wing Senators and their unlikely TERF allies.
posted by duffell at 6:35 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Apparently, the alternative for many of them is actually to put a gun in their mouth.

I've made this joke here before, in pretty much the exact same context, but it still applies:

LIVE FREE AND DIE
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:39 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


"A house divided against itself cannot stand." I do not recall a time since the Civil War where the republic is more fundamentally divided. I attribute a good deal of it to the Foxing of the media, a considerable amount to the amount of megabucks in circulation amongst politicians, and frankly a democracy is only as worthy as the quality of it's constituents. Not clear that we collectively deserve a democracy anymore which is hard news for those that put in the time and labor to do it correctly. This will likely end badly. Who knows what will arise from the smoking ashes of this phoenix.
posted by jcworth at 6:41 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Erie County NY reelected Democrat Mark Poloncarz as County Executive by a 2-1 margin, which is awesome. He did a phenomenal job during the big snowstorm last year, which was a huge factor, but dude is also all about parks, fixing roads, and creating sustainable local jobs. He is also the founder of an organization dedicated to advancing a progressive agenda in the typically conservative Western New York. It's a good win and I am just delighted about it.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:43 AM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am surprised the AirBnB proposition failed. Any locals have insight into why it was so close?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:53 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'll add another data point about Hogsett's election as Indianapolis mayor: Although he was widely seen as the favorite and had a commanding lead in the polls, his campaign still called my household three times over the weekend to ask us to get out and vote (as if we wouldn't). I have no doubt the Hogsett campaign knew it didn't particularly need my vote, but as the results in Kentucky showed, turnout matters.
posted by Gelatin at 6:55 AM on November 4, 2015




I am surprised the AirBnB proposition failed. Any locals have insight into why it was so close?

I'm not a local, but AirBnB's lobbying outspent their opponents by a few million dollars. I would imagine that has something to do with it.
posted by codacorolla at 6:58 AM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


I have no doubt the Hogsett campaign knew it didn't particularly need my vote, but as the results in Kentucky showed, turnout matters.

A popular candidate will often redirect campaign efforts to GOTV to help downballot races -- if you weren't going to bother voting for Hogsett because he was totally going to win, you could still help out city council or school board or whatever candidates who would be more likely to help Hogsett and his party.
posted by Etrigan at 6:59 AM on November 4, 2015


the day after someone I really respect and admire came out as trans

Fistbump if that's who I think it is. Fistbump anyway.
posted by Artw at 6:59 AM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Can I give an especially pointed "fuck you" to Drew Curtis, especially after he penned this:

But the problem is, the Democrats in particular really hate the other party’s candidate. Democrats may dislike their own candidate but they are downright terrified of the Republican. They are primarily voting to keep him out of office, and that makes them unlikely to take a flier on a third-party candidate; they’d rather pick the second-best candidate than vote for me. Meanwhile, I’ve been picking up GOP support no problem because they don’t seem as afraid. That tells me that if the GOP candidate had been more adequate, I’d have pulled this off.

Yes, Drew, they were scared - because Bevin was running on a platform to gut the fucking state. People will die because he won the election, and I wish that was hyperbole.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:13 AM on November 4, 2015 [37 favorites]


I live in Houston. I voted. I donated for HERO. I'm heartbroken.
posted by Salieri at 7:14 AM on November 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


This really, really sucks for the Kentuckians who are going to lose their health insurance. I'm pretty angry about that. But I hold out hope that the devastating consequences of a Republican undoing the Medicaid expansion serves as a loud enough object lesson for the rest of the country, so that we can move on toward nationwide expansion sooner rather than later.

I mean, I admire your optimism, but watching the slow-motion disasters of Louisiana and Kansas unfold under GOP unreality-based leadership, and seeing how those two were not loud enough object lessons...
posted by qcubed at 7:14 AM on November 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


I am surprised the AirBnB proposition failed. Any locals have insight into why it was so close?

I'm not a local, but AirBnB's lobbying outspent their opponents by a few million dollars. I would imagine that has something to do with it.


They also turned the private right of action clause into a poison pill.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:15 AM on November 4, 2015


That was some brilliant campaigning by the opponents of Houston's anti-discrimination law:

Opponents said the measure would allow men claiming to be women to enter women’s bathrooms and inflict harm, and that simple message — “No Men in Women’s Bathrooms” — was plastered on signs and emphasized in television and radio ads

I can totally see how a not-very-involved voter would pick up on that and say, "hmm, yeah, I'm all for equality but that bathroom thing sounds bad, better vote against it."

For someone who was following this issue: What was the supporters' response to that "no bathrooms" message? My cursory reading of the news indicates that even the people who supported the law acknowledge that they had a tough time with voter apathy + "the bathroom issue".
posted by math at 7:15 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


A popular candidate will often redirect campaign efforts to GOTV to help downballot races -- if you weren't going to bother voting for Hogsett because he was totally going to win, you could still help out city council or school board or whatever candidates who would be more likely to help Hogsett and his party.

Good point. It turned out there was only one other candidate on the ballot in my district, for City-County Council, but as I noted, Hogsett will have a Democratic majority to work with there.
posted by Gelatin at 7:17 AM on November 4, 2015


Airbnb was the first thing I saw on my Facebook feed this morning. It's 10 minutes later and I'm going to be late but I'm still in bed. Fuck fucking goddamn fuck, I can't believe they even put up those fucking "Hey San Franciscans, weeeeee paid our taaaaaxes under extreme duress and we hope you use the money to do stupid things that a tech bro thinks sound cute instead of on this crumbling transit system we took out an ad on" ads and we STILL won't regulate them.

And Houston? WTF? God damn it.
posted by sunset in snow country at 7:17 AM on November 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


For someone who was following this issue: What was the supporters' response to that "no bathrooms" message? My cursory reading of the news indicates that even the people who supported the law acknowledge that they had a tough time with voter apathy + "the bathroom issue".

via Houston Unites:

Everyone cares about privacy.

Some people have raised concerns about the ordinance’s impact on privacy and comfort in bathrooms. Many people don’t personally know a transgender person, so it’s understandable some folks may have questions at first.

But what we need to remember is nothing in the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance changes the fact that it is – and always will be – illegal to enter a restroom and harm or harass other people.

What gets lost in this conversation is that this law actually provides needed protections to all Houstonians by banning discrimination due to race, disability, gender, and more – in employment, housing and restaurants and stores.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:18 AM on November 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Of course turn out matters, hence the movement to block turn out.
posted by Freedomboy at 7:21 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, OH not legalizing marijuana was a little more complicated, as it would have been essentially a constitutional amendment granting a particular set of landowners the exclusive right to grow and sell marijuana in the state. A lot of left-leaning folks who would have voted for legalization (like me) voted against it in this particular setup. However, I think they've already got nearly enough votes to get a monopoly-free legalization bill on the ballot next year.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:23 AM on November 4, 2015 [21 favorites]


Can I give an especially pointed "fuck you" to Drew Curtis...

Nothing says "serious third-party candidate" quite like choosing your spouse to be your running mate, with the possible exception of choosing your spouse who is also your employee to be your running mate. Not a vanity candidacy at all there, Drew, nosirreebob.
posted by Etrigan at 7:27 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


bathroom panic is always bullshit and it's really hard to fight against. bathroom panic was one of the reasons given for jim crowe laws, and then it was used against gay people, and now it's focused on trans people. i think my town was honestly lucky in the long run that the duggars got involved because when we took a second wack at the anti discrimination ordinance we got to frame bathroom panic as something that the child rapist and his enablers used to shield from their own dysfunctions. another reason why it passed the second time is because we did it without the hrc's involvement. we also leaned hard on the parts of the law that had nothing to do with bathrooms - housing, jobs, etc.
posted by nadawi at 7:27 AM on November 4, 2015 [23 favorites]


Please don't blame Curtis, he's not the problem, Conway's margin was more than every single vote for Curtis. Yes, Curtis is a rich boob playing at politics with no idea what he's doing, but he did not lose this election for Kentucky Democrats, they did that all on their own.

And Curtis came out for Trump just a week before the election, if anything, he probably drew more from the Republicans, or 50/50.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:28 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is my favorite local elections thing from my area. A bunch of gun psychos videotaping people signing a petition they don't like? Super good!

It was a good distraction from the stupid amount of money spent on an election for a mayor with no actual powers, and rich people complaining about how the poors want more money PLUS their affordable housing will block our scenic views!!! Ugh.

At least the clean elections thing passed so we can watch our governor pitch another Rumpelstilzchen fit.
posted by selfnoise at 7:31 AM on November 4, 2015


(and by votes I meant signatures on a petition)
posted by ChuraChura at 7:32 AM on November 4, 2015


This is my favorite local elections thing from my area. A bunch of gun psychos videotaping people signing a petition they don't like? Super good!

The difference between your gun and your health insurance is someone is actually coming for your health insurance.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:32 AM on November 4, 2015 [23 favorites]


What can be done to fix voter turnout, that's what I want to know.

In Houston I was able to influence one friend to vote. We went out to lunch after I voted and she noticed my sticker and started asking me about it. We talked about HERO and who it would protect and how reductive the opposition had made it. During the conversation she decided she wanted to vote for it. We looked up her polling location, discussed a few other people and issues on the ballot and she cast one.

But so many other people I know do not vote. This vote represents a small fearful minority who are able to convince each other to vote more.
posted by dog food sugar at 7:34 AM on November 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


Bathroom Panic was also part of the Anti-ERA playbook. "This will constitutionally require unisex bathrooms," etc. etc.
posted by absalom at 7:36 AM on November 4, 2015 [17 favorites]


1) For the equality ordinance, the "best" (relative term here, I don't like it, because in a way it reinforces the mindset, but it speaks directly to them) retort is image macros I've seen that show post-transition Trans men and say "Do you want me in your bathroom?" something like that. Like I said - I don't like it, because it doesn't really mitigate the issue, only turn the argument around, and still feeds that monster. So maybe that's why it wasn't used (I mean, I know I've seen these images so clearly some people have already put forth effort on it, and I can't imagine activists have been oblivious to that as a possible reply - so maybe my concerns are the reasons it wasn't used?)

2) Sorry Kentucky. I have some very very very strong deep and angry feelings for what you just did. I'm not going to victim blame. My sister was a victim (in the "Live free AND die" sense some mentioned above) of such policies on the national level (and the collective blame/hate of the poor/suffering we engage in in this country -- that was not the only reason, but it was a huge burden that made her last decade of life that much more difficult and put stress on the entire family). While I'm angry about that, I don't particularly like the victim blamey mentality. Not the victim their self, at least. Not all victims happen to be people who voted for it. On a collective level, yes, they're "getting what they paid for" but not everyone voted for it, and it kinda sounds ick when its framed that way. And I'm guilty of such rhetoric quite often myself (especially my glib Texas hate which I've tried to reign in over the years). Mostly I'm sad for those who will now suffer. And I'm angry at those who made it happen like this and it may or may not be overlap between the two. And if that's the case I'm sad and angry at the idiocy that causes self-harm like that.

3) Ugh - AirBnB - fuckin awful awful gentrifying corporate silicon valley broshit.

4) Ohio. I have such complex feelings about that. My main concern is ALL THE STONERS WHO FUCKING VOTED AGAINST IT HAD BEST WORK THEIR ASS OFF TO GET THE ALTERNATIVE ON THE BALLOT NOW. Because if you just voted because of fear and then don't do shit, you've sent a signal, not just an anti-monopoly signal, but an anti-pot signal. The drug warriors will be crowing now about how they won. So if I hear anyone say "well I'll just wait til next time" if you are not actively working to do better than this last time (it's not as if there wasn't already an alternative - the big money won out. Now they lost. Now it's time to convince those who had their dreams with the big money to go for the little money). What percentage of pro-3 voters would have voted on an alternative, and what percent of them would have only voted for a "business friendly"/straight prop-3 (as it was)? There had better be a fucking SHITTON of analysis and work started right away on why, exactly, it failed, and messages crafted and targeted to those who may be swayed for a better policy if they voted for this (I know some who would vote for a better policy, but went with the lesser of 2 evils, because of their concerns about the national momentum). But I'm sure there are others who might not be so amenable with a willy-nilly anything goes approach. The message needs to be crafted to them. The stoners are (well one would think) on board. But you can't take them for granted (as shown here), so if the alternative prop that didn't get on this time needs to push then fucking PUSH YOUR ASS OFF. If it has to be a new proposition, then work towards formulating what it needs to be and get those selling points figured out and start pushing now. How long does it take to get a prop on a ballot. Can a new one be placed on by 2016 (in theory the whole "Presidential years are better for Democrats" would seem to me to imply that perhaps 2016 is a better year to push this through anyways. Is that feasible?)
posted by symbioid at 7:37 AM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Kentucky™ - The New Kansas™
posted by Talez at 7:40 AM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Please don't blame Curtis, he's not the problem, Conway's margin was more than every single vote for Curtis. Yes, Curtis is a rich boob playing at politics with no idea what he's doing, but he did not lose this election for Kentucky Democrats, they did that all on their own.

Blame is like fertilizer - you have to spread it where it's needed, and I'm quite sure that the Dems deserve a fair helping. But Curtis' comment is the sort of childish, unaware bullshit I see from a lot of people who really should know better, because they want to portray politics as a game, not wanting to deal with the fact that the positions that parties take have actual, real world repercussions.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:41 AM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Famously anti-gay loon Eugene Delgaudio lost his seat in wealthy DC-suburban Loudon County, Virginia, for what that's worth. You may remember him from his fear that a TSA agent "could be a practicing homosexual secretly getting pleasure from your submission" and his unusually vivid description of what he imagined going on at the annual Gasparilla Pirate Fest:

"When the young men are sufficiently intoxicated, homosexuals dressed as pirates whisk them away to God knows where to take advantage of them sexually."

So you know, there's that.
posted by mediareport at 7:42 AM on November 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


What can be done to fix voter turnout, that's what I want to know.

Facebook, Twitter, your social network of choice. Talk about the candidates and issues early in the cycle, and even if you're not advocating particular candidates and issues, it will get people thinking about the election who typically don't.

When you talk to people about whether they're going to vote, it's as important to talk to them about how they're going to vote. I don't mean who they're going to vote for, but how they'll get to their polling station. Fix it in their brains: "So, Tuesday is Election Day. Where's your polling station? Oh, that school down the road? You know, the polls open at seven -- your spouse could probably run over there while the kids are having breakfast, and then you could vote after work." Make the "voting" part a fait accompli in their heads, so the relevant question is no longer "Whether I want to bother" but "How am I going to do this thing that I already decided I'm going to do."

Volunteer for local candidates. Knocking doors sucks, but it does help. And (as I noted about the Indianapolis mayoral race) if you can get a person out to vote for one person or issue that they feel passionate about, they're 90-plus percent more likely to vote for all of the other races on the ballot, because fuck it, they're standing right there in the booth.
posted by Etrigan at 7:45 AM on November 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


Prop F failed *despite* AirBnb's spending, not because of it. For their $8 million dollars, they utterly failed to reframe the political theater surrounding Prop F as anything other than this great city which we know and love vs "rich techbros", which is how their opponents managed to frame the entire thing and many people bought, hook, line, and sinker.

It was a bad proposition, with numerous issues but I never heard about that from AirBnB.

SF also already enacted regulations for short term rentals but hotels felt they didn't go far enough. Guess who actually benefited if Prop F passed.
posted by fragmede at 7:46 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Volunteer for local candidates. Knocking doors sucks, but it does help. And (as I noted about the Indianapolis mayoral race) if you can get a person out to vote for one person or issue that they feel passionate about, they're 90-plus percent more likely to vote for all of the other races on the ballot, because fuck it, they're standing right there in the booth.

It'll depend on one's locality, but Indianapolis (and, I believe, the rest of the state) also has straight-ticket voting. In fact, one of the (many) mailers we received, from the Democrats, pointed out how to vote straight ticket -- just fill in one bubble and you're done!
posted by Gelatin at 7:48 AM on November 4, 2015


I am so disheartened by the election results in KY. Voters said "Hey! We want to join our neighboring states in the Race to the Bottom!"

Jack Conway was not a progressive by any stretch of the imagination, and in fact I think lack of enthusiasm for him in Jefferson County did a lot to depress Democratic turn-out numbers. Andy Beshear (son of the current Democratic Governor) won Attorney General, and Allison Grimes (who lost big last year against McConnell) was reelected as Secretary of State. So it's not like Democrats can't get elected here for state offices. Conway's refusal to defend the ban on gay marriage certainly hurt him, but good god the huge numbers of people totally willing to screw themselves by voting to take away their newly acquired health insurance boggles the mind.
posted by chaoticgood at 7:52 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the bright side, in Maryland, Larry Hogan is doing a damn fine job of centrist governing while fighting off cancer.
posted by fraxil at 7:55 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


symbioid:
" ALL THE STONERS WHO FUCKING VOTED AGAINST IT HAD BEST WORK THEIR ASS OFF TO GET THE ALTERNATIVE ON THE BALLOT NOW."
Not a stoner, but working on it.
(Hell, never even seen pot in person. Too socially awkward to even ask around in Fort Collins where it was legal.)
posted by charred husk at 7:55 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


What can be done to fix voter turnout, that's what I want to know.

Make vote-by-mail very easy to do. Make voting days national holidays. Remove all the ridiculous "voter fraud prevention" checks. Just yesterday I was standing next to a man who was trying to vote, but was being turned away because his license didn't show his address as "Main Street West/East" and instead just said "Main Street" - therefore it didn't exactly match the voter roll.

Yep, definitely a case of voter fraud right there. So of course I'm betting next time, this 70 year old guy is going to think twice about whether it's worth walking 14 blocks to his polling location to cast a mostly-useless vote.
posted by odinsdream at 7:55 AM on November 4, 2015 [21 favorites]


mediareport: "When the young men are sufficiently intoxicated, homosexuals dressed as pirates whisk them away to God knows where to take advantage of them sexually."

I'm astonished that Delgaudio didn't get reelected on the strength of his Gay Pirate Abduction Prevention Programme.
posted by dr_dank at 7:55 AM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


> For someone who was following this issue: What was the supporters' response to that "no bathrooms" message?
> Nothing in the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance changes the fact that it is – and always will be – illegal to enter a restroom and harm or harass other people.

When I was volunteering with Equality Maryland around the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, that was one of the major talking points. One of the bill's supporters in the House of Delegates frequently raised the point (and I'm paraphrasing), "What the hell do you think trans people do already when they need to use the restroom? They're already using public accommodations. This bill ensures they're not barred from doing so. The only reason to oppose these protections is to punish trans people."
posted by duffell at 7:56 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ohioans voted by referendum to make their redistricting process for the state legislature less partisan.

How much of a difference is that going to make? It looks like the Republicans just have to vote 3 times in 10 years instead of 1.

Meanwhile, what the hell is happening with polling lately? Bevin was supposed to lose, he won by 8 points. Pot was supposed to be legalized in OH, it failed by a vote of 2 to 1*. Is anyone comfortable with polling saying Vitter's going to lose in LA by double digits? Or how about polling showing Hillary winning next year?

*Those same polls claim that Ohioans support marijuana legalization in general. Sorry, but a 2:1 margin is not just people who were against the farm monopoly. The polls are wrong. Ohioans just don't support legalization. Furthermore, Ohio just voted (via issue 2) to make it dramatically harder for the next ballot measure to pass, and the state government damn sure isn't going to pass a legalization bill. Furthermore, the magnitude of this loss means any talk of federal legalization is done. What a disaster.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:57 AM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]




Re what you can do to encourage voter turnout; take to social media if you see a story about a candidate who's done something terrible. I almost forgot the elections this year, but my friend posting this story about a Supreme Court candidate who tried to use gay panic to defend a murderer reminded me real quick.
posted by ActionPopulated at 8:03 AM on November 4, 2015



Meanwhile, what the hell is happening with polling lately?

Cellphones, and the fact that the poorest don't even have that so they're basically unpollable. Political polls have become basically useless. Greece was going to agree to the EU's austerity terms. Labour was clearly going to win back Westminster. Romney was convinced he was going to win the presidency.

All of them had poll after poll after poll backing them, and all of them were wrong.

Worse, it seems that polling firms don't care. They're still getting paid. Never mind the plethora of firms who exist not to try to find out what's happening, but to create a poll who's numbers support whomever paid for it.
posted by eriko at 8:05 AM on November 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Based on what I heard from a lot of San Fran friends, Prop F failed because unlike the polar opposite Houston, California is phasing out of rushing to pass bad, reactionary legislation. The bill was a fight between AirBnB and the hotel industry, with few people stopping to consider that the actual text of the bill was awful and would cause more problems than it would fix.

The Texas stuff, though.. I mean... Jesus. Those pictures of the guy holding the "no men in women's room" signs and whatnot... if he has grandkids, they'll have to look at those photos one day. They'll be in history books and museums next to the kids smiling next to lynching victims.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:06 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


What gets lost in this conversation is that this law actually provides needed protections to all Houstonians by banning discrimination due to race, disability, gender, and more – in employment, housing and restaurants and stores.

Isn't all of that already protected under federal law?
posted by jpe at 8:07 AM on November 4, 2015


Isn't all of that already protected under federal law?

Trans rights are not protected under federal law. Being terrorized by the public and authority figures when trying to use restrooms and public accommodations is a daily occurrence for most visibly trans people.
posted by odinsdream at 8:11 AM on November 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


Isn't all of that already protected under federal law?

No.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:12 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


What gets lost in this conversation is that this law actually provides needed protections to all Houstonians by banning discrimination due to race, disability, gender, and more – in employment, housing and restaurants and stores.

Isn't all of that already protected under federal law?


Not sexual orientation or gender identity. Some agencies have classified these under "sex", but it's not explicit.
posted by Etrigan at 8:12 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Isn't all of that already protected under federal law?

Sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected under Federal law.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:12 AM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


fuckin awful awful gentrifying corporate silicon valley broshit

i just like to say fuckin awful awful gentrifying corporate silicon valley broshit.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:14 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Trans rights are not protected under federal law.

Sorry, I was referring to race, disability, gender in employment, housing, restaurants.

That's all protected under federal law, AFAIK.
posted by jpe at 8:14 AM on November 4, 2015


Even if these things all were protected under federal law, it's a lot easier to obtain relief when there's an unambiguous local statute than it is to bring a federal civil rights suit. The existence of protections at the federal level does not obviate the need for states and municipalities to have clear statutes allowing state and local officials to prevent discrimination.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:16 AM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sorry, I was referring to race, disability, gender in employment, housing, restaurants.

That's all protected under federal law, AFAIK.


Depends on how one defines "gender".
posted by Etrigan at 8:17 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Even if these things all were protected under federal law, it's a lot easier to obtain relief when there's an unambiguous local statute than it is to bring a federal civil rights suit. The existence of protections at the federal level does not obviate the need for states and municipalities to have clear statutes allowing state and local officials to prevent discrimination.

If I understand correctly, the gay fear was also, as always, coming from religious groups, who were adamant that HERO would forbid them from using "religious freedom" as an excuse to be bigots because, well, it would have.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:17 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


A bunch of gun psychos videotaping people signing a petition they don't like? Super good!

I would love to see how they'd react to someone videotaping them videotaping the petition-signers.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 8:18 AM on November 4, 2015


Sorry, I was referring to race, disability, gender in employment, housing, restaurants.

Okay.. but how is that germane to the discussion about the HERO vote, wherein bathroom panic was the main driver?
posted by odinsdream at 8:18 AM on November 4, 2015


One dude is able to phase out KYnect, making lots of people uninsured? Weird, it's almost like the federal healthcare insurance mandate continues to be a terrible easily-broken piece of shit compared to a nationwide Single-Payer system.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:20 AM on November 4, 2015 [19 favorites]


odinsdream - jpe was specifically responding to this : What gets lost in this conversation is that this law actually provides needed protections to all Houstonians by banning discrimination due to race, disability, gender, and more – in employment, housing and restaurants and stores.
posted by nadawi at 8:22 AM on November 4, 2015


Also Federal protections are often a floor. It's not only possible; it's often incumbent upon states to raise the level of civil rights protections for their residents from the Federal baseline to something higher.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:22 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


One dude is able to phase out KYnect, making lots of people uninsured? Weird, it's almost like the federal healthcare insurance mandate continues to be a terrible easily-broken piece of shit compared to a nationwide Single-Payer system.

Because of KY's stubbornness, the previous governor put it into place with an executive order. It was unprecedented that a Republican would take the governor's seat, it only having happened once in like the last 50 years in that state. Bevin has already said he's going to rescind the order ASAP, and phase the state into the federal exchange and Medicare.

Or as TBogg put it best, "Bevin will claim state's rights to demand that every other state pay for his state's healthcare instead."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:24 AM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


One dude is able to phase out KYnect, making lots of people uninsured? Weird, it's almost like the federal healthcare insurance mandate continues to be a terrible easily-broken piece of shit compared to a nationwide Single-Payer system.

Compared to a nationwide single-payer system that wasn't going to happen, yes. KYnect, while it was in place, saved lives that wouldn't have been saved otherwise. It sucks to settle for an eighth of a loaf, but I'll take it over an empty hand, or maybe some crumbs.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:24 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]




i wish for a better healthcare system. i hope one day we'll get there. obamacare saves me hundreds of dollars a month and allows my family to control our asthma, ibs, and diabetes. lives are being saved with it, even if it's not the perfect system.
posted by nadawi at 8:27 AM on November 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


I've heard a few similar objections to Prop F (Airbnb) based on the specifics of the law (though no one has outlined for me exactly what), with a side of arguments that a ballot proposition isn't the way to solve the problem because of the difficulty of overturning those laws. I expect, then, that City Hall will address the issue with better legislation now that the fight to defeat the flawed Prop F is over.

(Not actually sure if I'm bring sarcastic here or not. We did get Peskin. I guess I'll check back in a few months?)
posted by sunset in snow country at 8:31 AM on November 4, 2015


In the long run, I think the best PR against bathroom bills won't be those "burly trans man in the ladies' room" photos — really, those just reinforce the connection in people's minds between "trans stuff" and "male intruders."

The one I'm surprised we haven't seen, though, is stories where an early-transitioning, small-framed, extremely-feminine-looking girl coming home from her first year at college gets forced to use the big scary icky bus station men's room because the gender marker on her ID is out of date. (Cameo of a ticket counter dude holding her ID to print out her tickets, and then laughing, looking disgusted and handing her the men's room key when she asks for a bathroom.) For bonus points, find a delicate way to imply that she's post-op, to fend of the inevitable BUT SHE HAS A PENIS.

And look, honestly, I think that's gross as fuck as a tactic. Like, fuck the idea that only "passable" women deserve protection. And fuck the idea that early transitioners are more feminine than the rest of us. And fuck the idea that surgical status has anything to do with real womanhood. If anyone runs an ad like that where I live, I'm going to have to turn the damn television off every time it comes on, because all those ideas are serious dysphoria triggers for me (six foot tall, big-boned, late-transitioning, unable to afford surgery), and exposing myself to imagery that promotes them is honest-to-god no-exaggeration a form of self-harm that I'm trying to swear off.

But I'm surprised nobody seems to have tried it. And I hate myself for saying this, but I almost think it would be worth it if they did. Transphobic policies in schools are killing kids, and it's time to shut that shit down, and I would be sorely tempted to sacrifice my ugly pissed-off queer dickgirl heart to the gods of respectability if I thought they could make this right.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:32 AM on November 4, 2015 [23 favorites]


Meanwhile, what the hell is happening with polling lately?

The turnout screens aren't working as well as they used to, so the gap between the population the pollsters are sampling from (all adults, all registered voters) is more systematically different from the population of interest -- people who are actually going to vote. Even moreso in low-turnout elections like in the odd-year states.

Cellphones, and the fact that the poorest don't even have that so they're basically unpollable.

Those don't help, but those are solvable with simple weighting.

Political polls have become basically useless. Greece was going to agree to the EU's austerity terms. Labour was clearly going to win back Westminster. Romney was convinced he was going to win the presidency. All of them had poll after poll after poll backing them, and all of them were wrong.

Romney is not a good example of that as all the public polling had Obama comfortably ahead, and had done so throughout the election season. Romney was for whatever reason ignoring all of that and relying on whatever internal polls they had.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:38 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I am surprised the AirBnB proposition failed. Any locals have insight into why it was so close?

I live in SF and voted no on Prop F. My reasoning was that AirBnB has a pretty small affect on the overall housing rental and housing market in SF. The number of units being rented full-time is a tiny fraction of overall housing in the city. I think that regulating AirBnb and subjecting people who rent a house or apartment full time to taxation and fire and safety regulation is a great idea, but ballot measures are impossible to amend without going back to the voters, so if F had passed we would have little ability to make changes to the law over time. AirBnB is a new thing, so as we figure out how to regulate it, I think we should do so in a way that's flexible, because we're unlikely to get this exactly right the first time. I was also a little sketched out by the idea that it allowed neighbors to bring suit directly against someone renting out their place on AirBnB. I think that's something that should be handled through city government, not by direct suits by neighbors.

SF has a huge housing problem and the solution to that problem is to build a fuckton more housing, and I didn't think Prop F would help that much.
posted by Aizkolari at 8:39 AM on November 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


I also wonder whether polling isn't becoming less reliable because responding to a poll is an imposition, and sometimes actually demanding. I picked up the phone for a poll a week or two ago and they asked me, in approximately this order:

Did I have favorable or unfavorable opinions about (each name a separate question): Clinton, Sanders, Cruz, Huckabee, Bush, Trump, Rubio, Carson, Christie, Fiorina, Branstad (governor), Grassley (Senator), Ernst (Senator), and three potential Democratic nominees to run against Grassley.
Did I approve of the job performance for (each a separate question): Obama, Branstad, Grassley, Ernst
If the election were held today, would I vote for: Grassley vs. each of the three Democrats (as three separate questions), Clinton vs. about five of the Republican candidates (Trump, Fiorina, Cruz, Rubio, and Bush, I think), Sanders vs. the same five candidates
In what party do I normally caucus?
How likely am I to vote in the upcoming caucus?
Which candidate is my first choice for the nomination?
Which candidate is my second choice for the nomination?
Age
Sex
Race
Do I support legislation to limit carbon emissions by power plants?
Have I been personally affected by the legalization of same-sex marriage, and was the effect positive/negative (strongly/somewhat)?
one other policy-type question I can't remember
Do I consider myself strongly liberal, somewhat liberal, centrist, somewhat conservative, or strongly conservative?
Which of (eight different baseball teams) is my favorite?
Which of (eight different football teams) is my favorite?

And then they hung up, in the middle of the football question, after 13 1/2 minutes of questions, so it's possible that they didn't even use any of my responses.

So I'm thinking some of the reason the polls are unreliable may be that the only people who answer them are the ones with landlines and 15 minutes of time to burn. I live in Iowa (first caucus + swing state), so I've been getting calls from pollsters about the 2016 election since last June. We're up to about three calls per week now; it'll be like five per week by next August.
posted by Spathe Cadet at 8:44 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


, but in brighter news, Seattle

The Soviet of Washington is currently projected to lock in place the most regressive tax structure in the country, promoted by local gadfly and perpetual ballot conman Tim Eyman.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:45 AM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


It sucks to settle for an eighth of a loaf, but I'll take it over an empty hand with some crumbs in it.
It also sucks to be given an eighth of a loaf knowing that people who aren't even paying for the loaf are going to work their asses off to take it away, just because they can. If Obamacare is saving you money right now, save as much of it as you can, because it doesn't have a long-term future (unless the polls predicting an easy Hillary Clinton victory are more accurate than all the other polls lately), and was always doomed to make any truly better changes to the system impossible in our lifetimes. (I'm speaking as a person who was bankrupted twice by 'health care costs', the first time years before the Clintons even started proposing changes in 1993 - my only health-care-security came after I fell into Permanent Disability and Medicare, as minimally adequate as it is)

As an article I linked elsewhere today points out, the Health Care Industry represents a big part of how wealth has been redistributed upward in the last 3 decades.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:45 AM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Honestly, I think supporters of ballot measures that can only pass with liberal/Democratic votes just need to bite the bullet and only do the work to get them on the ballot for presidential election years. Counting on a group of voters that has shown that it can't be bothered to turn out for every election is a fool's errand. (If I sound frustrated, it's because I am. After I left my polling station, I was literally the only person wearing an "I voted" sticker during my entire fifty-minute commute on the bus, subway and then walking into work. You can laugh if you like at using stickers as a metric for who actually voted, but during mainline election years, I see hundreds of people wearing these stickers during my commute. I live and work in a pretty blue area so I'm frustrated at how little likely Democratic voters seem to care about voting in off-year elections. Every election counts people, every. single. one.)
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:48 AM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


1) For the equality ordinance, the "best" (relative term here, I don't like it, because in a way it reinforces the mindset, but it speaks directly to them) retort is image macros I've seen that show post-transition Trans men and say "Do you want me in your bathroom?" something like that.

Absolutely not. The logical outcome of that is people like myself being excluded from such rights because well, we don't want [obviously a guy] trans guy in the ladies', but we sure as fuck don't want [badly passing trans woman not preforming traditional femininity, like me] obvious man there.
posted by Dysk at 8:54 AM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


What can be done to fix voter turnout, that's what I want to know.

Make vote-by-mail very easy to do.


Voting by mail doesn't ensure a better turnout... Washington State has had vote by mail for quite a while now, and in this election we had a whopping 23% turnout. King County, where all the progressive voters live? We had 20% turnout.

So what else can we do? Thanks to low voter turnout in typically progressive counties and much higher voter turnout in rural and conservative leaning counties, we appear to be passing an incredibly regressive tax law that will cripple the state financially, except it's already been voted in once before and eventually blocked due to being unconstitutional, so we'll probably just waste a bunch of time and money going through that whole process again, and everyone who didn't fucking vote will whine and complain about it... is it okay for me to start publicly shaming these people? Because I'm about to. I'm ready to lose my shit at friends of friends for constantly not giving enough of a shit to vote but always managing to bitch about the results of an election but that's probably not an effective way of convincing them to do their civic duty.
posted by palomar at 9:00 AM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


one thing we can do for voter turnout is stop holding elections in churches and remove tax exempt status for churches who are openly campaigning/busing their congregations to the polls.
posted by nadawi at 9:03 AM on November 4, 2015 [14 favorites]


Aggh. Fucking Eyman.
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Fuck fucking Eyman.
posted by wotsac at 9:07 AM on November 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


Re: Ohio Issue 3 (marijuana legalization) - There had better be a fucking SHITTON of analysis and work started right away on why, exactly, it failed

1) It's friggin' obvious - the word "monopoly" was right there at the top of the ballot (pdf link.) Regardless of where you sit on de-criminalization or pro-legalization, granting people monopolies via amending the state constitution is gonna strike a lot of people as a Very Bad Idea.

2) They're already on it.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:08 AM on November 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


one thing we can do for voter turnout is stop holding elections in churches and remove tax exempt status for churches who are openly campaigning/busing their congregations to the polls.

Why? There's nothing inherently illegal or immoral about churches, which are essentially a community organization, organizing members to gather and go vote. It's only an issue if they actively tell congregants who or what to vote for. Obviously that can happen, and obviously the intent of the church itself can wear its position on it's sleeve, but you can't just say "churches shouldn't help people vote" any more than you can say that "____ celebrity should shut up and stop advocating for thing."

Unless they're actively telling people specifically how to vote, offering to assist in getting people to the votes should be a moral obligation for churches. It should be a moral obligation for everyone.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:10 AM on November 4, 2015 [11 favorites]




one thing we can do for voter turnout is stop holding elections in churches and remove tax exempt status for churches who are openly campaigning/busing their congregations to the polls.

In my admittedly limited experience, churches are the polling places that offer someone to watch your kids for a few minutes while you wait in line, which takes another obstacle out of the way of people for whom it's a pain in the ass to find that few minutes in their day.

Tax-exempt status is an entirely different animal, and churches busing congregations to the polls vastly helps progressive causes more than it hurts them, because the churches that do this aren't the ones that rail against the black helicopters coming to take your guns -- they don't need to provide that service to their white middle-class car-owning membership.
posted by Etrigan at 9:14 AM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


As described in this Atlantic article, another thing we could feasibly do to fight low turnout is to pass ordinances requiring compulsory voting in cities that are not in states with unified Republican control.

I'm thinking places like Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, Arlington VA, and Denver. This would have the effect of raising voter turnout in those places and putting pressure on the state to enact compulsory voting statewide. If the state government can't kill the local ordinance, then voters outside the city will want to have compulsory voting everywhere to prevent city voters from dominating the state.
posted by burden at 9:15 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have no problem with churches acting on the right-wing whims of their masters. I have a real problem with my tax dollars paying for their political advocacy, which they take advantage of through their non-profit status and according tax exemptions. We need to strip churches of their tax haven function so we can start rebuilding a healthy democracy, but that would probably cause the economies of Texas and a few other states to tank.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:17 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why? There's nothing inherently illegal or immoral about churches, which are essentially a community organization, organizing members to gather and go vote.

because we have this weird little thing called the separation of church and state. if i had voted on the day of instead of early voting, i would have had to go to a church that held rallies against our anti-discrimination ordinance and had huge signs posted all over the lawn filled with transmisogyny.

also : Casting Ballots in Churches Furthers Conservative Attitudes

churches busing congregations to the polls vastly helps progressive causes more than it hurts them
this is absolutely not true in my town.
posted by nadawi at 9:21 AM on November 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


Regarding the defeat of Issue 3 in Ohio: it was only three years ago this week that Oregon soundly rejected a pot legalization proposition (the same day Colorado and Washington voted Yes). Two years later, we made it legal, and now there's no looking back. So take heart, Buckeyes!
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:23 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]




Even passing a law enforcing time off to go vote would be huge, most low income workers have jobs where a 30min absence is cause for termination, a lot of those people are not racing to the polls between when they get off at 630pm and the polls close at 7pm.

Or hell, vote for more than a single day. India votes for two whole weeks, with all kinds of ways to vote, online, mail in ballots, early voting, the works. IF this country were a democracy interested in getting the truest representation of the will of the people, and the most number of voters possible to exercise their rights (hint: it's not, not at all, actually it's basically the opposite) we wouldn't vote on a single workday with no laws against employers punishing their employees for voting.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:30 AM on November 4, 2015 [19 favorites]


my town has 48 precincts - 2 of them don't vote in churches.
posted by nadawi at 9:30 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Ohio initiative was an absolutely outrageous attempt to abuse the initiative process. Legalizing marijuana by way of prohibiting its production on any land in the state not owned by the sponsors? If that had passed I was going to organize an initiative to legalize marijuana in my town but also have myself declared Earl of Scarsdale along the way.
posted by MattD at 9:32 AM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Since 2008, there's been a "Get Souls to the Polls" push in some African American churches in Georgia and Florida. Churches arrange for buses to take voters to polling stations to vote early on Sundays after services. Worth noting that African Americans vote for Democrats more than for Republicans, so that particular program is unlikely to have a huge benefit to conservatives. With the possible exception of GLBT rights issues.

In response, over 30 states have since passed legislation limiting early voting. Including in Ohio, where Sunday voting is no longer possible.
posted by zarq at 9:37 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ohioans voted by referendum to make their redistricting process for the state legislature less partisan.

How much of a difference is that going to make? It looks like the Republicans just have to vote 3 times in 10 years instead of 1.


In a "purple state" like Ohio, it's entirely possible that the 4 years between re-districting votes will incorporate changes to who exactly is on the Redistricting Commission. Furthermore, our Congress and top officials are not always dominated by one party - we can and have had a Governor from one party and an Auditor or Secretary of State from another. So it hopefully is not quite that easy for one party to get a 10-year lock on districting.

Besides that, the commission is no longer allowed to split cities, towns, or counties up willy-nilly according to the random scribbles of a six-year-old - which is how it is now - and there's now at least some level of public transparency to the process, where before there was absolutely none.

It may not be perfect, but I'll take it, and gladly.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:43 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


From the article about the Houston ordinance at the top of the FPP:

“It was about protecting our grandmoms, and our mothers and our wives and our sisters and our daughters and our granddaughters,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, told cheering opponents who gathered at an election night party at a Houston hotel.

So in addition to being transphobic, Patrick's speech is also portraying women through their relation to men rather than as people in and of themselves. (See: "I Am Not Your Wife, Sister or Daughter")
posted by dhens at 9:44 AM on November 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Apparently, the alternative for many of them is actually to put a gun in their mouth.

I'm curious how much of the rise in suicides by white middle-aged men can be directly attributed to their gun ownership. There isn't good data on whether there is increasing gun ownership trend over the same time frame but the stats on gun ownership point to the disturbing possibility that middle aged white men will be the most 'successful' at acting spontaneously and irreversibly on notions of suicide.

General Social Survey:

The general profile of gun owners in America differs substantially from the general public. Roughly three-quarters (74%) of gun owners are men, and 82% are white. Taken together, 61% of adults who own guns are white men. Nationwide, white men make up only 32% of the U.S. adult population.
posted by srboisvert at 9:46 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


@dirigibleman *Those same polls claim that Ohioans support marijuana legalization in general. Sorry, but a 2:1 margin is not just people who were against the farm monopoly.

Actually, you might be surprised. I personally know 10+ people here in Ohio that:

- are active in pot legalization groups/campaigns
- use pot recreationally
- Voted 'No' on issue #3, over the Constitutional Amendment (Monopoly edition) issue

Granted , anecdote != data, but this conversation has been VERY active leading up to the election, with most of the 'pro-legalization' groups in Ohio comming out OPPOSED to issue #3

The interesting part is that Issue 2 passed as well. Which , on its surface looks pretty good : i.e. "no constitutional amendments that grant monopolies"...until you look more closely and realize that :

- It only prevents 'citizen initiated' monopolies (lawmakers are free to setup constitutional monopolies as they see fit)
- it has some extremely loose language, that isn't defined anywhere
- there doesn't appear to be an appeal process - if the ballot board (an already sketchy group) say your initiative is affected, it is (unless you can convince the ohio supreme court to take a look at the law itself)
- Since it affects the legality of any citizen initiative that "specif[ies] or determine[s] a tax rate" that "that is not then available to other similarly situated persons or nonpublic entities." ... it could certainly be applied to future citizen initiatives that can be shoehorned into that definition.

The takeaway is that any future citizen initiative to legalize, that has any language re: taxation , could arguably be affected by this.

They successfully took advantage of people that were afraid of legalization AND people that (reasonably) don't want the state constitution modified at the whim of whatever special interest can drum up signatures (and make a buck while they are at it) , and in taking advantage of both of those ideas they managed to get a bill passed (52%!) that will make it harder for citizen initiatives to make it onto the ballot without special language " E.g. should we ignore our constitution, and do X?"

I am not worried about pro-pot Ohioans returning to the table with a bill to legalize sale and cultivation , by the next election.

I am worried about that bill being effectively taken off the table before it even has a chance to go to a vote
posted by das_2099 at 9:49 AM on November 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


“It was about protecting our grandmoms, and our mothers and our wives and our sisters and our daughters and our granddaughters,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, told cheering opponents who gathered at an election night party at a Houston hotel.

The magic runes on unlockable public bathroom doors are sure to protect you where the stall doors could not.
posted by srboisvert at 9:49 AM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


So in addition to being transphobic, Patrick's speech is also portraying women through their relation to men rather than as people in and of themselves. (See: "I Am Not Your Wife, Sister or Daughter")

Women are traditionally treated as accessories in Texas political campaigns. The last governor to treat women with respect was Ann Richards. When Richards was elected State Treasurer, she was the first women to hold a statewide office in fifty years.

It's not just Texas, unfortunately. about 20% of the Texas lege's reps are women. It's about the same percentage on Capitol Hill, too.
posted by zarq at 9:53 AM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Or as TBogg put it best, "Bevin will claim state's rights to demand that every other state pay for his state's healthcare instead."

This is not correct. Bevin is actually taking away a state-run program, KYnect, and transferring those on it to the federally run healthcare.gov exchange. It doesn't have anything to do with who pays for it, just who (the state vs the feds) runs the administrative side of the exchange. Why a Tea Partier is in favor of handing over more power to the federal government is not something I understand.

As far as Medicaid, Kentuckians will still pay taxes to pay for people to receive Medicaid in other states, even though they won't be able to receive Medicaid themselves. So red state governors are basically setting up a transfer program to benefit poor people in blue states at the expense of poor people in red states.
posted by Asparagus at 9:55 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


They successfully took advantage of people that were afraid of legalization AND people that (reasonably) don't want the state constitution modified at the whim of whatever special interest can drum up signatures (and make a buck while they are at it) , and in taking advantage of both of those ideas they managed to get a bill passed (52%!) that will make it harder for citizen initiatives to make it onto the ballot without special language " E.g. should we ignore our constitution, and do X?"

Yah. Ideally, for me, neither Ohio 2 nor 3 would have passed, and an argument can certainly be made that the backers of Issue 3 have inadvertently made it more difficult for pro-pot and other liberal/progressive initiatives to wind up on ballots in the future.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:03 AM on November 4, 2015


das_2099:
"I am worried about that bill being effectively taken off the table before it even has a chance to go to a vote"
Yeah. I found it interesting that the almost universal message I heard from pro-legalization groups was, "No on 3, Yes on 2". Considering what a clusterfuck Issue 3 was in terms of things going against it, it could be tough to suss out exactly what people's motivations were when opposing it. (The Issue 3 backers were easy to understand - *glares at Oscar Robinson and Nick Lachey*.)

There was a lot of debate about Issue 3 among my friends anyways. Everyone was pro-legalization but there were concerns that this could be our only chance, especially from my friend who's mother suffers from MS ("I don't care who sells it to me, I just want help with the pain.") On the other hand one of our friends ran a small medical grow business in Michigan and the monopoly would shut him out from Ohio.
posted by charred husk at 10:16 AM on November 4, 2015


I have been struggling all day at work not to be ALL CAPS ENRAGED ALL THE TIME about the HERO vote. As I mentioned in another thread, Wisconsin is introducing its own bathroom/locker room bill (focused on students) and I am just in full hulk mode over all of it. If that passes, sign me up for a solo mission to Mars, I'm done with this fuckin place.
posted by desjardins at 10:17 AM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


" ALL THE STONERS WHO FUCKING VOTED AGAINST IT HAD BEST WORK THEIR ASS OFF TO GET THE ALTERNATIVE ON THE BALLOT NOW."

On the bright side, when they tried to add a same sex marriage ban to the MN constitution (there was already a law), the result was not only to vote down the measure but it built a TON of momentum and a few months later, same sex marriage was made legal by the state legislature.

So we went from trying to ban SSM to passing a law making it legal. In OH, it should be easier to go from almost legalizing marijuana in a dumb way to totally legalizing it in a smarter way.

I really hope I'm right about that. I occasionally have to travel to Cincinnati for work and I HATE the city. Being able to get legal, recreational pot while there would help to mitigate it.
posted by VTX at 10:19 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I occasionally have to travel to Cincinnati for work and I HATE the city. Being able to get legal, recreational pot while there would help to mitigate it.

They'd just dump mediocre chili all over it anyway.
posted by Etrigan at 10:23 AM on November 4, 2015 [18 favorites]


I seriously can't even with what happened in houston.

I'm not a predator. I'm not a she-monster. I'm not their bogeyman.
posted by Annika Cicada at 10:28 AM on November 4, 2015 [13 favorites]




In other news, all 140 seats in Virginia's General Assembly were up for election, and literally every incumbent running was re-elected.
posted by indubitable at 10:57 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Michelangelo Signorile: How Houston Was Lost: Prop 8 Redux as LGBT Rights Are Put on the Ballot. Poor outreach to black and Hispanic voters, once again. LGBT activists need to get out of their own neighborhoods.
posted by Carol Anne at 11:02 AM on November 4, 2015


No one should have to beg for their rights. Period. And the oppressor is always to blame for the oppression they commit.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:14 AM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


stop holding elections in churches

*jaw drops to floor* Are you saying that people actually vote in churches? Churches are used as polling places? People go to churches to vote? I cannot believe this. This is a real thing? In the United States of America?
posted by desjardins at 11:27 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are you saying that people actually vote in churches? Churches are used as polling places?

In the last election I worked, 14 out of 16 polling locations were churches.
posted by Etrigan at 11:34 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Methodist church on my block is our polling place.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:41 AM on November 4, 2015


My polling place is a Jewish-sponsored homeless shelter. I have no issues. I do see the difference between that and a church, but I don't care where a polling place is as long as people can go there.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:43 AM on November 4, 2015


during the votes for our anti-discrimination ordinance i had multiple trans people tell me that if they couldn't vote early at the courthouse they wouldn't feel safe going to their polling place (explicitly transphobic churches) to vote - which makes me wonder what about the people who couldn't vote early...
posted by nadawi at 11:47 AM on November 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


Given the size of some voting districts, churches usually have the right amount of space, are available, are free/cheap, and they're community minded so they usually don't have a problem being used as a polling place. The election judges are the same as anywhere else. Other than simply allowing them to use the space, the church (as in, the organization, not the building) has no involvement in the election. On paper, it makes a lot of sense.
posted by VTX at 11:48 AM on November 4, 2015


Wow. Around here I've voted in schools, libraries, park buildings, and other city buildings. Never ever a church. That's disturbing. I would not feel safe in many churches.
posted by desjardins at 11:50 AM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


*jaw drops to floor* Are you saying that people actually vote in churches? Churches are used as polling places? People go to churches to vote? I cannot believe this. This is a real thing? In the United States of America?

It's a very common practice throughout the US. Proponents usually say that increasing the number of available polling places maximizes turnout. Which on its face seems like a logical conclusion to draw.

The issue at hand is whether polling locations have an influence on voting -- whether where we vote affects how we vote. And that's a more complex question. Here in NY, there are strict rules about campaigning and attempting to influence people's votes near and within polling locations. But it's impossible to determine what subconscious effect being surrounded by religious symbols in a temple or church might have on people.
posted by zarq at 11:52 AM on November 4, 2015




I would not feel safe in many churches.

Would your opinion change if you knew that the only people in the building at the time were election officials and voters? That's always been the situation when I've voted in a church.
posted by VTX at 11:59 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


The best part the Ohio redistricting referendum is that basically nobody would publicly oppose it, so the only opposition statement the Secretary of State could find was:
The current process for drawing new legislative districts is adequate and has served Ohio well for many years. The gerrymandering that resulted from partisan control is not a bad process, because it leads to one-party control over government and voters can know who to hold responsible. Competitive districts are not a virtue, because politicians have to spend so much time campaigning for reelection and are not able to do as much legislative work.

Even when the apportionment board is controlled by a single party, it is still representative of the people's will since the members of the board, most of whom are statewide officials, were elected by popular vote. The board has been controlled exclusively by both of the major parties, so neither side of the political spectrum can be seen as having a long-term hold on redistricting. Historically, their control doesn't last forever.

The current process can be trusted to maintain fair district lines; a "no" vote maintains the status quo.
posted by ckape at 12:02 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


here the volunteer poll workers are nearly always members of the congregation - and on the specific issue of trans rights, they are ones who had previously threatened trans people if they go into the bathroom that aligns with their gender.
posted by nadawi at 12:03 PM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


In many communities churches are the only big enough public space to use as a polling place.
posted by octothorpe at 12:04 PM on November 4, 2015


if we made voting day into a national holiday, the schools would be nice and clear. also, my town has lots and lots of places big enough, but for some reason they've nearly all worked out to be churches...
posted by nadawi at 12:05 PM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm gonna side-eye the assumption that churches are polling places because polling places need to be big. My current voting site is the hallway of a local school, where there are about six portable booths. When the school was being renovated a few years ago, the polling place moved to a guy's garage, where there was room for two booths.
posted by rtha at 12:08 PM on November 4, 2015


Are you saying that people actually vote in churches? Churches are used as polling places?

Before Washington switched to vote by mail, my polling place was a Presbyterian church. When I first registered to vote, my polling place was a private Christian school.
posted by palomar at 12:09 PM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


if we made voting day into a national holiday, the schools would be nice and clear.

My city uses schools exclusively, and Election Day is a school holiday. Which is great, because our family has two parents, and the 12-year-old can watch the 10-year-old anyway, but it doesn't help much for working single parents.
posted by Etrigan at 12:12 PM on November 4, 2015


Oh, and I was first registered to vote in Sea-Tac. I feel like there were probably public locations that would have worked better for a polling place than a private school with major church affiliations and a tiny parking lot.

Here's some info about how polling places are chosen.
posted by palomar at 12:12 PM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Another benefit of making Election Day a federal holiday would be freeing up all the neighborhood post offices to use as voting locations.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:21 PM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow. Election Day is a state holiday in only 8 states: Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, and the territory of Puerto Rico. I thought it would be a lot more than that.
posted by zarq at 12:28 PM on November 4, 2015


I lived in Delaware 2005-2011 and don't recall anybody ever getting Election Day off.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:32 PM on November 4, 2015


Another benefit of making Election Day a federal holiday would be freeing up all the neighborhood post offices to use as voting locations.

I've never seen a post office that had adequate parking for being a post office, much less for being a polling site.
posted by Etrigan at 12:33 PM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


In many communities churches are the only big enough public space to use as a polling place.

My grandparents vote at the fire station, they pull the engines out in the field to the side and the voting machines are set up in the engine bay.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:35 PM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Another benefit of making Election Day a federal holiday would be freeing up all the neighborhood post offices to use as voting locations.

You haven't see a lot of the rural post offices in Kentucky, sometimes it's literally in the back of someone's house. They don't have post office "boxes", they have "drawers".
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:38 PM on November 4, 2015


Wow. Election Day is a state holiday in only 8 states: Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, and the territory of Puerto Rico. I thought it would be a lot more than that.

I lived in Delaware 2005-2011 and don't recall anybody ever getting Election Day off.


Something to remember is that "holiday" means basically nothing to millions of American workers*, because they either have to work anyway or take the time unpaid because the business isn't open and they work hourly.

* -- Especially the people who need to be voting with their actual votes rather than their wallets because they can't afford to blow $50 of rent money on a campaign donation.
posted by Etrigan at 12:39 PM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Kevin Drum calls attention to the geographic divide:
I don't want to go all Pollyanna on you, but the basic result of yesterday's elections is that conservatives won big in the South, while liberals did OK everywhere else. Losing Kentucky was a kick in the gut, but I can't work up a lot of surprise when Democrats lose ground below the Mason-Dixon line. It's unfortunate, but it's hardly big news.
posted by Gelatin at 12:44 PM on November 4, 2015


i've voted in glorified closets at a courthouse where all the open adoption records are kept, also empty courtrooms. or maybe some of the money paid to pro-sports teams to advertise the military could be diverted to rent banquet halls or space at the vfw or boys&girls club. there are a lot of potential solutions. the idea that churches are the only available space doesn't really bear out in any of the places where churches were pretty much the only spots we were offered (and i say offered, i can't change my polling place - i can only vote early or vote in a church).
posted by nadawi at 12:51 PM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've never seen a post office that had adequate parking for being a post office, much less for being a polling site.

I've seen a bunch all over Texas. (Dallas, Plano, Amarillo, Fort Worth, Lubbock) and a couple on Long Island.
posted by zarq at 12:55 PM on November 4, 2015


On the bright side, in Maryland, Larry Hogan is doing a damn fine job of centrist governing while fighting off cancer.
I'm not seeing that here in PG County. I'm seeing roads that were in good shape under O'Malley's administration rot way under Hogan's. I also look forward to the inevitable trainwreck when voters realize that the Bay Bridge needs major work and there's not enough money in the bridge fund to cover it because we had to cut tolls for no good reason.
posted by wintermind at 1:04 PM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


As someone who lives in Houston and voted and donated for HERO, I'm just so angry about this. If you told me a month ago this would happen I wouldn't've believed it. The original recount thing got thrown out initially and one of the reasons given was that people who were signing the petition actually lived outside city limits. So much of the organizing from the anti-HERO seemed based out of Katy and Cypress and the Woodlands that I was sure that the number of voters who actually lived in town and were anti-HERO would be less than it seemed since most of the angriest, ugliest rhetoric seemed to be coming from people from the suburb areas. To make matters worse, yesterday Harris County voters also voted 78-22 in favor of a state "constitutional amendment recognizing the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife subject to laws that promote wildlife conservation."

Houston is one of, if not the most diverse American cities and one of the few things that make me feel better about living in Republican as Hell Texas is that I was living in a nice, liberal, diverse city in the middle of the craziness.
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:08 PM on November 4, 2015


On the bright side, in Maryland, Larry Hogan is doing a damn fine job of centrist governing while fighting off cancer.
I'm not seeing that here in PG County. I'm seeing roads that were in good shape under O'Malley's administration rot way under Hogan's. I also look forward to the inevitable trainwreck when voters realize that the Bay Bridge needs major work and there's not enough money in the bridge fund to cover it because we had to cut tolls for no good reason.


Yeah, and not to mention, Larry Hogan has to contend with the Democratic legislature's veto-proof majority. He made some early attempts to erode hard-won LGBT rights after he was elected (despite running as a pro-business centrist), but stopped trying when it was clear he wouldn't get anywhere.
posted by duffell at 1:09 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm gonna side-eye the assumption that churches are polling places because polling places need to be big.

I second this. I grew up on the east coast voting in large central places (catholic school gym being one of them) so I was quite surprised when I moved to San Francisco and voted in some guy's garage. Back east again, my current town votes in a community center or the armory, depending on the ward.
posted by mikepop at 1:22 PM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Re: Large polling places

It's a matter of volume. Also, how many voters will need language or physical assistance. In Queens, NY, which has a high immigrant population, I wait on line to vote for around 45-60 minutes at our local school between 7 and 8pm at night. The school I vote at has 10 voting machines and the line moves relatively quickly, all things considered. But people need voting instructions supplied in multiple languages, which slows things down. Some schools in this borough have as few as 4 or as many as 20 machines.

If those locations had only two machines, lines would be much longer and crowds would be way larger. Put 'em in some guy's garage and there would be a line that extended for several blocks, disrupting pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
posted by zarq at 1:46 PM on November 4, 2015


From Google:

November 4, 2014

San Francisco
Registration: 436,019
Turnout: 231,214
% Turnout: 53.03%

New York City
Registration: 4,151,291
Turnout: 1,037,238
% Turnout: 25%
posted by zarq at 1:50 PM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hi there, my name is Mander. Gerry Mander. I'm here to show you how to buck the system.
posted by Chuffy at 2:09 PM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm heartbroken about HERO. I'm in Austin now but I have a lot of friends in Houston, which is my hometown, including some folks who are plugged into the local political scene, and I had no idea that HERO was going to go down and certainly not so hard. The only silver lining to this disaster is the way some business figures (I think the football team owner was one) rescinded anti-HERO donations at the last minute. It reads to me like Houston's business community woke up to how shitty this vote is making them look. In Houston, nothing is allowed to get in the way of doing bidness for long. I'm holding on to that as my hope for seeing this result undone.

But it's shitty that it happened in the first place and the way the bathroom panic defense was used is unconscionable. As a cis woman, I need protection from Dan Patrick and Greg Abbott and their ilk. Not trans women. Don't throw them under the bus in my name.
posted by immlass at 2:39 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Hi there, my name is Mander. Gerry Mander. I'm here to show you how to buck the system.

"You might remember me from such elections as the Massachusetts state election of 1812 and Republicans winning the house in 2012 with only 48 percent of the vote!"
posted by Talez at 2:51 PM on November 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


http://blog.chron.com/nickanderson/2015/11/hero-2/
posted by Jacen at 3:55 PM on November 4, 2015


Colorado voters “give the middle finger” to Koch Brothers education reforms
Voters in three school board districts sent a powerful message Tuesday night to conservative billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, Americans for Prosperity and affiliated organizations: Hands off Colorado’s school boards.
posted by audi alteram partem at 4:10 PM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


valkane, Conway was a lousy candidate and he ran to the right, the same way he did when he ran against Rand Paul for Senate - yeah, he's the guy who lost that one, too. If people want to vote Republican they'll choose the one with the R after their name. No one liked to vote for him and apparently a lot of people couldn't bring themselves to, and he dragged down the entire ticket. Look at the number of votes he got overall versus Grimes, Beshear, and even Edelen in their races. Of course, they weren't out talking about how the coal industry is so unfairly oppressed and how we need to drug test people on welfare (at least not this time). One consolation out of all this is that I can hope he will not ever run for major office again.
posted by dilettante at 5:48 PM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


One consolation out of all this is that I can hope he will not ever run for major office again.

That's my hope as well, Conway has VASTLY underachieved in back to back major races which both should have been winnable, resulting in insane teabaggers inflicted on the state and the nation. He should never be allowed near another campaign, he's the worst candidate imaginable, giving empty suits a bad name. He managed to under perform what could be expected from a cardboard cut out of himself, he has the looks of a Kennedy, but as soon as he opens his mouth voters turn running.

Grimes is little better, she followed the Conway script to a T in her pathetic run against McConnell, to the point that she spent literally half her campaign refusing to say that she voted for Obama, WHEN SHE WAS A DEMOCRATIC ELECTOR FOR THE STATE. This time she won basically by saying nothing except what a good job she had been doing passing out "I voted" stickers and still nearly lost. I wouldn't have been sorry to see her go either, with squeeking out a win it only keeps alive her next chance to get trounced in another statewide election, possibly as soon as next year.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:52 PM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Another benefit of making Election Day a federal holiday would be freeing up all the neighborhood post offices to use as voting locations.

As a registered voter, I would not look forward to a one-hour+ wait to vote. We seem to have enough problems with voter turnout in this country, without getting the post office involved.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:09 PM on November 4, 2015


Voting in churches is not per se a problem. Voting in the buildings of institutions that are politically active, however, is another. Churches generally fall into this category. Listen to what nadawi is saying.
posted by Dysk at 1:18 AM on November 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


A friend of mine, who's trans, is from Houston.

She posted right after this went down "Well, i guess i'm never going home". The next comment had her mom tagged, and was just "Sorry mom".

What a punch in the gut. Broke my fucking heart. Holy shit.
posted by emptythought at 4:13 AM on November 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


Are you saying that people actually vote in churches? Churches are used as polling places?

Here in Atlanta, a church is often used as my polling place. It's also where I go to improv classes once a week. In October, you can go buy pumpkins there from a local farmer's market group.

This apparently will come off as a shock to many here, but churches are large buildings with spaces of varying capacity that are often free most days and ideal for events that lots of people attend. They're not a horocrux or some evil portal where stepping foot in their doors obligates you to vote Republican.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:33 AM on November 5, 2015


Could we not dismiss the very real concerns of LGBTQ people who have to use churches as polling places, especially when it comes to voting on issues that directly affect their safety and civil rights?
posted by zombieflanders at 7:56 AM on November 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


Sounds more like the concerns of Internet "atheist" types TBH.
posted by Artw at 7:59 AM on November 5, 2015


No, it was from people participating in this conversation.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:01 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Artw: look at the comment four above yours, and click the links in it, which lead to two other comments. Actual people here are expressing actual concerns over this.
posted by Etrigan at 8:08 AM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Could we not dismiss the very real concerns of LGBTQ people who have to use churches as polling places, especially when it comes to voting on issues that directly affect their safety and civil rights?

I sympathize with concerns but the actions a church could take to make a voting location feel like an unsafe space isn't a cause of churches being used as polling places; it's a cause of congregations violating election laws about canvassing. These should be addressed and reported, but the solution is not "ban churches from being polling places." That's not from a moral or political perspective; it's from the perspective of that being a suggestion that will not even happen in reality, ever.

Unless you're arguing that the very existence of a church as a polling location creates an unfair bias and discomfort that hinders a person's ability to vote. If so, do you also agree with that for union halls? VFW centers? Schools? Senior centers?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:14 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


This apparently will come off as a shock to many here, but churches are large buildings with spaces of varying capacity that are often free most days and ideal for events that lots of people attend. They're not a horocrux or some evil portal where stepping foot in their doors obligates you to vote Republican.

And it should not come as a shock to Christians that some of their co-religionists are currently at the forefront of several different movements to dehumanize and strip / deny basic civil rights to a variety of different minority groups, including women, non-Christians, Christians who belong to the "wrong" sect, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender folks. In some cases, individual members of those minority groups have quite literally been shunned or worse by their fellow "love thy neighbor" Christians.

So yes, it may be intimidating or emotionally disturbing to them to be forced to walk into a goddamned Christian Church in order to perform their civic duty and vote.
posted by zarq at 8:18 AM on November 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Unless you're arguing that the very existence of a church as a polling location creates an unfair bias and discomfort that hinders a person's ability to vote.

As previously noted, yes, that argument is one that has been studied.
posted by Etrigan at 8:20 AM on November 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


Of course, it could be worse. In the old days, Churches didn't just shun minorities. They tortured, forcibly converted or killed us.

Progress!
posted by zarq at 8:20 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


So yes, it may be intimidating or emotionally disturbing to them to be forced to walk into a goddamned Christian Church in order to perform their civic duty and vote.

Again: you are calling to emotion, valid as that emotion may be, to claim the use of a church- in a non-religious capacity, mind you- unduly burdens a voter or influences their vote.

I don't really know what else to tell you here, because as was mentioned the other day, if this is absolutely a legitimate concern for you, then any legal counter-argument would be that you have alternate options- early voting in many places, absentee in many others.

I am fascinated with how, literally days after a reasonably progressive city swallowed the most heaping pile of bigoted bullshit in the form of "bathroom fear" about LGBT people by a 20-point majority, "hey let's suggest not letting people vote in churches! That won't have media or rhetoric repercussions at all!" is the hill some of you want to die on now.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:28 AM on November 5, 2015


Again: you are calling to emotion, valid as that emotion may be, to claim the use of a church- in a non-religious capacity, mind you- unduly burdens a voter or influences their vote.

So there's a reasonable level of voter intimidation, is what I'm hearing here.
posted by Etrigan at 8:38 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Again: you are calling to emotion, valid as that emotion may be, to claim the use of a church- in a non-religious capacity, mind you- unduly burdens a voter or influences their vote.

It does. This has been studied and the influence is small but detectable.

If so, do you also agree with that for union halls? VFW centers? Schools? Senior centers?

I can't speak to the other ones, but at least one of the studies also examined polling places in schools and found a similar small but detectable bias towards "pro-school" votes.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:39 AM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


XQUZYPHYR, Are you just not reading anything at this point? You've been provided links to actual evaluation of this. You've had many first-hand accounts.
posted by odinsdream at 8:40 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Again: you are calling to emotion, valid as that emotion may be, to claim the use of a church- in a non-religious capacity, mind you- unduly burdens a voter or influences their vote.

Yes. It's called priming, and it's a well known psychological phenomenon.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:40 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Again: you are calling to emotion, valid as that emotion may be, to claim the use of a church- in a non-religious capacity, mind you- unduly burdens a voter or influences their vote.

Are visible religious symbols being removed before people vote? Are crosses being removed from steeples, walls and stained glass windows? Houses of Worship are not secular spaces, the way a city, state or federally-owned building is. It's not a post office, school or firehouse.

I don't really know what else to tell you here, because as was mentioned the other day, if this is absolutely a legitimate concern for you, then any legal counter-argument would be that you have alternate options- early voting in many places, absentee in many others.

And has also been mentioned in this thread, some state governments have deliberately been eliminating or limiting alternative options such early voting or absentee ballots for a number of years. Some states are attempting to prevent people from voting without proving their identities to an official in person. All in order to keep voters from voting.

I am fascinated with how, literally days after a reasonably progressive city swallowed the most heaping pile of bigoted bullshit in the form of "bathroom fear" about LGBT people by a 20-point majority, "hey let's suggest not letting people vote in churches! That won't have media or rhetoric repercussions at all!" is the hill some of you want to die on now.

Wow, what an incredibly nasty comparison. When you're done reading the pdf I posted earlier and educating yourself on priming, feel free to modify your reply to me here.
posted by zarq at 8:43 AM on November 5, 2015 [7 favorites]




[One comment deleted. This is turning weirdly personal and needs to stop. Maybe we can just step back from the issue about churches as polling places, people have made their points on that.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:53 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Are you saying that people actually vote in churches? Churches are used as polling places?

My polling place is literally a minute walk away, because it's in an Armenian Orthodox Church. I have no idea what the church's perspectives are on anything, let alone LGBT issues, only that they have an annual food festival with tasty lamb and baklava.

The assumption seems to be that the polling place is going to be Protestant or Catholic Church for white people. But on the other hand, having a polling place at a religious institution that's embedded in ethnic enclaves or minority communities does sound like an effective way to get more people to vote, particularly those that might have their own reasons to not venture out of these communities to unfamiliar spaces.

I guess the best solution is either/both mail in ballots and more polling places.
posted by FJT at 10:05 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


nebulawindphone, that idea gives me major squicks too, and I also would turn it off. But I would use (several elements of) it in a campaign anyway. Because a message I get from it as a cis-male is that "trans girls ARE real girls", and I think that could get out there more to counterpoint the "skeevy dude guy lurking in the girls's room can just claim to be a girl" bs.
posted by Cookiebastard at 10:07 AM on November 5, 2015


I've had the same thought as nebulawindphone, along with the reservations about how it re-enforces the notion of passing as the predominantly-accepted binary view of each gender. Even then, my cynical political operative side is with you: it seems like it would be able to reach out to the same audience that's already panicked by the "men in the women's bathroom" scenarios and at least get them to maybe not show up and vote, or even vote in support of trans rights.
posted by odinsdream at 10:28 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


The assumption seems to be that the polling place is going to be Protestant or Catholic Church for white people. But on the other hand, having a polling place at a religious institution that's embedded in ethnic enclaves or minority communities does sound like an effective way to get more people to vote, particularly those that might have their own reasons to not venture out of these communities to unfamiliar spaces.

Hundreds of predominantly-black churches in the South do exactly this, as well as organizing their congregations to group up to head to polling. It's the principal reason that numerous GOP-led states moved to eliminate Sundays as an early voting day, despite them being among the most-attended, for exactly this reason.

In Georgia last year, a Republican congressman literally complained that a polling place was too close to a black church because it made things "too easy" for its congregants.

For all the concerns about right-wing influence in churches, it's black churches and church groups that bring out a significant portion of a core voting bloc for Democrats. I have no doubt this also applies to Muslim, Sikh and other growing communities.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:26 AM on November 5, 2015


Well gee, maybe we can use DMV offices as polling places instead.
posted by happyroach at 11:40 AM on November 5, 2015


Well gee, maybe we can use DMV offices as polling places instead.

When states aren't removing them to prevent people from registering to vote in the first place, that is.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:46 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Even better - they're already vacant! Just move the voting machines right in!

Seriously, if you're concerned about a hostile environment at the polls, expanding early/absentee voting is probably the better answer anyway. It's an easier sell as a matter of policy than "churches are untrustworthy" and it hits back against multiple kinds of voter suppression.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:48 AM on November 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


*jaw drops to floor* Are you saying that people actually vote in churches? Churches are used as polling places? People go to churches to vote? I cannot believe this. This is a real thing? In the United States of America?

Yep. And this was the case even in places you wouldn't expect it, like Seattle.(and yea i know, seattle isn't that progressive amirite) We switched to vote by mail, but the big elections are i think still in churches sometimes?

The real issue is that it isn't just that they're in churches, but as Nadawi says the election volunteers are almost always all from the churches congregation.

This is as ridiculous as it sounds, and has a lot of problems that you could imagine.
posted by emptythought at 1:22 PM on November 5, 2015


Mayor Parker is annoyed at people twitter-baiting her over HERO: No, actually I called you transphobes, but if the shoe fits...
posted by immlass at 3:51 PM on November 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


And so it begins: Bevin wants to dismantle Kynect by end of 2016; will remove clerk's names from marriage licenses.

And from the "why they didn't vote" link above: “I don’t really get into small things. But when it’s a presidential election, that’s when I get into it. Really, there’s nobody that I want to vote for. It comes down to if you have a candidate that you want to vote for. And if not, what’s the use of voting? You’re just going to put somebody in a place where they need not to be.” — Kevin Meaux, Smoketown
posted by SteveInMaine at 1:26 PM on November 6, 2015


*jaw drops to floor* Are you saying that people actually vote in churches? Churches are used as polling places? People go to churches to vote? I cannot believe this. This is a real thing? In the United States of America?

The riding I currently live in, the usual polling place is in a community centre gym a block away. Advance voting is in a spot in the basement of the St Lawrence market. Municipal level voting in a church a block in the other direction. The last riding I was in, voting was done in the local church... annex? Whatever it's called, function rooms etc attached to the church itself--and, interestingly, no religious messaging to be seen anywhere, not sure if that's usual or they took stuff down for the election. As a gay person I had no trouble with that, because in the case of the former it's the Metropolitan Community Church, which has been at the forefront of gender/sexual minority rights in Toronto since the year dot, and the latter is Anglican which (in Canada) is pretty similar. (There are rainbow flags/stickers displayed prominently at both churches).

I could absolutely 100% see how this could very very much be a problem for GSM people at other churches, however. Which is probably exactly how the right wing likes it--I have no doubt that they're very familiar with the concept of priming.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:01 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]




oh. my. god.

flames. flames on the side of my face
posted by odinsdream at 11:07 AM on November 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Republican Matt Bevin has defeated Democrat Jack Conway in Kentucky’s gubernatorial election. Bevin, an ultraconservative businessman who launched an unsuccessful primary challenge to Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014, promised to roll back the commonwealth’s expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and dismantle Kentucky’s popular health insurance exchange, Kynect.

Kentucky’s newly insured worry about their health under next governor
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:16 PM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]




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