MapLight is a database that "looks at big industries and big interests, their elected beneficiaries and their votes." They also run Voter's Edge for personalized election information. Check out the contributions by vote on Net Neutrality and the Keystone XL pipeline. Maplight also contributes to the national law review. [more inside]
(until wednesday). Yes, it's election day in the USA on Tuesday 4th November, with a projected cost of $3.67 billion. "During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested; along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races." The betting markets currently have the Republicans significant favorites to take the Senate and overwhelming favorites to take the House. FiveThirtyEight indicates the same, but with many close Gubernatorial races. Electoral-vote.com currently project the senate at Dem 48, Ties 1, GOP 51. [more inside]
In 2012, 40 percent of Americans didn’t vote. The research on this website is an attempt to determine why so many citizens opt out of this fundamental civic duty, using extensive survey research as well as interviews with nonvoters to give a voice to those who are often ignored or marginalized by politicians and the news media. [via this phys.org article that provides a nice summary]
"Republicans stand the chance of controlling Congress for the rest of the decade if they don't screw it up."
"The Republicans’ dominance in races throughout the country in the 2010 elections eviscerated the Democrats’ farm teams in state after state." Former Bill Clinton political director Doug Sosnik offers an 8-page analysis of the U.S. election that discusses the likelihood of an Obama win, the chances of a complete Republican takeover of Congress, continued Republican dominance of governorships and state legislatures for the rest of the decade, and more. There's also a related slideshow. [more inside]
In 2008, the National Journal released The Hidden History of the American Electorate, an analysis of exit poll demographics conducted by multiple news organizations from US presidential elections between 1988 and 2004. The study looked for "pressure points in the electorate": trends which were likely to decide the outcome of the 2008 presidential election. They've released an update for 2012, by adding exit poll results from the 1980, 1984, and 2008 presidential elections. It gives a more comprehensive look at voting trends over a 32 year period of the groups whom they believe are likely to influence the outcome in November. Charts: Voting Preferences of the American Electorate, 1980-2008
Last year, The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU's Law School released a report (pdf) detailing new, more restrictive state laws that affect voting rights and are likely to impact the outcome of the 2012 elections. The restrictions "fall most heavily on young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities." On August 3rd, 2012, they updated their analysis with a pdf of passed and pending State government legislation. Their conclusion: after a century in which the United States "expanded the franchise and knocked down myriad barriers to full electoral participation... that momentum [has] abruptly shifted." [more inside]
2012 Presidential Candidates - Comparing the 2012 Presidential Candidates on the issues with profile, issue and trivia comparisons. [more inside]
It's Election Day in America, and as is so often the case in this fickle land, the results of the 2010 midterm elections are up in the air. Although President Obama's party is expected to suffer significant losses, record numbers of districts remain competitive, and even minute errors in polling could mean the difference between a historic Republican landslide and an unexpectedly robust Democratic defense. At stake are control of not just the Senate and House, but myriad state and local offices, many of which will play key roles in the dynamics of the 2012 presidential race -- and, more subtly but no less crucially, the once-in-a-decade congressional redistricting process. Much uncertainty surrounds the behavior of the electorate -- how many will turn out, and how informed will they be? To help move those statistics in the right direction, look inside for voter guides, national and state fact checkers, and an assortment of other resources to keep tabs on as the results roll in. [more inside]
A manual for electoral apocalypse in America. Quite a bit's been written both on MeFi and other places about how bad Diebold machines are. Rolling Stone wrote an article about election fraud in 2004 that was discussed here on MeFi. Tonight, Ars posted a very thorough, very clear article about how we are completely screwed if we do not enact expensive, fundamental changes in how we handle elections in America. It's too late to do anything about the elections in a couple weeks, but perhaps steps can be taken to fix things before 2008...
Oops. Touch-screen errors led to loss of 4,400 ballots in North Carolina election.
Over 125 voter guides, sorted by city and written collaboratively by Indyvoter's network of members are now on-line. This is social software with a purpose - members of the network form voting blocs to swing close elections, from city council members up to the national level.
Becoming what you hate : Nathan Sproul, case study in moral relativism on the Religious Right "former head of the Arizona Republican Party and of the Arizona Christian Coalition....Sproul is connected with the Republican National Committee-funded voter registration organization, Voters' Outreach of America Inc." - Sproul's firm is accused of fraud and the destruction of voter registration forms. He also failed to pay his workers and his office rent. Rick Perlstein, in the Village Voice, comments on the Sproul scandal : "Both sides are not equally bad, and any reporters who don't recognize that conservatism's very core has become shot through with a culture of mendacity should turn in their press badge..... It used to be that we could count on the conscience of conservatives to protect our democratic institutions."
Was your voter registration form thick enough? Ohio's republican secretary of state has issued an order (three days before the registration deadline) to throw out all voter registration forms printed on paper less then 80lb. Coincidence that dem-leaning areas have seen a 250% rise in voter registration, with tens of thousands of new voters in a race expected to be closer then FL 2000?
Oh yeah, the state sent out 40lb forms to those requesting them. Cute, huh.
Oh yeah, the state sent out 40lb forms to those requesting them. Cute, huh.
Is the GOP tampering with Florida elections? The New York Times reports that State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation" that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November. Also, see here and here. Why do we even put up with this?
Important expose and interview runs on Salon today. "This evening the site the aritcle features is shut down. As soon as we get that new server up we'll host the materials (yes, we have a copy) that Diebold doesn't want the public to see. Diebold cannot silence everyone. " The links (2) for this piece can be found at URL given here. "If you're not outraged you are not paying attention. " The Agonist, as usual, is both outraged and paying attention.
The Chuck Hagel voting machine ownership story gets even scarier. In today's Best of the Blogs, Jerry Bowles reveals more bizarre details about the Chuck Hagel/voting machine story, including the fact that the majority ownership stake in the voting machine company that counted Senator Hagel's upset victory in 1996 (and his reelection in 2002) is held by a man long associated with the radical organization Christian Reconstruction, which believes in overturning democracy and replacing it with a Christian theocracy. This is really weird and frightening stuff, if it checks out.
Who Counts your Votes? This book published back in 1992 is a good launching pad to begin the quest regarding elections and election fraud in America. Joseph Stalin had a saying: ``Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.'' When I voted on November 5, I was handed a little card stuck it in to a Diebold voting machine and presto all the votes I submitted were counted correctly right? Well I'm not sure after I read the article Diebold: The face of modern balloting at http://www.bartcop.com/110702otter.htm and some of the articles at http://www.votefraud.org/. Perhaps we Americans have handed a bit to much over to computers and the people who own the companies that make the computers and that write the code. Perhaps to restore faith in our Democracy its time to to go back a simple hand counted system, with observers from multiple parties stationed in the local precincts counting the paper ballots.
Another election debacle in Florida. One year and $30m in technology later, the Reno/McBride primary is marred by late openings and other assorted and sundry glitches. I know, it's a CNN link, but I can't resist anything that includes someone delivering the grade "F-minus-minus-minus" (later determined to be merely an "F-minus-minus" and some Drambuie). Any personal voting horror stories from our Florida contingent? Will the state become a case study in how "throwing money at the problem" never works?
Florida to settle 2000 election lawsuit. Major provisions include a promise for massive reforms in voter registration, voter-roll maintenance and polling practices, as part of the lawsuit pushed by the NAACP. Granted, it's good that a large angered group is "getting over it" as many (even on this board) have still been explaining, but should skeptics (read: Democrats) such as myself read the Florida legislature's desire to settle as a sign that they may not have thought they would have won against charges of rigging the election?
Should Election Day be a holiday? Vote, then do some barbecue and watch fireworks... Will this be the development that could increase voter turnout, or will people just waste the day away? How else could voter turnout be improved?
And I thought Florida only had this problem. The Chicago Tribune reports that nearly 8% of votes in Illinois' 1st Congressional District went uncounted in the 2000 presidential election. It also adds: voters in low-income, high-minority districts nationwide were more likely to have undercounted ballots than were those in affluent, predominantly white districts, the study showed. Is there a nation-wide epidemic of undercounting? Or is it a problem limited to few localized areas? Or is it an underhanded way to deny the underprivileged of their vote? From the looks of it, at least additional investigation needs to be done.
When you're an aiga member they send you e-mail, I usualy don't read them, because they're accouncements of conferences and such, but this one was about Chicago enlisting the help of AIGA to design new election ballots. 'Some possibilities for making Chicago ballots more user-friendly include enlarging candidates' names, changing the font size, altering the color of pages, making wider ballot booklets.' Since I couldn't find the article on-line, I'll just cut-n-paste the e-mail inside. :)
Chicago to enlist graphic designers for friendlier ballots. [free reg may be req'd] There's been a bunch of discussion about the usability problems with various voting systems, notably punch-card ballots. Chicago didn't have anything as dramatic as a "butterfly" prexy ballot or two pages' worth of candidates, but we still had close to 120,000 discards from 2.1 million votes -- and when compared with jurisdictions using other systems, there's little evidence to suggest that voters are skipping the presidential ballot. That's just how bad manual punch card technology is. Even if we can't get rid of them just yet, at least we can make sure they aren't confusing. Did I just post the twenty-sixth link on Metafilter today? GO AWAY. METAFILTER IS FULL. :)
Here is the best reason I've seen yet not to vote.
Homeless given Cigarettes to vote for Gore - Would they have wanted that kind of help if it wasn't caught on video tape? Maybe they should just steal the social security numbers of the dead and have THEM vote via mail-in. (See also: Zombies for Gore) [Links via Fark]
"I think the secretary of state is clamping down on pure political speech," says the ACLU, as they gear up to try to reopen Voteswap2000 and other vote-swapping sites.
If you're in Arizona, you'll be able to vote online for your Democratic Primary candidate this year. Nuts! I can't wait to see how this works out. All I can think is that it will be a security nightmare and hell on server resources to do that many writes to a database in a short period of time. I hope it's a success, and spreads to my state, so I won't have to go through the trouble of finding my polling place, waiting in line, and getting to work on time. You want voter participation to go above 20%? Make it easier.