With the final debate behind us (MetaFilter), many people registered and many states now voting, we're into the last few weeks of this increasingly globally watched 2016 US election. These are unhappy days for Donald, with that debate not going well for him and launching a hundred t-shirt designs, the map shrinking, likely voters not helping, and being booed at a charity dinner; sad! Hillary, at increasingly shorter odds to win, seems to be having a better time, while Joe has a hot car (MetaFilter) and Evan McMullin (who) (twitter) continues to make the presidential vote in Utah more interesting. But it's not just the presidency up for election; there's the Senate (538 forecast), House, and various measures such as the minimum wage, and 17 propositions in California (also on MetaFilter), plus a crucial vote in Westport. [more inside]
As we stand four weeks to election day, we know more about the candidates, and it's not good. Things have also recently not been great for Donald; following the taped revelations of last week, involving yet another (and now dismissed) member of the Bush dynasty, a fiery and ugly debate ensued (MetaFilter). Since then, he has marched increasingly alone; Paul Ryan has all but unendorsed him, John McCain has had enough, a lot of other Republicans are doing their own thing, and his friends are mainly the apologist Ben Carson, Rudy Giuliani, a 'coward' in Florida, and Wikileaks and dubious Russian information services (leading perhaps to a campaign event cancellation). [more inside]
It seems simple enough. You are presented with two celebrities, and you must choose. Which. One. Vapes.
In the endurance test that is the 2016 US presidential election, we finally come to New York State where all of the polling stations are now open. The state consists of not only the city famed for fine dining but also the mainly rural upstate region. There's a lot of delegates here; Ballotpedia has information about the Democratic and Republican allocations. Since last time, Paul said "Nope", GOP leaders said "Meh" followed by "Rules?", Washington Democrats had their own local endurance test, Virgin Islands Republicans had an unpleasant meeting, Bernie visited the Vatican, Hillary visited Staten Island (as did Donald), the Democratic candidates debated, Donald is figuring out West Virginia, Ted appears very conservative, and a grumpy John is aiming for second. [more inside]
As we enter the last 30 weeks of the election campaign, delegate talk becomes more prevalent. On the Republican side, current Donald (future Donald) did not have a good Saturday in Colorado and South Carolina, with Cruz picking up delegates, and Kasich seeing a path despite lacking delegates. On the Democratic side, Bernie's recent good run has added to his count, although he remains behind Hillary. Voter suppression continues to be a strong issue, while Wikipedia has some interesting data on historical voter turnout. Meanwhile, Paul Ryan may or may not be running, while Kevin Spacey, who plays Frank Underwood in House of Cards series, says some real-life presidential candidates ‘appear to be fictional’. [more inside]
Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to ‘One Person One Vote’ by Adam Liptak [The New York Times] The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously ruled that states may count all residents, whether or not they are eligible to vote, in drawing election districts. The decision was a major statement on the meaning of a fundamental principle of the American political system, that of “one person one vote.” Until this decision, the court had never resolved whether voting districts should contain the same number of people, or the same number of eligible voters. Counting all people amplifies the voting power of places that have large numbers of residents who cannot vote legally — including immigrants who are here legally but are not citizens, illegal immigrants, children and prisoners. Those places tend to be urban and to vote Democratic. [more inside]
Amidst an increasingly unpredictable political season, tonight the Iowa caucuses will finally cast the first votes of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's an outsider vs. establishment war in both parties, as Republican leaders struggle to dislodge Donald Trump and Ted Cruz from the top while Hillary Clinton marshalls her endorsements and long résumé against the populist zeal of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. The best guesses of FiveThirtyEight, BetFair, and Ann Selzer's gold-standard Des Moines Register poll all favor Trump and Clinton, but the race remains very close, and turnout in the demanding and complicated caucus events will be key. Vox provides a helpful video explainer on the process [previously]. Pass the time with FiveThirtyEight's 40-minute elections podcast, and keep an eye on the New York Times live blog of the caucuses for real-time updates once voting starts at 8:00 PM Eastern -- and don't forget to leave your two cents in the MeFi election prediction contest!
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has a polar bear cub (previously.) Now she's three months old and you can vote on her name (or just squee at the pictures.) Be an informed voter with these bonus videos of the cub: 1, 2, 3.
It was not until 1971, 65 years after Finland became the first European country to grant women the vote, that Switzerland became the last, not only in Europe but in much of the world.
Blue Rodeo offers a modern day (anti-harper) protest song (And wins extra points for citing all the facts in the song and video with news links). [more inside]
A Dream Undone: Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act.
Supreme Court rules against gerrymandering - "Ginsburg's opinion is now the law, and I suspect that, in a few decades, this case will be considered one of the most important of the term. Thus far, only California has copied Arizona and created an independent redistricting commission. But with the court's blessing, more states are likely to follow suit. These commissions have been hugely successful thus far, a real boost for representative democracy and a cure for the notoriously stubborn problem of gerrymandering. Had Justice Anthony Kennedy swung away from Ginsburg and aligned with his fellow conservatives, America would be facing down a distressingly undemocratic future."
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]
Is the epically orbiting Pluto, the only planet to be named by a female, about to be reinstated its first class status asks the Independent, eight years after the International Astronomical Union controversially downgraded it to dwarf or minor planet. Since this move, more moons have been discovered and the case for righting this alleged planetary prejudice has continued to be made. While some headlines of today misleading claim that its planetary status has been restored, the public vote has so far been in favor. Scientists have debated, but questions remain over whether returning planetary citizenship to Pluto would also mean having to greencard the larger Eris, Ceres or other bodies in our solar system.
"This country, when it was ever known on the global stage under the union, was associated with tragedy, in terrible events like Lockerbie and Dunblane; it's now synonymous with real people power. Forget Bannockburn or the Scottish Enlightenment, the Scots have just reinvented and re-established the idea of true democracy. This—one more—glorious failure might also, paradoxically, be their finest hour." Novelist Irvine Welsh on Scottish independence (SLGuardian) [more inside]
Polls will open in less than twelve hours for a referendum to end the 307-year Union between England and Scotland. With an unprecedented 97% voter registration, including hundreds of thousands of 16 and 17 year olds, there are predictions of turnout well over 80% across the country. [more inside]
In the somewhat tumultuous debate over the Scottish independence (previously), and with less than a week before the historic vote, a new voice has risen out of the fray.
The second televised debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling is to be shown across the UK tonight. After a lacklustre first debate, the final days of the referendum campaign are ticking down. There are signs of growing momentum for the Yes side, with undecideds moving to Yes in some polls and the 'Yes Declaration' recently hitting a million signatures. But the Better Together campaign still has some heavy hitters on side, with Sir Ian Wood recently casting doubt on oil extraction figures he had previously agreed with. [more inside]
In what early press reports call a "surprise vote" in a "late night session," the US House of Representatives voted to defund controversial NSA surveillance activities. [more inside]
Between 9am and 9pm yesterday, the people of (the province of, not the city) Ontario took to the polls to elect a new government and (possibly) a new premier. Things did not turn out exactly as predicted. [more inside]
BBC re-reports: Fifa is facing fresh allegations of corruption over its controversial decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. The Sunday Times has obtained millions of secret documents - emails, letters and bank transfers - which it alleges are proof that the disgraced Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam made payments totalling US$5m (£3m) to football officials in return for their support for the Qatar bid.
The US is a little closer to a popular vote for president. Governor Cuomo added New York State to the National Popular Vote interstate compact. [more inside]
Debo Adegbile was selected by President Obama to be assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The Senate, aided and abetted by seven Democratic senators, killed his nomination. Why? Because he’s fought for civil rights.
The Missing Right: A Constitutional Right to Vote is an essay regarding the proposed constitutional amendment to provide all Americans the affirmative right to vote and empower Congress to protect this right. The right to vote is the foundation of any democracy and yet, surprisingly, such a right is not part of the constitution. U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) are trying to create that right and limit the power of special interest to chip away at it.
BBC: Some 70% of Swiss voters appear to have supported plans to give shareholders a veto on compensation and ban big payouts for new and departing managers, projected referendum results suggest. One of the organisers of the referendum, Brigitte Moser Harder, told the BBC she thought the Swiss people agreed with the proposals because the gap between rich and poor had become wider. "From the beginning, 2006, we had the support of the people of Switzerland because you know not everybody in Switzerland is rich." [more inside]
The Monopoly game has used the same 8 "base tokens" (car, thimble, boot, scotty dog, battleship, top hat, iron, wheelbarrow) since the 1950s (with a few extras added to "Deluxe Editions"), and since it's been 15 minutes since Parker Brothers' last promotion, they're doing internet voting at their Facebook page to "SAVE YOUR TOKEN". In "American Idol" style, the one with the fewest votes will be replaced by the top-vote-getter among 5 "New Tokens" (robot with mustache, big-ass diamond ring, cat, helicopter, awkwardly-balanced guitar). So far, Scottie Dog has a third of the votes (take THAT, cat people), while Whellbarrow and Absurdly-Oldfashioned-Iron are bringing up the rear. VOTE DAILY to support your favorite "chocking hazard for under 3 yrs. old"
A Vast Left-Wing Competency: "How Democrats became the party of effective campaigning — and why the GOP isn’t catching up anytime soon." Sasha Issenberg, author of The Victory Lab, has been writing a series of posts on Slate that focus on different aspects of "the new science of winning campaigns". [more inside]
The possibility of voter fraud in the US has spawned a number of state laws requiring particular kinds of identification at the polls, as well as grassroots organizations that search public records to challenge certain voters' registrations . Much of the modern debate about potential voter fraud has been driven by Hans von Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow, former member of the Federal Elections Commission, and former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights, where he worked on voting issues. Writing for the New Yorker, Jane Mayer describes von Spakovsky's influence on conservative groups like True the Vote, various state attempts to disqualify registered voters, and the lack of evidence for many claims made in support of voter ID laws.
"A few days ago, I participated in a debate with the legendary Daniel Ellsberg on the merits of the Obama administration, and what progressives should do on Election Day. Ellsberg had written a blog post arguing that, though Obama deserves tremendous criticism, voters in swing states ought to vote for him, lest they operate as dupes for a far more malevolent Republican Party. This attitude is relatively pervasive among Democrats, and it deserves a genuine response."Matt Stoller lays out a progressive case for why one should not vote for Barack Obama for reelection, even if you are in a swing state.
Democracy Distilled: A History of America's Voting Rights. Remember to vote this November. Women in America, let's rise up. [more inside]
The governments of the United Kingdom and Scotland agree on a framework for the latter to vote on independence. Other reporting in the Telegraph, Guardian and the Scottish Sun. The referendum, for this nation of 5.25 million people and a unicorn as its national animal, will be held before the end of 2014. [more inside]
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]
With the U.S. Presidential election about 3 months away, and voter ID laws headed to court this Wednesday in Pennsylvania and in other states like Texas and Minnesota, Propublica tells you Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Voter ID Laws. A solution to a nonproblem. [Previously] [more inside]
A preacher rebukes North Carolina media over asking the wrong questions about marriage. North Carolina votes today on Amendment 1, which states that, "Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State." Here are some of the people who would be affected.
Just beating Bank of America, Consumerist readers have voted Electronic Arts the worst company in America
After interminable months of campaigning, debates, and roller-coaster polling, the first official vote of the 2012 presidential race is in -- and boy, is it a doozy. Ames straw poll winner Michele Bachmann placed second-to-last, while former juggernaut Rick Perry performed so badly he's canceled upcoming events and is said to be on the verge of dropping out. Meanwhile, perennial laughingstock Rick Santorum, consolidating the support hemorrhaging from Perry, Bachmann, and an ad-blitzed Newt Gingrich, rocketed past the youth- and independent-backed Ron Paul and, with 99% of the vote counted, is separated from Mitt Romney by four votes out of ~120,000 -- by far the closest result in caucus history. As the shaken field contemplates the path ahead through Romney firewall New Hampshire, conservative South Carolina, Florida, Super Tuesday, and beyond, President Obama staged a quiet redux of his own dramatic caucus win four years ago, a dry run for the looming general election. And as for powerhouse Buddy Roemer? Don't worry -- his team is ready to do battle with evil.
Women in Saudi Arabia to vote and run in elections: Women in Saudi Arabia are to be given the right to vote and run in future municipal elections, King Abdullah has announced. [more inside]
Why A Heterosexual, Married, North Carolinian Father Of Three Cares About LGBT Equality. Married father of three boys writes eloquently about the reasons why he opposes the proposed constitutional amendment banning any legal relationship recognition for same-sex couples. The amendment goes before voters in May primary election, when heavy Republican turnout is expected. Meanwhile Senator Goolsby says that it is all about "empowering voters" "so no activist judge is able to decide on his or her own what marriage is." [original]
‘In 1912, Scotland Yard detectives bought their first camera, to covertly photograph suffragettes. The pictures were compiled into ID sheets for officers on the ground.’
Michelle Obama promotes an anti-obesity campaign, telling her children that "dessert is not a right." Sarah Palin takes a shot at her on a reality show, making s'mores and saying, "This is in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert." There's hooting and hollering from all sides. And then there's this -- is Sarah Palin courting the fat vote?
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]
Not more then a few days ago, the reddit community started a campaign to call Stephen Colbert to hold a rally tentatively called Restoring Truthiness in counterpoint to the recent Glenn Beck "Restoring Honor" rally. Today redditors put their money where their keyboards are through direct action and broke the previous records and servers by donating
$46,983 $92,004 to the school-teacher funding DonorsChoose.org in Operation Truthy Classroom obliterating records set by Hillary Clinton's donation campaign (which has been active since 2008) in less the eight hours. (Previously, and more previously.)
On May 18, 2009, the Governor of Washington state signed into law SB 5688, granting near-equal legal standing to state registered domestic partners, meaning mainly (but not exclusively) same-sex couples. This new law, nicknamed the "everything but marriage" law was to go into effect at the end of July. Due to efforts made by some conservative groups, the measure will now be up for a public vote on the November 3, 2009 ballot in the form of Referendum 71. [more inside]
It's Eurovision week, everyone! The last of the semi-finals was last night, and the twenty-five entries are now set for this Saturday's extravaganza in Moscow, the most expensive and flashy yet. After last year's controversy over votes motivated by regional politics and entries that detracted from the, er, dignity of the event, the Eurovision voting mechanism has changed. Western countries in particular have brought in the heavy musical muscle, with Andrew Lloyd Webber writing the UK song, the amazing Patricia Kaas singing for France, and Dita von Teese performing on stage with the German entry. You can't vote from outside of Europe, and you might struggle to watch the contest live from outside Europe. But you can have your very own Mefi Eurovision experience right here! Get some snacks and lots of booze, settle in, view the twenty-five entries here, and decide for yourselves. (MLYT warning) [more inside]
EU Profiler: the authors of Kieskompas, a "Vote-O-Mat"-style tool for the undecided Dutch voter, following up on their adaptation for the US Presidential election (previously on MeFi), will launch an EU-wide version for the European Parliament elections upcoming in June. So Europeans, urge your political parties to register! The tool itself will launch in May.
OpenForQuestions at WhiteHouse.gov is asking you to vote for the questions you want Obama to address Thursday night. Like digg, but more governmentally.
UK MPs trying to block publishing their expenses - they're voting on Thursday to overturn last year's High Court ruling. TheyWorkForYou is emailing members to let them know that the UK government buried the news of this vote amongst last week's Heathrow runway anouncement. They are trying to reverse the 16 May 2008 High Court decision that MPs' expenses must, under the Freedom Of Information Act, be made public. What can you do about this mixture of Jo Moore and Krusty? [more inside]
Scientists make fish "vote" by having them choose an artificial fish to follow. Shocker: There's not a lot of individual decision-making.. I always did say some people are as intelligent as fish..
Having trouble voting? Have a question about the polling process in your state? The folks at the non-partisan 866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection Hotline are there to help. Online, they offer information about voting in your state, the ability to report problems at the polls or live chat with Election Protection workers.