(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]
There are 6,951,484 names on the target list of the 28 states in the Crosscheck group; each of them represents a suspected double voter whose registration has now become subject to challenge and removal. According to a 2013 presentation by Kobach to the National Association of State Election Directors, the program is a highly sophisticated voter-fraud-detection system. The sample matches he showed his audience included the following criteria: first, last and middle name or initial; date of birth; suffixes; and Social Security number, or at least its last four digits.[more inside]
That was the sales pitch. But the actual lists show that not only are middle names commonly mismatched and suffix discrepancies ignored, even birthdates don’t seem to have been taken into account. Moreover, Crosscheck deliberately ignores Social Security mismatches, in the few instances when the numbers are even collected. The Crosscheck instructions for county election officers state, “Social Security numbers are included for verification; the numbers might or might not match.”
In practice, all it takes to become a suspect is sharing a first and last name with a voter in another state.
Democrats are like a bad wedding dress. College Republicans make "Say Yes To The Dress" themed ads for governor races across the country. Because, you know, it's culturally relevant.
This Is What's the Matter With Kansas: Sam Brownback tried to create a conservative utopia. He created a conservative hell instead. [more inside]
When last we checked in with Toronto mayor Rob Ford, he had just come back from a stint in rehab. The ensuing summer found him apparently clean and sober, although still with an aura of scandal (last weekend he was subpoenaed in an extortion case) and despite great efforts, polls had Ford trailing by more than ten points in the race in August. Earlier this week, things took another shocking turn when he was admitted to hospital with an abdominal tumour. With 2:00 PM today as the deadline for candidates to add or remove their names to or from the ballot, many speculated on how Ford's health concerns would affect the race (the two candidates polling in fourth and fifth bowed out of the race in the last two weeks). This morning, hours before the deadline, Ford announced he was withdrawing his name from the mayoral ballot, but he would be running for city council. He has asked his brother and erstwhile campaign manager, rookie councillor Doug Ford, to run for mayor in his place. [more inside]
New Zealand's next general election is in September. With the 2011 turnout (74%) the third lowest in a century, political groups are working hard to increase youth enrolment, turnout on the day and political engagement in general. And they're not afraid of using cartoon sheep where necessary. Bonus: record levels of political billboard vandalism.
Fifty years ago this week Andrew Goodman, James Cheney, and Michael Schwerner, three voting rights workers were savagely beaten and shot to death by klansmen after being stopped by a Neshoba County, Mississippi Sheriff's Deputies. Today, sheriff's deputies across Mississippi have been tasked with preventing voter intimidation in the ugly Republican primary runoff election between incumbern Thad Cochran and Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel. [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]
The entire first episode of John Oliver's new current-events comedy show on HBO, Last Week Tonight, is viewable on its official YouTube Channel. [more inside]
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]
After a 33-day campaign, the Parti Liberal du Quebec under leader Dr Philippe Couillard has emerged victorious in last night's provincial election. The final seat count is LIB: 70, PQ: 30, CAQ: 22, QS: 3, OTH: 0. [more inside]
Excerpts from the upcoming book "Double Down", Obama's tension-filled debate preparation following his poor performance in Denver [more inside]
Yesterday's debate among the four mayoral candidates in St. Paul, Minnesota had some pretty interesting moments. Current mayor Chris Coleman's facial expressions are not to be missed. Yay democracy!
Supreme Court to consider lifting campaign contribution limits. Reversing McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission would allow unlimited individual campaign contributions.
The data analysis group that used Facebook and set top TV data to help Barack Obama win the latest election is taking its talents to the private sector. (SL NYTimes)
A new academic paper digging into presidential betting in the final weeks of the 2012 election finds that a single trader lost between $4 million and $7 million placing a flurry of Intrade bets on Mitt Romney—perhaps to make the Republican nominee’s chance of victory appear brighter.[more inside]
On September 22, Germany will hold its 18th federal election since 1949 and the first since the European financial crisis. At the moment, the government is made up of the black/yellow coalition between the Christian Democratic Union and the Free Democratic Party, led by Angela Merkel, who have held power since 2009. The Social Democratic Party, The Left and Alliance 90/The Greens sit in opposition. [more inside]
Australia goes to the polls tomorrow. Want the skinny on three word slogans? Want to know about the fabled voters of 'middle Australia'? Are you confused about preferential voting? Aussie comedian Dan Ilic has you covered with #C@%TASTROPHE 2013: Guide to the Election. [more inside]
The North Carolina Board of Elections has unanimously overturned a decision Pasquotank County Board of Elections barring barring an Elizabeth City State University senior Montravias King from running for local office. The County Board had ruled that King's on-campus address couldn't be used to establish local residency. [more inside]
In response to Senator Mitch McConnell and his assertion that in 2016, Hillary Clinton will be too old to run for POTUS, Jezebel presents 101 Things Older Than Hillary Clinton.
The race for one of the worst jobs in America took a sharp turn this week as Mike Duggan was removed from the ballot for the Detroit mayoral election. [more inside]
Ordinary special elections rarely merit wide attention, but tonight features no ordinary special. Republican Mark Sanford and Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch face off in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District tonight. Sanford, famous for resigning in disgrace after abandoning his state in search of an Argentine mistress while claiming to hike the Appalachian Trail, faces Colbert Busch, sister of Stephen Colbert. Latest polling shows the race within 1 point, with Green Party candidate Eugene Platt potentially playing spoiler. Stretching along five counties on South Carolina's Atlantic coast (PDF), the district is primarily in the mustard-based barbecue sauce region, one of four in the state.
"For the two weeks of Malaysia’s election campaign, I was one of a group of researchers from the University of Malaya and various overseas institutions that toured through every one of Malaysia’s 13 states, witnessing the night time election rallies (ceramah), speaking to campaign workers and candidates, and generally trying to take the political pulse of this highly varied country." [more inside]
Respected polling firm Gallup had a disastrous 2012, with a final presidential poll showing Romney 49-48 over Obama, some five points off of the final result. So what exactly went wrong?
In May 16, 1961, Park Chung-hee ended the Second Republic of South Korea by military coup. On December 18, 2012, his daughter, Park Geun-hye, became South Korea's president by democratic election under the Saenuri party against human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in, of the DUP. [more inside]
Why did Prop 37, the GMO labeling bill, fail? Ernest Miller of KCET argues that it wasn't money, but message. [more inside]
"Used to be that the idea was 'once every two years voters elected their representatives.' And now instead it's 'every ten years the representatives choose their constituents.'"
Obama won Ohio by two points, and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown won by five, but Democrats emerged with just four of Ohio’s 16 House seats. In Wisconsin, Obama prevailed by seven points, and Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin by five, but their party finished with just three of the state’s eight House seats. In Virginia, Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine were clear victors, but Democrats won just three of the commonwealth’s 11 House seats. In Florida, Obama eked out a victory and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson won by 13 points, but Democrats will hold only 10 of the Sunshine State’s 27 House seats. The Revenge of 2010: How gerrymandering saved the congressional Republican majority, undermined Obama's mandate, set the terms of the sequestration fight, and locked Democrats out of the House for the next decade. It's not a new problem. But if the Supreme Court guts the Voting Rights Act, it could get a whole lot worse. And the electoral college may be next. (What's gerrymandering, you ask? Let the animals explain. Meet the Gerry-mander. Peruse the abused. Catch the movie. Or just play the game. Previously.)
The poor in America: In need of help Some 15% of Americans (around 46.2m people) live below the poverty line, as Ms Hamilton does. You have to go back to the early 1960s—before Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programmes—to find a significantly higher rate. Many more, like Ms Dunham, have incomes above the poverty line but nevertheless cannot meet their families’ basic monthly needs, and there are signs that their number is growing. Once upon a time the fates of these people weighed heavily on American politicians. Ronald Reagan boasted about helping the poor by freeing them from having to pay federal income tax. Jack Kemp, Bob Dole’s running-mate in 1996, sought to spearhead a “new war on poverty.” George W. Bush called “deep, persistent poverty…unworthy of our nation’s promise”. No longer. Budgets are tight and the safety net is expensive. Mitt Romney famously said he was not “concerned about the very poor” because they have a safety net to take care of them. Mr Obama’s second-term plan mentioned poverty once, and on the trail he spoke gingerly of “those aspiring to the middle class”. “Poor” is a four-letter word.
Exit polls for the 2012 presidential election (CNN). The most likely bottom line from AP: "Overall, 53 percent had a favorable opinion of Obama, while only 47 percent felt that way about Romney. And 53 percent felt Obama was more in touch with people like them than Romney was." Initial reactions among the disappointed.
The November 6th elections saw a lot of historic decisions made in the United States -- the first black president re-elected, marijuana legalized for the first time in two states, gay marriage affirmed by the voters in four, and even the first openly gay senator. But perhaps the most underreported result yesterday came from outside the country altogether: in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a solid majority voted to reject the island's current status and join America as the long-fabled 51st state. How the bid might fare in Congress is an open question, but both President Obama and Republican leaders have vowed support for the statehood movement if it proves successful at the ballot box (while D.C. officials ponder a two-fer gambit to grease the wheels). Though it would be the poorest state, joining the Union might bring economic benefits to both sides [PDF]. And politically, some argue the island might prove to be a reliably red state, despite the Hispanic population, although arch-conservative governor and Romney ally Luis Fortuño appears headed toward a narrow loss. But the most important question here, as always, is: how to redesign the flag? (Puerto Rican statehood discussed previously.)
Charlie Pierce is a longtime sportswriter and author who has, among other things, reported for Grantland, Slate, and the Boston Globe, paneled on more than a few games of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, and fished diapers out of trees as a state forest ranger. He's also made a name for himself as one of the sharpest and most incisive political columnists since Molly Ivins. The lead writer for Esquire's Politics Blog ever since a caustic article on former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell cost him his Globe job, Pierce has churned out an uninterrupted stream of clever, colorful, and challenging commentary on the 2012 election season and its implications for the nation's future, dispatches often seething with eviscerative anger but shot through with deep love of (or perhaps grief for) country. Look inside for a selection of Pierce's most vital works for some edifying Election Eve reading. [more inside]
Beautiful Georgia, my adopted state as I finish life’s journey ... my last year ever to vote in a presidential election. I wanted to feel part of this great privilege, wanted to again walk out of my precinct tapping my Georgia Peach voter sticker. Even if the day were dark, gloomy and cold, the sun would be shining. One Georgia nonagenarian's quest for voter ID
In 2008, the Muppetheads behind the Tough Pigs staged their own muppety election, in which Ernie (and running mate Bert) won the Presidency over a Fraggle ticket of Gobo & Red. Now they're doing it again, but with Ernie not going for a second term and inevitable favorite Kermit not running either, the 2012 Muppet Election is between a Sesame Street ticket of Grover/Cookie Monster and a Muppet Show ticket of Gonzo/Rizzo. And yes, there is negative campaigning on both sides. [more inside]
My Fair Election crowd-sources pollwatching: "We hope that this information will be used by citizens, journalists, and election officials to identify the worst polling places and work to fix them. We hope that officials in charge of polling places with long lines or otherwise operate poorly will be embarrassed, held to account, and so motivated to do a better job." (via Hollie Russon-Gilman and Archon Fung)
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.
North Carolina State Senator Thom Goolsby is running for re-election against Deb Butler. Last year, Senator Goolsby voted in favor of NC House Bill 854. Among other things, this bill requires that women must undergo an ultrasound and a waiting period before having an abortion. Using a prop, Deb Butler ran this ad. And this ad. [more inside]
California begins its "top two primary" runoff. Called a blanket primary, open primary, jungle primary, the top-two primary seeks to end partisan gridlock by having one primary for all voters in June, where the top two candidates face off in November, regardless of party affiliation. Said to favor moderates while hurting small parties, Arizona votes on a similar measure next week. [more inside]
"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.
Pick your celebrity president - "We have gathered runners and riders from across the celebrity spectrum - from sports stars to celebrity chefs - for a more glittering election in 2012. Answer the questions and find out who you would likely vote for in a showbiz showdown for the keys to the White House." via BBC. [more inside]
Sunt tibi necessaria consilio pro electione? Q. Ciceronem, frater M., habet quaedam verba pro vobis in Commentariolum Petitionis [more inside]
The Choice 2012 is a Frontline documentary about the background of the current candidates for President of the United States.
Democracy Distilled: A History of America's Voting Rights. Remember to vote this November. Women in America, let's rise up. [more inside]
Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy writes SciAm, as part of their election coverage, which also includes rating two candidates' answers on particular sciencey topics (full replies here, marking sheet here), as well as inquiring about the positions of other congress critters. Use 'Print' button for single page presentation
Tired of the Presidential race? The battle for 33 Class I seats in the 100-member United States Senate, once commonly known as the "World's Greatest Deliberative Body", now known for stifling torpor with record-breaking numbers of filibusters and a total logjam of pending confirmations, is also taking place on the same day. With many key Senate races happening in states where the Presidential outcome will be lopsided, all eyes are on split-ticket voters. 53 Democrats (2 of them independents) and 47 Republicans make up the current chamber. Who will control the second Senate ivory gavel, the first of which was shattered in 1954? [more inside]