Gehrke isn’t saying which states the project might initially target. He says he’d like to see the plan implemented in every state, not just the ones where clever redistricting has given Republicans an edge, and he justifies it in policy, not political terms.
A presidential voting system where the electoral college was apportioned by congressional district might not be perfectly fair, he says, but it would be better than what we have now. It would bring democracy closer to the people, force presidential candidates to address the concerns of a more varied swath of the American populace, and give more clout to rural areas that are too often ignored.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Convincing women — mothers, especially — that legalization wasn’t simply about stoners and libertarians was essential to ending blanket prohibition. They needed to be assured this was sound policy and that their children would not be affected.
“We definitely wanted to reach [women],” says Tonia Winchester, the outreach director behind the Yes on I-502 camp. “We were very much focused on not being a pro-pot campaign but a pro-policy campaign, showing that we could shift resources from incarcerating and focus on programs we knew would work.”
Read more. [Image: AP]
Get-Out-the-Vote campaigns are dogged about building social motivations for disinclined voters. Although low turnout should theoretically raise the value of each individual vote, research has shown that emphasizing high turnout is more likely to motivate marginal voters. Why? People care about the value of our vote. But, perhaps even more, we value being a part of a motivated group.
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Extreme Voting: How Astronauts Cast Ballots from Space
“Call it the ultimate absentee ballot. NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station have the option of voting in [today’s] presidential election from orbit, hundreds of miles above their nearest polling location.
Astronauts residing on the orbiting lab receive a digital version of their ballot, which is beamed up by Mission Control at the agency’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston. Filled-out ballots find their way back down to Earth along the same path.”
No matter who wins the presidential race, no matter which party controls Congress, can we at least agree as reasonable adults that when it comes to voting itself the election of 2012 is a national disgrace? We ask our sons and daughters, our husbands and wives, to give their lives abroad for noble concepts like “freedom” and “democracy.” And yet we are content as a nation, and as a people, to tolerate another cycle of election rules that require our fellow citizens to sacrifice a measure of basic human dignity simply to exercise their right to vote. […]
This is happening not because of a natural disaster or breakdown in machinery. It is happening by partisan design. Alarmed by the strong Democratic turnout in early voting in 2008, Republican lawmakers, including Governor Rick Scott, reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to eight. When the restrictions were challenged in federal court under the Voting Rights Act, a three-judge panel said they would have a discriminatory impact upon minority voters. But only five of the state’s 67 counties are covered by the federal civil rights law.
Read more. [Image: Michael Finnegan/Twitter]
The creation of a new congressional district, or the loss of an old one, affects every district around it, necessitating new maps. Even states not adding or losing congressional representatives need new district maps that reflect the population shifts within their borders, so that residents are equally represented no matter where they live. This ritual carving and paring of the United States into 435 sovereign units, known as redistricting, was intended by the Framers solely to keep democracy’s electoral scales balanced. Instead, redistricting today has become the most insidious practice in American politics—a way, as the opportunistic machinations following the 2010 census make evident, for our elected leaders to entrench themselves in 435 impregnable garrisons from which they can maintain political power while avoiding demographic realities.
For the past four decades, it is what Tom Hofeller has done for a living.
Read more. [Image: Peter Arkle]
Welcome, Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie Sr., to what surely is a select group in history — election officials who get threatened with dismissal for trying to help voters vote. The two men work in Montgomery County, Ohio, and today they are fighting for their jobs. The men are Democrats and are involved in a political fight with the Ohio Secretary of State, a Republican named Jon Husted. On Friday, Husted suspended Lieberman and Ritchie for disregarding a recent early-voting directive from his statewide office.
What was the transgression that could cost the two men their positions? Lieberman and Ritchie had the temerity to propose that county election officials should continue to offer early-voting hours on weekends to registered Ohio voters so that more of those voters could more easily cast their votes.
Read more. [Image: Library of Congress]
In time, Crawford v. Marion County Election Board may come to rank with Bush v. Gore as among the worst recent decisions by the Supreme Court. That case has made possible the ongoing campaign to gut the right to vote.
Crawford is directly responsible for Wednesday’s decision by Pennsylvania state judge Robert Simpson to allow that state’s strict voter ID law to take effect. That law is all but certain to cause chaos at some polling places this fall. It may also, according to some credible estimates, disfranchise as many as 9 percent of the state’s eligible voters. There’s little secret about the purpose of the bill. As the state’s Republican House Majority Leader, Mike Turzai, told a partisan audience in June, it “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
Read more. [Image: Reuters]