Posts Tagged ‘Election Day’

votingrightsact_0It’s Election Day in the United States. One of the things that needs explaining to the ABC Wednesday folks from outside the US is that each state gets to set the rules for voting; the window for registering, what is required for registering, the hours the polls are open, et al.

Someone noted on Facebook that Oregon provides automatic voter registration unless the person opts out. The story was from 2015, but there were recent comments suggesting that this method should be in the US Constitution.

Of course, changing the Constitution is difficult. Still, many of the amendments after the first ten, the Bill of Rights, are about voting. #15 allowed blacks to vote, at least theoretically. #19 provided women’s suffrage. #24 prohibited a poll tax. #26 permitted 18-year-olds to vote. And there are others.

A guy named Frank S. Robinson is no relation to the baseball Hall of Famer, as far as I know. He says he was “a devoted conservative Republican for 53 years,” but feels “today’s Republican party must be exterminated (electorally).” He explains this all in about 1000 words on Facebook. I’m going to quote just a part of the stuff related to elections.

“Republicans have… become masters of vote suppression, imposing ID requirements, reducing early voting, closing polling stations, and purging voter rolls, all cunningly targeted against non-white, elderly, and poorer voters likely to back Democrats. Stopping them from voting.

“For example, North Dakota has passed a law requiring a street address for voting. Indian reservations — guess what? — don’t have street addresses. This will probably mean defeat for Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

“Meantime, such vile voter disenfranchisement tactics may well have made the difference in three key states Trump narrowly won in 2016, giving him the presidency. (And they have the chutzpah to talk about ‘election fraud.’)

“Democratic governors can veto Republican gerrymandering and vote suppression schemes. One noteworthy governor’s race is Georgia’s where Stacey Abrams, a black woman with a tremendous background of accomplishment, faces a cringeworthy Trump sycophant flaunting his almost sexual love for guns.

“He’s also the Georgia secretary of state overseeing the election (refusing to recuse himself) and trying to keep as many blacks from voting as possible. He’s canceled more than a million voter registrations, including 50,000 new ones — mostly by blacks. To steal the election.

“‘Disenfranchisement’ was an overused buzzword some years back. But now it’s a huge reality, with the Supreme Court having eviscerated the 1965 Voting Rights Act; it even upheld North Dakota’s atrocity.”

I’ve complained about most of these tactics in the past, but it’s nice to read them all in one place. If you’re in the US and CAN vote, do it!

For ABC Wednesday

If you live in Albany, NY – heck, in most of the country, the election polling places this week will experience the sound of crickets, despite the fact that the mayor, president of the common council, and several other positions will be up for the vote.

Including two county coroners. Albany County is among 35 counties in NYS that have an elected coroner. “Although two-thirds of all New York counties follow a coroner system (including counties where the district attorney is the elected coroner), most of the state’s population resides in counties with medical examiner systems. Many major metropolitan areas — including Buffalo, Long Island, New York City, Syracuse, and Westchester — are overseen by medical examiners.”

And coroners are party affiliated, at least here. As a registered Democrat who hates the one-party Democratic party system here, I have traditionally voted for the Republican candidates, pretty much out of spite. For the first time since I’ve lived in Albany County, and that goes back to 1979, I’m voting for one Democrat, the guy I voted for in the Democratic primary in September, albeit on the Working Families line this time. (New York State allows for cross-endorsements.)

I’m HOPING, though, that there will be a larger than average turnout because of the statewide Constitutional Convention vote, one of three items on the back side of the ballot. I went to a debate about the issue last week between women from the League of Women Voters (pro) and the NYCLU (con). Even the LWV advocate admitted that the organization’s support is a combination of hope and frustration with the status quo.

The LWV rep said that, at 55,000 words, far longer than the US Constitution or most state constitutions, the New York State constitution could lose about 20% of its content and have zero impact on anything; regulations superseded by others but the old rules were never removed, for instance.

Watch Constitutional Convention 2017 Explained. A YES vote means that candidates, three per state senate district plus 15 statewide delegates – (63X3)+15= 204 delegates – will be chosen in November 2018. The legislature could theoretically pick the 15 themselves.

Anyone, theoretically, could run, but it would be much harder, as it now stands, for someone not affiliated with a political party to get on the ballot. In the first three months of 2019, the state legislature could theoretically change some of the rules – make three districts within the state senate districts, instead of three at large seats, e.g.

Will state legislators run? They could, but they would be on the ballot twice, once for their legislative slot and one as a delegate, and quite possibly get paid for both. How would the voters feel about that?

Here’s an NYCLU piece against ConCon. Because whatever gets passed in the ConCon ultimately has to be ratified by the voters in 2019, I’m only slightly concerned about some large disruption of rights.

However, the possibility exists of one bill bundling “amendments into ‘the big ugly’ which is what many call the annual end-of-session bill. It lumps scores of often-unrelated legislative compromises into one up-or-down vote. It is the epitome of the worst Albany horse-trading.” That happened at the 1967 convention, which is why it was shot down by the voters.

Presumably the delegates will be more savvy and put up a half dozen packages on different topics, such as election reform and ethics. That is if ConCon passes, which I still hope it does not.

mourningI was watching 60 Minutes on Election Day evening, because watching early returns are not good for one. And there were stories about war, pestilence and America’s toxic political mood, which prompted “viewers to invoke divine intervention.” It showed, as though we didn’t already know, that we are a fractured people, unfriending political opponents.

I can’t help but think how much America really wanted Trump all along. The Daily Kos blamed his rise on the (deliberate) failure of TV news, and one could make that case. Hey, it’s all infotainment!

But Read the rest of this entry »

vote.angleI always vote. ALWAYS. There was a Democratic primary between two guys, both named Dan, for the county executive race in September, and that was the only race on my ballot. It was on a Thursday, which meant squeezing it in after coming home – the bus was a half hour late – and then having to go back out to sing in choir. But I voted, along with only 20% of the eligible voters on that day Read the rest of this entry »

I was at my allergist’s office last month for my every-28-day injection, and she asked if I wanted a reminder card. “Nah, just tell me the date.” “November 5.” “Oh, that’s Election Day, easy to remember.”

This led to me mentioing that Election Day is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, so it will fall on November 2 through 8, but NOT on the 1st. When asked WHY, I admitted that I didn’t know, but that it was probably tied to the fact that it was All Saints Day, and/or it’s easy to forget that a new month has started.

So what IS the real story why Congress (in 1845) select the first Tuesday in November as Election Day?
Read the rest of this entry »

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