Category Archives: How to vote / voter info

Have you voted?

Rock the Vote wants to know.  Go report your vote, then follow their suggestion and update your Facebook profile with a new “I voted” picture.  I’ll repeat their other suggestions; we’ve made them here before:

  • Video your vote; there are numerous places to post it, but one option is blog.rockthevote.com.
  • Program this number into your phone:  1-866-OUR-VOTE; Call it if you have *any* problems voting.
  • Refuse to leave your polling place without voting.  If you have to, vote on a paper provisional ballot.  Take a picture of it with your cell phone.  And then call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
  • Take all your friends and have a party at the polls.  Play UNO, play I Spy, take a portable DVD player and watch a movie.  Whatever.  Celebrate your right to vote and have fun!

For more info, and to find out where your polling place is and what’s needed to vote where you are, visit Rock The Vote.

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Good on Starbucks

Go into any Starbucks on election day, wear your “I Voted” sticker (or tell them you voted, but I’d rather prove it), and they’ll give you a free tall cup of freshly brewed coffee.  Way to go Starbucks.  We know that they’ve closed a lot of stores this year, the economy is in a downswing and that can’t be good for long term earnings (though they closed up 4% on Friday).  But they support a lot of good causes and they are encouraging folks to vote, so support them:  go get your free cup of coffee on Tuesday and pick up a cookie or a brownie or a muffin while you’re there.

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Steal Back Your Vote

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Greg Palast have created a comic-book guide to help you steal back your vote.  Click for a larger version:

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Filed under How to vote / voter info, Voter Suppression / Voter Fraud

Purging the voter rolls in GA

Back in September, we talked about the process of purging voter rolls because of mismatched information.  This is the process being used in several swing states to match a voter’s registration info against computerized personal identification info, like social security info or driver’s license info.  As we mentioned then, if a data entry person, keying thousands of bits of data per day, keys a person’s name wrong by one letter, their registration will be kicked out as invalid and they may not be allowed to vote.

An article Sunday at CNN.com verifies that this is happening in Georgia with, of course, Democratic voters.  (Note:  I have yet to see evidence that this ever happens to Republican voters.)  I encourage you to read the full article.  I’ll extract here the story of college senior Kyla Berry, who was looking forward to voting in her first election:

College senior Kyla Berry was looking forward to voting in her first presidential election, even carrying her voter registration card in her wallet.

But about two weeks ago, Berry got disturbing news from local election officials.

“This office has received notification from the state of Georgia indicating that you are not a citizen of the United States and therefore, not eligible to vote,” a letter from the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections said.

But Berry is a U.S. citizen, born in Boston, Massachusetts. She has a passport and a birth certificate to prove it. 

The letter, which was dated October 2, gave her a week from the time it was dated to prove her citizenship. There was a problem, though — the letter was postmarked October 9.

“It was the most bizarre thing. I immediately called my mother and asked her to send me my birth certificate, and then I was like, ‘It’s too late, apparently,’ ” Berry said.

Berry is one of more than 50,000 registered Georgia voters who have been “flagged” because of a computer mismatch in their personal identification information. At least 4,500 of those people are having their citizenship questioned and the burden is on them to prove eligibility to vote.

<snip>

So someone like Kyla Berry will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot when she votes, but it’s up to county election officials whether those ballots would actually count.

Berry says she will try to vote, but she’s not confident it will count.

“I know this happens, but I cannot believe it’s happening to me,” she said. “If I weren’t allowed to vote, I would just feel like that would be … like the worst thing ever — a travesty.”

We all know what happens to these provisional ballots:  they get trashed.  They do not count … ever.  So, no, Ms. Berry, you won’t be able to vote. 

For information on what you can do about voter suppression and voter fraud and what you need to do before and as you vote, see A little bit on voting.

Note:  As I write this, I’m listening to Obama speak to a crowd in PA.  He’s reminding us that we have to keep going.  Speaking in the rain and calling on the post office’s motto, he’s saying, ‘whether rain, or sleet, or snow, we’re gonna keep going; we’re gonna see this through.’  Vote, people.  No matter what the polls say, no matter how confident the folks around you, vote.  The polls are only good if backed up by votes.  VOTE.

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Filed under Barack Obama, How to vote / voter info, Voter Suppression / Voter Fraud

A little bit on voting

Here are some things you should know and do before you vote.

  1. Confirm that your registration is correct.  You can do this via CanIVote.org.  You can also visit Voters Unite! to get state by state information.
  2. Check and see if you can vote early by visiting Rock the Vote’s election center or Know How To Vote.  If you can, DO!
  3. Confirm your polling place via Rock the Vote’s election center or Vote411.org.
  4. On election day, get to the polls early.  Make sure you bring proper ID (usually your driver’s license) and that you are aware of the rules in your state governing whether or not you can wear clothing advertising your candidate.  When you go to vote, DO NOT VOTE STRAIGHT PARTY TICKET.  In most cases, this will not record your vote for president and US Senate.
  5. Take a video camera (your cell phone will do) and video your vote.  Why?  If your polling place uses an electronic voting machine, there will be no way to verify your vote if it is lost or counted incorrectly.  There are already reports of vote switching (votes for democrats being switched to republican votes).  If this happens to you, the only record you may have is the video tape of your vote.  Once you have the video, upload it to VideotheVote.org.  IF THIS DOES HAPPEN, here are some steps you can take (h/t BradBlog): 
    • Call poll supervisors to observe the problem
    • Fill out a problem report
    • Refuse to vote on that machine
    • Request that the machine be taken out of service
    • Get a serial number of the machine if possible (may be unlikely in many cases)
    • Tell other voters not to vote on that machine
    • Call county/town election office
    • Call local reporters
    • Call voter problem hotlines (eg. 866-MYVOTE1 and 866-OUR-VOTE) (Program this number into your cell phone before you go vote) 
    • Contact bloggers and Election Integrity websites.
    • Raise holy hell.

Video taping your vote and experience at the polling place is also a great way to document any attempts at voter intimidation.

One of the clearest ways that Barack Obama can lose the election at this point is through voter fraud.  To learn more about this issue and how you can be an instrument in fighting it, check out these sites:

866ourVote.org

VotersUnite.org

Rolling Stone article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Greg Palast:  Block the Vote

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Filed under How to vote / voter info

How You Lost the Election for Barack Obama

Seriously. Vote.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “How You Lost the Election for Barack …“, posted with vodpod

 

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Watch this

I’m headed to bed with a migraine (no, you don’t need to know this, but I thought I’d share).  While I’m gone, you should watch this video on ACORN from Brave New Films.  It’s the real deal.

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Filed under How to vote / voter info, Voter Suppression / Voter Fraud

Virginia bans campaign clothing on election day

The state of Virginia has imposed a ban on campaign clothing at the polls on election day, joining Maine, Vermont, Kansas, and Montana in an alleged effort to free voters from undue influence or pressure.  The ACLU is arguing that this is a violation of First Amendment rights. 

Rules are constantly shifting in states on this matter.  Please make sure that you understand your state’s regulations before you head out to vote on November 4 if you plan on wearing anything (shirt, hat, button, etc.) advocating for your candidate or against another candidate.

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Filed under constitutional rights, How to vote / voter info, Voter Suppression / Voter Fraud

Not Funny

Usually, when I read an Op-Ed piece at The New York Time, I find something that sets me off on my own tanget, causing me to cite a piece of the Op-Ed and create my own commentary.  This morning, however, I find that Bob Herbert’s piece it to important to carve up.  I hope you pay attention.

Amusing, But Not Funny

Sara Rimer of The Times wrote an article last week that gave us a startling glimpse of just how mindless and self-destructive the U.S. is becoming.

Consider the lead paragraph:

“The United States is failing to develop the math skills of both girls and boys, especially among those who could excel at the highest levels, a new study asserts, and girls who do succeed in the field are almost all immigrants or the daughters of immigrants from countries where mathematics is more highly valued.”

The idea that the U.S. won’t even properly develop the skills of young people who could perform at the highest intellectual levels is breathtaking — breathtakingly stupid, that is.

The authors of the study, published in Notices of the American Mathematical Society, concluded that American culture does not value talent in math very highly. I suppose we’re busy with other things, like text-messaging while jay-walking. The math thing is seen as something for Asians and nerds.

Meanwhile, the country is going down the tubes. Felix Rohatyn, who helped lead New York City out of the dark days of the 1970s fiscal crisis, had an article in a recent issue of The New York Review of Books (with co-author Everett Ehrlich) lamenting the sad state of the U.S. infrastructure. Most Americans are oblivious on this issue. We’re like a family that won’t even think about fixing a sagging, leaky roof until it collapses on our heads.

New Orleans was nearly wiped from the map in the Hurricane Katrina nightmare, and 13 people were killed when a bridge in Minneapolis broke apart during rush hour, hurling helpless motorists 60 feet into the Mississippi River. Neither of those disasters was enough of a warning for us to think seriously about infrastructure maintenance, repair and construction.

Could these types of disasters happen again? They’re going to happen again. Mr. Rohatyn reminds us that nearly 30 percent of the nation’s bridges are “structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.”

We haven’t even got sense enough to keep an eye on the water we drink. Citing a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Mr. Rohatyn and Mr. Ehrlich write: “Current funding for safe drinking water, amounts to ‘less than 10 percent of the total national requirement.’ ”

A country that refuses to properly educate its young people or to maintain its physical plant is one that has clearly lost its way. Add in the myriad problems associated with unnecessary warfare and a clueless central government that wastes taxpayer dollars by the trillions, and you’ve got a society in danger of becoming completely unhinged.

This is about more than the election of a president in a few weeks. The American people have to decide what kind of country they want.

Do they want one in which the top 1 percent hauled in more than 21 percent of all personal income in 2005? Do they want a country in which, as my former colleague at The Times, David Cay Johnston, has noted: the tax system “now levies the poor, the middle class and even the upper middle class to subsidize the rich”?

Do they want a country in which their democratic freedoms are eroded by a deliberate exploitation of their fear of terrorism, and their earning power is diminished by a crippling dependence on foreign oil?

These are exactly the kinds of issues that could be thoroughly explored, argued about, even obsessed over in a presidential campaign. Americans could drag their eyeballs away from their flat-screen TVs and give serious thoughts to important matters if they wanted to. Instead, we get silliness.

The news media, especially the talking heads on television, are addicted to the horse race, focusing around the clock on wildly proliferating polling data that tell us basically nothing. No one knows who is going to win this election. So why not spend a little quality time on where the next generation of jobs might be coming from, and why it’s critically important to ease the burden of health insurance coverage being shouldered by strapped families and businesses alike?

An article in Monday’s Times spotlighted some of the serious problems that have emerged in the No Child Left Behind law. Among the law’s unintended consequences, as Sam Dillon reported, has been its tendency to “punish” states that “have high academic standards and rigorous tests, which have contributed to an increasing pileup of failed schools.”

Say what?

Surely this is a good issue for discussion and analysis in the presidential campaign. Let the candidates have at it in their final debate. Let the pundits weigh in. And why not interview a few teachers, principals and thoughtful citizens?

Don’t hold your breath. Neil Postman warned us years ago about amusing ourselves to death.

The end is near.

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Filed under How to vote / voter info, Political Opinion

ABC’s Match-o-Matic II

Still can’t decide who to vote for?  Want to see if you’re really as much of a disciple of your candidate as you think you are?  Head over to ABC and try the Match-o-Matic II.  You’ll go through a series of questions and at the end it will not only tell you with which candidate you’re more closely aligned, but with whom you agreed on each question.  I actually agreed with McCain on two questions.  Imagine that.

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Filed under How to vote / voter info