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With 95% of precincts reporting, boston.com and other Massachusetts media outlets have reported NO results yet of the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party Presidential Primary as of 11 p.m. Eastern.
Despite the fact that Obama was on the Democratic Party ballot uncontested, and Romney was declared the Republican victor with only 3 precincts (of 2,054) reporting, Massachusetts [...]
Green Party Watch
This email from Garland Favorito of VoterGA is packed with information. It includes a mention of the Macon Telegraph article that we posted below, updates on legislation to decrease Georgia’s signature requirements and information on the persecution of a sitting independent Georgia legislator.
Here are some significant updates on the legislative front:
First, there is no significant movement on verifiable voting legislation in this session, however, no legislation is needed to move Georgia to verifiable voting equipment. Existing law supports verifiable optical scan equipment, paper ballots and electronic voting machines with VVPAT (Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail). Code changes would only be needed to implement precinct audit procedures but those procedures are not technically possible until the machines have been replaced. We have met with Secretary Kemp and one of the Governor’s policy directors to explain the potential solutions that we believe are viable. We expect to meet with the Secretary again in the next week or two to provide an update on our findings and stress the need to act..
Second, thanks to John Fortuin from Defenders of Democracy, a video tape of the SB 377 hearing is now available at Vimeo.com. SB 377 attempted to place an unprecedented new restriction that would require candidate petition signers to show an ID to the petitioner who is typically a total stranger, thus making it an already difficult task essentially impossible The video that shows how our testimony was able to thwart this unprecedented new restriction introduced by Sen. Buddy Carter, is available here:
Third, thanks to reporter Maggie Lee, the Macon Telegraph produced one of the first in depth articles by a Georgia city newspaper regarding the ridiculous restrictions placed on candidates running for Georgia office. It is available here:
This topic was previously the near exclusive domain of Matthew Cardinale and the Atlanta Progressive News. An example of his most recent article on this subject, HB 949 and the current legislative session is here:
Fourth, in spite of some rather negative and potentially misleading comments in the Macon Telegraph article from Rep. Mark Hamilton (R-Cumming), the chairman of the House Government Affairs Committee that hears election bills, HB 949 is on the General House Calendar for Monday, March 5 and the ballot access community is supportive of the minor petitioning improvements that the bill offers. Georgia currently has the most restrictive petitioning requirements for district races in the entire country. The requirements are 10 times more restrictive than the national average of all other states combined. HB 949 would move Georgia from the worst in the country to 49th and still leave district races 7 times more restrictive that the national average of all other states. We have consistently pointed out that this proposed improvement is wholly inadequate but we do not oppose the change. The text of the bill is here:.
Fifth, we were unable to get a hearing from Rep. Mark Hamilton for HB 494, the “real ballot access bill”. HB 494 proposes to remove candidate petitioning requirements altogether just as Florida did successfully in 1999 and it allows any Georgian to run for office by paying the standard filing fee that a Democrat or Republican would pay. If freedom and equality sound like common sense principles of good American government, you might want to explain that to the chairman sometime in the future in hopes that he may keep that in mind for Georgia next year if he retains his current position.
Sixth, HB 494 author, Rusty Kidd, is now under investigation by the Attorney General’s office after being referred by the State Election Board for 17 questionable signatures out of 1,500 collected in his recent petition drive. Rep. Kidd, an independent in the Georgia legislature, was forced by law to petition for his reelection despite the fact that he was a sitting Georgia legislator! HB 949 will solve this problem for independent incumbents like Rep. Kidd in the future but that does not necessarily help Rep Kidd now. His case, SEB2010-000067, was heard by the State Election Board on Tuesday, February 29th in Macon. Maggie Lee was there to cover the story with this article:
The case summary is here:
SEB Case No. 2010-000067 Baldwin County (Petition) - Chris Harvey presented this case and recommended that the board bind the case over to the Attorney General’s Office.
Chairman Kemp recuses himself from the case due to his connection to Representative Kidd on the Election Advisory Council.
Kent Webb made a motion to accept a document from Mr. Harvey, Rusty Simpson seconded; the motion passed unanimously 3 – 0.
The public speaker was Representative E. Culver “Rusty” Kidd (respondent).
Kent Webb made a motion to accept a document from Representative Kidd, Rusty Simpson seconded; the motion passed unanimously 3 – 0.
Kent Webb made a motion to bind SEB Case No. 2010-000067 to the Attorney General’s Office, Rusty Simpson seconded; the motion passed unanimously 3 – 0.
Chairman Kemp calls for the Re-Presentation to SEB cases.
Finally, the petitioning case against Rep. Kidd should be taken seriously. Those of you who have read my previous Emails and posts know that the State Election Board is extremely political. Former Savannah area councilman, Jeff Rayno, was falsely accused of petition forgery and referred to the Attorney General’s office for investigation without evidence of a single forged signature!. After being referred with no evidence by board member, Kent Webb and former Secretary, Karen Handel, he was forced to make three trips to State Election Board meetings before the board finally admitted that they had no case against him. A sitting councilwoman, Helen Stone, who submitted the original complaint actually testified before the board that none should be let go “until it can be proved they had nothing to do with the forgeries”! One board, member actually had to explain to her that: “This is America and the accused person does not have to prove his innocence” Excerpts of this amazing hearing can be found by searching the VoterGa Complaint page for “excerpts” here:
The full meeting transcript is here:
We will be watching Rep Kidd’s case closely and reporting on any new developments.
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Your contributions are fully tax deductible and used for legal expenses
Every year (and a lot more often actually) we take a look at which stories people read, which stories bring rushes of eyeballs to the site. Sometimes our most important stories get the most traffic, but a lot of times it is fun stories, off-beat stories that attract the most readers. We all know that car crashes and sex scandals sell newspapers.
This year, the most read stories had to do with marijuana, earthquakes, Big Bird, Al Gore (come back tomorrow for Gore and Big Bird) and the end of the world. Today, we list stories 10-6. Tomorrow 5-1, plus a look at some of the more important stories that might not have drawn such crowds.
10) The 10th most read story was our take on Jon Stewart‘s take on the impending (or not) end of the world. Pretty much any time we can sneak a Jon Stewart video into a story, people are going to look at it, at least if it has some tenuous connection to Colorado politics.
Because doomsday preacher Harold Camping had once lived in Colorado, we had the local connection we needed to write about his end-of-the-world rantings.
Where other publications found a mildly amusing story, though, we took a hard look at Camping’s gay-bashing.
9) This was certainly a year when medical marijuana was in the news, and we covered most angles of this story at one time or another. Our ninth most-read story of the year was one in which we examine the IRS’s attack on medical marijuana businesses.
We also covered Rep. Jared Polis’s efforts to get to the bottom of why the IRS and other branches of the federal government are so intent on making life difficult for legal medical marijuana businesses in Colorado and elsewhere.
When Oklahoma got hit with a raft of earthquake activity a few months ago, we wrote about the possible connection between fracking activity and seismic activity.
While anecdotal evidence might suggest a connection — as fracking has gone up in Oklahoma so have earthquakes — the science is simply not that clear yet.
7) The Cash Hyde story — about a three-year-old using cannabis to fight a brain tumor — has continued to draw a steady stream of readers months after it was originally published. It’s easy to see why as a recent Google search for “Cash Hyde” delivered nearly 15 million results.
The once seemingly happy ending, though, can no longer be taken for granted as Cash’s tumor is back and he is back in the hospital receiving radiation therapy.
Visit The Cash Hyde Foundation here.
6) Only one story from the 2011 Colorado Legislature made our top 10 and of course it had to do with medical marijuana. When the Legislature was considering a bill to more tightly regulate edible marijuana products, the medical marijuana community came out in droves to protest.
Seems some legislators equate cannabis soda, granola bars or suckers as candy and didn’t think medical marijuana should be made into candy that might appeal to kids. What they might not have counted on is that a lot of medical marijuana patients aren’t stoners and don’t want to smoke a joint but do want to ingest cannabis. They got organized and they affected change.
Later this week, stories 1-5. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Best of the Christmas Season to All.
Fed up with the partisan bickering, demonizing of the opposition and ad hominem personal attacks that have become so prevalent in Congress, in 2006 Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver II, a centrist Missouri Democrat and Methodist minister, founded the Civility Caucus.
Cleaver admits that the initiative has proven a tough sell in a legislative body that rewards straight party-line votes and verbal pugilism. Some colleagues have rebuffed Cleaver’s initiative as starry-eyed while others have questioned his mettle. “We haven’t had to hire any new receptionists to handle all the phone calls and applications to join,” he has lamented. Yet Cleaver, a former city councilman and Kansas City’s first black mayor, has made civility a signature issue. To date, the task force has attracted one other member, Shelley Moore Capito, a moderate Republican from West Virginia’s third district. Cleaver and Capito have staged “civility hours” on the floor of the House, debating subjects such as health care, the Iraq War and tort reform.
As members of Congress, what’s your definition of responsibility?
Capito: Making law that provides opportunity for our constituents back home and around the country.
Legislating relies on building majorities and often rewards grandstanding, particularly in the House. Where does civility fit in?
Capito: What the American people want is for us to be problem solvers. Essentially, to be like them. I believe we can do this without ripping each others’ character, party or region. We can do it with passion but without derision.
Cleaver: I’m an obsessed animal lover; my family makes fun of me for it. Recently I became interested in stories about bees – it turns out bees cannot sting and make honey at the same time. One of the problems we have in the House is a preoccupation with stinging. As a result we cannot make honey – we cannot get things done. Because of the way we treat each other, we’re not doing what we were sent here to do. Look, we’re human beings. At the end of the day, we can’t sit down at a table and negotiate with someone who’s just called you a dog or some other vicious name.
The Civility Task Force has proven a tough sell among your colleagues. What do you think is driving their skepticism?
Capito: I think a large part of the resistance is instilled by the media. The more hyperbolic you are, the easier you can get on the evening news. And compromise is often portrayed as caving. In the House, there’s pressure to provide “red meat” to the base, the most polarized segment of your party – to be viewed as the one
who’s really giving it to those bad guys across the aisle. I don’t see it like that; I think that to be effective you first have to be able to sit down with a person and negotiate.
Cleaver: Shelley and I could talk about civility all day long and not get an iota of coverage. If we cursed and ranted at each other instead we would be in the headlines, above the fold. Even the language reflects this. Just look at the coverage of the current debt limit debate: “Who will blink first? Who will fold?” Does money factor into the rancor?
Cleaver: Often, when a congressperson goes on a tirade, he or she can pretty much count on raising large sums of money. Some send out fundraising letters right after appearing on the news. Are there colleagues that, for you, personify civility in Congress?
Capito: Soon after I arrived in Washington, Ted Kennedy and John Boehner got together to work on “No Child Left Behind” and got it done. Two extremely different people.
Cleaver: Walter Johnson and Pat Wolf. Hal Rogers and Norm Dicks work extremely well together on the House Appropriations Committee. Ike Skelton was terrific. How do “civility hours” encourage a more respectful tone?
Cleaver: Recently Shelley and I staged two hour-long debates on the House floor about issues we disagree on. We did this to demonstrate to colleagues that it’s possible to disagree without resorting to personal attacks. Vitriol seems to characterize the House more than the Senate. What do you think makes the House of Representatives less civil?
Cleaver: In the Senate, if you’re in the minority, you can still wield a lot of power. In the House, the majority is everything. Also, we’re always in campaign mode.
Capito: Emmanuel is right. Frankly, compared to us, I think members of the Senate are able to take more time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Is the tone in Congress moving closer to where you think it should be, or are things getting worse?
Cleaver: Things are definitely getting worse. Take a look at Allen West’s recent outburst if you want proof. Have personal experiences motivated your involvement with this issue?
Capito: You may laugh at the answer, but I’m the middle of three children, and growing up I was always the negotiator. Probably some of it is personality driven. I’ve been torn down pretty hard, but I always try to not return fire.
Cleaver: I grew up in public housing – I had a bad temper and was always ready to fight. I still have scars; I wear a mustache to cover up stitches on my upper lip, where I was hit with a brick. In college, when I was captain of the football team, the coach came up to me and told me that if I started another fight on the field, he’d fire me. I went through the rest of the season without participating in a single fight because I learned to control my anger. Somewhere along the way I realized I could do that. Back home, I’m also a minister. As it says in Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
Alex Halberstadt is the author of Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life and Times of Doc Pomus. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, GQ, Salon, New York Magazine, and other publications
Amherst Virginia Headlines
Amherst County Virginia Democratic News
In a rather lengthy piece on Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and the Occupy Wall Street movement, reporter Kris Kitto obtains this nugget from Ralph Nader on Stein’s candidacy:
Former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader says signature collection alone can consume a third-party campaign’s resources.
“By the time you finish, it’s Labor Day, and you’re exhausted, and you don’t have any money,” says Nader, adding that he sees promise in Stein. “She’s an M.D., which is a good advantage, since healthcare is a big issue … She has a good head on her shoulders.”
Nader’s comments certainly cannot be construed as an endorsement of Stein. Nevertheless, they are noteworthy given Nader’s history with the Green Party and its Presidential candidates. After serving as Green Party presidential nominee in 1996 and 2000 — and receiving 2.74% of the national popular vote in 2000 — Nader famously broke with the Green Party in 2004 and refused to seek its endorsement. The GP retaliated by nominating David Cobb for President rather than endorsing Nader’s independent ticket. The presence of an independent Nader candidacy on most state ballots in 2004 and 2008 significantly depressed Green Party presidential vote totals in those elections. Nader previously stated he would not be running again in 2012, but would instead be working to secure Democratic primary challengers for President Obama. However, little came of that effort. Nader’s positive comments about Stein in the Hill article may be his first positive comments about a Green Party presidential candidate since 2004.
Also of note in the article is Stein’s explanation of the origins of her campaign team:
After losing the 2002 race, she mounted losing campaigns in 2004, for the Massachusetts House of Representatives; in 2006, for Massachusetts Commonwealth secretary; and in 2010, again for the governorship. She won races for Lexington Town Meeting representative in 2005 and 2008.
“To my mind, low vote counts are not a reflection of a failed campaign,” she says.
What’s come out of her serial candidacy, Stein says, is an organization that will help her attack the monumental task that third-party candidates confront every presidential cycle: obtaining enough signatures to appear on the ballot.
In other words, Stein’s campaign team is not freshly created for this race; large portions of it have been with her through several campaigns since 2002.
Stein’s opponent for the Green Party nomination is Kent Mesplay. The party will choose its presidential nominee July 13-15, 2012, at its Baltimore convention.
Please see below first-day coverage of the press conference held today:
Please see below first-day coverage of the press conference held today:
Please see below first-day coverage of the press conference held today:
Tennessee Democrats say the state’s new voter ID law disenfranchises minorities and the elderly. It requires a photo ID to cast a ballot. Now they’ve unveiled a strategy to fight the law.
State and local election officials have started voter education efforts, ahead of the law taking effect next year. So have non-profit groups like AARP and the League of Women Voters. East Nashville Representative Mike Stewart says Democrats will do even more over the next year, including registering voters. Despite that, Stewart says the new voter ID requirement is a bad law.
“Taking somebody’s right to vote away by statute and then offering some education program, that’s like stealing somebody’s car, then dropping by their house and offering them a second-hand bicycle. I mean, the point is these people had the right to vote.”
The state’s Department of Public Safety has issued around 24-hundred voter IDs since July 1st. Some DMV offices will be open on Saturdays to accommodate the expected influx. County clerk offices will also start issuing voter ID cards. House Democratic Leader Mike Turner says the legislature’s Republican majority didn’t put enough money in the budget to pay for IDs for voters who don’t have them.
“We got to talking about this would be a poll tax if they didn’t fund this thing properly. We funded it to the tune of 400,000 dollars, but we did not know how much it would cost to do it.”
In Indiana, where the population is about the same as Tennessee, the state spent 10 million dollars over four years to issue voter IDs.
Election officials in all 95 counties will hold town hall meetings on the law tomorrow night.
“We’ve had all kinds of protesters here — tea party to labor unions to teachers. We’ve had the income tax debate here, where the crowds were spirited and there (were) actually a few rocks thrown through windows, but we did not ban the people from being down here,” state Rep. Mike Turner, D-Old Hickory, told reporters Monday morning. “This is wrong, and I hope they reconsider their actions.”
Turner, state Reps. Mike Stewart and Janis Sontany and Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester took part in an 11 a.m. press conference on the War Memorial Auditorium courtyard, just steps from the corner of Legislative Plaza where Occupy Nashville protesters were again setting up camp for the first time since police moved in early Friday morning.
Turner, Stewart and Forrester had previously condemned the new curfew and permit requirement. Haslam says he authorized the restrictions because the round-the-clock Occupy Nashville protest had created unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
They also said police could have dealt with complaints — which have included allegations of an assault, lewd behavior and robberies at the Occupy Nashville campsite — without breaking up the protest.
“Citizens’ rights don’t disappear at sundown,” said Stewart. “We’ve got plenty of laws on the books to take care of people who are disorderly. There’s no justification for stripping other lawful protesters of their rights just because you have the need to address one particular person.”
At Monday’s press conference, Democrats said the -a-day permit fee imposes a price on free assembly on the plaza, which lies at the base of the Tennessee state Capitol and atop a legislative office building.
Humphrey on the Hill // Oct. 31, 2011 // by Tom Humphrey
Election officials are holding “voter outreach” programs across the state Tuesday to explain the Tennessee law requiring a photo ID for voting, but Democratic officials said today the official efforts are “woefully inadequate.”
State Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester, joined by Democratic legislators seeking repeal of the photo ID law, held a news conference Monday at the Legislative Plaza to announce the party will have its own “voter registration and education” effort starting Saturday.
All 95 county election commissions are hosting events today – most in a “town hall” format — where citizens can hear an explanation about the new law and ask questions. That effort is coordinated by the state Division of Elections, overseen by Secretary of State Tre Hargett.
Forrester said the Division of Elections effort is inadequate because it focuses on the 126,000 persons who are now registered to vote but hold driver’s licenses without a photo, which are not acceptable for voting under the new law.
Democrats say there are about 675,000 people potentially impacted by the law. That includes people over age 18 counted in the 2010 U.S. Census who are not currently registered voters plus the 126,000 registered voters with invalid driver licenses.
The new law effectively creates “another layer of bureaucracy” to discourage those not now registered to vote from doing so, the Democrats said. Forrester cited a report finding Tennessee already ranks 49th among states in the percentage of eligible voters casting ballots.
Forrester and the Democratic legislators say their education effort will target all eligible voters with the goal of getting them registered to vote as well as in compliance with the photo ID law. Free photo identification card for voting are being offered at drivers’ license stations with 2,385 such cards issued as of Oct. 24.
The Democratic effort will continue for a year, Forrester said, to counter a law that “effectively labels 675,000 Tennesseans as second-class citizens, good enough to pay taxes but not good enough to be a voter.”
Hargett, meanwhile, said the 95-county outreach effort coordinated by the Division of Elections “is massive and certain to reach a tremendous number of voters.”
NASHVILLE — State Democrats today announced a year-long effort to educate Tennessee voters about the state’s new photo ID requirements for voting.
Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester called plans already under way by Republican election officials and the state Safety Department as “woefully inadequate.”
Forrester and other Democrats contend the new law passed earlier this year by the Republican-controlled General Assembly has the potential of “disenfranchising” as many as 675,000 voting-age Tennesseans.
The law requires voters to present state or federally issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, along with voter registration cards to vote. Republicans say it is intended to combat voter fraud, which Democrats say hardly exists.
Democrats are kicking off their effort in 20 communities on Saturday, the same day that the Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration is opening 19 driver service centers to issue voter-photo IDs. The centers will continue to open on the first Saturday of each month through early next year.
State Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons announced today that, as of Oct. 24, the department had issued 2,385 forms of photo identification for voting purposes since the new law went into effect on July 1. The IDs are being issued free to those who certify they need it to vote.
The state’s 95 county election commissions, which are controlled by Republicans, are holding their own events to publicize the new law.
State officials are also coordinating outreach efforts with the seniors group AARP.
The Libertarian Party of Illinois will be streaming a presidential candidates forum live from their state convention Saturday, October 22 beginning at 2:30 p.m. (CDT).
Participating candidates include RJ Harris, Roger Gary, Lee Wrights, Carl Person, and Bill Still. The forum will be moderated by Lex Green, 2010 Illinois gubernatorial candidate and current state political director.
Illinois LP chair Lupe Diaz clarified that LP Illinois does not endorse any candidate for president. “The RJ Harris for President Campaign is lending us their UStream account,” he said. “LP Illinois is providing the equipment, manpower, and platform.”
In Arlington, Virginia, the Sun-Gazette reports that the Green Party is planning a November 2nd meeting to discuss get-out-the-vote strategy for Audrey Clement, who is running against 2 Democratic incumbents for Arlington County Board.
In Tucson, Arizona, the Daily Star reports that Tucson City Council candidate Beryl Baker is making a controversial local development project a [...]
Green Party Watch
If anyone thought President Obama’s jobs bill was going to slide through the Senate before hitting trouble in the House, they were wrong. The Senate Tuesday couldn’t get enough support even for a debate.
With 60 votes needed to open debate, the measure received 50.
From The Hill:
Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, supported (Harry) Reid’s bid to begin debate on Obama’s jobs package but voiced misgivings over its substance.
“The bottom line here is that I don’t believe the potential in this act for creating jobs justifies adding another 0 billion to our almost trillion national debt,” Lieberman said.
“In fact, I think the most important thing we can do to improve our economy, reduce unemployment [and] create jobs is to bring our national debt under control.”
Lieberman endorsed the deficit-reduction plan crafted by the fiscal commission headed by former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. He said he would vote against Obama’s jobs package as a whole if it came to a yes-or-no vote.
Senior White House officials said Tuesday they would work with Senate Democrats to divide the bill into pieces that would be more likely to pass.
Senator Mark Udall released this statement after the vote:
“President Obama’s proposal included reasonable ideas from both sides of the aisle to get Americans back to work and solidify our economic recovery. And it deserved to be taken seriously. I hoped that my colleagues in the Senate would listen to our constituents and come together to work out our differences. I’m disappointed they dismissed the proposal out of hand without even discussing its merits. We owed it to the American people to give the details in the proposal real reflection and open debate, not an ill-considered death by Senate rules.
“There were parts of the president’s proposal with which I didn’t personally agree, but I voted to consider the bill because our economy needs solutions, not partisan games. My office received an overwhelming number of telephone calls, emails and social media messages asking me to bridge the partisan divide for Coloradans who are struggling to find jobs. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on any plan that creates jobs and gets our economy back on track.”
Before the vote, Colorado Democratic Party Chair Rick Palacio said this:
“Republicans campaigned on jobs last year, but we have yet to see any comprehensive plan from the GOP to put Americans back to work. Their inaction has gone on for too long, and today they can finally contribute to the effort to put Americans back to work. Coloradans looking for work can’t wait any longer.”