Tuesday 29th of September 2020

it's free not to vote...


in the middle of nowhere...

United States Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been rebuked by British prime minister David Cameron for criticising London's handling of the Olympics.

Mr Romney, who has made much of his record as the man who saved the failing Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002, ruffled British feathers ahead of his current visit to London by appearing to suggest in a US television interview that London was not ready for the Games.

"It's hard to know just how well it will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting," he told NBC when asked to analyse London's handling of the Olympics.

Mr Romney cited what he said was the threat of a strike by Immigration and Customs officials.

"That obviously is not something which is encouraging," he said.

He also questioned the British Olympic spirit, adding: "Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? That's something which we only find out once the Games actually begin."

The comments were seized on by British media and prompted a pointed response from Mr Cameron, who has been forced to deploy extra troops to bolster security to cover a shortfall left by private contractor G4S.

"We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world," he said during a news conference at the Olympic Park.

"Of course it is easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere."


another abbott to stuff up democracy...

Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law, Citing Racial Impact


WASHINGTON — A federal court on Thursday blocked Texas from enforcing a strict new voter identification law, ruling that the state had failed to prove that the mandate would not disproportionately suppress turnout among eligible voters who are members of minority groups.

“The State of Texas enacted a voter ID law that — at least to our knowledge — is the most stringent in the country,” the court wrote. “That law will almost certainly have retrogressive effect: it imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor, and racial minorities in Texas are disproportionately likely to live in poverty.”

The 56-page ruling came days after another three-judge panel in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Texas Legislature had intentionally discriminated against Hispanic voters in drawing up new political maps for Congressional and legislative districts, citing the same section of the Voting Rights Act.

Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general, called the voter ID decision “wrong on the law” and said that Texas would keep fighting.

“The state will appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, where we are confident we will prevail,” said Mr. Abbott, who has also vowed to appeal the redistricting case.

Mr. Abbott also noted that the Supreme Court had upheld the constitutionality of a voter ID law enacted by Indiana. Texas, however, bears a higher burden under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Under that statute, jurisdictions that have a history of discriminating against minority voters must receive federal approval before making any change to their voting rules and it is up to the state to prove that its change will not dilute the voting power of members of minority groups.         


the right to vote is once again under assault...


A voting issue that isn’t

By Tuesday, September 25, 9:43 AM

When Michelle Obama called voting rights “the movement of our era” in a speech Saturday night, she didn’t specifically mention the Republican-led crusade for restrictive voter identification laws. She didn’t have to.

Her audience at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual gala dinner fully understood the context. It’s hard to believe that, in this day and age, the right to vote is once again under assault from those who would prefer to keep minorities, the poor and the elderly away from the polls. But here we are.

Let’s be clear: Voter ID laws are not a solution to the “problem” of voter fraud. There is no problem, or at least no problem that would be solved by voter ID. Proponents should be able to point to troubling instances of voter-impersonation fraud, which is the only kind that would be prevented by the new laws. But they can’t. For all intents and purposes, this kind of fraud simply does not happen.

What did happen in 2008 was that African Americans, Hispanics and poor people — traditional Democratic Party constituencies — voted in unusually large numbers. And what happened in 2010 was that Republicans took control of more statehouses and set out to reshape the electorate and make it GOP-friendly.

Not coincidentally, this voter ID campaign has been particularly intense in swing states such as FloridaOhio and Pennsylvania. Invariably, advocates cloak the restrictive new measures in pious-sounding rhetoric about “the integrity of the voting process.” This sounds uncontroversial — who’s against integrity? — until you weigh the laws’ unconscionable costs against their undetectable benefits.

“But you need an ID to do a lot of things, like board a plane,” advocates say. Unlike commercial air travel, however, voting is a constitutionally protected right. To infringe or abridge that right — for no demonstrable reason — should be considered a crime against democracy.




see toon at top...

how to stop people from voting...

Arizona’s Maricopa County is quickly trying to ensure that all its residents know the correct date of Election Day. Officials are concerned some voters could show up two days late — based on information the county sent out. In June, the county’s elections office started distributing Spanish-language voter registration cards that listed the wrong date for the 2012 general election, CNN reports.

The voter ID documents in question listed the correct date of Election Day, November 6, for those reading the English section, but listed it as November 8 in Spanish. In an October 16 press release, the Maricopa Recorder’s Office said elections officials mailed out 2 million new voter registration cards, and only those that had been handed out in the office had the date error. Based on figures from previous years, the office estimates that it gave out 50 or so erroneous cards.

Although the county said in the statement that the mistake had been corrected, CNN notes that many in the local Latino community are still outraged.

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/10/18/arizona-county-lists-wrong-election-date-on-spanish-language-voter-documents/#ixzz29guTLdbw

vote rigging...

The son of a US congressman in Virginia has resigned from his father's campaign after a secret video showed him discussing possible voter fraud.

In the video, released by activist James O'Keefe of Project Veritas, a man is heard suggesting 100 registered voters' names are used to cast ballots.

In the clip Patrick Moran did not endorse the plan, but nor did he tell the man to discard it.

Democrat Jim Moran's campaign said the incident was an error in judgement.

Jim Moran has served 11 terms in the House of Representatives for Virginia - a key battleground in the US presidential election.

Patrick Moran was a field director for his father's campaign.

In the video clip, dated 8 October and about 27 minutes long, a man approaches him and pitches a scheme in which ballots would be cast using the names of 100 registered voters who hardly ever vote.

Mr Moran eventually tells the undercover activist to "look into it", after expressing doubts about the plan.

On Wednesday, Mr Moran said that he did not take the man seriously and had humoured him, but added that he should have walked away, the Associated Press reports.

Fourteen US states have introduced voter ID laws that supporters say are designed to prevent fraud at the polls. Critics argue the laws make it harder for people, especially the elderly and minorities, to vote.

In Virginia, voters must show identification but it does not need to have a photo.


see toon and story at top...

ronmey voting machines...

Ohio's voting machines – brought to you by the Romneys


Manufacturer's ties to candidate's son and donors raise concerns about unfair influence on result


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Mitt Romney's campaign has been hit by his links to a firm providing the voting machines that will be used to tally the ballots in the crucial state of Ohio, as concerns of voter fraud increase in the tightly fought race.

Ohio is traditionally seen as the closest and most important state in a presidential election. The close contest between Mr Romney and Barack Obama could easily come down to the counts in Ohio and Florida – the latter was the scene of a bitter struggle in 2000 between the Democrat Al Gore and George W Bush. Mr Obama still has a narrow lead over the Republican challenger in Ohio, according to polls, while Florida is tilted towards Mr Romney.

Salon magazine reported on Tuesday on the "extensive corporate ties to the Mitt Romney camp" of Hart InterCivic, the voting-machine provider that will be used to count the votes in Ohio, and the other key swing states of Colorado and Virginia. Reports in the US media since the end of last month have linked the company to Mr Romney's campaign donors and his son Tagg.

The Washington Post noted that the implication is that "Romney will enjoy some kind of malign leverage over the vote count in Ohio". Hart InterCivic said in a statement that it has a "long track record of supporting a fair and open democratic process. Any suggestions that the company might try to influence the outcome of election results is unfounded".

The swirling controversy over Hart InterCivic has provided a timely reminder that it's not just how you vote but how the votes are counted that could decide the winner of the election on 6 November. In 2004, the role of voting machines came under scrutiny in Ohio where Mr Bush defeated Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry by 118,601 votes out of more than 5.6 million cast. The result was controversial because Walden O'Dell, the chief executive of an Ohio-based voting-machine manufacturer, had earlier declared his commitment to helping secure Mr Bush's re-election.

With the campaigns going after every vote and the electoral stakes so high there are already signs of attempted election fraud. Voters in Florida, Virginia and Indiana had been receiving phone calls informing them – incorrectly – that they can vote by phone on election day. One Republican from St Augustine, Kurtis Killian, told the Associated Press that he had been called by a man identifying himself as an employee of the Florida Division of Elections.

read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/ohios-voting-machines--brought-to-you-by-the-romneys-8225216.html?printService=print

democracy denied...

The US Presidential race is being fought out most visibly in its "air war" - the barrage of TV ads concentrated in swing states, and the televised debates reaching tens of millions of viewers at once. But in the end, the outcome may well be determined by its trench warfare, a crucial component of which, for the GOP, consists in an intensively-fought effort to prevent as many Democrats as possible from voting. 

It's a throwback to a bygone era, when similar efforts throughout the North - stopping short of the blood-stained mass terror favoured in the South - were employed to suppress the votes of thousands, perhaps millions of naturalised working class voters. 

With roughly seven million voters effectively prevented from voting in 2008, according to the Co-operative Congressional Election Study, and perhaps five million more imperiled by new voter-suppression measures, according to another study in 2011, this should be a dominant campaign story. 

Instead, it's marginalised, partly because it can't be squeezed into the US media's sacred "both sides do it" frame, and partly because those most impacted are primarily poor, low-income, and/or young. In 2005, for example, figures showed that only 59 per cent of citizens in households earning $15,000 or less were registered, compared to 85 per cent in house' earning over $75,000. 

It's also the case these would-be voters are much less likely to have driving licences, birth certificates, or any other sort of documentation required by the avalanche of voter-ID laws, being marketed to "protect the vote", so those figures are probably only going to get worse, and the US media is not going to help you understand how or why. 

'The right to vote'

recent example of the stories being marginalised can be found in the crucial swing state of Ohio. The US Supreme Court just turned down an appeal from the Republican Secretary of State, Jon Husted, who was trying to shut down early voting. 

read more: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/10/20121022125746737657.html

technoscuttling your right to vote...

The Republican Party in the United States has spent months warning its supporters about a possible epidemic of voter fraud on Election Day.

Their fears are distilled into this video making the rounds on social media, which warns of nefarious liberal organisations committed to "tilting the outcome of elections." Sarah Palin, the GOP's 2008 vice presidential nominee, tweeted a link to it this morning, urging voters to report any suspicious behaviour at their polling stations.

But the idea that voter fraud is widespread is, to put it bluntly, a lie. An analysis of every alleged election fraud case since 2000 found just 10 cases of in-person voter fraud.

Ten cases — this in a country with nearly 150 million registered voters.

Instead, the real problems on Election Day seem to be malfunctioning voting machines, unprepared poll workers, and aggressive groups trying to disenfranchise voters outside their polling stations.

Ironically, there were also reports that a right-wing group called True the Vote, whose stated objective is stopping voter fraud, may itself be investigated for fraud.

We're rounding up some of the Election Day complaints from across America.

Want to vote for Obama? Sorry

A voter in Pennsylvania posted this video today, which he says shows a voting machine which simply will not let him vote for Barack Obama (via Gizmodo).


vote early, vote often, to make sure...


Police will be called in to investigate 128 cases where Australians voted more than once in the 2013 federal election, with one person suspected of voting 15 times.

At the high end, the Australian Electoral Commission claims there are numerous electors who voted up to seven times, with one person alleged to have voted nine times, another 12 times and one 15 times.

''We sent inquiry letters to 18,770 electors who had multiple marks recorded beside their names,'' AEC acting head Tom Rogers told a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday.

Replies are still being processed but more than 8200 have been ruled out as ''official error''.

Another 1979 people have admitted voting more than once.

''The greater majority of those, over 81 per cent, being elderly, with poor literacy, or with a poor comprehension of the electoral process,'' Mr Rogers said.

In some instances, voters received postal votes and were also provided with ballot papers from mobile AEC officers visiting aged care facilities, he added.

''There are 128 electors who have more than two marks recorded beside their names,'' Mr Rogers said.

He could provide no reason for the multiple votes, but said the AEC has notified the Australian Federal Police and Department of Public Prosecutions and plans to refer a large number of cases.

''We take it very seriously,'' Mr Rogers said.

Liberal senator Dean Smith said such a high number of repeated votes could not be put down to ''electoral literacy''.

''That seems to me a very blatant abuse of the process,'' he said.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/some-australians-voted-more-than-once-in-federal-election-aec-20140226-33g7l.html#ixzz2uNF9NJ6L

Alzheimer's disease can make you do strange things, like leaving the gas on... Unlike the US (see toon at top), in Australia one can cop a 50 bucks fine for not voting as voting is COMPULSORY...


on the road to de-democratisation of democracy...


Australians who value democracy should turn their eyes to Canada to catch a glimpse of what might be heading our way.

Two weeks ago, international academics added their names to a call by 160 Canadian experts to stop a piece of legislation being rushed through parliament that aims to radically change electoral processes in Canada.

Introduced by the Conservative Party government in Canada, and with a name that would do George Orwell proud, the ‘'Fair Elections Act’' seeks to insert partisanship and inequality into Canadian electoral procedures in a manner reminiscent of 19th century processes. The proposed act will reduce voting rights, foster partisan bias in election administration and weaken campaign finance laws.

Along with Australia, Canada has a reputation for being a world leader in electoral processes, which makes the proposals all the more shocking and internationally significant.


Elections Canada - the equivalent of our Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) - is considered a strong and fiercely independent electoral administrator. But, if passed, the proposed act will move the enforcement arm of the agency into the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, a government department. This will diminish the independence of the agency but also, crucially, it means the activities of the commissioner would no longer be reported to parliament.

Elections Canada will also be prevented from publishing its research reports on the electoral process and, in a bizarre world-first, it will even be prohibited from promoting democratic participation and voting through ‘'get out the vote'’ campaigns.

But one of the most worrying aspects of the proposals is the attempt to wind back to the political patronage of yesteryear and, geographically, sideways to American-style partisanship in electoral administration.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/canadas-attack-on-democracy-sets-tone-for-australia-20140401-zqpaa.html#ixzz2xib9xHRW

See toon and stories from top...


discouraging people from voting in the USA...


PHOENIX — Cynthia Perez, a lawyer, stopped by a polling site on her way to work here on Tuesday, thinking she could vote early and get on with her day. She changed her mind when she found a line so long she could not see the end of it.

The line was just as big when she came back midafternoon — and bigger three hours later, after she had finally cast her ballot.

“To me,” said Ms. Perez, 31, “this is not what democracy is about.”

Days later, angry and baffled voters are still trying to make sense of how democracy is working in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, where officials cut the number of polling places by 70 percent to save money — to 60 from 200 in the last presidential election. That translated to a single polling place for every 108,000 residents in Phoenix, a majority-minority city that had exceptional turnout in Tuesday’s Democratic and Republican primaries.

All day, lines meandered along church courtyards, zigzagged along school parking lots and snaked around shadeless blocks as tens of thousands of voters waited to cast their ballots, including many independents who did not know that only those registered to a party could participate in the state’s closed presidential primaries.

But beyond the electoral breakdown here, many observers saw Arizona as a flashing neon sign pointing toward potential problems nationally at a time that 16 states will have new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election. The presidential election will be the first since the Supreme Court dismantled a crucial section of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, freeing nine states, including Arizona and parts of seven others, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.


read more" http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/25/us/angry-arizona-voters-demand-why-such-long-lines-at-polling-sites.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0


interfering with US voting...

The 73-year-old judge, whose job was to supervise the election process and voter activities of his electoral divisions, was said to have boosted results for a number of candidates in recent years running for various judicial and elected offices at the local, state and federal level.

Domenick J. DeMuro, a former judge of elections in the southern sections of Philadelphia, has pleaded guilty to fraudulently inflating vote results for three Democratic candidates and accepting bribes in primary elections between 2014 and 2016, the US Justice Department said in a press release on Thursday.

The judge pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to deprive Philadelphia voters of their civil rights by “stuffing the ballot boxes” for candidates in primary elections in 2014, 2015 and 2016. He also admitted to violating the Travel Act, which forbids the use of cellphones to promote illegal activity, in this case bribery.


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