Now Read This

TechCrunch has a great piece up about technology, democracy, and voting. This is is not the usual “technology will solve everything (Techtopia, as I like to call it) — The passage on gerrymandering I found especially interesting:

In a sane world, technology would fight gerrymandering, too. Instead of districts being drawn by hand, their boundaries should be set algorithmically, using only geographic contiguity and population counts as factors, not voting predilections. Of course the political hackers who have seized control of the system will never allow that to happen. It will have to be forced on them. But vulnerable systems have to be patched somehow if you want them to keep running.

Algorithmically defined districts would have another huge advantage: they would make it easy to create new “virtual” districts not tied to the tyranny of geography. Back when modern democracies were invented, that was the only viable option, but in our hyperconnected today, wouldn’t it make as much sense–if not more–to allow voters to register for online constituencies, instead of the one in which they happen to physically live?

Imagine a world in which any subculture or movement able to muster enough people could send its own post-geographical representative to their Parliament or Congress. That body would become enormously more representative…and less defined by two or three dominant parties.

I’m sure that a virtual district could be gamed, too, but I like the idea of an algorithmically defined district that takes the process out of the hands of the politicians entirely.

Also/too the author of the piece endorses paper ballots, which I am also enthusiastic about keeping.

The Tsunami That Wasn’t

Hot dogs and wieners

We mentioned the other day that the turnout for the 2014 election was low, didn’t we? Well, yes we did. And it was lower than 40%, 36.6% to be exact.

Anyway, whenever some Wingnut or member of Y’all Qaeda tells you that they got a mandate, you can refer them to this:

Voter Turnout By State

Just a few highlights:

  • Mississippi: 29.7
  • Indiana: 28%
  • Oklahoma: 29.8%

They didn’t even get a majority of voters in their own strongholds. Some mandate!

Cheer-up

Flying Elephant

Just on last thought for this morning: the incoming Senate Majority Leader, the amply be-chinned Mitch McConnell is going to be no more successful controlling the Senate than strangely orange-hued Speaker of the House John Boehner has been successful controlling the House.

Everyone who is talking about The Kenyan Usurper warming up his veto pen needs to consider that there are several 2016 Goat Rodeo Riders in the Senate, and none of them will want to cooperate with the others. The Senate rules are constructed such that any Senator can capriciously stop any legislation in its tracks. And that is before we even get to the new crop of Teabaggers who will undoubtedly start throwing sand into the gears.

My hunch—and it is no more than a hunch—is that Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio are going to be so busy gunning at each other and grandstanding that Obama will not even have to check that the ink is flowing.

Vote!

RepublicanGothic3It is just days before the 2014 mid-term elections are held, and as they say, it is always darkest before the lights go completely out. Today we look at a comment from Senator Rand Paul (R-Atlas Shrugged) the shag-carpet doffed Aqua Buddha, and we apply it to everything we’ve learned this election cycle:

“Remember Domino’s Pizza? They admitted, ‘Hey, our pizza crust sucks.’ The Republican Party brand sucks”

The GOP sucks. Who knew?

It is probably safe to say that the only people who are enthusiastic about the Republicans are the dead-enders and cargo cultists of the Tea Party, and maybe obvious anagram RNC Chairman Reince Priebus (who is paid to be enthusiastic about the party).

As a brand, the Republicans are only slightly better loved than Ebola, and so for all the noise the media is making about President Obama’s career-low approval rating of 40%, Wingnuttia would give their left nut (bee-sized, to be sure) to be that well loved. At the end of last year, Republicans were tracking in the low teens, and it has stayed pretty much there the entire year.

But then Sen. Paul, who has a Black Belt in white privilege, tells us something about The Negro:

For 80 years African-Americans have had nothing to do with Republicans. Why? Because of a perception. The problem is the perception that no one in the Republican Party cares.

You see, it’s the African-Americans fault that they cannot perceive what the Republicans have done to them for them. It is probably more accurate to say that African Americans see all too clearly what the Republicans have done to them for them. We could go down the list, starting with trying to block or undo entire sections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Hey Rand! Remember that time you said you wouldn’t have voted for it… to Rachel Maddow of all people?!), to all the actions that Republicans are taking to prevent African Americans from voting in 2014, that, gee, might be adding to the perception that Republicans don’t care about them.

And the thing is, just about any demographic (other than White Christian Male) could look at the issues and the official record and learn what the GOP wants to do to them for them. The Republican Party’s positions on women, gays, seniors, youth, vets, working people, non-Christian, students, the poor are all hostile. It is a platform of taking things away from people.

And giving things to the super-rich, corporations, and well, people just like themselves. It’s the party that believes in pulling themselves up by your bootstraps. Vote them out on Tuesday.

The System Is Working

I read with some amusement at the NRO (the most intellectually dishonest rest stop on the Information Super Highway) that our elections are rife with fraudulent voters!

This month, North Carolina officials found at least 145 illegal aliens, still in the country thanks to the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, registered to vote. Hundreds of other non-citizens may be on the rolls.

It bears repeating: North Carolina found them.

The entire intellectually dishonest article (which is of course a love sonnet to Captain Dildo) is filled with examples of how the system works. Each case that they report is one that was stopped in time by the safeguards that are in place.

The Unabridged Chris Christie

“Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?”

–He actually said that out loud.

Hey Reince, How’s That Re-Branding Workin’ Out?

The Klan Goes To Church

The Klan Goes To Church

Earlier in the day, [Republican Georgia state Sen. Fran Millar] posted a statement criticizing the county’s interim CEO, Lee May, for allowing early voting on Oct. 26, a Sunday, at several polling places in DeKalb County, including one at South DeKalb Mall.

“Per Jim Galloway of the AJC, this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist,” Millar wrote.

And then later he clarified what he meant (though I think it was pretty clear):

“I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters,” state Sen. Fran Millar (R) wrote on his Facebook page. “If you don’t believe this is an efort [sic] to maximize Democratic votes pure and simple, then you are not a realist. This is a partisan stunt and I hope it can be stopped.”

Oh. I thought those Jim Crow era poll taxes and quizzes were a thing of the past and is why the Fab 5 of the Supreme Court struck down those parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Anyway, Mr. Galloway thoughtfully concluded thusly:

“I defined educated as being informed on the issues,” Millar wrote. “Finally Mr. Porter is welcome to look at my DeKalb NAACP award, so don’t try to accuse me of trying to suppress the African-American vote.”

Because you know that having an award from the NAACP is a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card that protects you from accusations of racism. It worked for the former L.A. Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling, too.

So Reince, once again I must ask: How’s that rebranding working out?

Where’s True-The-Vote When You Need Them? UPDATED

Typical Nevada Voter

Hahahahahahahahaha! *pauses for breath* HAHAHAHAHA!

A Shorewood [WI] man has been charged with more than a dozen counts of illegal voting, accused of casting multiple ballots in four elections in 2011 and 2012, including five in the 2012 gubernatorial recall.

Robert D. Monroe, 50, used addresses in Shorewood, Milwaukee and Indiana, according to the complaint, and cast some votes in the names of his son and his girlfriend’s son.

According to the complaint:

Monroe cast two ballots in the April 2011 Supreme Court election, two in the August 2011 Alberta Darling recall election, five in the Scott Walker-Tom Barrett recall, one illegal ballot in an August 2012 primary, and two ballots in the November 2012 presidential election.

In the presidential election, Monroe cast an in-person absentee ballot in Shorewood on Nov. 1 and drove a rental car to Lebanon, Ind., where he showed his Indiana driver’s license to vote in person on election day, Nov. 6, the complaint charges. Monroe owns a house there, according to the complaint.

Of course, the JSOnline article doesn’t tell us who he voted for, so we turn to the Wisconsin Politics Blog for some sleuthing:

WisPolitics.com reported the investigation into Monroe’s multiple voting last week after Milwaukee County Judge J.D. Watts ordered the records related to a secret John Doe investigation be made public after the investigation was closed.

According to those records, Monroe was considered by investigators to be the most prolific multiple voter in memory. He was a supporter of Gov. Scott Walker and state Sen. Alberta Darling, both Republicans, and allegedly cast five ballots in the June 2012 election in which Walker survived a recall challenge.

According to the John Doe records, Monroe claimed to have a form of temporary amnesia and did not recall the election day events when confronted by investigators.

Monroe voted in his own name, using his Shorewood address, as well as that of a home owned by his parents in Milwaukee. He also voted in the 2012 presidential election from Shorewood and then drove to Lebanon, Ind., where he voted again. He also owns a home there. This double voting allegedly occurred after he was made aware of a double-voting investigation involving his son.

Ah, the old amnesia trick!

To the best of my non-amnesiac memory, every single instance of voter fraud that I’ve seen in the press has always, Always, ALWAYS had a Republican perp. It seems to be a thing with them.

UPDATE 1: The Capitol Times in Madison tells us that this case is exactly why Voter ID is needed (to keep the Republicans from cheating?)