Archive for the ‘Voting Rights’ Category

Nigeria Having Elections

13 April 2007

Nigeria is holding the first of the year’s elections tomorrow, according to BBC News, which will determine state legislatures and governors. The president and national assembly are being elected on the 21st.

The government says that thousands on police and army will be out to keep the peace.

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Elections in East Timor

9 April 2007

The first elections in East Timor since it gained independence in 2002 were held today, according to BBC News. Though the UN did have to fly in extra ballots to some areas, the voting was calm and ordered, officials say.

Official results will be in April 16. There is not expected to be an outright winner, so a run-off is likely.

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In Russia the Government Elects You

27 March 2007

Russia’s government has banned a leading opposition liberal party from standing in elections yesterday, according to the Guardian, because it had too few members. Parties must have at least 50,000 members and be represented in at least half of the country’s provinces; the government says that this is to make the democratic process more efficient. The reasoning is that if the government chooses the parties for you, you’ll have to spend less time deciding who to vote for, thereby making your democratic government more efficient (bit of a loss on the “democratic” part, but well worth it for the tidying up of the process).

“There isn’t much point in talking about democracy in Russia any more.” said Denis Bilonuv, and he’s right! There is no need for chit-chat; and the government has it all figured out anyway, so there’s no need to discuss anything.

Russia is having parliamentary elections this December and a presidential election next year. The Nationalist Bolshevik party was also suspended last week.

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Party Politics Against D.C.

23 March 2007

A vote on whether D.C. residents should get full representation rights in the House has stalled, according to the Los Angeles Times. Republicans added a repeal of the city’s gun ban laws, so Democrats acted swiftly to delay the vote indefinitely.

House Minority Leader John a Boehner (R-Ohio) said that Democratic leaders “shamefully exploited a rule to kill debate and postpone the vote indefinitely.” Mayor Adrian Fenty said that there is not support in the city for repeal of the gun laws.

Bush has threatened to veto D.C. voting rights if it reaches him, saying that the Constitution allows only for representation rights of the states. This is because Bush has an immense amount of respect for the constitution, and people who don’t live in states aren’t real people anyway. They also pay no taxes, do not serve in the military, and contribute nothing to us state-dwellers at all. In addition, nearly 90% of them voted for Kerry in 2004.

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Amendments to Weaken Egyptian Democracy

21 March 2007

The Egyptian parliament has approved a set of amendments to the constitution that would reduce protections against voter fraud and increase presidential powers, according to USA Today.

They passed with 315 in favor, and will go to a public referendum, later this month or early April.

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Appeal Court Upholds ID Requirement to Vote

6 January 2007

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an Indiana law that will require voters to present a government-issued photo ID to vote, according to the Los Angeles Times. Judge Richard Posner acknowledged that the law would “deter some people from voting” and that such individuals were likely to be poor and vote Democratic. However, he said that no one who would be unable to vote had been produced, and that therefore the law could be upheld.

State courts in Georgia and Missouri have ended photo identification laws because they violated state voting rights laws, according to Ohio State University law professor Dan Tokaji, who is an election law expert.

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Numbers from 2006

31 December 2006

Election
Number of 2006 problems in the VotersUnite.org log: 246
Number of Gateway, Arkansas residents: 122
Number of votes in the Gateway, Arkansas mayoral election: 199
Number of Pea Ridge, Arkansas residents: 3,344
Number of votes in the Pea Ridge, Arkansas mayoral election: 3,997
Number of poll workers who were charged with assault after with choking a voter: 1

Gay Rights
Number of states to allow gay marriage: 1

NSA Wiretapping
Number of phone wiretapped: Unknown
Amount of information available to Congress regarding wiretaps: Unknown

Prisons
Number of CIA black sites: Unknown
Number of detainees at CIA black sites: Unknown
Number of detainees tortured: Unknown
Number of detainees at Guantanamo Bay: 395-435
Number of detainees who will face trial: Unknown

Risk Assessment Scores
“Risk Assessment” scores: Unknown
Time scores are kept: 40 years
Accuracy of scores: Unknown

Government transparency: 0

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ACLU Opposes Defamation Lawsuit

28 November 2006

The ACLU filed a response to a suit against Jonathan Daly-LaBelle, of South Kingston, Rhode Island, according to the ACLU article. Daly-LaBelle circulated flyers, based on news reports, regarding Andrew Bilodeau, a candidate in a close race. Bilodeau filed suit claiming defamation.

The ACLU asked that the lawsuit be dismissed and that Daly-Labelle be compensated under the state’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) statute. The ACLU says that the lawsuit was intended to discourage Daly-LaBelle from exercising his right to free speech.

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US Democracy Ranked 17th

24 November 2006

The Economist (PDF file) recently published an index of the world’s democracies, which ranked the US 17th. The rankings were based on five aspects: Electoral Process and Pluralism; Functioning of Government; Political Participation; Political Culture; and Civil Liberties.

Sweden was the highest ranking, with an overall score of 9.88 out of ten. The US had an overall score of 8.22. North Korea was unsurprisingly last with an overall score of 1.03.

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Voters Vote for Civil Liberties

8 November 2006

From the ACLU:
“American voters have reinvigorated our system of checks and balances essential to stopping the abuse of power,” said Anthony D. Romero, American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director. “Voters finally had enough of the 109th Congress that repeatedly rubber-stamped legislation that violates our basic rights. Voters also rejected many state ballot initiatives designed to restrict civil liberties and meddle in our personal lives. The 110th Congress should take note – voters rejected political scare tactics and government power grabs in favor of civil liberties and policies that keep us safe and free.”

Voters across the country voted in favor of candidates that supported civil liberties. Many candidates who tried to use national security as a kind of scare tactic lost. Overall, the election gave Democrats a new ability to defend civil liberties, should they take advantage of it.

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