November 3rd, 2016

  • meegs73

Emails show how Republicans lobbied to limit voting hours in North Carolina

When Bill McAnulty, an elections board chairman in a mostly white North Carolina county, agreed in July to open a Sunday voting site where black church members could cast ballots after services, the reaction was swift: he was labeled a traitor by his fellow Republicans.

"I became a villain, quite frankly," recalled McAnulty at a state board of elections meeting in September that had been called to resolve disputes over early voting plans. "I got accused of being a traitor and everything else by the Republican Party," McAnulty said.

Following the blowback from Republicans, McAnulty later withdrew his support for the Sunday site.

In an interview with Reuters, he said he ultimately ruled against opening the Sunday voting site in Randolph County because he had "made a mistake in reading the wishes of the voters." He declined to discuss the episode further.

This year's highly charged presidential contest between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump has stoked accusations by both parties of political meddling in the scheduling of early voting hours in North Carolina, a coveted battleground state with a history of tight elections.

In emails, state and county Republican officials lobbied members of at least 17 county election boards to keep early-voting sites open for shorter hours on weekends and in evenings – times that usually see disproportionately high turnout by Democratic voters. Reuters obtained the emails through a public records request.

The officials also urged county election boards to open fewer sites for residents to cast ballots during early voting that began on Oct. 20 and ends on Saturday.

Civil rights advocates and Democrats launched their own campaigns for expanded early voting hours.

The tug-of-war yielded mixed results.

The state did ultimately add nearly 5,900 more hours and 78 more sites to vote early than in 2012. But several counties opened only one polling site during the first week of early voting, slightly denting turnout across the state. Voter turnout dropped by 20 percent in the counties that had multiple polling sites during the first week of early voting in 2012 but just one site during the first week in 2016.

“We currently have more early voting locations and hours open than ever were open under Democrat control,” said North Carolina Republican Party executive director Dallas Woodhouse, denying his party was trying to suppress the Democratic vote.

President Barack Obama praised the expanded early voting opportunities during an election stop in North Carolina on Wednesday.

"Those who wanted to suppress the vote, they're going to fail," he said at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in Raleigh. "Right now, there are more one-stop early vote sites in North Carolina than ever before."
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This is what actual rigging looks like.
hold up, beyonce, lemonade

Why Trump Stays Afloat


In one of the most emotionally wrenching presidential races in living memory, Donald J. Trump’s support is as level as a pond. In polls, it is holding steady around 41 percent, right where it was after the first debate in late September. This plateau has persisted through the second and third debates with his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and the revelation of his recorded boasts of sexual assault. Even the stunning public rebuke of Mr. Trump by the parents of the Iraq war hero Capt. Humayun Khan in late July was followed by a swing of just a few percentage points, quite small by historical standards. Why has Mr. Trump’s support not collapsed further in the face of some fairly damning revelations?

Such high stability in polls is not new. It started several decades ago. One measure of the stasis of modern campaigns is how much each party’s support in polls changes over the course of a campaign. From 1952 to 1992, the average range — the difference between maximum and minimum levels of support — was 17 percentage points. Since 1996, the range has dropped to 8 points. Mr. Trump’s range is 4 points, from 39 to 43 percent.

At his lowest point, Mr. Trump still had more support than George McGovern, who got the smallest percentage of the popular vote by a major party candidate in the postwar era in 1972, with 38 percent. Mrs. Clinton’s average margin over Mr. Trump of five points has been enough to make her the first candidate to maintain a durable lead in an open presidential race since Dwight D. Eisenhower defeated Adlai Stevenson in 1952. So the bigger question is not about Mr. Trump, but why the last six presidential campaigns became so stable.

The answer is polarization. The same forces that propel a radical candidate to a party’s nomination also provide a floor through which he is unlikely to fall. Mr. Trump’s ascent is the culmination of trends that began in the 1990s, when Newt Gingrich introduced the Contract With America, and adopted tactics like government shutdowns and impeachment. More than any national figure since Sarah Palin, Mr. Trump embodies these attitudes.

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Sam Wang (@SamWangPhD) is a professor of neuroscience and molecular biology at Princeton and a founder of the Princeton Election Consortium.

Source (also has a nice graph)

OP Note: Although no doubt some of the this election can be attributed to public perception of both candidates, and their respective parties acting like children in public and private, some of this election is candidate independant, and we should be very concerned about that going forward.

Also, Sam Wang was one of my favorite Neuro professors, but I'm not sure how he got into elections.  I guess modeling brains gets boring?  He's also been more accurate than FiveThirtyEight for the last 8 years, I believe, so Baynesian models for the win!

Brexit court defeat for UK government
Parliament must vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the EU, the High Court has ruled.

This means the government cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - beginning formal exit negotiations with the EU - on its own.

Theresa May says the referendum - and existing ministerial powers - mean MPs do not need to vote, but campaigners called this unconstitutional.

The government is appealing, with a further hearing expected next month.
A statement is to be made to MPs on Monday but the prime minister's official spokesman said the government had "no intention of letting" the judgement "derail Article 50 or the timetable we have set out. We are determined to continue with our plan".

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Source: BBC News

Additional videos at source. Personally, I think it's incredibly rich of Nigel "£350m for the NHS" Farage to speak of betrayal of terms.
Tori Amos (Angela) Windblown

Poll Worker Injured By Trump Sign Booby-Trapped With Razor Blades

A poll worker in Texas was injured Tuesday when he tried to move a Donald Trump campaign sign and cut his hand on box-cutter blades that had been attached to it.

The tampered sign was discovered Tuesday morning blocking an official polling sign at Collin County College in Plano, according to NBC Dallas. A precinct official had ordered the sign to be moved, CBS Dallas reported.

The man’s cuts were minor. He chose to treat them himself and not seek medical attention, according to the Dallas Morning News.

However, the incident was reported both to campus police and the Texas Rangers.

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'We're still here': Life on the Pine Ridge Native American reservation

Life on the Pine Ridge Native American reservation

Where life expectancy is the second-lowest in the western hemisphere and 80 percent of people are unemployed.

The Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, which encompasses more than 2.8 million acres, was established in 1889 [Patrick Strickland/Al Jazeera]

Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, United States - Donald Morrison's one-room home, hidden behind a row of trees, can only be reached via a half-kilometre dirt path.

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OP: So much injustice and racism...
Cubs win!

Melania Trump Is Very Upset By People Who Bully Others On The Internet

BERWYN, Pa. ― Melania Trump returned from political exile on Thursday by making a rather eyebrow-raising claim: as first lady, she would combat bullying. That anti-bullying campaign, however, likely wouldn’t extend to her husband.

“Our culture has gotten too mean and too violent,” the wife of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told a crowd here in the suburbs of Philadelphia. “It is never OK when a 12-year-old girl or boy is mocked, bullied or attacked. It is terrible when that happens on the playground and it is unacceptable when it’s done by someone with no name hiding on the internet.”Collapse )

Source: HuffPost

Nothing against Mrs. Trump, honestly, but the degree of irony here is off the charts.
Joan Smalls, Yoncé

'The FBI is Trumpland': anti-Clinton atmosphere spurred leaks, sources say

Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.

Current and former FBI officials, none of whom were willing or cleared to speak on the record, have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over director James Comey’s July decision not to recommend an indictment over Clinton’s maintenance of a private email server on which classified information transited.

“The FBI is Trumpland,” said one current agent.

This atmosphere raises major questions about how Comey and the bureau he is slated to run for the next seven years can work with Clinton should she win the White House.

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