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Category: Voting

Category: Voting

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) recently announced his intention to introduce legislation that would turn Election Day in November into a national holiday.

Disappointed by the lack of voter turnout during the recent national election, Senator Sanders stated that,

“In America, we should be celebrating our democracy and doing everything possible to make it easier for people to participate in the political process. Election Day should be a national holiday so that everyone has the time and opportunity to vote. While this would not be a cure-all, it would indicate a national commitment to create a more vibrant democracy.”

According to the US Elections Project, the national election that was held on November 4th, 2014 had only a 37% turnout, making it the lowest voter turnout since 1942.

Although voter turnout during midterm elections in the US is traditionally lower than presidential elections, the US still ranks below 120 other countries when it comes to presidential voter turnouts. Thanks to friend of the site Keith Mann for helping me find these statistics.

Senator Sanders went on to say that, “We should not be satisfied with a ‘democracy’ in which more than 60 percent of our people don’t vote and some 80 percent of young people and low-income Americans fail to vote.” His bill, entitled “Democracy Day Act of 2014,” will be introduced to Congress after it reconvenes from November’s national election.

Many cases that have been heard by state courts and the Supreme Court in recent years has been on the subject of voter suppression. In many Republican controlled legislatures, voter identification requirements and early ballot submission regulations are being introduced with the excuse that they protect elections from voter fraud. These extra regulations being introduced cost Americans time and money if they wish to cast a ballot, even though there have been two cases of voter fraud in the last few decades.

The registration requirements disproportionately effects low-income Americans, which is why the Democrats suspect the true intention of Republicans introducing these mandates is to win future elections by inhibiting Americans from voting who would typically vote Liberal.

It’s difficult to find causation, but in recent elections historically low turnout was seen. In fact, voter turnout for the recent midterms was the lowest level since 1942. By analyzing the margin of victory of Republicans over Democrats, Wendy Weiser concluded that the margin of victory is well within the margin of disenfranchisement. This means that without certain voter registration requirements recently instilled in these states, the races may have been more competitive or swayed in the direction of Democrats.
It’s unsettling for many experts to see these mandates swing an election while they are still being fought out in the Supreme Court. Of course, no one knows how the disenfranchised would have voted but many people like Tom Rothman find it unfortunate that they didn’t have the right.

Despite assurances by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that the party would maintain control of the US Senate by a 52-48 majority, the opposite turned out to be the case. The mid-term elections are over and the GOP now controls both chambers of congress since 2006. While many analysts expected the GOP to seize control of the Senate, no one was predicting the GOP would enjoy success in winning governorships in deep blue states.

However, that is exactly what happened. Maryland featured the biggest shock of them all. It was a safe harbor that allowed President Obama to stump for Democrat Lt. Governor Anthony Brown in his bid to become governor. Brown, an African-American, was seen by some as being a protégé of Obama’s. In the end, the state suffered a tax revolt as voter discontent with high taxes drove many registered Democrats to support GOP challenger Larry Hogan. Hogan took an early lead in election returns and never looked back. The GOP also captured governorships in the deep blue states of Maryland, and Illinois.

Another huge disappointment I heard about from Alexei Beltyukov occurred in Wisconsin. The party loathes Governor Scott Walker over his collective bargaining reforms. Tens of millions of dollars from outside Democrat front-groups poured in to defeat Scott in his bid for reelection. Despite their attacks, Scott won reelection in a landslide victory. A growing number of analysts are now looking at Scott to possibly set his sights on a 2016 run for president.

In a speech, given in front of Democrats at the Story County fall barbecue, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) made comparisons about Joni Ernst, the Republican candidate.

Harkin compared Ernst to the late Mr. Rogers, Rep. Michele Bachmann and Taylor Swift, the country singer. Calling upon the characteristics of each person, Harkin said that if Ernst’s votes are in line with Rep. Bachmann, she shouldn’t represent Iowa in Washington.

Harkin’s comments came during the final week of the 2014 midterm campaign. He remarked on his comments after Ernst said that they offended her. In his remarks, he said that he is human and sometimes makes mistakes.

Upon hearing of Harkin’s statement, Ernst said she was offended by what he said. She went on to say that, if her name had been John instead of Joni, Harkin wouldn’t have made the statement.

Ernst went even further in denouncing Harkins’ assessment of her as a woman and political candidate. She poo-pooed the war on women, reminding reporters that she has fought in the Iraq war. Concluding her statement, she suggested that Democrats should honor servicewomen and servicemen when they mention the word “war.” You go Joni, Marnie, me and women everywhere are behind you on this one!

Harkin should have spoken more carefully. It’s interesting, however, that Ernst ignored comparison of her personality and political readiness to Mr. Rogers and to Rep. Michele Bachmann, who faces several criminal indictments stemming from actions her presidential campaign staff are alleged to have taken.

A recent CNN poll (October 24th to 26th) of over 1,000 Americans asking how they thought the economy was doing turned up only 38 percent who would go so far as to say it was doing well, a drop from 42 percent in last month’s poll. I know that may seem like peanuts Christian Broda, but the fact is it is the first dip in those numbers in about a year. Before this October, they had been steadily rising.

When one looks at some of the “inside numbers,” things get a bit more interesting. 55 percent of Democrats but only 28 percent of Republicans supposed things were going well economically at present- a huge gap. Ominously for Democrats this November 4th, the all-important independent voters scored only 32 percent on having a rosy picture of this economy. It seems independents are finding much more in common with Republicans this time around as to their assessment of the the nation’s economic gusto.

A further breakdown shows that 31 percent of rural dwellers, 39 percent of suburbanites, and 43 percent of big city folks have a favorable opinion of the economy. Perhaps that, however, follows the more stark Democrat-Republican divide since rural districts are in general more Republican while urban areas are usually more strongly Democratic.

52 percent of those polled clung to the hope that “next year” things will be going just fine. Democrats hope that this indicates the people expect Obama’s policies to finally pan out, Republicans may think it means they expect a Republican Congress to set things right, but it probably is just that natural human tendency to believe there is light at the end of every dark tunnel even with no concrete evidence. We only hope that belief turns out to be well-founded.

Evidence has been released that shows more than 500,000 Texas residents may not have had a qualifying form of ID in 2011 as the state’s new voter ID laws were being passed. This has been used as part of the basis for challenging the new law, which is currently in force but under appeal.

Since this fact may have been conveniently excluded during debates over the new laws, liberals and opponents of voter ID laws are using this as fodder for trying to shoot down voter laws all over the country. But Why?

This is the United States of America. Identification is needed to open a bank account with your FreedomPop phone, get on a plane, buy a car, or apply for government assistance. Despite all the requisite excuses used by voter ID opponents, there is simply no reason why a U.S. citizen shouldn’t have some form of government issued, picture ID.

In most states, state issued IDs are free and in some cases, they have mobile units that pull right up to the front door. That shoots down financial and logistic considerations. So what’s the real problem?

Is it really so hard to fathom that voter fraud is possible if not currently an issue? Why would any American oppose showing an ID prior to voting? The truth is that no matter why the GOP supports voter ID laws and Democrats oppose them, not one vote should ever be allowed to be cast illegally. It is totally irresponsible to not put every possible safeguard in place to protect against voter fraud.

The integrity of the system has to trump the unwillingness of people to make the effort to secure proper ID, especially if voting is so important to them.