Kentucky Election Board conveniently cuts 3,500 polling stations ahead of primaries

A record-breaking number of Kentuckians have registered to vote this year, when Lovecraftian demon Mitch McConnell is up for another term in the Senate. A slight majority of those voters are actually registered as Democrats, too. In fact, only 9 percent of those registered voters are ineligible to participate in the state primary elections because they are not affiliated with either party.

Unfortunately, Kentuckians of all stripes will likely face some difficulty voting in the primaries this year, regardless of their political affiliation. As The Independent reports:

In a typical election year, Kentucky has about 3,700 polling sites, according to most reports. When Election Day arrives on 23 June, there will be just 200 polling sites across the state — with some of those sites having to serve upwards of 600,000 residents.

Voting rights expert Ari Berman wrote in a tweet: “There will be one polling place for 616,000 registered voters in Louisville’s Jefferson County, where half state’s black voters live.”

He added: “This is going to be a disaster.”

The State Election Board had previously postponed the primary election by a month because of coronavirus. But it appears they did not use that time to make any better plans for how to deal with the sudden increase in voters amidst a global pandemic.

Unless their plan was to sabotage the entire thing. Which is certainly possible, as Black voter disenfranchisement efforts have increased in recent years.

Mitch McConnell, whose approval rating after 35 years dropped down to an embarrassing 18 percent last fall, has 4 challengers in this primary: Nicholas Alsager, Paul John Frangedakis, Louis Grider, and Naren James. Read the rest

Stop using the BLM hashtag on your black square (better yet, take it down and start listening and amplifying)

PSA: If you're using a black square on Instagram as a way to show you are "muted and listening" to Black voices and/or to show your solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, STOP using the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. That hashtag is meant to share resources and information and using it for a "Blackout Tuesday" post is drowning out the voices that need to be heard, activists say. Better yet, they ask, remove the empty squares completely. Removing the BLM hashtag from your black square post isn't enough, as it will keep the post in the previously tagged category. Best to take it down completely and start using your platforms to amplify Black voices and share information, activists write. Listen but don't be muted.

What CAN you do? Here's a start (and please add relevant and helpful resources in the comments):

Read the rest

California Republicans sue to stop mail-in voter ballots

In a continuation from Trump's Do-As-I-Say-Don't-Say-As-I-Do approach to mail-in voter ballots, the Republican National Committee has sued the state of California in an effort to stop their vote-by-mail outreach ahead of November's election.

From CNN:

The suit comes after California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, announced this month that the state would move to encourage all voters to cast their ballots by mail in November -- the most widespread expansion of vote-by-mail that has been announced as a result of the pandemic and in the nation's most populous state.

The RNC's lawsuit challenges that step, marking a significant escalation in the legal battles between Republicans and Democrats that are currently being waged in more than a dozen states.

"Democrats continue to use this pandemic as a ploy to implement their partisan election agenda, and Governor Newsom's executive order is the latest direct assault on the integrity of our elections," said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in a statement.

"Newsom's illegal power grab is a recipe for disaster that would destroy the confidence Californians deserve to have in the security of their vote."

To be clear: encouraging people to vote is not a power grab. Nor is it illegal. It is, in fact, a core tenet upon which the foundation of a functioning democracy — even a Representative Democracy! — is built. Curiously, it's also one of the only issues that make Republicans err on the side of extreme caution, infringing on clearly-stated Constitutional rights just in case a single vote ever goes awry. Read the rest

Trump threatens to cut Michigan from federal money over mail-in voting, as 10,000 in state flee breaking dams

UPDATE: He threatened Nevada, too.

Trump now threatening to punish the entire state of Michigan for the crime of sending out ballot applications to eligible voters.

Michigan is having a rough month. The coronavirus outbreak led to a state-wide lockdown, which armed protesters defied at the state capital. Last night, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for part of the state, after heavy rains broke two dams, displacing thousands of residents. Read the rest

Trump calls mail-in ballots "corrupt" but reiterates that it's fine when he does it

During the White House press briefing on Tuesday, April 7, Trump was asked about mail-in voting. He answered

Early this week, the Supreme Court had rejected a request to extend the mail-in ballot deadline for Wisconsin's primary election. With coronavirus shelter-in-place policies in effect, in-person voting is potentially dangerous, especially for people who are already immunocompromised. As a result of the chaos of the last few weeks, people who requested mail-in ballots may not have received them; and some ballots that were mailed ahead of time may not have reached polling office in time, thanks to the general shipping slowdowns affecting everything right now.

In the Press Room exchange, Trump said:

Mail-in voting is horrible. It's corrupt. […] You get thousands and thousands of people sitting in someone's living room signing ballots all over the place. No, I think that mail-in voting is a terrible thing.

In reality, mail-in voter fraud like the kind that Trump described is only slightly more common than in-person voter fraud, which has by all estimates happened less than 100 times total in the last 20 years. Across all elections, across the entire country. Which makes it pretty much a moot point. Individual people are not directly frauding elections; and considering that only about 60% of people even vote in US Presidential elections, there is absolutely no logical reason to make it even harder to get people to vote, "just in case" these next-to-never instances of so-called voter fraud ever actually occur. Read the rest

Wisconsin Supreme Court rules governor can't postpone Tuesday presidential primary

Coronavirus outbreak fears are not sufficient reason for the governor of Wisconsin to postpone the state's Tuesday primary election, a state supreme court ruled late Monday. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders leads Iowa Poll for the first time, just weeks before Iowa Caucus

NEW Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows 20% of likely Democratic caucusgoers name Sanders as their first choice for president.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading the Iowa Poll for the first time, and just 3 weeks remain before the Iowa caucuses. Read the rest

Gerry is an ugly font made from gerrymandered districts

Ooh, this is awesome. Activists have made a free font called Gerry that is made from the shapes of gerrymandered congressional districts. They encourage you to use it to write your representative.

The Next Web:

The font’s creators, Ben Doessel and James Lee, made it to raise awareness and provide a method for disenfranchised voters to protest partisan gerrymandering. The duo, in a press release provided to the media, stated:

"After seeing how janky our Illinois 4th district had become, we became interested in this issue. We noticed our district’s vague, but shaky U-shape, then after seeing other letters on the map, the idea hit us, let’s create a typeface so our districts can become digital graffiti that voters and politicians can’t ignore."

For those unfamiliar with gerrymandering, it’s the process by which US voting districts use increasingly nonsensical borders to disenfranchise voters and limit who they can vote for by party lines instead of geography.

(The Week)

Thanks, Veek!

screenshot via UglyGerry.com Read the rest

Here's how primary elections work, and how to vote

Spread The Vote is a non-profit that works to help educate and empower voters on the voting and political process. Boing Boing invited the group to help everyone understand how primary elections work, and how you can participate in them if you are an eligible U.S. voter. Sign up for their state-specific voter education packages, which are really an amazing educational resource. —Xeni Jardin

UNDERSTANDING PRIMARY ELECTIONS, from SPREAD THE VOTE.

When most voters think of election day, they likely imagine a general election where they vote to determine which candidate on the ballot will win the position of elected office. However, voters may be less familiar with primary elections. This may explain, in part, why voter turnout is so different for general and primary elections. That’s where Spread The Vote comes in. We want every eligible voter to understand and participate in primary elections because they are such an important element of our democracy. Read the rest

Meet 'Spread The Vote,' a nonprofit helping voters get IDs, rides, support so they can vote

“We believe voting is the sacred right of every American, and every American should be able to exercise it.” — spreadthevote.org.

Here is a thing you can do to help eligible voters vote in 2020

Help a disadvantaged fellow American obtain an ID to get a job, a safe place to live, and so they can vote.

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog mocks Cruz right to his face

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog went to Texas to get close to the Democratic and Republican Senate race candidates. He first visited Beto O'Rourke's rally where he landed a short interview. Then he went to Ted Cruz's where he, amazingly, got some face time. Oh, the burn... Read the rest

Alaska wins election stickers race

For all of you in the U.S., no doubt your feeds are filling up with your friends showing off their "I Voted" stickers (and if they're not, uh, better get some new friends). But are their stickers as cool as the ones from Alaska?

Artist Pat Race of Juneau was hired to design these little "I Voted" beauties for the State of Alaska Division of Elections. Race's pro-voting animals not only appeared on the Land of the Midnight Sun's stickers but also on their Official Election Pamphlets.

At least one Alaskan is trying to collect all eight designs:

Prints of the designs are available directly from the artist. Prices start at $10.

image via Kyle Miller Read the rest

Vote by mail in California? Check your ballot status online!

Californian vote-by-mail voters can check with their county to ensure their vote was received and counted. Read the rest

Ivanka Trump to get 16 new China trademarks, including one for 'voting machines'

Why does Ivanka Trump need trademarks for nursing homes, sausage casing, and *voting machines* in China? Or do we not want to know. Read the rest

96-year-old Carl Reiner has a message for Americans

Carl Reiner is disgusted with what's happening in the United States these days. In this heartfelt PSA, the accomplished nonagenarian shares his thoughts on what Americans can do to change what's happening. In short, vote!

Read the rest

Former US President Carter asks Georgia Secretary of State Kemp to resign

Today Jimmy Carter, a former US President who also served as Governor of Georgia, has called for Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp's resignation. Kemp is accused of viciously robbing Georgians of their right to vote.

Conveniently, most of the people Kemp is accused of disenfranchising are in demographics largely assumed to be voting for his opponent.

Via NPR:

In his letter to Kemp, Carter said it was his decades of experience assisting elections abroad that persuaded him to wade into the bitter dispute now roiling the Georgia gubernatorial race. Kemp has been under fire for deciding to purge tens of thousands of voters from the voter rolls — months after declaring his intent to run for governor.

"In Georgia's upcoming gubernatorial election, popular confidence is threatened not only by the undeniable racial discrimination of the past and the serious questions that the federal courts have raised about the security of Georgia's voting machines, but also because you are now overseeing the election in which you are a candidate," wrote Carter, who served as Democratic governor of Georgia himself before winning the presidency in 1976.

Read the rest

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