In a panic over fleeing advertisers, Facebook launches PR blitz to announce it is "a mirror to society"

In the last couple of weeks over 200 major advertisers, including Starbucks, Ford, GM, Clorox, Reebok, Adidas, Best Buy, Clif Bar, and Chobani have left Facebook, citing concerns over the social media platform's lack of meaningful action against voter suppression campaigns and hate speech that takes place there.

In a statement, Denny's said: "As America's diner, we offer an inclusive and welcoming environment where all people can enjoy a nice meal and we strongly oppose hate speech of any kind. It is our belief that Facebook has not done enough to address this important issue on its platform and we are calling on Facebook to make positive changes in its process for combatting hate speech and disinformation."

On Friday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced new policies he claimed would "crack down on voter suppression and fight hate speech." But according to Popular Information, critics said the policy was toothless and would do little to stop voter suppression and hate speech.

So now Facebook has enlisted the help of Nick Clegg, vice president for global affairs and communications (and former Deputy Prime Minister of the UK) to educate the media that Facebook is just a "mirror to society."

On CNN, host Brian Stelter asked Clegg what Facebook was doing to combat divisive speech on its platform. Clegg's response was there was nothing Facebook could do because the divisive content was merely a reflection of broader societal trends.

"Yes, and I'm afraid that in a highly polarized time in U.S. society, particularly in the run-up to this highly consequential election in November where, you know, people are shouting at each other from right and left, and where, of course, in some sense, Facebook is a mirror to society.

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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

Wisconsin voters risked their lives last week — and voted out the party that made them risk their lives

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown that's surrounding us and suffocating every moment of our lives, the GOP-controlled court system in the state of Wisconsin refused to postpone that state's primary election, or to even respect the sudden influx in mail-in ballots from people who didn't want to get exposed to a virus simply for exercising their right to vote. 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

The estranged anarchist daughter of the Republican gerrymandering mastermind inherited and dumped all his files

Thomas Hofeller was the mastermind behind REDMAP, the tool used by Republican dirty-tricksters to redraw state electoral maps after the 2010 census in order to deliver state and federal legislative seats to Republicans even when the majority of people voted Democrats. Read the rest

America needs a national standard for voting and voter rolls

Frank Wu writes, "Brianna Wu (US Congressional candidate in MA-8 and cybersecurity expert) has a brand new article in The Boston Globe about election security. People think electronic voting machines are the biggest problem. They're wrong. The electronic VOTER ROLLS are the largest attack surface for hackers. 2% of all ballots cast (enough to sway many elections) are provisional and that number is growing." Read the rest

Judge orders the State of Georgia to be prepared for pen-and-paper balloting by March 2020

Few states have voting machines that are simultaneously more obviously defective and more ardently defended by the state government than Georgia, where 16-year-old touchscreen systems are prone to reporting ballots cast by 243% of the eligible voters and where gross irregularities in election administration sends voters to the wrong polling places or sends co-habitating husbands and wives to polls in different cities to cast their votes. Read the rest

America is not "polarized": it's a land where a small minority tyrannize the supermajority

Writing in the New York Times, Tim Wu (previously) describes the state of American politics after decades of manipulation dirty tricks and voter suppression, where policies with extremely high levels of public approval like higher taxes on the super-rich (75%), paid maternity leave (67%), net neutrality (83%), parallel importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada (71%) and empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices (92%) are nevertheless considered politically impossible. Read the rest

A month after the statutory restoration of expat Canadians' voting rights, Supreme Court says taking those rights away was illegal

In 2015, Stephen Harper's Tory government began enforcing a 1993 law that stripped expatriate citizens like me of our right to vote in Canada; last month, Justin Trudeau's Liberal government restored our voting rights. Read the rest

More Americans get the vote today than on any day since sufferage

The 2018 election included a Florida ballot initiative to restore felons' voting rights (with the exception of convicted murderers and sexual offenders): the 1.4 million Americans who will get their votes restored today as a consequence are the largest cohort of Americans to get access to the ballot since women's sufferage in 1920. Read the rest

The GOP stole Wisconsin; now they're trying to steal it again on the way out -- PROTEST TODAY!

The Republican election of Scott Walker and his band of Ayn Rand cosplayers was a triumph of massive corporate spending, voter suppression and gerrymandering that meant that the votes of the majority of Wisconsinites would no longer count; despite that, last month's midterm elections saw the governorship and Attorney General flip to progressive Democrats with wildly popular platforms. Read the rest

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: abolish Columbus Day, replace it with Voting Day

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (previously), the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, has proposed abolishing Columbus Day (which honors a raping, murdering, enslaving, genocidal pedophile) and replacing it with a day off for voting (which most other developed democracies give their citizens). Read the rest

White supremacy, minus gerrymandering: California GOP reduced to "third party status"

The only way for the party of old white dudes, rape, forced pregnancies, Islamophobia, homophobia, selfishness, pollution, climate denial, unchecked police violence and murder, xenophobia and hatred of Latinx people can get and keep power is by cheating: voter suppression, gerrymandering, etc. Read the rest

Google donated $5k to GOP Senator who "joked" about attending a lynching with her Black opponent

Cindy Hyde-Smith is a Mississipi GOP Senator is going into a runoff election against her Democratic opponent, Black man named Mike Espy who might end up the first Black Mississipi Senator since 1883; she made headlines last week with a joke about attending a "public hanging." Read the rest

Congressional Democrats' first bill aims to end gerrymandering, increase voter registration and rein in campaign finance

HR1, the first bill that the new Democratic House of Representatives will vote on, is omnibus legislation that takes on some of the most pervasive scourges of representative democracy: vote suppression, oligarchic campaign financing and gerrymandering. Read the rest

Georgia Senator, asked about voter suppression, mugs constituent for his phone

US Senator David Purdue (R-GA/@sendavidperdue), a grown-ass human being elected to high office in the most powerful nation in the land, was asked a question about Brian Kemp, who is both a (monumentally unhinged) candidate for governor of Georgia and Georgia's Secretary of State, in charge of overseeing the election in which he is standing. Read the rest

Voting rights groups sue Georgia & Brian Kemp to reinstate 53,000 blocked registrations, 70% are Black

Voting rights advocacy groups are suing the state of Georgia to reinstate 53,000 blocked voter registrations, 70% of which are from African American voters, saying the current policy violates the U.S. Voting Rights Act and The National Voter Registration Act. Read the rest

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