Ballot mixup puts more heat on Broward elections official as key Florida races remain unresolved

Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes mixed invalid ballots with about 200 valid ones, a latest example of incompetency as Republicans pounce the official amid controversial Florida recount.
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Black Millennial Voters: The Future of Education Is On The Ballot This Year

Cathy Cohen is the principal investigator and founder of Gen Forward Survey—a nationally representative survey of over 1750 young adults ages 18-34. The survey, which is conducted bi-monthly, pays special attention to how race and ethnicity shape how respondents experience and think about the world. “The research from the GenForward Survey is an opportunity to insert the preferences and political beliefs into the national discourse,” said Cohen. “I hope politicians and average citizens will recognize that African American millennials have a clearly defined research agenda that includes improving public education as much as it includes challenging and ending racism and police brutality.  There is no monolithic millennial generation,” she continued.

This year’s Gen Forward survey revealed a few key findings:

  • Over 75% of millennials, independent of race and ethnicity, believe paying teachers more would do more to improve public education than creating more charter schools.
  • Nearly three-quarters of millennials believe that expanding access to mental health resources would do more to improve public education than increasing the number of police officers in schools.
  • Near majorities of millennials across racial and ethnic groups are “somewhat” or “very” worried about the possibility of a shooting happening at a school in their community.
  • Millennials of color believe students of color get a worse education than whites.
  • Substantial numbers of millennials, ranging from 69% of whites to 51% of Latinxs, believe there are many ways to succeed in today’s world without a college education.

So, what does this mean for the election and why should we care? Cohen shared her perspectives with Black Enterprise.

“Young adults have different views of this country and its policies influenced by their race, gender, sexuality, and class. Only when we take seriously the political positions of millennial African Americans, now the largest generation of our community, can we build and move a comprehensive political agenda.”

“If we want to mobilize black millennial voters to go to the polls and vote, politicians and the political parties have to speak to the issues that matter to them, said Cohen. For African American millennials, those are issues such as racism, gun control, income inequality, and education. If we continue to ignore their agenda they will only grow more alienated and withdraw from any political involvement.”

Congressman Elijah Cummings also shared his perspectives on the results of the survey. “The opinions of today’s millennials are telling policymakers at every level that we all must make the education of our next generation our top priority, ” said Cummings. Although public education is primarily a state and local (rather than a federal) responsibility, the President and Congress have an important role in funding the public education of economically disadvantaged students (Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act) and students with disabilities (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).”

When it comes to turning survey feedback into action, Cummings says, “We need local and state legislators who will fight for more education funding; school leaders who will craft policies to support all students regardless of socioeconomic status or background; teachers who will dedicate themselves to attacking the achievement gap; and federal lawmakers who will give our children’s education more than rhetoric. Our children’s future should not be subjected to a popularity contest. They deserve the best education possible—and this election is the perfect time to make that a reality.”

The post Black Millennial Voters: The Future of Education Is On The Ballot This Year appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Your health is on the ballot in the midterm election

Voters in 37 states will have more than candidates to choose in Tuesday’s election. There are 158 statewide measures on ballots this midterm election, and several involve health-related issues such as Medicaid expansion, marijuana, abortion, grocery taxes and charges related to drug use and possession.


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Pepsi, Coke said to become a secret force behind ballot initiatives that push back on sugar taxes

Companies including Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Co are trying to stop municipalities from taxing sugary drinks, according to the New York Times. 
Health and Science

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Canada Legalizes Marijuana & Slavery Ban Goes on Colorado’s Ballot | The Daily Show

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

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The Midterms and the Battle for the Ballot

People across the country will have the chance to sound off on voting rights at the ballot box in November: Ballot measures in North Carolina and Arkansas will determine whether the states enact voter ID laws; voters in Michigan and Maryland will be asked to decide on a measure that would eliminate voter registration deadlines; and Floridians will vote on whether felons should have the right to vote after serving their sentences.

But with one of the most important elections in a generation less than a month away, lawmakers in some states are mounting desperate, last-minute attempts to silence the voices of their constituents.

Voters in various states are facing blatant attacks on their access to the ballot in advance of a critical election. (Kim Creative Commons)

A controversial law that would make it nearly impossible for many Native American voters to cast their ballots on election day in North Dakota came before the Supreme Court this week. The Native American Rights Fund filed Brakebill v. Jaeger in 2016 to challenge the voter ID law, which would require voters in the state to present proof of identification and residential address at the polls. Because “the U.S. postal service does not provide residential delivery in rural Indian communities,” the organization explained, they often register using postal boxes as their physical addresses, which will no longer qualify as residential addresses under the law.

Voter ID laws in states across the country disproportionately disenfranchise people of color, college students, older people, people with disabilities and low-income people. HB 1369 is no different. Lawmakers in North Dakota ramped up their efforts to pass such laws soon after Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s narrow victory in 2012; she won her seat in that race by 3,000 votes, largely due to the strong support she received from indigenous communities.

NARF challenged the law on the grounds that it violated the Equal Protection Clause and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Federal District Court Judge Daniel Hovland blocked the provision of the law pertaining to proof of address in April, writing in his judgment that “the State has acknowledged that Native American communities often lack residential street addresses” and concluding that “this is a clear ‘legal obstacle’ inhibiting the opportunity to vote.” On October 9, however, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision which ignores the challenges to that provision—effectively permitting lawmakers to silence tens of thousands of indigenous voters. 

“70,000 North Dakota residents lack a qualifying ID… and 18,000 North Dakota residents also lack supplemental documentation sufficient to permit them to vote without a qualifying ID,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote in her dissent. She concluded that “the risk of disfranchisement is large.”

In Georgia, a similar attack on the voting rights of communities of color is underway, led by Brian Kemp, the current Secretary of State and candidate for governor. Kemp’s new “No Match, No Vote” policy requires that any information in a voter’s registration application matches existing state records in their file exactly; under this statute, even a middle initial where a middle name once was or a dropped hyphen from a last name would disqualify someone from registering. 

As a result of Kemp’s policy, 53,000 voter applications are on hold. Seventy percent of them are from Black voters, even though they only make up 32 percent of the state’s population. 

“Brian Kemp is maliciously wielding the power of his office,” Abigail Collazo, Director of Strategic Communication for Kemp’s rival, Stacey Abrams, said in a statement, “to suppress the vote for political gain and silence the voices of thousands of eligible voters, the majority of them people of color.” If elected, Abrams would be the first Black female governor in U.S. history; her victory in the state’s gubernatorial primaries was proof of the power Black women voters, in particular, wield in her state.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR) has filed a lawsuit declaring that Kemp’s policy is in violation of the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act and the first and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution. “Kemp has been a driving force behind multiple voter suppression efforts throughout the years in Georgia,” Kristen Clarke, the Committee president and executive director, asserted in a statement. “We will continue fighting voter suppression to ensure a level playing field for voters across Georgia this election cycle.”

Members of the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance and other voter’s rights advocates gathered Friday to in support of the Committee lawsuit and in protest of Kemp’s discriminatory policy. “This is a blatant attempt by Secretary Kemp to disenfranchise Black voters across the state,” National Domestic Workers Alliance Deputy Political Director Nikema Williams told the crowd outside the Georgia State Capitol. “It is disgraceful, and we all must stand up and demand that these registrations be processed swiftly so all Georgians can exercise their right to vote in the upcoming election.”

The LCCR, in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Florida, has also launched a similar lawsuit in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Michael, which hit the state’s coastline on October 9—killing 13 and leaving 1.4 million without power four days before its voter registration deadline. 

“Voters should not have to risk their lives in order to register to vote,” Julie Ebenstein, a Senior Staff Attorney on the Voting Rights Project with the ACLU, said in a statementThe groups filed a federal lawsuit seeking an extension of the deadline nationwide and arguing that Governor Rick Scott’s refusal to do so violates the fourteenth amendment. They also noted that, given a similar situation that occurred when Hurricane Matthew hit in 2016, it is likely that tens of thousands of people will register if the deadline is extended

Much is at stake in this year’s midterm elections—and the voices of voters will be critical in shaping the future of the country. It’s only fair that each and every U.S. citizen have the chance to be heard in 2018.

Victoria Sheber is an editorial intern at Ms., a debate instructor at Windward School and a member of the JusticeCorps at the Los Angeles Superior Court. Victoria is currently a senior at UCLA studying American Literature & Culture and History; she is also the President of the American Association of University Women chapter on campus and Assistant Section Editor for Fem Newsmagazine. She loves to read and write about feminist literature. 

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Small Business Owners Ready to Hit Ballot Box Big Time in Midterm Elections

When it comes to the midterm elections in November, small business owners will be more registered to vote than the overall population.

That, at least, is among the findings of a new survey by Thumbtack, an online service for small businesses. The survey indicated 85% of small business owners surveyed report being registered to vote, versus 70% of all Americans signed up to vote.

Further, 93% of small business owners who are registered to vote say they “definitely” or “probably” will do so, while only 88% of registered voters nationwide say the same, a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows.

The survey showed 17.1% of small business owner respondents reported the No. 1 issue in determining their vote this November is the economy and taxes. Some 5.8% named healthcare as their top issue, making those the most important issues for nearly one-third of small business owners. There are roughly 30 million small businesses in the nation.

“Small business owners continue to tell us they want their representatives to focus on the issues that impact their businesses and their families like the economy and healthcare,” said Thumbtack Head of Public Policy, Kellyn Blossom stated in a press release.

“Small business owners are going to be a crucial constituency for every campaign this November. They care deeply about what affects their communities and plan to turn out in large numbers to vote.”

Thumbtack surveyed 980 small business owners from late August and early September nationally in hundreds of categories, including electricians, music teachers, wedding planners, and wellness professionals to name few. Entrepreneurs were asked about their voter registration status, plans to vote in the upcoming election, and the issues guiding their political preferences.

Additionally, Thumbtack and the Small Business Roundtable are partnering to make sure business owners’ voices will be heard this election.

The Small Business Roundtable is a membership-based group comprised of the Small Business Entrepreneurship Council, National Association of Women Business Owners, National Association for the Self Employed, U.S. Black Chambers Inc., National Small Business Association, and Asian / Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship.

 

The post Small Business Owners Ready to Hit Ballot Box Big Time in Midterm Elections appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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