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Renewable energy debuts on ballots October 30, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in '08 Election, Energy, Environment, News, Politics, Voting.
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Courtesy USA Today:

Renewable energy is one of the top issues facing voters Tuesday, along with ballot proposals that would ban abortion, legalize marijuana, protect farm animals, end affirmative action and use gambling to fund education.

Three states — California, Colorado and Missouri — have measures on their ballots that deal with alternative energy sources, including wind and solar power. “This is a fairly new issue to the ballot,” says Jennie Drage Bowser, who has been tracking ballot measures for more than a decade at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “It’s a direct response to the demand for energy independence and the rising cost of energy.”

Also new, she says, are a measure in South Dakota that would repeal eight-year term limits on state lawmakers and one in Colorado that would criminalize abortion by defining a person as “any human being from the moment of fertilization.”

Californians will consider animal rights. An initiative there would require farms to give egg-laying hens, calves and pregnant pigs room to turn around, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs. Florida passed a similar measure in 2002 that protected only pregnant pigs, and Arizona approved one in 2006 that covered pigs and calves.

On Tuesday, voters in 36 states will consider 153 ballot measures. Most are referendums placed on the ballot by legislatures; 59 are grass-roots initiatives that needed tens of thousands of signatures to qualify. Many citizen initiatives are controversial, and fewer than half have passed in the past decade. Three of every four referred by legislatures succeeded.

For more on this story, click this link.

Video: Vote because Your Nutty Neighbors Definitely Will October 30, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in '08 Election, Comic Relief, Politics, Video, Voting.
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‘Dirty tricks’ escalate as US election nears October 30, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in '08 Election, Democrats, Dirty Tricks, Lies, Obama, Politics, Repiglicans.
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Courtesy AFP:

In the final days of the US presidential election, campaign yard signs are being defaced, fliers advise Democrats to vote a day late, DVDs warning of Islam’s clash with the West flood mailboxes, and allegations of fraud are flying.

In American politics, it’s all part of the late-game frenzy, when what one side considers a dirty trick can be easily hailed by the other side as a pure exercise of the right to free speech.

For example, a phony flyer bearing the state of Virginia’s logo has turned up, saying that “all Republican party supporters and independent voters supporting Republican candidates shall vote on November 4th as prescribed by law.”

Those supporting Democrats in the battleground state “shall vote on November 5th,” it said.

Similar fliers in Philadelphia warn that anyone with unpaid traffic tickets or outstanding arrest warrants could be jailed if they turn up at the polls on election day.

These types of “deceptive practices” commonly target minorities — who this year overwhelmingly support Barack Obama — and while most states prohibit making false statements regarding elections, the laws are difficult to enforce.

“It is an insidious form of vote suppression that often goes unaddressed by authorities, and the perpetrators are virtually never caught,” said a report by the political watchdog group Common Cause.

Vandals in northern Virginia went on a brief escapade this month, pasting a letter “S” on yard signs so they read “Osama-Biden,” in an attempt to link the Democrat and running mate Joe Biden to Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

Other tricks have verged on absurd, such as the 20-year-old white Ohio woman who claimed she was attacked by assailants who carved a “B” (for Barak) on her cheek in anger at the John McCain sticker on her car.

She later admitted fabricating the story. In addition, the “B” was carved in reverse, as if done with the help of a mirror.

Experts say that when an election approaches, just about anything goes, as Democrats tend to focus on get-out-the-vote efforts while Republicans aim to sway undecided voters and hope that low turnout will bode well for conservatives.

Article Continued @ Sourced Site.

Obama Video: American Stories, American Solutions October 30, 2008

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Running Time: 30 Approx.

Texas Voters Urged to Avoid Straight-Party Option, After Vote-Flip Complaints October 30, 2008

Posted by trouble97018 in Democrats, News, Politics, Repiglicans, Technology, Voting.
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Courtesy Wired:

A number of voters in several Texas counties have been complaining that voting machines they used to cast early votes flipped their votes from Democratic choices to Republican ones.

Voters have reported that when they tried to vote a straight-party Democratic ticket, the machine flipped their choices to Republican candidates instead. In some cases, voters reported a problem only with the presidential race; in other cases voters reported the entire ballot being marked Republican by the machine.

The counties where the problems were reported use different kinds of voting machines from three of the top voting machine companies — Election Systems & Software, Diebold Election Systems (now Premier Election Solutions) and Hart InterCivic.

A Hart InterCivic spokesman said that at least one of the scenarios that a voter described isn’t possible on the company’s machines. A spokesman for ES&S said very few voters had complained and as far as he knew poll workers were never able to replicate the situation they described. The same ES&S machines are at the center of stories in West Virginia and Tennessee where voters also reported the machines flipping their votes, though the scenario in those states was slightly different since voters there weren’t trying to vote a straight-party ticket when the problem occurred.

Voting a straight-party ballot or ticket is an option offered in 15 states whereby a voter can choose to vote straight-party Democrat or Republican and the ballot will automatically mark votes for candidates from that party on the ballot.

Because of the reports of problems, many election integrity groups are urging voters to forego the option.

“We’re asking people to avoid the straight-party option entirely and if you want to vote for candidates who are all from the same party, mark them each individually in each race,” said Ellen Thiessen, founder ofVotersUnite.

Complaints so far have come in from at least seven Texas counties — Collin, Dallas, El Paso, Galveston, Harris, Jefferson, and Palo Pinto.

Collin County uses Diebold paperless Accu-Vote touch-screen machines; Dallas uses ES&S paperless iVotronic machines;  El Paso uses Diebold paperless Accu-Vote touch-screen machines; Galveston uses Hart InterCivic paperless eSlate machines, which use a dial-and-click system that doesn’t require voters to touch the screen; Harris uses Hart InterCivic paperless eSlate machines; Jefferson and Palo Pinto Counties use ES&S paperless iVotronic touch-screen machines.

Some of the complaints have come in to a national voter hotline (866-MY-VOTE1). Not all of the voters left their name or number, making it difficult to follow up with them to obtain details about the problem. Only two of the complaints have been previously reported; one in Palo Pinto County and one in El Paso County.

Here are recordings from some of the complaints that have been made to the hotline (Threat Level is publishing recordings only from voters who did not disclose their name or other personal information in their recording):

 

  • Collin County (.wav)
  • Galveston County (.wav)
  • Jefferson County (.wav)
  • Harris County (.wav)
  • Lona Jones — of Mineral Wells, Texas, in Palo Pinto County — told a McClatchey-Tribune reporter thatwhen she pressed the button to vote straight-party Democrat on her ES&S iVotronic machine in the county courthouse, the machine returned a screen showing all Republican candidates chosen. She told Threat Level she thought she’d hit the wrong button, so she returned to the first screen and chose Democrat again, this time making sure she pressed the correct button.

    Article with Video, Continued @ Sourced Site.

    Palin’s 2012 talk leaves McCain aide speechless October 30, 2008

    Posted by trouble97018 in News, Palin, Politics, Repiglicans, Video.
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    Courtesy Rawstory

    Vice presidential contender Sarah Palin told ABC in an interview to air Thursday that she’s not going to leave national politics if she doesn’t enter the White House in January, fueling speculation that she’s considering running for President in 2012.

    “I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we’ve taken…I’m not doin’ this for naught,” Palin told ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas on being asked.

    CNN’s Dana Bash told cohort Wolf Blitzer that a senior McCain advisor was rendered “speechless” by Palin’s comment. “There was a long pause, and then I just heard a ‘Huh.’ on the other end of the phone. I mean, this is certainly not a surprise to anybody who has watched Sarah Palin that she is interested in potentially…a future national run. Certainly she is being urged to by a lot of people inside the Republican Party if they do lose.”

    Article with Video Continued @ Sourced Site.

    The Vote Grab: Voter purge could swing result to McCain October 29, 2008

    Posted by trouble97018 in McCain, News, Obama, Politics, Voting.
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    Courtesy The Independent (UK)

    Around 13 million US voters have been purged from the electoral rolls since 2004. That’s 10 per cent of the 120 million votes cast in 2004 and twice as many voters as have been added through recent massive voter registration drives.

    The proportion of electors dropped from the voters’ lists is staggering: 17 per cent in Colorado, 15 per cent in Washington State, 14 per cent in New York, 13 per cent in Nevada and 10 per cent   in Missouri.

    This means that millions of Americans will not be allowed to vote on 4 November. It could cost Barack Obama the White House, even if he is ahead in the opinion polls on 4 November.

    This sensational claim is confirmed by the New York Times (NYT). Its researchers have found that in some states for every new voter registered in the last couple of months, two voters have been removed – negating Obama’s massive voter registration drive. This voter purging could mean fewer people voting in 2008 than voted in 2004.

    In Colorado, for example, which has seen a significant population increase since the last presidential election, the state has recorded a net loss of nearly 100,000 voters from its rolls since 2004.

    The NYT also reports that Louisiana, Michigan and Colorado are deletingregistered voters from the rolls within 90 days of a federal election, which is illegal except when voters die, notify the authorities that they have moved out of state, or have been declared unfit to vote.

    Deleting voters who have died or moved inter-state accounts for only some of this purge. The NYT discovered that in Colorado, Louisiana and Michigan the number of people removed from the election rolls since 1 August exceeds the number who may have died or relocated during that period by 300 per cent to 400 per cent. And people who have failed to vote in two or more previous elections are being dumped from the voter rolls, often without being informed. They may decide to vote this time, but when they turn up at the polling booths they will find their names erased and their eligibility voided.

    Meanwhile, Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Alabama and Georgia areimproperly using the less reliable Social Security database to verify registration applications for new voters, instead of using the more accurate and up-to-date state and local records.  Vote applicants whose Social Security data doesn’t match their electoral registration data are being denied the right to vote.

    According to analysis by the NYT:

    Under federal law, election officials are supposed to use the Social Security database to check a registration application only as a last resort, if no record of the applicant is found on state databases, like those for driver’s licenses or identification cards.

    Article Continues @ Sourced Site.

    WVA Vote Flipping Caught on Tape October 29, 2008

    Posted by trouble97018 in McCain, News, Obama, Video, Voting.
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    McCain calls liberals a threat to economy October 28, 2008

    Posted by trouble97018 in Democrats, Economy, McCain, News, Obama, Politics, Repiglicans.
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    Courtesy of The Boston Globe/ boston.com

     

    CLEVELAND – Republican John McCain, casting next week’s presidential election along partisan and ideological lines, yesterday portrayed Democrat Barack Obama as an old-fashioned liberal who would govern as a dangerous extension of his party’s congressional leadership.

    “Now this election comes down to how you want your hard-earned money spent,” McCain told an audience in a Cleveland hotel ballroom after a meeting with political and business figures he considers his economic advisers, including former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

    “Do you want to keep it and invest it in your future, or have it taken by the most liberal person to ever run for the presidency and the Democratic leaders – the most liberal, who have been running Congress for the past two years, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid?” McCain went on, to boos. “You know, my friends, this is a dangerous threesome.”

    As he shapes his concluding argument to voters with just a week until Election Day, McCain’s campaign has worked furiously to exploit distrust of incumbent Washington – South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has been exhorting supporters to “take your country back.” And McCain has continued to distance himself from the Republican administration, while Obama has sought to blur any distinction, referring Sunday to a “Bush-McCain philosophy.”

    “We both disagree with President Bush on economic policy,” McCain said. “The difference is that he thinks taxes have been too low, and I think that spending has been too high.”

    The remarks inaugurated a final phase in the campaign in which advisers said McCain – implicitly acknowledging that Democrats are likely to strengthen their hold on both chambers of Congress – would offer himself up as a bulwark against the hazards of single-party dominance of the legislative and executive branches.

    “We’re going to take a beating in the House and Senate. We’re big boys and girls and frankly we deserve it,” said Michael Steele, the chairman of GOPAC, a conservative group, and one of those who appeared with McCain yesterday.

    “The last two or three years, the American people have gotten into a comfort zone of having divided government,” he said. “It’s part and parcel of this campaign: Tell voters what the consequences are.”

    Delivered with little advance warning to the media as Obama prepared to present his own “closing argument” at his own event 60 miles away, McCain’s address offered no new policy details or prescriptions. Instead, McCain articulated in his most dire terms yet what has become the dominant theme of his campaign in the last two weeks: that Obama’s plans to raise income taxes and fine companies that do not provide employee health insurance would be obstacles to small-business growth, and kill jobs just when new ones are needed most. “It’s a difference of millions of jobs in America, and Americans are beginning to figure that out,” he said. “With one week left in this campaign, the choice facing Americans is stark.”

    McCain has had greater difficulty sketching that choice in clear ideological terms since the emergence of a national credit crisis in September, his advisers acknowledge, given that both he and Obama voted for a $700 billion financial-services bailout.

    Yesterday McCain challenged Obama for not backing a plan for the Treasury Department to use nearly half that bailout money to buy up individual mortgages. And he criticized Bush in broader terms for being passive in response to economic concerns.

    “We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: spending ourselves into a ditch and hoping that the consequences don’t come,” McCain said later, in an afternoon rally in Kettering, outside Dayton.

     

    Article continues @ http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/10/28/mccain_calls_liberals_a_threat_to_economy/

    Corruption conviction doesn’t daunt Sen. Ted Stevens October 28, 2008

    Posted by trouble97018 in News, Politics, Repiglicans.
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    Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times

     

    By Richard B. Schmitt
    October 28, 2008
    Reporting from Washington — In a stunning verdict that imperils the tenure of the Senate’s longest-serving Republican, a federal jury Monday found Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska guilty of concealing tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and improvements to his home.

    Stevens, 84, reacted pugnaciously, attacking the Justice Department and vowing to continue campaigning for reelection to his seventh term next Tuesday.

    “I am obviously disappointed in the verdict but not surprised given the repeated instances of prosecutorial misconduct in this case,” he said in a prepared statement. “I will fight this unjust verdict with every ounce of energy I have.” He asked Alaskans and his Senate colleagues to “stand with me as I pursue my rights.”

    Stevens has managed to remain neck and neck with Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich since the trial began, despite being unable to campaign in person. But political analysts have said from the beginning that all bets would be off were Stevens to be convicted.

    The conviction boosts Democrats’ hopes of reaching a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Democrats control the Senate 51 to 49 with the help of two independents but need 60 seats to overcome Republican-led filibusters that have stymied Democratic initiatives.

    Senate rules do not bar convicted felons from serving, and it would take a two-thirds vote to expel Stevens if he were reelected. The chamber has not expelled anyone in more than a century. If Stevens is forced to step down, a special election would be held to determine his replacement.

    Some Republicans already appeared to discount the chances that he would be returning to Washington.

    “Ted Stevens served his constituents for over 40 years, and I am disappointed to see his career end in disgrace,” said Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, who heads the Senate Republicans’ campaign committee. “Sen. Stevens had his day in court and the jury found he violated the public’s trust — as a result he is properly being held accountable. This is a reminder that no one is above the law.”

    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, also appeared to distance herself from her home-state lawmaker, using the conviction as an opportunity to trumpet her own anti-corruption credentials.

    Palin, who has clashed with Washington’s Republican congressional delegation in the past, said in a statement that the verdict “shines a light on the corrupting influence of the big oil service company that was allowed to control too much of our state. It was part of the culture of corruption that I was elected to fight. And that fight must always move forward, regardless of party or seniority or even past service.”

    Palin concluded: “I’m confident Sen. Stevens will do what’s right for the people of Alaska.”

    Article continues @ http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-na-stevens28-2008oct28,0,5888165,full.story